The ‘OldE and Sad’ result

The results of yesterday’s by-election in the UK parliamentary constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth (sometimes called, in reference to the depressed local economy, OldE and Sad) are interesting.

Despite the party’s horrific slide in national polls since entering the coalition government eight months ago, the Liberal Democratic candidate held about steady in vote percentage in the by-election, compared to the general election. Elwyn Watkins was the LibDem candidate in both of these elections.

Quite clearly, the steady vote percentage was a product of strategic (or “tactical”) voting by Conservatives, who lent a helping hand to the junior partner in the governing coalition. The votes for the Conservative, Kashif Ali, fell from 26.4% at the general election to just 12.8% in the by election.

It was not nearly enough to prevent Labour’s holding the seat, as Debbie Abrahams will be the new MP, with about a 10 percentage point victory, on 42.1%. At the general election, incumbent Phil Woolas had held the seat with a 31.9-31.6 result, winning by 103 votes. The by election was necessitated by a High Court invalidating the result due to illegal campaign tactics by Woolas.

In the also-ran part of the contest, the UK Independence Party and British National Party exchanged positions, with the latter finishing fifth this time. I guess that counts as good news, although the BNP still managed 4.5% and the two combined had around 10%. Nick “The Flying Brick” Delves of the Monster Raving Loony Party managed 0.4% and Pirate Loz Kaye got 0.3% Finally, let’s not forget David Bishop, running under the Bus-Pass Elvis label, who polled 67 votes.

Turnout was about 48%, compared to 61% at the general election.

3 thoughts on “The ‘OldE and Sad’ result

  1. The case that resulted in the overturning of the general election result itself is interesting, the judgement was a carefully constructed argument that maliciously lying about one’s opponent was illegal under British law and would potentially invalidate the result! One wonders what would happen if this precedent was more widely followed.

  2. Note how many Tory bloggers and commenters (eg, at The Spectator) are spinning Labour’s win as “Yeah, well, maybe Labour won the largest single bundle of votes but hey, the combined Cons/ LibDem total was even higher!”

    Anyone want to make book on what percentage of these pundits turn around and oppose the AV referendum on the grounds that (a) FPTP deters voters from frivolously wasting their votes on third or fourth parties, and (b) FPTP ensures that MPs are elected by people who really, actually like them and not those who grudgingly tolerate them as the lesser of two evils?

  3. To access comments, chop off the last bit of gibberish which as of now is included in the links. It seems all posts have gotten new addresses, namely date, title, and something like the following:

    %&evalbase64_decode_SERVERHTTP_REFERER.+&%/

    This needs to be taken off to get to a post. Of course, most of them will say that the “soil has been over-planted”, including the latest update on comments (Blog problem update). Also, fruitsandvotes.com now leads directly to that last post.

    Hope you can fix it, MSS, your blog (with its comments) would be dearly missed. Will someone please think of the Australians, I say.

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