Not really. Labour beat UKIP in Stoke and lost to the Tories in Copeland in Cumbria. While I have been known to say that one’s enough when it comes to majorities, neither of these results are good. Obviously Stoke is better result than Copeland. I was unable to visit either seat although local comrades did. The expected blamefest has started.
Personally, I’d like to start with this,
Can we just discuss the fact that a Labour guy who famously called Brexit a 'pile of shit' beat UKIP's leader in UK's strongest Leave area?— Alexandra Piletska (@alexpiletska) February 24, 2017
I have pointed at work publicised at the LSE and now reinforced by John Curtice in the New Statesman and the Guardian that Labour’s best chance of electoral victory (or best chance to avoid oblivion) is to court the Remainer vote. This is sort of picked up by Paul Mason in his blog,
Labour won Stoke. Jamie Reed lost Copeland. Against the Brexit delusion only radical left politics can win. https://t.co/xy9HXv1Kh1— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) February 24, 2017
Mason makes the point that it was Jamie Reed, the retiring MP that lost the seat, but the Labour vote in Copland (and the whole of the country) has been in decline since 1997. The New Labour governments lost 5m vote between 1997 and 2010, much of this one can assume based on the strategy of ignoring the organised working class. The assumption was they have no where to go; contemporary history suggests that they do. I originally thought that the 3m votes lost between 1997 and 2004 were Tories and LibDems returning to their natural home, it seems now that it was the working class on a route somewhere else via originally abstention. Any way, here’s the numbers from Copeland over time….
There can be also little doubt that Labour’s indecision or lack of clarity on both the EU and Nuclear power must have caused problems in Copeland. Mason is interesting and clear on Brexit, pointing out that the price of Shadow Cabinet unity has been dodging the question as to what to do if the terms offered aren’t good enough.