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Home | 2016 | October

The conquering hero

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2016-10-21 10:12.

The results of the by-election in the former constituency of murdered MP Jo Cox™ contain no surprises – how could they when the Labour candidate, the actress Tracy Brabin, had no opposition from any of the other major parties?

We have followed the events leading up to this state of affairs with increasing distaste:
Last words matter
Mark of respect
Jo Cox™
Jo Cox™: the people speak
Jo Cox's successor

It is certainly no surprise that only 20,393 people bothered to vote, a turnout of 25.8%, about half of the recent General Election turnouts and one of the lowest by-election turnouts since the Second World War. Given that the 'contest' was uncontested by the other major parties, the real surprise is that so many people voted at all. Labour got 17,506 votes, 85.8% of the total cast. The nine other candidates who did contest the seat all lost their deposits, achieving results between the tens and the hundreds. Those who care for detail can get it from Wikipedia.

The figures suggest that there are at least 2,500 people in the Batley and Spen constituency who are very unhappy with life there in particular and British politics in general, unhappy enough to turn out for a lost-cause vote and put their pointless 'X' anyway.

In all this boring pointlessness, however, one thing excites our interest: the reporting of the election in the MSM. We cannot speak of a blackout – the results of the by-election are indeed reported in the British MSM sites we check, but with more pursed-lip brevity and lack of detail than even this pointless event deserves. According to the Daily Mail there was some heckling of the winner's acceptance speech. The paper has gone so far as to block comments on the story, not even bothering with moderation. Perhaps the upcoming trial of Jo Cox's alleged attacker may be worrying their lawyers.

The winner's speech was the usual nonsensical, idiotically saccharine stuff:

'I hope Jo will be proud tonight of our community. We have shown that we stand together with one voice choosing unity and hope.'

Asked about the heckling, Ms Brabin said: 'It just shows who they are.

'The people of Batley and Spen have given me a mandate but they've lost their deposits.

'I get to work and feel very supported. I feel the people of Batley and Spen behind me.

Asked about the turnout she said: 'Well, it's a wet Thursday in October. But I think 85 per cent, or whatever it is, is very good.

The turnout was 25.8%, Tracy, not 85% ('or whatever it is' – a strikingly clintonesque phrase). Before you insult your rivals too much with triumphalist talk about lost deposits you should consider the real arithmetic: 17,506 people voted for you, not far off 3,000 voted for the hecklers. The hecklers are actually the equivalent of 18% of your vote. In total 14% of those who voted rejected you for someone else in that interesting list of candidates. Nearly 75% of the electorate did not vote for you or anyone at all.

If, in your politician's reality-challenged brain, that makes you feel that the people of Batley and Spen are behind you and that winning this uncontested election shows that you 'stand together with one voice choosing unity and hope', well, good luck with that. You should certainly consider in your triumphal, smiley progress around your new constituency which of the people of Batley and Spen may really be behind you from time to time.