Can Brown really take much comfort from this?
With all the focus over the past five or six days being on the Tory failure in last Thursday’s by elections to make any progress there has been almost no scrutiny of the Labour numbers.
Reproduced above are the main party performances in the four by elections that Labour has had to defend since the general election. While not wanting to sound like William Rees-Mogg the votes from Sedgefield last Thursday were hardly a vote of confidence in the new Labour government under the new Prime Minister.
The drop in vote share was not that far behind what happened in Dunfermline in February 2006 when the Labour and the Tories were running neck and neck in the polls and the LD share had apparently collapsed. Ealing Southall was a better result for Labour than than Livingstone but not by that much.
At a time when Labour poll leads of 6-7% are being recorded you would have expected something better.
Now I don’t buy the “mid-term government” excuse that we’ve heard. This is not a mid-term government but something that is being presented as very new and should be judged as such.
The Tories did not do well last Thursday and neither did Labour. The Lib Dems also disappointed. The only party to come out of the day that can be pleased with itself was the BNP – and that’s something that has hardly received any attention.