Which leader should be most worried about Bromley?

Which leader should be most worried about Bromley?


    Tony Blair – will beating UKIP for 3rd place blunt the Brown attack dogs?

We saw after the May locals how the impatient Brownites were ready to pile in to challenge Tony’s leadership after Labour’s disappointing results. If Bromley goes badly two weeks today will they be ready to pounce again?

Aftter May 4th there appeared to be a concerted campaign to raise the temperature – but with no clear end game strategy. Maybe there might be something different this time because it’s almost a certainty that Labour’s share is going to be below the 22% of 2005. The question is how low it can go to be seen to be a disaster?

A real threat to a Labour 3rd place could be UKIP where a member of the party leader leadership, Nigel Farage, is the candidate. Labour always finds it difficult getting its vote out when as far as supporters are concerned the result doesn’t matter. Keeping the vote share in double figures might be a challenge.

    Ming Campbell – is 30% plus required to ease Lib Dem jitters?

With reports that both Labour and Tory MPs have been told to keep quiet while Ming asks his questions at PMQs it’s not been a good week for the 65-year old new leader. According to the BBC’s Nick Robinson both big parties think the Lib Dems as a force is diminished while Ming remains in the job so they are doing their best to keep him there. Maybe the same “boost Ming” strategy by Labour and the Tories will be part of the Bromley aftermath?

In “normal” times coming from third place with a 20% share to take the seat would not be beyond the reach of the acknowledged by-election kings. That now seems too big a challenge and chalking up, say, a vote share of 30% or more would be a good answer to Ming’s critics.

After the amazing Lib Dem victory in Dunfermline held during very tough times for the party nothing can be regarded as impossible – but a good second place is, surely, the most they can hope for?

    David Cameron – can he end the Tory by-election nightmare?

In many ways Cameron has been very lucky that the party’s first by-election defence for six years and the first on his watch is in a seat where the Tories did so well at the General Election with the Lib Dems in third place. For the party has a dreadful record at by-elections whether defending seats or trying to win them. The term Tory by-election success is an oxymoron.

Even in the 1997 Labour landslide the former MP, the late Eric Forth chalked up 46% and the expectation must be that they will do better in vote share terms than last May’s 51%. But the Cameron leadership is all about momentum and a result much better than that is surely needed. Certainly if the polls are right then 55% plus should not be beyond them.

After a difficult candidate selection that looked like a snub for the new leader the Tories can take nothing for granted. Cameron needs a really good result here and is probably the leader who should be most worred. For his party will go with his “change agenda” just as long as he looks like a winner. If that changes then he could have problems.

By election betting. Latest prices are CON 0.08/1: LD 8.2/1: LAB 99/1

Mike Smithson

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