Is this the start of Labour’s recovery?

Is this the start of Labour’s recovery?

Does the stunning victory have a national significance?

As expected Labour have cruised to a victory in the by election caused by the resignation of Michael Martin. Technically this is a gain for the party because previously the seat was held by the Speaker.

It’s the numbers themselves that are quite dramatic and will give real heart to the party as it plans the general election campaign. These were:-

Labour – 12,231 votes (59.39%)
SNP – 4,120 votes (20%)
Tory – 1,075 votes (5.22%)
BNP – 1,013 votes (4.92%)

The Lib Dems came in sixth place in a contest which had a turnout of 33.2% – the lowest ever recorded in a Scottish by-election. This was something I got wrong though my main betting on Labour proved to be a nice winner.

So much of the current political climate is driven by the “media narrative” and Labour will be doing its best to make the most of this result even though it was in one of the party’s traditional strongholds. A win is a win is a win.

So Brown’s party has had a good week and today sees the start of the fieldwork in at least two of the main monthly polls. Generally news like this leads to progress in the polls and we might see a closing of the gap.

Scotland, of course, is unique political territory and all the signs of recent months have been that Labour’s ongoing problems in the rest of Britain have not been replicated to the same extent north of the border.

It is also not a key battle-ground area with very few LAB>CON marginals. Will it help Labour gain ground, for instance, in the target rich areas of the midlands and the north of England – and what about Wales where the polls have suggested big Tory gains?

We don’t know – but one thing that seems highly likely is that this will keep Gordon in his job if he wants to remain.

Mike Smithson

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