Monday, 8 November 2010

Oldham East & Saddleworth

When and if, courtesy of the Speaker (and, one is now forced to concede, Mrs. Bercow) the by election at Oldham East & Saddleworth does get re-run - the thought crossed my mind whether recent events, coupled with the effect  of the Coalition's 'record', will have any effect on the result.

It has interesting possibilities when considering the 'scenario' surrounding by-elections as invariably the government-of-the-day usually receives a 'good kicking'. As only 103 votes separated the two main combatants in the General Election, a question must be asked of LibDem voters of how 'upset' they are with their party entering into a coalition with the Tories - and therefore, where might their votes go.

Will the Tories and the LibDems have an 'electoral-pact' and one of them 'stand-down', or will they 'fight' each other - either way, one of them will 'lose'. Will Labour supplant the LibDems as the recipient of the 'protest vote' and in so doing receive an undeserved boost to their image? Or - and it is a big 'or' - will Ukip and the other so-called 'minor' parties get their act together and present such an overwhelming case that the British electorate will awake from their stupor, take an interest, consider all arguments and actually vote wisely?

If history is any guidance - meaning the British electorate either do 'protest vote' or revert to previous 'tribal form' - the question has to be asked: Why the hell do we bother? Why not just 'draw straws', because as with an election, it will produce a result that not one person (outside the political class and pollsters) actually cares about! Such is the state of - and interest in - our 'democratic process'!

It is this 'indifference' to our democracy that the political class have brought the British electorate - to which, no doubt, said political class are saying: "Job Done!"

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