Fiona Onasanya has drunk her last draught from the taxpayers’ trough and has now been removed as MP, the Peterborough seat having been declared vacant on 1 May 2019. We therefore move to the question of who will replace her.
The constituency covers the majority of the city of Peterborough and some rural areas to the East. I myself have visited the city but once, in 1975, and the city I saw in a few hours and 44 years ago is a very different place now. The population increased about 50% in the years 1971-1991 alone, since when it has increased again hugely. The city of 1971 had about 100,000 inhabitants but now has about 200,000 and still increasing. Even that does not tell the full story.
A few years ago, Peterborough was said to have the second-fastest population growth of any city in the UK. In 2007, the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire noted that, as recently as 2003, 95% of the teenagers in the county had been white (ie English), whereas the figure in 2007 was radically different and the population “diverse”. What is that figure now, I wonder? 50%? Probably far below that.
The true scale of the change is probably covered up. The city’s inhabitants are now 82% white (officially), but many of the white inhabitants are of recent Eastern European origin.
Peterborough constituency and by-election candidates
15 candidates are declared at close of list:
The constituency has been a Con/Lab marginal for decades, with the two parties usually but not always within a few points of each other. The Liberal Democrats have come third in every election for decades, except in 2015 when the LibDems came fourth after UKIP (there was no UKIP candidate in 2017).
Stewart Jackson was the Conservative MP from 2005 until 2017, his vote share gradually declining from 42.1% in 2005 to 39.7% in 2015 before, ironically, peaking at 46.8% in 2017, in which year he was replaced by Labour’s Fiona Onasanya (she got 48.1%).
I have blogged previously about Fiona Onasanya, who has wisely decided not to bother standing again (Labour has another candidate, but Fiona Onasanya could, in theory, have stood as an Independent, despite her conviction and brief imprisonment).
The Conservative candidate for the by-election, Paul Bristow, is a local businessman who says that “I run my own public affairs and PR business centred around the medical device industry.” I dare say that Bristow, though one of the most likely to succeed candidates, will have an uphill struggle, the way things are with a Conservative Party in meltdown; I also wonder whether voters will want a “multikulti” public relations man (see Bristow’s website in the Notes, below) as their MP. We shall see.
The Labour candidate is Lisa Forbes. A trade union official, she was Labour candidate for Peterborough in 2015, at which election she apparently fought a fairly strong campaign, finishing second with 35.6% of the vote (the Con vote was 39.6%). For the by-election, she beat one other woman in a contest held using a women-only shortlist.
Liberal Democrats, Greens, Change UK
The LibDem candidate is Beki Sellick, about whom a local newspaper reports:
“The Liberal Democrats have selected Beki Sellick as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough. The engineer fought the seat in the 2017 election, finishing third with 1,597 votes. She said: “I’m an ordinary person who’s had a variety of jobs – nationalised and privatised, shop floor and management, full-time and part-time, redundant. And then I started my own business in Peterborough two years ago. I chair our residents association where we run a monthly community café.””
The LibDems (same candidate) got a vote share of only 3.3% in the General Election of 2017, which result was even below the 3.8% they scored in 2015 (cf. 2010—19.6%, and 2005— 14.5%). I cannot see the LibDems winning. They are probably fighting for fourth or fifth place.
One interesting aspect is that Change UK, the new pro-EU and pro-Israel party, is not putting up a candidate. I read somewhere that the very strongly pro-EU and anti-Brexit parties (LibDems, Greens, Change UK) were going to not stand against each other in Peterborough and elsewhere, so as not to split the Remainer vote. Well, it looks like someone forgot to tell the Greens, who are standing, their candidate being one Joseph Wells, about whom nothing much is known.
The Green Party website says about their by-election candidate: “Candidate for Peterborough. Joseph Wells. No Candidate [sic] information at this time. Please check back.”
What a joke the Green Party is! Here we have a by-election held after a scandal. The ideal place for a small party to get some publicity and maybe save its deposit, yet on the day the nominations close, the useless creatures cannot even put out a few basic facts about the poor sap they have chosen as their doomed candidate! Not that it makes much difference: the Greens got 1.8% in Peterborough in 2017. Like the pro-Remain and pro-immigration LibDems, the Greens are unlikely to do well in an area which was over 60% Leave and where many of the English people feel (and have been) swamped by mass migration or “migration-invasion”.
The list closed at 1600 hrs. It is now 1611 as I write. At 1555, 5 minutes before closure of the list, Mark Pack, who does LibDem publicity, was tweeting this!
The LibDems are as useless as the Greens and the new joke party, Change UK!
What is more significant is that Change UK have effectively chickened-out of this contest. Either that or they are just too incompetent even to register a candidate for the only by-election being held! Either way (and as I have previously blogged), they are a total waste of space.
Below, two of the wastes of space of “Change UK”:
So there it is: Change UK are too frightened or too incompetent to put up a candidate at Peterborough (voters might like to remember that at the 23 May EU election too…and at the next general election).
This means that, at the by-election, the Remain or pro-EU vote, which at best is probably no more than 40% of the electorate anyway, will be split between Greens and LibDems (and Labour). Bearing in mind that, in 2017, the combined vote for the LibDems and Greens was only 5.1%, it may be that most Remainers in Peterborough will vote Labour; neither of the two smaller parties has any real chance.
UKIP is standing, thus splitting the hardcore Brexit vote, but is running at only about 3% in nationwide opinion polling. The candidate is John Whitby, a former UKIP councillor, who came last out of 5 candidates in the recent local election for Fletton and Stanground ward, Peterborough (he got 320 votes out of about 2,000):
Hard to predict UKIP’s vote share at the by-election, except that it will be below 5%. I am guessing that it will be around 2%.
The former journalist and UKIP MEP, Patrick O’Flynn, who now fights for the (post-1990) Social Democratic Party (SDP), is standing, but I would be surprised if he were to get above 1% of the vote. In a way, he was a loss to UKIP, in that he was probably one of UKIP’s more intelligent leaders, particularly on economic issues.
Why O’Flynn has chosen to ally himself with the SDP dead parrot party, God knows. Maybe because he did not want to be an Independent. He, in himself, is not a bad candidate, but the SDP is just silly: in 1992, it put up 10 candidates at the General Election. Total vote was over 35,000 or 0.1%, but individually they did not do badly at average 3,500 votes each. However, since then, their few candidates have registered not thousands, not even hundreds, of votes (at the General Election 2017, 6 SDP candidates stood, and got a total of 469 votes, about 75 votes each; in national terms, statistical zero).
Now we come to the bottom of the barrel: the Christian People’s Alliance (not to be confused with the Christian Party Alliance; yes I know…Judean Popular Front etc…) is standing a Dr. Rogers (not I think a medical doctor, but someone with a Ph.D who is a local teacher). I sometimes puzzle over why people even bother standing for silly no-account organizations like this. Still there it is. He may get 50 or 100 votes, who knows?
There are 2 Independents.
One Goldspink is standing for the faux-“nationalist” English Democrats.
There are candidates for “Common Good” and “UK European Union Party”.
There is a “Renew” candidate. There was one in the recent Newport West by-election: that candidate got nearly 4% of the vote there.
“Howling Lord Hope” of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party needs no introduction: the fat little man wearing a white or yellow suit is a veteran of dozens of elections and in fact was actually elected (unopposed) in a local council election at Ashburton, Devon, many years ago. I imagine that he will beat some of the Peterborough candidates who take themselves more seriously.
Brexit Party has burst upon the political scene (or should that be “swamp”) and may change everything just by existing. Needless to say (to regular or frequent readers of this blog), I would never “support” a party which is not fully social-national, let alone one that has a “Friends of Israel” section already…Having said that, anything that helps to fragment the “three party” or “two party” FPTP scam, that is conventional politics in the UK, has my blessing.
Brexit Party is mushrooming and now has somewhere around 100,000 “supporters” (by any other name, members) who have, apparently, each donated between £5 and £200,000 (the average is about £30, giving Brexit Party somewhere in the region of £5 million in battle funds).
Below, Nigel Farage, the leader of Brexit Party, arriving in Newport, Wales, to a rapturous and almost ecstatic reception:
and here is a comment about both Brexit Party and Change UK rallies (well, Brexit Party’s 2,000-strong Peterborough rally and Change UK’s pathetic almost empty London meeting…)
I have blogged recently about the effect of Brexit Party on UK elections from now on:
These were the results of the 2 May 2019 local elections in Peterborough:
Brexit Party of course not standing.
The bookmakers have Brexit Party favourite to win the by-election: just odds-on, but closely followed at 11/10 by Labour. The Conservatives are on 20/1, the LibDems 50/1, Change UK 66/1 (rather ungenerous since they now seem not to be standing!), 100/1 bar. So Greens and UKIP are both 100/1. William Hill are similar but more generous. They have SDP at 125/1 and Green at 150/1.
A week ago, Labour were the favourites. That though was before Nigel Farage and Brexit Party had 2,000 people attend a rally in Peterborough for which, it seems, tickets were sold at £10 a pop. This is not British politics as we know it…most System candidates would struggle to get 200 (or, in some cases, 20) voters to turn out for a meeting where entrance is free!
Britain Elects has, a minute ago, tweeted the following polling for the EU elections:
Those figures might inform us re. the Peterborough by-election, except that Change UK is not, it seems, a factor.
The Brexit Party candidate is Mike Greene, a multi-millionaire businessman and considerable local philanthropist, who supports 40 local charities and good causes. He comes from modest origins and is a local resident who was brought up in or near the city. He was a Conservative until recently.
Conclusion and forecast
Unless something absolutely stunning happens in the next 4 weeks, this is a straight fight between Brexit Party and Labour. The Conservatives seem to be toast. In fact, now that that is plainly the case, I should expect many more Conservative voters to vote tactically for Brexit Party, in order to keep out Labour.
The Remain vote will probably gravitate to the LibDems, but the Greens will take quite a few Remain votes. Other parties can be more or less disregarded.
There is also the point that, on 23 May, halfway between now and the by-election, the EU elections are expected to be a triumph for Farage and the Brexit Party. The Conservatives are forecast to come 3rd or even 4th.
It looks as though this will be the Westminster victory that might launch the —as yet, policy-free— Brexit Party. Second place will go to Labour. Third? Either LibDems or Conservatives. Quite possibly the LibDems.
Update, 21 May 2019
Current betting as of today (21 May) is: Brexit Party as odds-on favourites (8/13), though challenged fairly closely by Labour on 5/4. The rest of the field is comprised of also-rans, it appears: Conservatives 20/1, LibDems 50/1, and 125/1 bar those four.
Update, 23 May 2019
There has been movement in the betting market for the by-election: Brexit Party hardening and now at 8/15; Labour less firm and out to 7/4; Conservatives at 9/1 (from 20/1 only two days ago); LibDems sliding to 70/1; 125/1 bar those four.
Update, 24 May 2019
Just saw the clip below from BBC News. It exemplifies the BBC way of doing bias in political coverage. The whole clip lasts well over 2 minutes (2:16), out of which Mike Greene, the candidate for Brexit Party, was given 5 or 6 seconds! Brexit Party is way ahead in the betting and polling for the by-election, but the BBC chose to present the three System party candidates as the “serious” ones, each of whom got a number of short slots within the clip. Even the lady standing for the LibDems got two or three slots, despite the fact that the LibDems have no chance, are 70/1 to win, and when the same lady stood in Peterborough for the LibDems at the 2017 General Election, she only got 3.3% of votes cast!
I am not a “supporter” of Brexit Party, as such, but the BBC’s bias against it is really showing now.
Update, 26 May 2019
By-election betting now shows Brexit Party hardening to 2/5, and now strong odds-on favourite; Labour slightly out at 15/8; Conservatives, who went from 20/1 to 9/1, are now again sliding and are at 12/1; LibDems in from 70/1 to 50/1; still 125/1 bar those four.
Update, 27 May 2019
After the stellar victory of Brexit Party in the EU elections, the odds on Brexit Party smashing the Peterborough by-election have hardened again, now to 4/11. Labour’s dispiriting results in the EU elections have lengthened its odds to 5/2. The Conservatives’ odds have slid back to 16/1, whereas the LibDems’ odds, also at 16/1, are hugely shorter now (they were 50/1 only yesterday!); 125/1 bar those four.
As my blog, written 9 May, said, this is a contest between Brexit Party and Labour, but now the LibDems are complicating the issue. If all anti-Brexit voters gathered behind one candidate, the Brexit Party could not win. The question arises: which one party and candidate? The Remain-oriented side is split, and there are other issues. It may well be that many Con voters and others will switch to LibDem for the by-election, but many Labour voters will recall the LibDems’ dreadful and dishonest support for the Con Coalition 2010-2015. My prediction is that the Brexit Party is going to win this by a goodly margin in the end.
Update, 29 May 2019
The betting continues to firm for Brexit Party. Now 1/5 odds-on (from 4/11). Labour has weakened to 4/1 (from 5/2). The LibDems are still at 16/1, but the Conservatives are still sliding, now at 20/1 again (from 16/1). As far as the bookmakers are concerned, it’s all over.
As my initial blog post speculated, Conservative voters are now flocking to Brexit Party, either out of conviction or because it is the best way to deny Labour the prize. It may be that, after the Fiona Onasanya fiasco, Labour is badly damaged. The candidate for Labour seems to be not very intelligent, which hardly helps (though I understand that she is at least anti-Zionist. On can rarely have everything.
Update, 30 May 2019
Latest betting: Brexit Party still strong odds-on favourite at 1/5, Labour still 4/1 (both unchanged from yesterday), but LibDems and Cons have now both slid to 25/1. 125/1 bar those four.
Update, 31 May 2019
Brexit Party still at 1/5, Labour still at 4/1. LibDems have recovered to 12/1 after opinion polling suggesting that, nationwide, the LibDems are now, suddenly, the most popular party in England and Wales! Conservatives are available at 25/1 for the by-election. 125/1 bar those four.
Meanwhile, the newspapers converge on Peterborough to seek opinions…
“A disillusioned Tory, his message is clear that the Lib Dems ‘may sneak in here’. He says Peterborough is ‘an absolute dump’ with poverty rife. People are so poor they think twice about buying even a multi-pack of crisps.” [Daily Mail]
“Back in Lincoln Road, at a cafe bar, I talk to Janet Tobolik, who is 65 and half Polish. A devout Eurosceptic, she says only one party cares about Peterborough’s problems. She is voting UKIP. ‘There is rubbish on the streets. This is my country and you suddenly find a settee in the middle of the road. Peterborough is a slum. They drop everything these immigrants.’” [Daily Mail]
“Down the street, a 73-year-old man who called himself Mr Dhillon, said: ‘I have lived here since 1967. I always supported Labour. But they and the Tories have done no good for Peterborough. I think we should leave the EU and then we can start again.’”
“Yes, as it stands, it is Farage who is on a roll. He is hoping to bury his opponents in Peterborough, just like Catherine of Aragon, and the odds are hugely on his Brexit Party’s side. Next Thursday we’ll discover if the people of this city will change the future of British politics.” [Daily Mail]
Update, 2 June 2019
The betting market has moved as far as Labour and the LibDems are concerned. Brexit Party is still strong odds-on favourite at 1/5, but Labour is now closer at 10/3 and the LibDems , who were 12/1 yesterday and 70/1 only a week ago, now move to 9/1. The Conservatives are still on 25/1; and 125/1 bar those four.
As I commented earlier elsewhere, the battle for second place at Peterborough is intensifying. The Brexit Party seems unchallenged now for 1st place. The only way for Brexit Party to lose would be if those opposed to Farage all clustered round one other party standing. That is obviously not happening. Labour is fighting hard for the seat, but the LibDems are “playing a blinder” bearing in mind that they only got 3.3% in 2017 and 3,8% in 2015. Even at the height of 2010 Cleggmania, they only managed (just under) 20%.
The Conservatives are toast and have no chance. Labour is battling not to be toast. A 2nd place at Peterborough would keep Labour in the game nationally. If Labour drops to 3rd at Peterborough, heads may roll.
Brexit Party tweets cleverly: their tweet (below) is in fact correct, but from the purely electoral point of view helps Brexit Party, because Labour is still the main enemy of Brexit Party in this Peterborough by-election. Tactically, Brexit Party very much knows how to run a campaign.
Update, 3 June 2019
Three days before polling day.
The Guardian reports from Peterborough [link below]. Well worth reading.
“…many Peterborians feel life is getting worse; nothing catastrophic, but a noticeable unravelling. Stagnation of living standards and diminishing prospects, as much as Brexit and migration, are likely to shape how they vote.”
“…people also sense deeper changes to the social fabric, caused in part by the march of buy-to-let property investors, the retreat of the state from providing housing for the working class and ever-shrinking funding for maintaining the fabric of neighbourhoods. With Brexit dominating the byelection, there is little room to debate much of that.”
The BBC has also posted a not very illuminating analysis:
As for the betting market, Brexit Party is now even more firmly odds-on, prohibitively priced at 1/6. Labour has gone out again, returning to 4/1. The LibDems are now also further out at 10/1, while the Conservatives have all but given up the ghost at 33/1 (out from 25/1).
The LibDems were always going to be on the back foot in Leave-friendly Peterborough (in the 2016 Referendum, 61% voted Leave, on a high turnout of over 72%), but their apparent lack of success is a warning light about taking their 2019 EU elections performance and more recent opinion polling too seriously (particularly now that it seems that pollsters have been deliberately suppressing Brexit Party in some polling).
When push comes to shove, can the LibDems hack it? Their performance electorally over many years and in government from 2010-2015 would suggest not.
As to the Conservatives, I suggest that my initial analysis was right: former Conservative voters are backing Brexit Party both for itself and because they have lost confidence in the Conservatives as a potentially-winning party. A Conservative vote in Peterborough is now a wasted vote. The tactical option to keep Labour out is therefore to vote Brexit Party. They are obviously deserting the Conservatives in droves; incredible when you consider that Peterborough has had a Conservative MP for most of the years 1945-2019. A symptom of the general and possible terminal decline of the Conservative Party.
Labour is the only party now likely to come close to Brexit Party in the by-election. The “blacks and browns” (etc), comprising a fifth of the inhabitants, will vote Labour if they vote at all. Remain voters are more likely to vote LibDem now. The non-Brexit-Party vote is thus split. Brexit Party may get 50% of the vote, it may get only 40%, but it does seem likely to win.
Note: in the few hours since I wrote the above update for 3 June, the betting market has moved again. Now Brexit Party is in at 1/7, Labour has gone out to 5/1, the LibDems have slumped to 14/1 and the Conservatives are still in outer darkness at 33/1 (125/1 bar those four).
It is pretty clear that the punters and bookmakers have decided that Brexit Party is unassailable at Peterborough. I think that Brexit Party will be elected, and maybe on as much as 50% of the vote.
The Labour candidate has been (supposedly) damaged by her (again, supposedly) “anti-Semitic” online statements of some time ago (my problem with her is that she has recanted, and cravenly “apologized” to the Jew-Zionist lobby). She will probably get 2nd place, and on a vote of about 25%.
The LibDems have no realistic chance now. They will be looking to get the bulk of the Remain vote in a city where most people (61%) voted Leave in 2016, and where the LibDem core vote has been between 3% and 4% for several years (and even in 2010 was only 19% or so). I shall be surprised if the LibDems can get to 2nd place in this by-election. My guess as to their vote share would be somewhere around 20%.
Conservatives? They are just going through the motions. If their vote exceeds 10%, I shall be surprised.
…and the msm “journalists” are still making assumptions based on their belief that the System parties (LibLabCon) are eternal and immortal. Those parties will all be dead soon. “Protest vote” does not begin to cover what is happening.
Update, 4 June 2019
Early in the morning. The betting is now 1/9 Brexit Party, 6/1 Labour, 14/1 LibDems, 33/1 Conservatives. It is already over.
ps. this tweeter makes a good overall point:
Update, 5 June 2019
So here we are, the day before polling day. The betting has moved in a little. Brexit Party still heavily odds-on but a little out from yesterday (1/7 from 1/9); Labour has come in to 9/2 (from 6/1); the LibDems are at 14/1 (from 16/1), Conservatives still 33/1 (125/1 bar those four).
There was a late attempt in the Guardian to connect Mike Greene, the Brexit Party candidate, with the retention-of-freehold-rights scam/scandal, but it seems to have had little impact for various reasons, not least that 99% of Peterborough voters never read the Guardian.
Brexit Party looks, on the face of it, as if it is going to walk this one.
Update, 6 June 2019
The moment of truth. The polls are open. Brexit Party is still at 1/7 in the betting odds, with Labour again firmer at 4/1; the LibDems and Conservatives have settled together at 20/1.
and at 1330 on polling day…
The betting has altered “in play”, so to speak: Brexit Party still at 1/7 and looking on the face of it like a shoo-in to win; Labour firmed today, to 7/2; as to the others, both the LibDems and the Conservatives have been sliding, the LibDems to 25/1, the Cons to 50/1. (125/1 bar those four).
If the current betting reflects what will be announced tonight or tomorrow, this is disastrous for the Conservatives, who not only provided the MP for the constituency for most of the past 80 years but also had the tactical advantage of the recent history of Labour in Peterborough: Fiona Onasanya etc: https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/deadhead-mps-an-occasional-series-the-fiona-onasanya-story/
It is clear that the Conservatives are going to go down very badly. How badly, we wait to see. This may prove to be the most significant by-election since 1945.
(as a light ending, until the result, I reproduce—see below—the most stupid, also the funniest tweet I saw today!)
Update at 1615 hrs on polling day:
Betting: 1/6 Brexit Party, 11/4 (from 7/2) Labour.
As I predicted weeks ago, it is between these two now. Labour struggling hard not to be too badly beaten. Many of the Remain votes will go Labour, and almost all of the votes of the blacks, browns etc, and those of any immigrants eligible to vote.
The LibDems are only 40/1 in the by-election betting now. Cons 50/1, others 125/1 or more. As usual, the LibDems talk a good game but rarely follow through. They wasted their chance of getting proportional representation in 2010. That sank their party and many of Britain’s people.
Just saw this, illustrating my point that Labour’s core vote is now “the blacks and browns”:
Aftermath, 7 June 2019
Labour won, unexpectedly (and because of the organized ethnic minority vote, including postal vote), and on 31% of the votes cast (Brexit Party got 29%).
My post-poll thoughts are here: