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The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

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The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Panda on Sat 23 Feb - 7:54

The politicians are losing in Eastleigh


Some in the press are calling this the most important by-election for 30
years. But important to whom?









"I was accosted by a middle-aged
woman in a high-viz jacket. 'Look!' she cried excitedly, 'He gave me his
autograph!' She proudly held open a little pink notebook. 'To Irene,' I read.
'Thanks for your support. David Cameron.' " Photo:
Getty Images






By Michael Deacon

7:52PM GMT 22 Feb 2013


253 Comments




Noting the journalists and photographers loitering on the high street, the
man paused. “All right,” he said. “Which of the leeches is coming down today?”



“The biggest one,” replied a journalist to my left, dryly.


“Him!” snorted the man with almost cartoonish disgust, and walked on. But
after a few paces he paused and turned round. Had he thought better of what he’d
said?


Well… sort of.


“I don’t think Cameron’s more of a leech than the rest of them,” he
explained. “He isn’t. They’re all equally leeches.”



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And so, his position clarified, off he strode.

On the streets of Eastleigh, that attitude isn’t uncommon. Covering the
by-election for the past week and a half, I’ve met plenty of constituents with a
similar attitude. It isn’t apathy towards politics. It’s disdain for
politicians. Not specific politicians, but politicians generally.

I could easily list more examples of cynicism than I could of impassioned
support. One man shut his front door on Boris Johnson and Maria Hutchings, the
Tory candidate, having told them, “I hate all you politicians.” While I was
standing beside a children’s play park listening to a visiting Shadow Cabinet
member and John O’Farrell, Labour’s candidate, explain why locals should vote
for him, a passer-by paused, put his mouth to my ear, and whispered “What a load
of b-------”, and continued on his way. He hadn’t been standing there, patiently
listening before forming his judgment; he’d simply noted that they were
politicians. That was enough for him.

Some in the press are calling this the most important by-election for 30
years. But important to whom? To the candidates and activists and parties,
certainly. But to locals it seems more like a nuisance. It isn’t that they don’t
want to vote. It’s that their faith in politicians has shrivelled to the extent
that, no matter how earnest the candidates, they’re assumed to be liars, frauds,
“all the same”. One woman told Mr O’Farrell she was so sick of the main parties
that she might vote for the “Elvis Loves Pets” candidate. Mr O’Farrell urged her
to “take your vote seriously”.

She didn’t look convinced.

One beneficiary of this disillusionment may be Ukip, the party that thinks of
itself as a raised middle finger to the “LibLabCon”. But if people haven’t
become disillusioned with Ukip, perhaps it’s only because they haven’t had the
chance to; Ukip have no MPs. If they ever do get any, they may yet find
themselves dismissed as part of a “KipLibLabCon”; they too will be “all the
same”.

A week from now, when we know the by-election’s result, Westminster will
frenziedly assess how each party did. If the Tories have lost, many in that
party will consider it a disaster.

But at the moment, it seems to me that Eastleigh isn’t just going badly for
the Tories. It’s going badly for politicians full stop.

I don’t want to end grimly, though. Here’s a more cheerful image. On
Thursday, as I was leaving a factory where the Prime Minister had been doing a
Q&A, I was accosted by a middle-aged woman in a high-viz jacket. “Look!” she
cried excitedly, “He gave me his autograph!” She proudly held open a little pink
notebook. “To Irene,” I read. “Thanks for your support. David Cameron.”

Enough to win her vote? “Of course!” she said, as if I’d just asked the
silliest question she’d ever heard. “I normally vote Labour, but I’m definitely
voting for him now! He came all the way over here just to do that! What a lovely
man! I’ve already phoned all my friends!”

An autograph may not seem the soundest reason on which to base a vote. But to
see someone thrilled by a politician is now so rare that I found it weirdly
touching.

-------

Turn down that dull, bland racket

Something interesting is happening with British pop music. Not the music
itself, mind you, but the way different generations perceive it. I found the
Brit Awards this week squirmingly dull: winners, performers, the lot. All my
friends who are the same age or older agreed. And yet these acts – One
Direction, Mumford & Sons, Emeli Sandé – sell millions of downloads to
teenagers. Before, older people complained about young people’s music being too
loud, rude, offensive, tuneless. Now, older people complain about young people’s
music being too quiet, melodic, bland. Is it the young who have gone wrong, or
us?

-------

Once more into the book, dear Dad

When I was little, my father would read to me every night. My favourite
stories were about Richmal Crompton’s William Brown – as much as entertainment
they were education. I suspect I learnt more about the English language from
being read to at bedtime than I did from studying it at school. The Duchess of
Cornwall is promoting a campaign to get fathers reading to their children, after
it was found that one in three never does so. They really should. And if, as
research suggests, some fathers find it boring, they can make a game of it. I’ve
often wondered whether, if you did nothing but read Shakespeare to your toddler,
he or she would grow up speaking in blank verse. At present I have no children,
but I can’t wait to find out.

-------

Talking maths at onety-eight

A study says England’s pupils lag behind China’s in maths. But surely the
Chinese have an unfair advantage: their language. As Malcolm Gladwell notes in
his 2008 book Outliers, Chinese is ideal for maths because of the words it uses
for numbers. Its word for 11, for example, literally translates as “ten one”.
Twelve is “ten two”. Twenty is “two ten”, 21 “two ten one”, and so on.

Which means that, from the moment they’re taught how to say numbers, Chinese
children are effectively speaking in arithmetic. It must make the basics easier
to grasp. Compare English, which doesn’t even have a consistent pattern for
naming numbers. We have “70” and “90” but not “threety” or “fivety”. Recently my
brother-in-law pointed to the number 18 on a food label and asked his
four-year-old daughter, “What’s that?” She said, “Onety-eight.” You can see her
confusion. If we have “sixty-eight” and “eighty-eight”, why not onety-eight?


-------

Good banter waits for no man

Language is always evolving – and that applies to the language of love. This
week a female friend of mine went on a blind date – at the end of which, her
suitor admiringly declared that she had “good banter”. He wasn’t 15, in case
you’re wondering – he was in his thirties. If you’re a little older than that,
you may be thinking, “ 'Good banter’? What sort of thing is that to say to a
lady? What happened to romance?” But let us not forget the words of our finest
poets. The Bard, for example: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/ Thou art
fit (but thy bag’s a bit gay).” Or Andrew Marvell: “But at my back I always
hear/ Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near./ So come on love, how about it?”

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Lord Rennard Sex Claims: Police to investigate

Post  Panda on Tue 26 Feb - 7:26

Lord Rennard Sex Claims: Police To Investigate


Scotland Yard is looking into potential "criminal activity"
following allegations against ex-Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard.



6:26am UK,
Tuesday 26 February 2013



Video: Lord Rennard Claims
Investigated
Enlarge












  • Scotland Yard has announced it will investigate whether "criminal
    activity has taken place" following allegations against ex-Lib Dem chief
    executive Lord Rennard.

    Several women have accused the peer of inappropriately touching and
    propositioning female party workers, which he strenuously denies.

    The news of police involvement comes as pressure continues to mount on Lib
    Dem leader Nick Clegg, with party president Tim Farron admitting it "screwed up"
    its response to the allegations.

    After initial denials that he was aware of complaints made by a number of
    women about Lord Rennard, Mr Clegg confirmed on Sunday his office had heard
    "indirect and non-specific concerns" as far back as 2008 and had taken action at
    the time.

    Speaking on Monday, he said: "Until last week, no very specific allegations
    were put to me.
    Nick Clegg said he had been made aware of
    "non-specific" concerns in 2008
    "We acted on general concerns which had been expressed sometime ago but, of
    course, now that those general concerns have evolved into specific allegations,
    we can act and we will."

    He added: "I have got nothing to hide, the party has nothing to hide ... I
    totally understand people have got lots and lots of questions but I hope I have
    given a full, frank, honest account.

    "I happen to know some of these women very well. One of them worked for me. I
    spoke to her just last night. She never, ever said anything about this until
    now."

    Responding to the police investigation, the party's deputy leader Simon
    Hughes told Sky News: "We don't want there to be any no-go areas. If there are
    things that are criminal they need to be pursued."

    A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Special
    Investigations Command has been approached by officials in the Liberal Democrat
    Party and is working with them to ascertain whether or not criminal activity has
    taken place."

    The Lib Dems earlier announced that criminal lawyer Alistair Webster QC will
    lead a formal internal investigation into allegations against Lord Rennard under
    the party's disciplinary rules.

    Mr Webster will lead a panel of four other people, including three women.

    The women making the allegations claim they reported Lord Rennard's alleged
    behaviour to senior party officials at the time, but no further action was
    taken.

    There are now new reports that Mr Clegg's chief of staff Jonny Oates was
    contacted about detailed allegations back in 2010.

    The Telegraph published on its website an exchange of emails in which it
    listed five allegations and gave dates and locations for the alleged
    inappropriate acts.

    It also said the paper knew the identities of the women concerned and
    suggested that MPs Jo Swinson and Danny Alexander had been involved in
    investigations into Lord Rennard's alleged conduct.

    Lord Rennard - a key adviser to a succession of Lib Dem leaders before
    standing down on health grounds in 2009 - has said he is "deeply shocked" by the
    allegations, which he "strongly disputes" and regards as a "total distortion" of
    his character.

    In a statement on Friday, he said: "I absolutely deny any suggestion of
    improper touching, nor did I invite a woman to join me in my room.

    "I am disappointed and angry that anonymous accusations from several years
    ago are once again being made public in this manner in a clear attempt to damage
    my reputation."

    Following the allegations, the Lib Dem party slumped into fourth place behind
    Ukip in a poll conducted by ComRes for the Independent.
=============================================
It is a sad day for British Politics and Politicians that this latest "Sex scandal" has emerged as the result of dirty tricks campaign to ensure the Lib Dems do not win the Eastleigh Election.

Apparently 6 Lib Dem Females claim that they were groped by Lord Rennard a few years ago, this has surfaced and this is the result. Now Police are involved........what the Hell is wrong with Britain ?????

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Re: The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Angelina on Tue 26 Feb - 11:40

.
what the Hell is wrong with Britain ?????


I'm wondering the same about Italy....people are actually voting for Berlusconi

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Re: The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Panda on Tue 26 Feb - 12:04

Angelina wrote: .
what the Hell is wrong with Britain ?????


I'm wondering the same about Italy....people are actually voting for Berlusconi

Angelina, Berlesconi is a rogue , but the Italians know he won't introduce harsh measures like Monti . Merkel made a huge mistake forcing such draconian measures on to those Countries who have received bailouts, how can they improve their situation when the World is practically in recession. Italy has voted for Desani in the Lower House but because there is a hung Parliament he is now hoping that another Election will win him the lower House as well.

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Re: The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Angelina on Tue 26 Feb - 14:19

Panda wrote:
Angelina wrote: .
what the Hell is wrong with Britain ?????


I'm wondering the same about Italy....people are actually voting for Berlusconi

Angelina, Berlesconi is a rogue , but the Italians know he won't introduce harsh measures like Monti . Merkel made a huge mistake forcing such draconian measures on to those Countries who have received bailouts, how can they improve their situation when the World is practically in recession. Italy has voted for Desani in the Lower House but because there is a hung Parliament he is now hoping that another Election will win him the lower House as well.

It seems to be a lose lose situation. If we all spend money then we all get in further debt. If we don't spend it then everything contracts and unemployment rises. Really don't think I've ever known a time like it.

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Re: The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Panda on Tue 26 Feb - 15:51

Angelina wrote:
Panda wrote:
Angelina wrote: .
what the Hell is wrong with Britain ?????


I'm wondering the same about Italy....people are actually voting for Berlusconi

Angelina, Berlesconi is a rogue , but the Italians know he won't introduce harsh measures like Monti . Merkel made a huge mistake forcing such draconian measures on to those Countries who have received bailouts, how can they improve their situation when the World is practically in recession. Italy has voted for Desani in the Lower House but because there is a hung Parliament he is now hoping that another Election will win him the lower House as well.

It seems to be a lose lose situation. If we all spend money then we all get in further debt. If we don't spend it then everything contracts and unemployment rises. Really don't think I've ever known a time like it.
I recently posted an article on the Bl**dy thread which I thought was very good. It seems in the 50's Credit was introduced to stimulate the Economy and in Particular offer Mortgages to Home Buyers. The problem is, Credit is the mainstay of so many households now that with so many people unemployed they can't pay their Bills and have their Homes repossessed . When you look at the young people spending hundreds on 1Phones, top of the range Computers, tabloids etc ,where are they getting the money from , do they save for a rainy day.? The World is in recession, wouldn't take much to drop into Depression and in the meantime we have to contend with Politicians who havn't got a clue, and are more interested in themselves than the Population they were meant to serve.

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Re: The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Panda on Tue 26 Feb - 22:08

If Nick Clegg’s story won’t stand up, the Lord Rennard scandal could finish
him



Even victory at the Eastleigh by-election will not put an end to the Liberal
Democrat leader’s troubles









Nick Clegg: when “non-specific
concerns” over Lord Rennard’s conduct reached him, he failed to ask what those
might be Photo: Getty
Images






By Mary Riddell

7:21PM GMT 26 Feb 2013


81 Comments




Tomorrow the voters of Eastleigh will choose their new MP in a by-election
billed as the most important for 30 years. It is nothing of the kind. Eastleigh
has instead become a sideshow featuring politics at its most dysfunctional.
Voters who want to talk about schools and planning and the quaint notion of
trust have been cast as extras in a sub-James Bond psychodrama.


What with the jail term that may await Chris Huhne, the departed MP, and the
scandal involving Lord Rennard, the former Liberal Democrat chief executive, the
people of Eastleigh can garner racier plot lines at the hustings than at their
local cinema, where A Good Day To Die Hard is showing. Even if the Lib Dem
candidate survives the current shoot-out, his party leader may catch the bullet.



Eastleigh, billed as a test of the Coalition partners, could yet supply a
personal requiem for Nick Clegg, whose future now hangs in the balance. Lib Dem
MPs increasingly worried by his handling of the sexual harassment allegations
concerning Lord Rennard believe that Mr Clegg’s response to the crisis has been
so inept as to put his leadership in doubt.


Others think Mr Clegg unlucky. As one leading party figure says: “If you
search the closets of the other parties, you’re going to find worse scandals
than this.” That may well be true. If the charges against Lord Rennard turn out,
despite his denials, to be substantiated, then he will not be the first portly
groper to mistake power for allure.


Had he not stepped down as chief executive quietly some time ago on health
grounds, then Eastleigh would have been a cinch for someone who, in the words of
one party stalwart, “won by-elections from nowhere”. Plenty of male Lib Dems
still attest to the congenial charm of a man with “a Midas touch”, whereas the
Lib Dem women now claiming molestation recall his alleged “octopus” hands.




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    25 Feb 2013


The Lib Dems’ sanctimony over women is perfectly illustrated by the party’s
“gender balance weekends”, whose very name is likely to propel the most ardent
feminist towards a Mary Berry soufflé masterclass. Rumours that Lord Rennard
planned to help out with gender balancing apparently prompted whistle-blowers to
break their long silence and so convulse a party that, in the words of a senior
male Lib Dem, is “terribly, terribly male-dominated”.

Any promotion demands such slog and sacrifice that women aspirants tend
either to be veterans or very young. Mothers with small children who thrive in
high-flying Labour and Tory ranks fall by the wayside in a party that champions
equal rights but regards as illiberal the means to secure that goal. The upshot
is a habitat which any steamy-breathed old lecher might dream of annexing as his
personal Stringfellows.

Mr Clegg, used to juggling child care and careers, might have noticed how few
Lib Dem women live similar lives, except that observation is not his strongest
suit. Hence, when “non-specific concerns” over Lord Rennard’s conduct reached
him, he failed to ask what those might be. That omission, curious in any party
leader, was doubly remiss, given that Lord Rennard had confirmed him in that
post after declining to count late postal votes which would, it is said, have
handed victory to Chris Huhne.

Wilful ignorance, though offering no proof of culpability in British law, is
a dubious defence. As Plato wrote: “The real tragedy of life is when men are
afraid of the light.” The grudging disclosure of who knew what suggests, at the
least, that the Lib Dem leadership prefers to live in the dark. This troglodyte
tendency may yet prove Mr Clegg’s undoing.

If so, the timing would be bitter. Despite many mistakes, he has been a brave
and occasionally enlightened leader whose fortunes were finally showing some
signs of an upturn. Labour’s adoption of a mansion tax was a fillip for Mr
Clegg, while Eastleigh would, according to Lib Dem expectations, have been a
moment of triumph.

In that scenario, Mr Clegg, blessed with a workmanlike local candidate, could
guarantee to see off David Cameron and his floundering Tory challenger while
also profiting from Labour’s latest dose of Southern discomfort. With a
Conservative Chancellor failing, on his own terms, to get to grips with economic
recovery, many think Ed Miliband should be doing better than the Eastleigh polls
are indicating, even in a seat ranked 258th on his winnable list.

John Denham, the canny lieutenant heading Mr Miliband’s Southern Taskforce,
is more optimistic. In his view, Eastleigh voters are “open” to Labour
persuasion. According to Mr Denham’s soundings, building support and winning
target seats in the South is “feasible and achievable” by 2015.

For now, however, the main story is the Rennard debacle. As the scandal
deepens, some commentators are confecting a hierarchy of harassment with Jimmy
Savile at the pinnacle, followed by predatory priests and, at the bottom of the
spectrum, political sex pests. Implicit in this premiership of perversion is the
obnoxious notion that women should swat off unwanted attention and make less
fuss.

That view ignores the poisonous effect of secrecy. This week the much-needed
Defamation Bill, intended to stop Britain being the libel capital of the world,
came closer to being scrapped after the Lords upheld pernicious amendments by
the Labour peer, Lord Puttnam, which would greatly abet those seeking to keep
disreputable conduct out of the media.

In France, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former head of the IMF, went
to court yesterday to try to stop publication of a book by a former mistress who
calls him a “pig”. DSK, whose sexual history might never have been unveiled but
for the complaints of a New York hotel cleaner, came within a hair’s breadth of
the French presidency because of his country’s adherence to laws and habits that
shield the secrets of those in power.

British enthusiasts for muzzled media should consider the parables of the
“Pig” and the “Octopus” and be grateful that Britain is still a country where
allegations, however carefully suppressed, tend to surface and where the truth –
whatever it may be in the Rennard case – will ultimately prevail.

Meanwhile, in Eastleigh, the day of reckoning is almost here. If the Lib Dems
lose, then their leader’s future will be in serious doubt. But even if a
formidable local party machine and voters’ indifference to metropolitan scandals
combine to secure victory, Mr Clegg’s difficulties will be very far from over.


As Scotland Yard launched its inquiry into the Rennard case, Lib Dem support
dipped to a record low of eight per cent. That nadir is a measure of public
disgust. Among the political classes, plenty of people blame Mr Clegg’s plight
on bad luck, or his party’s relative amateurism and inexperience, or even on the
women who have finally dared publicly to complain.

The electorate is not so forgiving. In an age, and in a party, where those in
power preach virtue, fairness and trust, to offer less is to court nemesis. Mr
Clegg must produce a plausible account of his own and his henchmen’s roles in
the Rennard scandal. If he cannot, then voters baffled by what the Lib Dems are
for will gladly inscribe an epitaph reading “Non-Specific Concerns” on his
political headstone.

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Eastleigh By-Election Is One Of A Kind

Post  Panda on Wed 27 Feb - 7:29

Eastleigh By-Election Is One Of A Kind


Coalition tensions, political defections and party scandals
make this one of the most important by elections since the war.



1:07pm UK,
Tuesday 26 February 2013

Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings on the campaign
trail












  • By Michael Thrasher, Elections Analyst

    The Eastleigh battle of 2013 will require a chapter of its own in
    any future analysis of parliamentary by-elections.

    The basic ingredients that make a by-election classic are there: former MP
    resigns seat in disgrace, defending party’s poll ratings looking distinctly
    bleak.

    But when we add the spice of coalition tensions, political defections, party
    scandals and potential for tactical voting then who knows what the result and
    more importantly its aftermath will be.

    For almost 9,000 Eastleigh voters, the deed is already done.
    Nick Clegg campaigning for the Lib Dem
    candidate Mike Thornton
    These are the postal voters that made up their minds last week before the
    UKIP MEP defected to the Conservatives and before Nick Clegg was engulfed by the
    allegations facing Lord Rennard.

    It is interesting that while 12,644 Eastleigh electors opted for a postal
    vote prior to the last general election, the figure now stands at 14,267.

    So, what, or more pertinently who over the past two years, persuaded these
    additional electors to switch to a postal vote?

    I don’t know the answer to this question but what I do know is that in
    Eastleigh in 2010 about one in five votes were cast by electors using postal
    votes.

    In such a close race, where Chris Huhne's winning margin was fewer than four
    thousand votes, the higher turnout among postal voters was probably of critical
    importance.
    The number of UKIP votes will help decide the
    election
    I also know that contrary to the defeats inflicted upon Liberal Democrat
    councillors in recent local elections, those in Eastleigh have bucked the trend
    - strengthening their grip on a council they have controlled since the late
    1980s.

    Make no mistake, therefore, it was no fluke when the Liberal Democrats
    inflicted a huge defeat here on the Conservatives at the by-election in 1994
    that followed the death of Stephen Milligan.

    And it was no fluke when the Eastleigh Liberal Democrats put in one of their
    party’s best performances nationally at the 2010 general election.

    Their chosen candidate, local councillor Mike Thornton, is already an
    important cog in a formidable and well-entrenched party machine.

    So, the pattern of recent voting suggests that the seat is his for the
    taking.

    Even the betting market agrees, with the Liberal Democrats odds-on to retain
    the seat.

    But it is votes and not the views of the punters (and even pundits) that
    determine elections.

    And in this regard the polling evidence is fascinating.

    Two companies, Populus and Survation have conducted polls amongst Eastleigh’s
    now besieged electors.

    The latest Populus survey for The Times, conducted from February 19-22,
    provides headline figures of Conservative 28% and Liberal Democrats
    33%.
    Chris Huhne's resignation triggered the
    poll
    The latest Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday shows the figures reversed -
    29% Liberal Democrats, 33% Conservative.

    As a point of reference, the vote shares in 2010 were 47% for Huhne and 39%
    for the Conservative Maria Hutchings.

    The first point to make is that both front-runners are likely to lose vote
    shares - the result will be decided by the party whose vote declines the
    least.

    UKIP is the key to this by-election since the Labour vote in Eastleigh is not
    tracking the party’s national improvement.

    If UKIP attracts support from disgruntled Conservatives who find Osborne’s
    austerity tonic unpalatable, then the Tory challenge is doomed.

    On the other hand, if UKIP has truly become the party of protest now that the
    Liberal Democrats are in government, then it could begin to attract those who
    voted for Chris Huhne in 2010 because he was neither Labour nor a
    Conservative.

    The second point to make about the polling evidence is that it pays to study
    the fine detail behind the headline figures.

    The latest Survation poll, for example, surveyed a total of 543 Eastleigh
    residents but then reduced that number to 410 respondents to take account of
    likely non-voters.

    Survation openly report these figures and even provide a margin of error on
    any vote forecast.

    So, that 29/33 split in favour of the Conservatives disappears when we take
    such matters into consideration.

    Equally, the polls currently reporting a narrow Liberal Democrat lead could
    be forecasting the wrong winner and yet still be correct about estimated vote
    share when accepted margin of error is accounted for.

    We will know the real outcome in the early hours of Friday morning.

    But the Eastleigh effect will extend much further, making this truly one of
    the most important by-elections in the post-war era.

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Re: The Politicians are losing in Eastleigh

Post  Panda on Fri 1 Mar - 7:05

Eastleigh By-Election: Lib Dems Triumph


David Cameron is dealt a blow as the Tories are beaten in
the key by-election by their Lib Dem coalition partners - and Ukip.



3:40am UK, Friday
01 March 2013



Video: 'Why Voters Didn't Desert Lib
Dems'
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The
number of the votes won by parties in the
Eastleigh
by-election












Others, 2,056Labour, 4,088
Conservatives, 10,559
Ukip, 11,571
Lib Dems, 13,342
FusionCha






  • ;



    The Liberal Democrats have won the Eastleigh by-election - as the
    UK Independence Party pushed the Conservatives into third place.

    Local councillor Mike Thornton claimed 13,342 votes for the Lib Dems, with
    11,571 for Ukip's Diane James and 10,559 for Conservative candidate Maria
    Hutchings.

    Labour's John O'Farrell was fourth with 4,088 votes.
    Ukip candidate Diane James reacts to the
    result
    Mr Thornton said in his acceptance speech that the result represented a
    "great night" for his party nationally.

    "A strong signal of support for (leader and Deputy Prime Minister) Nick
    Clegg, an affirmation of our role of national interest within the coalition and
    a huge boost to our party's mission in government to build a stronger economy in
    a fairer society so that everyone can get on in life," he said.

    He said it showed those who had "written off" the Lib Dems had been proved
    wrong, adding: "We have done it and we will do it again."

    Ms James hailed her second place as "a humongous political shock" that
    represented a "seismic shift" in British politics.

    And Mrs Hutchings appeared to be fighting back tears as she thanked opponents
    for a "clean campaign".

    A by-election was called in the Hampshire constituency following the
    resignation of disgraced Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne.

    The Lib Dem majority was more than halved compared to that secured by Huhne
    in 2010 - from 3,864 to 1,771.

    But the result comes after influential Tory backbencher David Davis warned
    the Prime Minister that third place would represent a "crisis" for the
    party.

    Ukip leader Nigel Farage welcomed the result, saying: "On the day I think we
    won it but we could not catch up with the deficit in postal votes. In a short
    space of time we have created a massive surge."

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