Published On: Tue, Dec 14th, 2021

The reason for the battering of Boris Johnson – and, will there be cheating?

Ahead of the second part of the Parliament’s growing legitimacy crisis in focus series that is now being published at this site, the reader is asked to look at some data and see how it tells of the very hard – nigh on impossible – task that is entailed in a Lib Dem win at the coming North Shropshire by-election. This in turn explains why there has been such enormous bashing of the Tories, and in particular Boris Johnson. The ultimate goal is the forcing of Keir Starmer into the office of Prime Minister, but this is getting beyond and beside the immediate point and purpose of this intended ancillary piece.

To introduce the author’s own research, let us look at a piece that appeared in a publication called The London Economic which quotes a political analyst called Patrick Flynn, who might therefore be the same ex-Daily Express journalist – now SDP politician – who could be counted on to make trouble in UKIP at parlous moments towards the end of its existence:

A Liberal Democrat win in North Shropshire next week would follow in a long line of by-election successes in Conservative seats. Since 1979, more Liberal Democrat (including Liberal and SDP) candidates (16) have won Conservative-held seats in by-elections under a Tory government than actual Conservatives.

“While that is the case, a historically large 23-point swing (the third largest of those 16 by-elections) would be required for the Lib Dems to take this seat from the Tories.

“However, the last 24 hours have been difficult for the government with more fuel poured on the fire of the Christmas party affair.”

Incidentally, the piece is entitled, Lib Dems now FAVOURITES to win North Shropshire by-election.

What is astonishing in this analysis is the claim that a repeat of the third largest swing ever to the Lib Dems (in certain circumstances), such that a seat is taken from the Tories, is deemed something possible because of the London-centric, invented-by-intelligence-media, inserted talking point of Tory hypocrisy, consolidated for effective reach into the form of a Christmas party that was supposed to have happened (last year?) in spite of “lockdown” restrictions. But the data shows why the idea is preposterous.

Now, when looking for Lib Dem wins over the Tories at by-elections, ranked by swings, the author could not find information that matched Flynn’s figure for a third largest since 1979. If what is being referred to is the Chesham and Amersham by-election, the Wikipedia page states that there was a 25.1% swing at that election.

Constituency BE year BE Turn-out GE year GE Turn-out Swing at BE GE Majority Tory loss % LD gain %
Christchurch 1993 74.2 1992 80.7 35.4 23,015 19,000 -32.1 19,000 38.6
Newbury 1993 71.3 1992 82.8 28.4 12,357 21,500 -29 12,000 27.8
Orpington 1962 80.3 1959 82.8 26.8 14,760 9,000 -21.9 13,000 31.7
Chesham & Amersham 2021 52.1 2019 76.8 25.1 16,223 17,000 -19.9 6,000 30.4
Ribble Valley 1991 71.1 1987 79.1 24.7 19,528 12,000 -22.4 11,000 27.1
Richmond Park 2016 53.6 2015 76.5 21.7 23,015 15,000 -13.1 9,000 30.3
North Shropshire 2021 ? 2019 67.9 ? 22,949 ? ?

The table above shows data for an intuitive understanding. To explain a little, it shows the constituency, the by-election year, the turnout for the by-election, the previous general election year, the turnout for that election, the majority for the winning party in the general election, the Tory loss at the by-election (in numbers and percent), and lastly the winning party’s gain (in numbers and percent).

Furthermore, it should be understood that the Orpington by-election was before 1979, and involved the Liberal Party. In the Ribble Valley by-election, the SDP was the actual party that stood in the seat in the general election, not the Liberal Democrats. In the Richmond Park by-election, the ex-incumbent Tory MP stood as an independent.

Moreover, it is important to understand that not in any of these did the Liberal Democrats came from third to win – except when they were called the Liberal Party in the Orpington election – not that it really counts. In 1959, the share of the vote with Labour was roughly the same, and the Liberals were edged into third.

The reason why this is mentioned is because, in North Shropshire, the Lib Dems are looking to win the seat from third place, and disadvantaged by a monumental gap in votes. The Tory majority shown in the table is the one from the Labour Party, and there is another 6 and a half thousand drop to the Lib Dems from second place. In 2019, then, at North Shropshire, there was a nearly 30,000 vote deficit between the Lib Dems and the Tories.

Intuitively, looking at this data it looks obvious that the Lib Dems would have an impossible task in winning the seat with turnout at post-2000 levels, which must be expected to be repeated at this by-election – unless UK Government can stoke especial interest.

But, being realistic, it is doubtful that the potential Labour vote will be able to be much more motivated to cast a ballot than the Tory one – and here is why this matters. If the combined number who voted in 2019 for the Lib Dems and Labour voted this time for the former – about 18,000 – the Tories would have to lose the same number of votes. In the table above, this sort of loss (and gain) happens when the swing is nearly 30% and above (and Patrick Flynn doesn’t predict that this will occur), and with very high turnout. If one wants to sneak a preview peak at the table below, 18,000 votes, at around the swing Flynn does predict, involves a turnout of approaching 60% – which is difficult to envision happening.

Leaving the issue of swing aside for just a moment, it would appear that the almost certain drop in turnout will mean that the Lib Dems should not be able to muster the support to win the seat. And this is why there has been an effort in recent months to have sure-to-turnout Tories identify with Starmer against Boris Johnson, with a concerted effort this week to completely undermine the Tory leadership in the build up to this contest. Again, the data backs this up.

Using the figure of 83,230 for the electorate (calculated using the turnout for 2019), the table below shows predicted votes at North Shropshire for the Lib Dems and Tories at certain levels of turnout when the swing is 25% (under columns, Lib Dems 1, & Tories 1), and also 35%  (columns Lib Dems 2, & Tories 2).

To explain, when the Lib Dems 2019 percentage of the vote is increased by 30% to 40, this is due to a swing of 25%, with the Tories losing 20% of their vote share. When the Lib Dems 2019 vote share is increased by 40% to 50, this is due to a swing of 35%, with the Tories losing 30% of their vote share (please get in touch, reader, if you see a problem with the maths).

Lib Dems 1 Lib Dems 2 Tories 1 Tories 2
Turnout 40% 50% 42% (-20%) 32% (-30)
70% 23,304 29,130 24,469 18,643
60% 19,975 24,969 20,973 15,980
50% 16,646 20,807 17,478 13,316
40% 13,316 16,646 13,982 10,653

Comparing Lib Dems 1 with Tories 1, and Lib Dems 2 with Tories 2, (at the risk of being obvious) this shows that swing is crucial, because the table shows that whatever the turnout, the swing has to be as high as possible in order for the Lib Dems to win. In other words, as it applies in this case, it means as many Tories switching directly to the Lib Dems (because turnout needs to have an upwards tendency, so they can’t just sit out) instead of voting how they would usually, which solves the problem of low turnout that is currently causing difficulty for UK Government machinations where a good deal of the usual Labour participation doesn’t bother when it is needed to shift a Tory incumbent (see Old Bexley and Sidcup), or indeed to keep a Labour MP in office (see Hartlepool). Such is the evident scale of this problem at North Shropshire, reader, that the effort to have the Tories beaten could not be founded on the more obvious 2019 Labour second place.

Again, this is why there has been a campaign by intelligence feeding into corporate-media (with invented Christmas party stories) to discredit the Tory Parliamentary leadership in the eyes of the sure-to-turnout, duty-to-vote Tory voting public (especially when it lives in Shropshire).

To be frank, such is the doubt that the author has that UK Government can in the end organically motivate the result it wants in this by-election, that he wouldn’t rule out that there will be cheating. If the Lib Dem candidate wins on Thursday (16th December) – and apparently there’s already been some smoke because of how The Observer appeared to state that the Lib Dems could conduct a internal poll on voting intention based on postal ballots, suggesting (which has been denied) that postal votes had been opened and looked at† – then it will probably be due to cheating. UK Government is desperate enough – and has previous.


† Apparently, the following, to be found here, used to read differently, so that the words “internal polling based on postal votes” occurred between the sentence opening, “According to”, and the comma before “party”.

According to canvassing data on postal voters, party insiders say the Lib Dem vote has risen from 32% to 38% in the past fortnight, while the Tory vote has fallen from 52% to 44%.

This is as reported by the rubbishy controlled alternative media, in an article entitled LibDems try wriggling off the hook over North Shropshire postal vote reporting. Obviously, the author would feel happier relaying the information if he had seen the alteration himself, but it is smoke that cannot be ignored just because of the disrepute of the source. [In fact, on closer inspection, the article acknowledges the alteration itself].

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