Published On: Wed, Jun 29th, 2022

Never mind the hype; the twin by-elections, as typical Fake Brexit era results, only demonstrate Parliament’s continuing legitimacy crisis

When the corporate-media reported the results of the by-elections that took place last Thursday it pronounced an historic happening, and it could do this – as anyone who has read the pertinent article(s) at this site will know – because the polls were engineered to happen precisely to create the opportunity. The objective was to demonstrate the Tory executive as a sickly, weakling antelope about to be overtaken by a vital, powerful Labour lion: in other words, it was another exercise in the ongoing execution of the Starmer Project. Except, it wasn’t just another one of these things, because of how two by-elections – neither of which should have happened – had been contrived to take place all on the same day and night, so that the impact could be all the more demonstrative. This is why the author joined in with the hyperbole and dubbed the election day “Super Thursday” in a piece written in immediate response to the results (to which this is a follow-up). It was a double-whammy for the Tories in a way a justice-by-“dildolator” (Idiocracy monster truck) society could understand: an historical moment with a gruff-movie-trailer-voice-over delivery, as retailed by the BBC:

The Conservatives and the prime minister have been dealt a major blow after the Liberal Democrats and Labour won two by-elections.

Of course, it’s not that two by-elections being lost at the same time by the same party, in itself, is an occurrence without precedent. Indeed, treated by themselves, of the two by-elections, the less supposedly historically epic Wakefield one could be called most significant in terms of appearances (as far as the Starmer Project is concerned), because it showed Labour snatching back its “Red Wall” from the Tories. If it’s useful for the Project, it is still mundane. All the historicism, in actual fact, was generated from the Lib Dems beating the Tories in Tiverton and Honiton, as The Telegraph takes up the telling:

The Liberal Democrats have handed Boris Johnson the biggest by-election defeat in British history…

Initially, when the author saw early claims on Twitter of a win of the sort of proportions abovementioned he was led to believe that the Lib Dems had achieved their biggest ever swing from the Tories. Actually, the Lib Dems did something not quite so impressive – although it certainly looks that way when it is being lifted on a wave of hype. What happened was that the Lib Dems overcame a majority bigger than ever had been overcome before – and this is actually very convenient for anyone (meaning yours truly) who wants to explain that there is a difference in voter behaviour these days that can be discussed in terms of swing or otherwise, and this result is entirely typical of it.

The simple fact is that support for both Labour and the Tories has collapsed, so that when the former has to beat the latter in “Southern” Market Town England, and is incapable of doing so, the Liberal Democrats must be mobilised to deny the Tories the seat. Swing, as the reader will know, is usually an indicator of how a second-placed contender overtakes a leader: we are told, every four or five years by political punditry at general elections, that is demonstrates flow of support from one party to another. This is not what is happening in Fake Brexit era elections of which the Tiverton and Honiton by-election is the type. Instead, the floor has just dropped away from each party, and the winner is the one who hasn’t fallen furthest – or falls onto the shoulders of the third party, which is why the Lib Dem–Labour (simultaneously overt and covert) Coalition has become a necessity for the prosecution of the Starmer Project.

In Tiverton and Honiton the majority overturned by the Lib Dems (from 2019) was so huge precisely because the Lib Dems started from a poor third place: the result is a blazing testimony to Labour weakness. And all the cheering for an epic Lib Dem achievement is noise made to hide the big crashing sound of the other parties falling off their high pedestals.

Likewise, in Wakefield, the Labour party relied on the Tories falling longer and more brutally than it did: quite simply, the Tories couldn’t keep the seat, and in winning, Labour scored less votes than when the party came second in 2019. The only good news from Wakefield for those executing the Starmer Project is that Labour participation improved from other recent by-elections – which must be in response to the anti-Tory coalition that has been concocted to get Labour, by hook or by crook, into executive office. Be that as it may, the message from Wakefield is that Labour – with or without help from the Lib Dems – can only win in “Northern” Market Town England if the usual Tory vote deigns it to happen.

So, things are such that it was, as this site declared on Friday morning, the extremist minority Coalition (so called for reasons explained in other pages hereabouts) that won on Thursday – but only because the Tory vote didn’t give a crap that it did. UK Government, it seems therefore, must in future rely on Tory support remaining as disgruntled as Labour’s if Starmer is to be forced into Number 10 Downing Street – which means not provoking it with the a sense of being ganged-up upon. This is not ideal when at the same time the idea of coalition must be suggested to Labour and Lib Dem voters in order for them to bring about that electoral reality (and in this way, there doesn’t have to be an official marriage [so, simultaneously overt and covert]). Ironically, all the while UK Government performs this tricky juggling, it will certainly have a preference for Labour to form the executive branch in a more unified way in order to avoid some terrible future problems – as discussed at this site previously – that the Coalition installed in office would entail. In short, as a commenter on Twitter answered one of the author’s posts on Friday morning, the situation is a mess. She might have been a “Corbynite” disappointed that the paradigm wasn’t delivering as it had in the past. Yours truly, of course, was quite delighted that it couldn’t. This is what this site is here for, after all.

Moreover, unlike alternative media, which has a purpose to waste the valuable time, effort and energy of its consumers, this site is right on top of what is probably the most important issue of our days – which is catastrophic disgruntlement with and disconnection with the backbone of UK Government’s control grid: the electoral system – and on top of it to the point that predictions made about the Tiverton and Honiton were more than satisfactorily close enough. An expectation of the swing at 29.3% was based on the Lib Dems starting vote share, and increase in the same, as happened in North Shropshire and Chesham and Amersham. (The actual swing was 29.9%). Splitting proportionally the prediction of the total 58.6 percentage points change into +35.2 for the Lib Dems, and -23.4 for the Tories, this meant that the former were expected to win 50% of the vote, and the latter 36.8%. The actual share was 52.9% versus 38.6%.

Two ways to assume the turnout at Tiverton and Honiton were both based on turnout at North Shropshire and Chesham and Amersham; for some reason the author picked the less likely one to present (45.8%) based on estimated voters. On the other hand, using the figure of 18,000 for the number of voters estimated to go missing from 2019 (and the reason for this number is apparent from the workings shown at the foot of the page), and subtracting this from the turnout of 2019, one could guess at a 50.2% showing in 2022 (actual percentage was 52.3%).

The point is that, such as voter behaviour is, turnout at the lower end of the scale could be understood from what is becoming an established pattern. As it happened, Tiverton and Honiton did not see as many missing voters as expected – but not by much. At 16,906, this was still in keeping with the other Lib Dem versus Tory contests we have seen in the Fake Brexit era.

However, as small as it was, the increased participation looks as if it was mostly due to a greater-than-before rate of switching from Labour, with voters (perhaps) feeling the influence and reacting to the call of the covert-overt Coalition, and finding themselves having to act on their anti-Tory instincts. The workings at the foot of the page show that, at Tiverton and Honiton, Tory switch-over to the Lib Dems hasn’t been sustained from what is being claimed for North Shropshire. In fact, the idea of great swathes of Tory voters defecting to the Lib Dems is a myth. Indeed, the number work only suggests to the author that he is further justified in having suspicions that there was cheating at North Shropshire – which can now be seen as an act intended to create confidence in voters in future elections, where a vault from third place would be required, that the Lib Dems could perform such a feat, and a vote for them would not be wasted.

As for the Wakefield result, a study of it in contrast to three other by-elections that took place thus far during the lifetime of the 2019 parliament is very revealing in that it suggests that the Coalition may have shored up Labour support, if only marginally. The bad news for the planners of the Coalition as a tool to force Starmer into the office of prime minister – as far as can be seen at this very early stage – is that the Liberal Democrats are largely irrelevant in the “north” of England (as official punditry divides the political battleground).

Although it is a preposterousness to the author to count Erdington as “north”, let it be so for convenience, as we note that in that seat, where there was a by-election earlier this year, and in Hartlepool, where there was a by-election in 2021, and in Batley and Spen (2021), and now Wakefield, the 2019 vote count for the Tories was greater than the number of ballots cast for Labour at this latest time around. It means that, if the Tory vote had been motivated (i.e. the party hadn’t suffered its own collapse in support), Labour would have lost each one of those seats – and indeed did lose Hartlepool (the Tories had a 3,660 majority, but their lower 2019 vote would have done the trick).

In three of these seats, the number of Labour votes lost as a percentage of the party’s 2019 performance, and also as a percentage of the electorate were as follows:

Hartlepool: 44.5%; 9.8%.

Batley: 41.2%; 11.7%.

Erdington: 46.9%; 13.2%.

In contrast, in Wakefield, Labour lost 25.4% of its 2019 vote, which is 6.6% of the electorate.

The final piece of information required to make sense of the data is this: In all four of the seats, between 2019 and the by-election, the Lib Dems lost a standard amount, between 1100 and 1400.

This signifies that something was different at Wakefield – which the author posits was knowledge of the overt-covert Coalition, which encouraged Labour voters who perhaps otherwise would not participate because they had a sense of Labour not having enough to do it on their own. The perception of Lib Dem reinforcement spurred them to voting. That being said, the Lib Dem support is all in the mind if according to the numbers. Thus, the Coalition acted as a psychological crutch in this by-election, rather than a device which would bring the Lib Dem cavalry to relieve the encircled Labour wagons.

This all means that, generally – and we’ll continue to monitor this to see if it remains the case – the dynamic of the Coalition involves Labour helping the Lib Dems more than the other way around, so that it will have greatest effect in the “south”. In the “north”, the Coalition will only work as a clarion call to would-be Labour voters, with switching from the Lib Dems having very little impact at all. So, what we can say about this is that it is getting things backward if one’s aim is to have Labour win most seats at a general election; thus, the electoral pact that forms this situation – which is the official-though-unannounced aspect of the overt-covert Coalition – is problematic at a fundamental level, and it’s no wonder that the likes of the Daily Mail are worrying about how the arrangement between the Lib Dems and Labour will allow SNP leverage in what is predicted to be the next hung parliament – especially because the Coalition was supposed to prevent this. This is, however, moving into material that is reserved for an article that is coming soon.

Returning to the main pathway of the piece, on top of the problems of party permutation that the Coalition could create, and on top of the political problems it will cause when it gets into power (which it will – and which it needs to for UK Government to become embroiled in difficulties of its own making), it needs to be understood that there is only substance to this Coalition because of that terrible collapse in Tory support – this is why UK Government must be very careful not to provoke an anti-Coalition reaction in otherwise disinterested would-be Tory voters. Here, then, is the ultimate reason why we will continue to see Boris Johnson as prime minister, stumbling from one crisis to another, until such time as there is a general election. And at that time, what UK Government would ideally like is a proper old fashioned swing from the Tories to Labour for a one-nation government : this is why Starmer is made of the stuff to appeal to Jerry and Margot Leadbetter types whereby this is supposed to be inspired. And yet, there is no swing, only collapse, and the Coalition made out of desperate necessity is only going to cause dire malfunction.

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Chesham and Amersham


LD: 21,517, 56.7%, +30.4%;

Con: 13,489, 35.5%, -19.9%;

Lab: 622,  1.6%, -11.2%

Turnout: 37,954, 52.1%, -24.7%; Swing: 25.2%


LD: 14,627, 26.3%, +13.3;

Con: 30,850, 55.4%, -5.3;

Lab: 7,166, 12.9%, -7.7;

Turnout: 55,685, 76.8%, -0.3%


17,989 votes missing from 2019 to 2021.

In 2019, of all votes for Con and Lab, share is 81.1% and 18.9% respectively.

Apply share to missing votes – assuming that all missing votes come from these camps only:

Missing votes: Con: 14,589, Lab: 3,400

So, potentially:

Con to Lib Dem in 2021: 30,850 (2019 Con vote) – 14,589 (missing votes, 2021) – 13,489 (2021 Con vote)  = 2,772

Lab to Lib Dem in 2021: 7,166 – 3,400 – 622 = 3,144

Share of 2019 Con vote to Lib Dems is 9%.

Share of 2019 Lab vote to Lib Dems is 43.9%

[Applying these numbers to base Lib Dem 2019 figure: 14,627 (2019 Lib Dem vote) + 2,772 + 3,144 = 20,543.

Compare with actual tally in 2021: 21,517

Note also, Green and others vote from 2019 to 2021 is 3,042 to (1,480 + 846 =) 2326; or -716. Add this to 20,542, and a missing 258 between 2019 and 2021 Lib Dem vote is small enough to overlook for this rough exercise in order to say that the way votes have switched has been accounted for]


North Shropshire


LD: 17,957 (votes), 47.2% (vote share), +37.2% (on previous election);

Con: 12,032, 31%, -31.1%;

Lab: 3,686,  9.7%, -12.4%

Turnout: 38,022, 46.3% (of electorate), -21.6% (on previous election); Swing: 34.2%


LD: 5,643, 10%, +4.7;

Con: 35,444, 62.7%, +2.2;

Lab: 12,495, 22.1%, -9;

Turnout: 56,513, 67.9%, -1.1%


17,780 votes missing from 2019 to2021.

In 2019, of all votes for Con and Lab, share is 74% and 26% respectively

Apply share to missing votes: Con: 13,157, Lab 4,623 – this is assuming that all missing votes come from these camps only.

Potentially, Con to Lib Dem = 35,444 (2019 vote) – 13,157 (missing vote) – 12,032 (2021 vote) = 10,255

Lab to Lib Dem: 12,495 – 4,623 – 3,686 = 4,186

Share of 2019 Con vote to Lib Dems is 29%  – TOO HIGH!

Share of 2019 Lab vote to Lib Dems is 35.5%

[The tally from switched votes added to base 2019 Lib Dem score is 5,643 (2019 Lib Dem) + 10,255 + 4186 = 20,084; it’s far too many compared with the actual 2021 result, which was 17,957].


Tiverton and Honiton


LD: 22,537, 52.9%, +38.1;

Con: 16,393, 38.6%, -21.7;

Lab: 1,562, 3.7%, -15.8

Turnout: 42,707, 52.3%; -19.6; Swing 29.9%


LD: 8,807, 14.8%, +6.8;

Con: 35,893, 60.2%, -1.2;

Lab: 11,654, 19.5%, -7.6;

Turnout: 59,613, 71.9%, 0.4%


16,906 votes missing from 2019 to 2021.

In 2019,of all votes for Con and Lab, share is 75.5% and 24.5% respectively.

Missing votes: Con: 12,764, Lab: 4,142

So, potentially:

Con to Lib Dem in 2021: 35,893 (2019 Con vote) – 12,764 (missing votes, 2021) – 16,393 (2021 Con vote)  = 6,736

Lab to Lib Dem in 2021: 11,654 – 4,142 – 1,562 = 5,950

Share of 2019 Con vote to Lib Dems is 18%.

Share of 2019 Lab vote to Lib Dems is 51%

[For interest, the tally when added to base 2019 Lib Dem score is: 8,807 + 6,736 + 5,950 = 21,493. The 1,227 votes for the Greens missing from 2019 added to this tally put it in the ball park of the actual result.]

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