The Newark by-election last week didn’t tell us much, but it told us something. The Tories saw their majority in the seat cut from 16,800 to just 7,000.
The by-election was called after Tory MP Patrick Mercer quit following a corruption scandal.
The odious, racist Ukip made gains—but it wasn’t enough to win the seat. And the Lib Dems got crushed.
The vote helped to paper over some cracks in the Tory party.
The thinness of that paper could be seen in the row between home secretary Theresa May and education secretary Michael Gove over who was the better racist.
There are real tensions in the Tory party over how hard to attack workers. The election is looming and the gangsters are positioning themselves.
At one level that means little new as they paralyse themselves—hence the tedium of last week’s queen’s speech.
On the other it means continuing the cuts.
It also makes even more lurches to the right and top level rows more likely.
Unfortunately Labour agrees on the “need” for spending cuts and being foul to migrants. That doesn’t bode well for the months ahead.
And, despite what the party’s leadership thinks, that might explain why Labour’s vote went down in Newark instead of going up.