It is now clear that the Labour vote has collapsed in Crewe, and a large section of it switched to the Conservatives, in a massive 17.6% swing.
A lot has been said about Northern Wreck, the 10p tax rate, and other Labour mistakes.
But a few evenings ago almost the entire parliamentary Labour Party (apart from a few decent Labour MPs, such as Ruth Kelly, MP for another North West constituency, Bolton West, with about a 2,000 majority) voted to maintain the current 24 week limit of abortion. The timing was ludicrous.
Crewe has a long history of immigration from Irish people to work in the railways, and thus a large Catholic population. (The most recent Catholic immigrant group, the Poles, were disenfranchised from voting in Crewe, although they can vote in local and European elections.)
I spoke to a few Catholics in Crewe who were appalled by the abortion vote and were switching from Labour, for the first time, to the Conservatives. There were no doubt many others, as well as some who did not turn out to vote, for various reasons – but the last straw was the abortion vote. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has bravely said that Labour must not take the Catholic vote for granted. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a man that I (yes, I, an Ulster Protestant) admire for his bravery on the abortion issue.
Let’s hope that Labour has lost the Catholic vote for good. Part of the huge swing from Lab to Con in Crewe is evidence of that.
Tue 27/5/8, 14.43 Update: On her blog, the brave campaigner Nadine Dorries MP – who made a powerful and frank speech about the reality behind abortion – has confirmed that many other people had 24 weeks raised as an issue on the doorstep. She points out that seats such as Bedford (whose MP Patrick Hall – notional 2005 majority 3,494 – voted to maintain 24 weeks) have large Catholic and Muslim communities. Lesson to Labour MPs: don’t upset what is supposed to be your core vote.
A superb blog that highlights how family people who voted Labour in the past, out of a once understandable conviction that the Government would deliver for their families, is A Diary of a Mother on the Edge: http://motheratbreakingpoint.blogspot.com who points out that:
Since I turned 18 ten years ago I’ve always voted … Anyway, I’ve always voted Labour …
Flip flopping over whether to hold an election (missed an opportunity there Gordy!), and the shambles that was the 10p Tax Band… not exactly impressed me with your decisiveness and leadership Mr Brown. Say what you like about Tony (and I did. at length) he stuck to his guns. When face with opposition on the War in Iraq from so many fronts, Tony Blair stayed true and stuck to what he believed was the Right Thing To Do. That takes enormous strength of character. When GB is faced with opposition, he buckles.
The final thing that has turned me right off Labour was the vote last night. I watched it live on BBC Parl and I nearly wept. The great elected representatives of our nation had the chance to use their voices to speak for the most vulnerable members of our society, the unborn (paraphrasing Ann Widd there) and they chose to ignore them. All but 3 members of our Cabinet voted against lowering the upper limit for abortions to 22 weeks.
What we have now is a ludicrous situation wheredoctors can be terminating the life of a 24 week old fetus while down the corridor another could be fighting to save the life of a premature child born at 24 weeks.
I have a friend who lost a baby at 23 weeks. There’s a picture of that child on her mantlepiece. He is perfect, just so very very tiny. He was lucky that he had his mother, father and sisters to speak up for him. What our Government has done is choose to ignore the cries of thousands of infants whose lives they have just dismissed.
Shame on you Labour.
If this does not sum up why Labour deserves to lose the Crewe & Nantwich by-election and the subsequent general election, I don’t know what does.
It is outrageous that Talksport has sacked James Whale for urging voters to back Boris.
This would not have happened had he or someone else said ‘vote Ken’, and a lot of broadcasters have basically been suggesting ‘vote Labour’ for years and show political bias, e.g. the BBC worldview.
It may be a breach of the Ofcom rules, but surely Whale could have had just a rap on the knuckles?
He should be reinstated immediately, though he is so good that someone will snap him up elsewhere.
The 20 point Tory lead over Labour and Boris’s win shows that Whale is more in touch than his bosses, but to some democracy doesn’t matter.
It should be Talksport that is sacked, not James Whale. Talksport, you are the weakest link – goodbye.
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