Alex Massie

Happy Anniversary Gordon...

Text settings

The Henley by-election result is striking:

John Howell (Cons) 19,796

Stephen Kearney's (Lib Dem) 9,680

Mark Stevenson (Green) 1,321

Timothy Rait (BNP) 1,243

Richard McKenzie (Lab) 1,066

Chris Adams (UKIP) 843

Admittedly, Labour didn't run much of a campaign (and would like to have avoided even contesting the seat if they'd been able to) while the Lib Dems pressed them hard. But still... 3% of the vote? If John Major's Tories had endured such a result, even in a Labour stronghold, you can imagine that the BBC would be full of chatter about how much longer Major could last and whether, in fact, the game wasn't already up. Today? not so much...

And of course, it is for Brown. As the Telegraph reports, Brown has become an out of control sea anchor that risks sinking the entire government. Alas, there's no easy way to cut him free either...

A year ago Mr Brown took over from Tony Blair but there has since been an almost total reversal in the fortunes of Labour and the Conservatives. A year ago when people were asked "who do you think will win the next election," 62 per cent said Labour and only 18 per cent said the Tories.

But when asked the question now, today's poll reveals only 16 per cent think Labour will win, and 67 per cent say the Conservatives will form the next Government...

When asked if Mr Brown is an asset or liability to the Labour Party, almost half (48 per cent) said he was an asset a year ago, whereas it has slumped to 21 per cent. Sixty one per cent say he is a liability, compared to 25 per cent in June 2007.

Also noteworthy from Henley: UKIP's terrible result...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticslabour party