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The Andrew Goff Column



Rejoicing in the LibDem camp after nearly overthrowing a huge Tory majority in Bromley and Chislehurst. Gnashing of teeth in Blaenau Gwent where Labour lost, again, to an independent candidate.

What are we to make of the results in reality? The truth is that the voters in both constituencies were rejecting the main parties. The LibDems have nothing to feel comfortable about.

I'm convinced that had Good Time Charlie still been leader they would have gained the extra few votes needed to win. Ming The Merciless just doesn't cut the mustard.

The Bromley voters just didn't want the incumbent party returned and turned to the most likely option to bring about change. Similar in Blaenau. Labour had hoped that their traditional voters would return to the fold after the protest vote in 2005. It was once the seat of Nye Bevan and Michael Foot. Voters, or at least those that make the effort to participate, are becoming increasingly sophisticated at sending messages to those who govern.

The politics of the centre are becoming more confused as ideology gives way to blurred fluffy promises. The voters that actually make it to the ballot box are stuck without a choice unless it is to say no to more of the same.

The three main parties should shudder as the wind of change sweeps through the political landscape of Britain. More votes for extremists, single issue candidates and an electorate in a state of over-hyped fear will all contribute to a dismantling of the accepted structures.

Tony Blair has traded on the fears of the electorate; remember 24 hours to save the NHS, 45 minutes to save Britain from Saddam.

This sort of scare mongering changes peoples perceptions.

In the end the chickens come home to roost but they don't necessarily lay the right eggs.


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