Friday, July 16, 2004

The people's verdict

The British people have delivered their verdict on the Butler Report and Tony Blair's position on Iraq, with massive swings against Labour in two byelections.

Both electorates - Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill - were considered safe Labour seats, but the former fell to the Liberal Democrats with a 21% swing, and the latter was held my a mere 460 votes, after a 27% swing. In both seats the Conservatives polled a distant third, in Birmingham Hodge Hill getting only half the votes of either the Labour or LibDem candidates.

The byelections represent a decisive rejection of both Labour and Tony Blair, in favour of the LibDems - the only major party untainted by Iraq. If these swings were repeated in a general election (and one is due next year), then Labour would be decimated. Both Blair and his MPs should be deeply worried.