I just thought I would report that swing because, for the first time in 50 years in an English by-election, the BBC nowhere reported the swing between the two major English parties.
I wonder why?
I have a lifetime of memories of Bob McKenzie, Peter Snow and others saying “now here is the swing between the two main parties”. This was invariably followed by “Now then, let’s just for fun extrapolate from that swing to what the House of Commons would look like if that swing were repeated in a general election. This of course comes with a health warning, by-election swings are not a good guide”.
This time, even on election night, nothing at all, zilch, nada. In fact at no stage, then or after, did the BBC mention the swing between the two main parties. I don’t think the word swing was used at all. Nor was “collapse” or any other word that would describe the disappearance of the Tory vote – from 23 to 19 to 9% in the last three elections, in what was within my own adulthood a Tory constituency. The BBC by-election coverage with Andrew Neil in fact concluded 45 minutes before schedule, presumably because they had to bin all the pre-records on the demise of Corbyn, and stand down Umunna.
We are nowhere near mid-term. Any good psephologist will tell you, that while by-elections are a very poor guide to future events, to attain an 8.4% swing against the government only six months after a general election, the opposition is doing very well (and the government doing very badly).