Anyway, the by-election result is now in. The solid Conservative win is no surprise, with no less than 61% of the total vote; but perhaps Labour's third-place position will have been unexpected by some – though I had a strong feeling that it might go that way.
Indeed, I well recall rubbing my hands with glee at seeing the Statement of Persons Nominated – i.e. list of candidates – when it was published. That is always the moment when I know more or less what is going to be the outcome, and when I make my (sometimes public) predictions. It is always a delight when the ever-arrogant Medway Labour end up in third place or lower, as has happened a few times in recent elections, both local and national (e.g. Rochester & Strood last year).
Here are the vote numbers, in descending order as usual...
- Jan Aldous (Con) – 1,448
- Mark Mencattelli (UKIP) – 389
- Simon Allen (Lab) – 320
- Paul Chaplin (Lib Dem) – 137
- George Meegan (Green) – 61
- Mike Russell (Eng Dem) – 14
- Con: 61.1% (+9.9)
- UKIP: 16.4% (-5.2)
- Lab: 13.5% (-2.9)
- Lib Dem: 5.8% (+5.8)
- Green: 2.6% (-5.2)
- Eng Dem: 0.6% (+0.6)
Even more noticeable is the sheer size of the winner's majority – over a thousand votes more than the runner-up, and in fact a good three and a half times the votes of UKIP and more than four times the Labour candidate's vote.
There's a real message for some of the parties in there somewhere...