In This Episode
Nish and Coco can’t resist popping up for a special bonus mini-episode to discuss the Super Thursday by-election results. A revolt against Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ulez low emissions policy hands the Tories a lifeline to hang on to their seat in Uxbridge and Ruislip – Coco hopes that doesn’t encourage Labour HQ to sideline their green agenda.
Better news for Labour in Selby and Ainsty where Kier the Younger – Labour candidate Keir Mather – successfully overturns the biggest majority ever in a by-election by the Labour Party. While in Somerton and Frome a huge win for the Liberal Democrats means Coco gets to enjoy leader Ed Davey pulling another of his cheesy victory stunts.
Nish Kumar Hello Pod Save the UK listeners. This is Nish Kumar and I am joined as always by the one and only Coco Khan. Hi Coco
Coco Khan Hi. Oh my God, that’s so weird. You said that because, you know, recently we’ve been talking about fake email addresses my very first email address was the one and only U.K. one five five. I’m just I just sorry, I was just really taken aback by that. I picked 155 just to be certain that there were not another 154. The one and only’s out there, you know.
Nish Kumar The use of the number afterwards to slightly negate the claim. It’s all I’m going to say.
Coco Khan Okay, I take that I was 12 alright.
Nish Kumar I am the 155th one and only. They broke the mold and then quickly remade the mold and used it 150 times.
Coco Khan Yeah, exactly. I wish you wouldn’t point things out like that. That’s so annoying. You’ve ruined my childhood memory. But today is the day of many ruins, isn’t it?
Nish Kumar Yes.
Coco Khan Oh, Segway.
Nish Kumar It’s. That was a hell of a Segway. That was a hell of a Segway. Is the afternoon after the the by elections, the three by elections that we mentioned on the most recent episode of the show, they I guess, Do you think the Tory party will view this as a victory because we were talking about them possibly losing all three in the event they’ve lost two. So they lost some it’s some it’s an in Froome to the Liberal Democrats and Selby and Ainsty to the labour Party. They held on to Boris Johnson’s old seat of Uxbridge and South Islip, where they now hold an enormous, humungous majority of 495 That decisively shows Rishi Sunak’s policy of being a bit of an asshole has cut through.
Coco Khan I mean, look, I, I don’t think it’s as good for labour as they might like to claim that it is. And I agree with you that Uxbridge they won on the you less messaging. Right. So apparently there’s loads of people in Uxbridge that love cars and love having bad lungs and that’s fine. That is their decision.
Nish Kumar Yeah, we should just contextualize that briefly that the US policy is specifically something that Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has brought in. That means if your vehicle doesn’t meet the ultra low emission zone standards within London, that you need to pay a daily £12.50 charge and it applies to cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles and also minibuses. And apparently the and the Tory party push in Uxbridge was essentially supposed to be on a referendum on the recent extension of the ultra low emission zone.
Coco Khan And actually towards the end the ulez campaigner is that’s what you actually called himself. He didn’t call himself the Conservative Party candidate towards the end of the campaign. He was literally going by anti-EU led campaign, which really shows you what they were doing. I know it’s not a resounding victory for the Tories, but they did still hold on to it. And I think there’s two things to think about with Uxbridge. One, Uxbridge is really ethnically diverse, and so I think that’s telling us labour is losing its pack vote. So I think that should be a concern for them. And also, you know, in this the conversations we’ve been having over the past few weeks about whether labour are giving up on their green policies, I am a bit nervous that they they you know, they’ve the Tories have held on to it by an anti green agenda, you could say, with this ulez policy and I wonder if it’ll kickstart care into, you know, rolling back even further on his green commitments.
Nish Kumar Yeah, that is a concern. And I also think that there’s a concern in overreacting to something where the margin is now 495. You know, I think that reading anything decisive from that and labour taking that as an indication to make further concessions on environmental policies would be very, very unwise. You know, it’s a it’s a razor thin margin.
Coco Khan Not Starmer.
Nish Kumar Yeah. I mean.
Coco Khan He’s the sort of guy to do that, though, is it? He’s quite sort of, I would say, thin skinned, perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps I’m, you know, too critical. But I feel I wouldn’t put it past him to take this as a sign of something.
Nish Kumar I just think the you know, the Green Party candidate got 893 votes. And so, I mean, you can also spin this as a sense of like, well, if labour had maybe been a bit less equivocal about their green policies, they could have won fight the 500 or so of those votes that it would have needed to win a majority. So, I mean, I think that when the margins of that, then it is also dangerous to read too much into it. And I think it would potentially be a mistake to take this as an indication that, you know, the labour Party should now be campaigning for, you know, mandatory diesel vehicles and that, you know, like and like. Aligning themselves with a protest group called Just Stop, Just Stop Oil. I think that I think that this would be a very dangerous thing. It’s also worth mentioning that Brunel University, which is a university in the constituency, was not in term. So the 20,000 odd student body didn’t vote in that constituency, or certainly a lot of them almost certainly wouldn’t have voted in that constituency. So again, there are other factors at play that need to be considered when something is that narrow. The other two seats that they lost must be a source of really, really huge, huge concern in Key in the Conservative Party headquarters in Summerton and Froome. The Liberal Democrats overturned a majority of more than 19,000. And south west England had been a real stronghold for the Liberal Democrats. Where someone from is that was a real that was Lib Dem country until 2015. And the fallout of Nick Clegg’s decision to go into coalition with the Conservative Party in 2010. But the kind of resurgence of the Lib Dems in areas like that is probably worrying for the Conservative Party, given that the Liberal Democrats are also having surges in previous conservative strongholds, you know, in places like Chesham and Amersham, which are previously sort of conservative strongholds, the Liberal Democrats have done pretty well there. It’s probably something that is giving them some disquiet, right?
Coco Khan Did you see that? Sorry to bring it down to jokes, but did you see the Lib Dem confetti cannon that they released this morning to celebrate them being back in the south west? I’m pretty sure the sign even said Lib Dems back in the West, the boys are back in town style and they all they lit a confetti cannon and there was a brief moment where you thought it’s not going to go off with the Lib Dems. It just really felt it was there. The tension was there in the audience, but it did go off Nish And I think that it’s a sign from the universe.
Nish Kumar The Liberal Democrats will somehow find a way to do something that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. But even when even if they win the by election, the publicity stunt will be something so embarrassing.
Coco Khan And let’s definitely talk about the the other two seats. But the last thing I want to mention on Uxbridge is that, you know, I’m always really interested in the idea of like who’s in power and the kick against power and that relationship and how powerful that can be or not so powerful. And, you know, even though, yes, we have a Conservative government, we have a labour mayor, Uxbridge, you could argue was labour in that respect, and said that for them was the rebellion vote? You could argue. Yeah, I don’t know what that means for City Khan. I don’t know what that means for anything else, but I’m sort of telling myself therefore that Uxbridge, a general election in the same spirit, might kick back another way. I don’t know.
Nish Kumar But also we should talk about probably the sort of standout result of the three, I guess the cell being the labour Party victory, which is the biggest majority labour has ever overturned in a by election. It was a Tory majority of 20,137 that has now been overturned. And you know, there were there were more than 4000 votes in. It’s a 23.7. It’s a 23.7 swing to labour. And if scaled up nationally, it would labour, the labour Party being government with a colossal majority. I think that it’s you know, it’s I guess this will be the one that really spooks the Conservative Party. You know, their one win they lost in a constituency that they had recently claimed for the Liberal Democrats. They then won on kind of a single issue by a very, very narrow margin. And then they’ve lost what was considered to be a safe conservative sea and had been held by the party since his creation in 2010. And it’s been won by Junior Kier. The guy’s name is Keir. Keir Mather. He’s he’s 25 years old.
Coco Khan He’s like West Streetings protege apparently, I’m told. So don’t let the baby face fool you. There’s there’s there’s some there’s some political nous there, I think. But he was very surprised I thought in the in the footage.
Nish Kumar Yeah. I mean, do you have anything to say other than we’re obviously both disgusted that a member of parliament was born in 1998 and we shouldn’t we need to probably shouldn’t really dwell on that for too long.
Coco Khan I mean, you know, he’s young, but he has been in the political system for a really long time, which is weird. Like, I mean, I don’t know how I feel about that. In general, I think children should be free to play and not be watching quite the die. But I’m sure that was his choice. You know, I think that it’s kind of amazing that we have young people in in parliament to represent those issues that so regularly aren’t heard. As you know, we had Murray Black on last week. Yeah. Also, I’m just delighted for this Selby result. Like, I don’t know, I don’t know. Would you count Selby as rural or semi-rural? It’s a place it neighbors traditionally wouldn’t win. Right. And said yes, it’s great. This is incredible. I know that the guy before Nigel Adams and I think this is fine to say was a bit of a dick. I’m like yeah. When he left he was acting like a bit of a dick. So like, you know, it’s so hard to tell with these things. Like. Does it mean that labour can succeed in these places? Or again, is it that Nigel Adams was such a dick and look at his little lovely face, you know, Is it as simple as that? You know, a fresh start, fresh young blood, you know, very small. Clearly been doing it for a while. Like I say, he’s the protege of of West Street. It’s definitely something that Keir the Elder will be celebrating in terms of Keir the younger. Is that what we’re going with?
Nish Kumar Yeah. Okay. The younger is nice. I like Keir Junior feels patronizing.
Coco Khan Cagey, industrial because it lets you care. The elder care the younger.
Nish Kumar You’re right. We should the note of course should we should send for the labour party is that basically it’s certainly externally we are we can’t possibly know someone’s motivation but it certainly externally looks like Nigel Adams thought he was going to be on Boris Johnson’s peerages list. He didn’t make the list, and so he quit in a hissy fit. And so he this obviously, if you extrapolate this out, this suggests a massive win for the labour Party on a general election. But we should also be clear that I imagine a lot of his constituents thought, you know what, you could go fuck yourself.
Coco Khan You’re such a dick Nigel, you’re such a dick. But on the bright side, right? If people vote labour because their Tory MP is a dick oh its sewn up, They’re all such massive dicks.
Nish Kumar Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, maybe this is, maybe this is good news for the labour Party after all. But I mean, listen, it’s a it’s definitely a it’s a historic win. It’s a massive majority overturned. And the one thing we can be absolutely and completely certain of is people will fucking hate the Conservative Party. And people in Britain are reaching the absolute end of their tether with this iteration of the Conservative Party. And I’m not sure that holding on to a seat by 495 votes when your candidate was trying to avoid using the words I am a member of the Conservative Party can be considered a resounding victory for the current at time of recording Prime Minister. And literally as we’re recording this, I’ve just read that Keir Starmer has called on Sadiq Khan to reflect on the implementation of the Ulez extension. He said, We didn’t take it. That’s referring to we did win the seat in 1997 when we had a landslide labour victory and Ulez was the reason we didn’t win there yesterday. We know that. We heard that on the doors and we’ve all got to reflect on that, including the Mayor. And when asked what reflect meant, he said We’ve got to look at the result. The man needs to reflect and it’s too early to say what should happen next. So that is very much Keir Starmer getting in early by going, Well, this is someone else’s fault and I refuse to consider whether that might be mine.
Coco Khan Again like that was? This is it’s playing out, it’s actually happening. What does it mean for labour’s green policies? You know, if it is just about getting into power, will this shape how much they prioritize green in their manifesto and also how much they implement it? It’s quite nerve racking to think that maybe just 500 votes could change the national agenda of an issue that is so, so urgent. Yes, kind of terrifying. I’m a bit like shook about it as the kids say. Well, I think we’ve got plenty to to think about. But unless anything earth shattering happens between now and next week, we will be back, as usual on Thursday. We hope you have a lovely weekend and you keep your lungs clean because God knows these politicians aren’t going to do it for you. Take care everyone, and thanks for listening. Pod Save the UK listeners. We’re back next week.