Monday, 5 December 2016

The by-election that didn't matter

 

One of the least consequential elections in this country's history has just concluded.

Astonishingly, a safe Labour seat returned a safe Labour candidate.

One more trade unionist is added to the caucus.

Not even front-page news, is it.

So little about which to be surprised, or interested – unless your name is Little. Which is perhaps why no-one was apart from Mr Little and his new apprentice—certainly not the good people of Mt Roskill, who stayed away in droves.

The only folk feigning excitement were those huddled around the beleaguered Labour Leader who, from the closing of the polls, were using words like “triumph” “landslide,” “stunning victory,” and “humiliation” and “a bloody nose for National.” It shows, they say, that “the Key “brand” is well stuffed now.”

This is bullshit. “The result exceed[ed] all expectations," said Labour leader Little. Really? Did he truly expect his candidate to lose a safe seat in a by-election nobody cared about enough to show up?

Get real.

In a by-election that mattered not a jot his trade unionist pulled 11,170 votes out of a possible 46,000 who were enrolled. In the 2014 election Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate, the uninspiring Phil Goof, pulled 18,637 votes. 7500 more.

So hardly a triumph.

The real winner, if winner there was one, was the ‘No’ vote: the vote of all those who stayed home. Around 35,000 votes of no confidence from the electorate, who chose to do something far better with their lives on Saturday than support the charade. Which is just what one candidate, Richard Goode, had predicted:

“Once the votes are tallied, the largest group of voters in this by-election will be the group that voted for nobody at all,” [predicted Goode]. “If we truly live in a democracy, shouldn’t we respect the wishes of the majority and leave the seat of Mt. Roskill vacant?”

It’s a fair point.

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