So what comfort can she take from her victory? surely her 7000 majority over Labours Chris Ostrowski will be enough to soothe her? even though the seat next year will be fought on the revised less favourable boundaries than was the case at the by election. (the new parliamentary boundaries only applying from the next general election)
Well, only time will tell but the real winner from last weeks poll is difficult to determine when you compare the votes cast for each of the main parties last Thursday with those from the 2005 election. Look for yourself:
Labour 2005 21,097 2009 6243 a loss of 14,854 votes
Conservative 2005 15,638 2009 13,591 a loss of 2047 votes
Lib Dem 2005 7616 2009 4083 a loss of 3533 votes
That makes a staggering drop in the votes for the three main parties from 44,300 in 2005 to 26700 in 2009 a drop in support for the combined tally of the big three of 17,600 lost votes
17,600! thats enough to win the contest outright, and at a by election prior to a general election that David Cameron's Tory party look favourites to win it is inexcusable that the Tory vote that turned out to support their candidate should fall. Labours loss was down by a staggering 70% from their 2005 support and with turnout only marginally down from 60% to 45% this was far more than a simple case of their loyal and faithful staying at home. The Lib Dems meanwhile seem to be shrinking before our eyes, becoming also rans and struggling to pick up any floating voters who now seem to prefer to vote elsewhere.
Of course UKIP (1122 to 4068) and the Greens (1252 to 3350) both did well accumilating an extra 5044 votes between them since 2005. But the bigger picture seems to be one of major discontent with the main three parties.
I believe my old friend Ian Gibson should have stood last week as an Independent, and perhaps he will do so next year. Despite the claims that he was wrong to allow his daughter to live with him in his London flat (I would have done the same) or that he shouldn't have sold the flat to her at a reduced rate (slightly more controversial, but are people saying that if he had sold it for more profit to a stranger then that would have been OK?) Ian is still well respected in the town.
It seems that Labour Party supporters in Norwich when asked on the doorstep felt that he had been harshly treated when compared with certain others in Labours higher ranks, and they were right. The kangeroo court which barred him standing for re-election cared little for the facts and only wished to take the opportunity of getting rid of one of the awkward squad who actually stood up for his constituents and refused to be controlled by the whips office. There will be MPs from all partys standing in the general election next year with far more guilty consciences than Ian, and with so many people deserting the main three parties in such huge numbers and a need for more Independent members at Westminster then I hope he considers standing again, but this time without the party straightjacket.