There are a rash of by elections happening in Britain. Most of the focus has been on the high profile Conservative defectors to the UKIP, Carsewell and Reckless, but the Daily Mail draws our attention to another contest.
According to that august and impartial rag, "Labour are expected to cling on in the northern seat of Heywood and Middleton, where another by-election was triggered by the death of local MP Jim Dobbin."
Indeed, according to the sub-heading, not only are Labour likely to merely 'cling on,' the UKIP will be 'hot on their heels.'
Actually, polling suggests Labour will hold very comfortably. The latest is from Ashcroft:
If this poll is accurate, Labour are not 'clinging on' - they are getting about half of all votes cast, as they almost always do. Meanwhile, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat vote will collapse.The UKIP will claim about 1 in 3 votes cast - a commendable effort, but will be almost 20% behind Labour. That is neither Labour 'clinging on' nor is it the UKIP being 'hot on their heels.'
Obviously, polls can be wrong, and it is a by election, and results of those can be a bit random, but it is just dishonest by the Mail to say Labour are 'clinging on.' They're trying to continue the narrative that UKIP is drawing support from Labour, when it just isn't. By election after by election has shown Labour support holding up, and support for the coalition parties support in free-fall. Of course, some of that support will come back at a general election, but that isn't any excuse for spewing lies.
The Mail's other goal is to continue undermining Milliband's leadership (he doesn't need any help there, thank you).