By Dr Chris Cook, Chris Cook, John Ramsden
First released in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Extra info for By-Elections in British Politics
Dudley was the only traditionally Conservative seat won by Labour, and the shock that this defeat caused was as much due to the unexpected eclipse of a Minister (Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen) seeking routine reelection as to the result itself. More serious to most Conservatives was the loss of safe xniddle-class seats to right-wing Independents, such as the Anti-Waste League. This threat too was receding by I922, after the 'Geddes axe' had made a great splash of cutting government expenditure. The Conservative gain in August 1922 was Hackney South, which had been won by Horatio Bottomley in I918.
Swing' was far in the future, and no serious attempt was made to distinguish between different types of constituency. The political organiser who used percentages was still a pioneer. If it seems clear to us that the government should not have worried because Labour won Pontypridd, it was certainly not clear at the time. The commonest measure of electoral performance was the tradition of the constituency. Unconscious of any change which had been brought about by the rise of the Labour Party, the war, or the redistribution of I 9 I 8, the comparisons were made not with the last general election but with I895 and 1900- the last occasions when the Conservatives had won in peace-time.
They each therefore spoke of their nearest rival as if he had already come third, in the hope of winning some of his votes. Analysis of this 'third-party squeeze' is unusually difficult when there is no obviously third party. Moreover, the newspapersfrom which most information on the campaign is derived were all aware that their predictions might affect the result. Thus, the headlines of the South Wales News and South Wales Argus, both Liberal, on 14 October were 'No hope for Mr R. NEWPORT AND THE FALL OF THE COALITION 39 Clarry' and 'Conservative out of the running'.
By-Elections in British Politics by Dr Chris Cook, Chris Cook, John Ramsden