North East Somerset

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25439 (49.8%)
Labour: 12690 (24.8%)
Lib Dem: 4029 (7.9%)
Green: 2802 (5.5%)
UKIP: 6150 (12%)
MAJORITY: 12749 (24.9%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Avon. Part of the Bath and North East Somerset council area.

Main population centres: Keynsham, Radstock, Midsomer Norton.

Profile: An unusually shaped seat that takes in all the western part of the Bath and North East Somerset council area, and the rural outskirts of Bath (known as Bathavon) in the east, meaning the Bath constituency is entirely surrounded by a thin belt of North East Somerset. The seat contains some contrasting areas. The northern parts of the seat, especially the town of Keynsham, are very much affluent commuter areas for Bath and Bristol. To the east the seat is more rural, covering the patchwork of farmland and rural villages that make up the Chew Valley. The southern part around Midsomer Norton and Radstock is part of the old Somerset coalfield. The last of the coal mines closed in the 1960s, to be replaced by light industry, but the close knit industrial heritage of the area remains.

Politics: Called Wansdyke (after the old local authority) until 2010, this was a Conservative seat through the 80s, fell to Labour in the 1997 landslide and was regained by the Tories in 2010. As might be expected, the rural and suburban parts of the seat tend to the Conservatives, with Labour`s support strongest in the former mining areas and parts of southern Keynsham.


Current MP
JACOB REES-MOGG (Conservative) Born 1969, Somerset, son of Times editor Lord Rees-Mogg. Educated at Eton and Oxford University. Former fund manager. Contested Central Fife 1997, The Wrekin 2001. First elected as MP for North East Somerset in 2010. Jacob Rees-Mogg cuts an other-worldly and young-fogeyish figure, often revelling in speeches litt ered withhistorical and classical references. In his first Parliamentary contest in 1997 he famously went canvassing accompanied by his former nanny.
Past Results
2010
Con: 21130 (41%)
Lab: 16216 (32%)
LDem: 11433 (22%)
UKIP: 1754 (3%)
Oth: 670 (1%)
MAJ: 4914 (10%)
2005*
Con: 18847 (37%)
Lab: 20686 (41%)
LDem: 10050 (20%)
UKIP: 1129 (2%)
Oth: 221 (0%)
MAJ: 1839 (4%)
2001
Con: 17593 (36%)
Lab: 22706 (46%)
LDem: 7135 (15%)
GRN: 958 (2%)
Oth: 655 (1%)
MAJ: 5113 (10%)
1997
Con: 19318 (35%)
Lab: 24117 (44%)
LDem: 9205 (17%)
Oth: 755 (1%)
MAJ: 4799 (9%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Wansdyke

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JACOB REES-MOGG (Conservative) See above.
TODD FOREMAN (Labour) Born Kansas. Educated at Grinnell College. Solicitor. Kensington and Chelsea councillor since 2010. Contested West Central 2012 London Assembly elections.
WERA HOBHOUSE (Liberal Democrat) Born Germany. Rochdale councillor 2004-2014, originally elected as a Conservative.. Contested Heywood and Middleton 2010. Defected to the Liberal Democrats in 2005.
ERNIE BLABER (UKIP) Former manager and royal marine.
KATY BOYCE (Green)
Links
Comments - 534 Responses on “Somerset North East”
  1. I don’t doubt that. Allowing the late 80s property bubble to burst was the right thing to do economically but arguably led to the Tories being out of power for a decade.

  2. ‘ I don’t see any way out of the problem short of a massive crash happening at some point. Osborne isn’t to blame for the scale of the problems he inherited but h should not have kept the property bubble afloat. ‘

    Osborne is clearly to blame for making no attempt to rebalance the economy to something sustainable.

    And with his triple lock pensions and house price subsidies he made the underlying problems worse.

    Not that Labour have any interest in economic reform or sustainability.

  3. Ive heard this charge before against Labour. Forgive me but its as if people have forgotten that a man, who was reported to tell his colleagues during the 80s that we should overthrow capitalism, leads the Labour party. Does economic reform only refer to lengths Macron is going to roll back the economy?

  4. Economic reform means creating enough wealth to meet your wealth consumption.

    I don’t recall much talk from Labour as to how to increase wealth creation but we hear plenty from them about increasing wealth consumption.

  5. I could be wrong but economic reform means just that reform of the economy

  6. Richard
    “I don’t recall much talk from Labour as to how to increase wealth creation”

    Nationwide industrial strategy?
    Regional investment banks?
    Increased R and D funding?
    State investment schemes?

  7. Creating quangos isn’t the same as creating wealth nor is meaningless drivel such as ‘nationwide industrial strategy’.

  8. ‘ I could be wrong but economic reform means just that reform of the economy ‘

    Thanks for that profound thought.

    Perhaps if we could all think it then we’ll all become millionaires.

  9. Richard
    “Creating quangos isn’t the same as creating wealth nor is meaningless drivel such as ‘nationwide industrial strategy””

    I’ve made a pledge to try and avoid getting roped into big debates on this site but I have to ask, in light of your above post how do you personally define “facilitating the creation of wealth”

  10. As the UK has been running an annual £100bn current account deficit for several years the pressing requirement is to increase the output of goods and services for either export and/or import replacement.

    These goods and services can be from many sectors of the economy – agriculture, manufacturing, education, financial services and tourism are all possibilities.

    Failure to do so means that more and more of the UK’s assets have to be sold to foreigners to fund the UK’s over consumption. And as the UK’s assets become increasingly foreign owned then the profits generated by them flow abroad as well. Aside from the damaging economic effects this is also likely to increase inequality within the UK.

    As IIRC George Osborne said before GE2010 the UK has got into a habit of borrowing money from China in order to buy things from China. Though that habit has become an extreme addiction under Osborne’s management.

  11. Very kind of you to say Richard.

    Your last couple of paragraphs are actually very interesting

  12. Richard
    I don’t fundamentally disagree with any of that but it doesn’t answer my question. I asked how do we generate extra wealth not why we must. The only segment of that post that possible resembles an answer is when you say “increase the output of goods and services” but that’s a bloody no brainer.

    As it happens the first three components of my earlier quoted list would contribute to this. the last one wouldn’t but that actually pre-emptively addresses another point you made when you said “more and more of the UK’s assets have to be sold to foreigners to fund the UK’s over consumption”
    No not necessarily, we could go down the route I stipulated and instead buy other states assets, borrow to invest and use the revenues to partially fund our own overconsumption. Don’t believe this is possible? Perhaps its not but its currently the strategy of multiple gulf states like Qatar in prep for when the oil runs out. Instead in the name of their blindly short termist “deficit reduction strategy” the gov have went down the “flog off everything” route.

  13. Forgive me for being cynical but when I read ‘ borrow to invest ‘ I translate it into handing out borrowed money to favoured groups to spend on imported tat and foreign holidays.

    That after all was what Gordon Brown’s endlessly repeated ‘ Labour investment ‘ amounted to.

    Now if we want a Labour government to emulate how about that of Atlee – encouragement of industrial expansion, an export drive and imports reduced by rationing and foreign exchange controls.

    Very painful to us now but the longer the pain is delayed the greater it will be.

    And Qatar is in rather the opposite position to the UK is – Qatar has surplus wealth and so is able to invest in foreign assets to provide a future income. The UK is having to sell its own assets to make up for the deficiency of its wealth creation to what it consumes.

  14. Richard
    “I translate it into handing out borrowed money to favoured groups”
    Don’t it simply means investing in other states assets, why is it for example that we don’t have a state investment portfolio with stakes in booming international sectors like South Korean tech companies or Canadian mining firms? That’s what plenty of other countries do to provide additional revenue, why not us?

    “encouragement of industrial expansion, an export drive”
    aka an industrial strategy

    “imports reduced by rationing and foreign exchange controls”
    Would do more harm than good, would make us incredibly unattractive to invest in and would be a serious hit to living standards thus crippling our consumer driven economy

    “Qatar has surplus wealth and so is able to invest in foreign assets to provide a future income”
    Why is it in this country that the myth that the government can’t/shouldn’t borrow period gained such traction. Its total nonsense, look at it from a companies perspective, most (growing) companies don’t invest via savings or surplus revenue, they borrow to invest in equipment, larger premises, increased capacity etc same with nations, thus there is nothing stopping the gov using borrowed money to set up a state investment portfolio knowing the revenues would finance the debt and still leave a tidy profit to reinvest back into our own country, I don’t know why this is such an alien concept, most Western nations do the same.

  15. Do you have any idea of how much you would need to borrow to invest to get any sort of meaningful return ?

    And that’s assuming you would get a positive return after paying the interest on what you had borrowed.

    A quick look at investments by British governments don’t show a promising history but rather a vast amount of money pissed up the wall on buying votes and political vanity projects.

    And I doubt investing in Venezuelan collective farms or Palestinian co-operatives would be any more profitable.

    But I do find it revealing though that you consider any restriction on the UK’s overconsumption anathema.

    Which gives an indication as to what this ‘borrow to invest’ would turn out to be – yet more borrow to consume ie yet more Gordon Brown style ‘investment’.

  16. Richard
    “Do you have any idea of how much you would need to borrow to invest to get any sort of meaningful return ?”
    A lot, tens of billions but nation states are uniquely capable of raising that capital.

    “And that’s assuming you would get a positive return after paying the interest on what you had borrowed”
    Interest rates are at historic lows and nation states have great maturity on their debt so financing it isn’t really an issue.

    “A quick look at investments by British governments don’t show a promising history”
    If your doubting the states capabilities of sensibly investing then lets embrace the rights argument re the supposed superpowers of the private sector and outsource? Tender out the management of the fund to a private management firm with performance related pay measured as a % of revenue earned? Massive incentive for the private company to invest wisely and we know exactly who is accountable if it all goes wrong.

    “And I doubt investing in Venezuelan collective farms or Palestinian co-operatives would be any more profitable”
    Pedantry

    “But I do find it revealing though that you consider any restriction on the UK’s overconsumption anathema”
    Most people would, what your proposing is essentially Green party style managed stagnation/decline. This is right out of the “glass half empty” line of thought, why does a balance of payments deficit need to be met with less consumption rather than more exports? The former would hit living standards the latter would raise them further its a no brainer.

  17. Richard your posts are going from interesting to Lancs style contributions

  18. ‘Lancs style contributions’? Oh come on, no one is that bad.

  19. Yes tbf that is probably too harsh

  20. I don’t think even Lancs himself lives up to the mythical shitposter extraordinaire status he has come to be labelled by.

  21. I say this in the nicest possible way since Lancs is nothing if not perfectly polite but he has become something of a parody of late it has to be said.

    Going way back to before Corbyn was elected Lancs was a fine contributer, post Corbyn he became quite obviously more partisan but I don’t really take too much issue with that (I’m hardly Mr impartial myself) but during and post the EU ref he really did take it to a new level and post the general election…well most of the right leaning posters who predicted the GE totally wrong have either sat down and ate their serving of humble pie or disappeared from the site, Lancs has done neither, he’s just dug in deeper and somehow tried to spin the GE as a success if not for the Tories for social conservatism and Brexit. Thus he’s moved beyond selective data usage, broad generalisations and herculean levels of spin into plain old hyperbole and seemingly just making stuff up from time to time.

    If he’s reading this I hope he doesn’t take offence and instead see’s it as a call for the old Lancs back, the one that would repeatedly call Simon Danczuk out as an idiot, not the more recent incarnation that genuinely believed Danczuk was going to win Rochdale as an independent in the GE.

  22. Polltroll- to be fair, it’s only really me that has slagged him off at any length on here. I’m not jumping on a bandwagon, more getting the bandwagon on the road so to speak. Rivers’ assessment is probably the more even handed.

  23. Rivers says that “right leaning posters” have largely disappeared from the site.

    The reason I think is that the whole of the right of centre has suffered crushing disappointment over the past year.

    The Cameroon segment of the party was crushed by Brexit and the abrupt end of Cameron’s leadership. The right wing was gloatingly in the ascendency for a year or so but after the GE perhaps felt even more crushed than the Cameroons.

    So we have a strange situation where virtually all Conservatives feel crushed yet the party remains in office in one of the most perilous periods of our post war history.

    Speaking for myself I’ve lost much of my interest in politics this past year and come here much less frequently though I think it’s important to say hello from time to time.

  24. HH
    I’m sure I’m not alone here in highly valuing your contributions (even those I disagree with) and wishing you’d pop in more often 🙂

  25. Thank you Rivers.

    It all feels very mid-1990s to me.

  26. Thanks for sticking around

  27. HH- it’s the mid 90’s in terms of the state of the Tory party, yes. I just wish we could have the strong economy and sane house prices of that era too. The music I could take or leave.

  28. I am disappointed (particularly by the dreadful results in London with a handful of exceptions)
    and the loss of the marjority – but not crushed.
    It shows how much harder Tories to work to make sure we
    don’t get a Labour Government.
    I hope others are the same.

    There hasn’t been a great deal to say although we could go through the results in more detail.

    I was very on edge about the election campaign from I think slightly before the manifesto.
    It was difficult because the snap election meant difficult with workload.

    Mid 1990s was 25% – not 40-43

  29. JJB- very good point. I think Labour had a few polls in that period where they were over 60%. That was obviously never going to happen in an actual election, but it was still pretty phenomenal.

  30. Indeed.

    Galllup/Telegraph 4 Dec 1995

    Lab 62%
    Con 23%
    LibDem 12%

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/historical-polls/voting-intention-1992-1997

  31. Remember it well. Would not like to go through it again.

  32. Mid 90s in terms of the government running out of steam and not knowing where the hell it’s going. Not in terms of poll ratings obviously. In a way I see that as a bad thing. In the mid 90s there was a palatable alternative cruising to victory. In 2017 there is no palatable alternative to the government we’ve got and so however bad it is we are stuck with it.

  33. HH
    “In 2017 there is no palatable alternative to the government we’ve got and so however bad it is we are stuck with it”

    I can see that being the case for those on the right but for people like myself it feels like for the first time in our lives we’re on the cusp of getting a government we can be genuinely proud of.

  34. “I can see that being the case for those on the right”

    It is still the case for Middle England, just about, though its elastic of tolerance with the current government is straining quite badly now.

    I’m still sceptical that Labour could form a government without a significant amount of electoral support from Middle England, unless a huge chunk of the Tory vote defected to the Lib Dems or a resurgent UKIP.

  35. Labour with 41% could surely quite easily gain those seats now, although perhaps they can’t go much higher – so we are unlikely to suffer a further big surge.
    Who knows though.

    The Government knows about as much as it can do where it’s going.
    On the EU, I was very border line and still am.
    I think we should try to get a deal in the time we have up to 2019, but we shouldn’t go on with arrangements way into the future – there must be a risk that gives less certainty – not more.
    That said, I ‘m quite sympathetic to Hammond’s approach and am pretty annoyed with the way he was treated in the election.

  36. Rivers: how will you feel in ten years’ time when we’re getting to the end of our first term of the revolution and, to be honest, the country isn’t that different to what it was before? Top-rate income and corporation taxes are at slightly healthier levels but the tax receipts lag behind significantly as the PWCs of this world contrive ever more cunning ways to avoid paying. Students are enjoying state-funded higher education but they still don’t have decent graduate jobs to go to afterwards, a problem that has grown worse as foreign investment drops off in a Britain cut off from the rest of Europe. The Bank of England has printed money furiously to keep up with the government’s spending programme, and this has pushed an asset bubble where house prices, and therefore inequality of wealth, are higher than ever. Debt, which was falling under the Tories as a proportion of GDP if not in absolute terms, is now rising again, and debt interest continues to be a thorn in the side as the John McDonnell tries to balance his giveaways with fiscal credibility in the last pre-election budget. Inflation, likewise is creeping up, and so is unemployment, though that is more a reversion to the historical mean after it dropped to record lows under Conservative rule. The trains, though it is true that fare increases now run below inflation and strike action has tailed off dramatically, are still the unreliable overcrowded sweatboxes they always were. There are still problems at the bottom-end of society – somehow the welfare policies of 2022 were pretty much a replica of 2017, promising only slightly less punitive measures than the Tories, and though Jeremy Corbyn had a change of heart in government, he wasn’t able to get his proposals through the Commons after screams of “betrayal” from the right-wing press pushed the public against him. And of course, Brexit is still exacerbating all manner of problems, hampering foreign investment and keeping the cost of living high. Overall, it has been a kinder government than its predecessor, or indeed any other in living memory, but that kindness has not rubbed off on its people, who are still as divided and mutually resentful as ever, and none of Britain’s chronic problems are measurably better than they were five years ago.

    How will you feel then?

  37. “The Bank of England has printed money furiously to keep up with the government’s spending programme, and this has pushed an asset bubble where house prices, and therefore inequality of wealth, are higher than ever.”

    A Corbynite government furiously printing money will not help house prices. Take a look at those booming real estate markets in Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

    A more likely scenario is a serious economic contraction which will have pleasing side effects for many (much lower house prices and a collapse in immigration), and for which some of the blame can plausibly put on Brexit rather than Corbyn.

  38. (scratching head to try & work out what relevance this has to NE Somerset…) 🙂

  39. I couldn’t sleep 😉

  40. Nothing like a bit of pointless speculation to keep the mind active, am I right?

  41. Polltroll
    “How will you feel then?”

    Naturally a bit deflated but I (obviously) don’t think that scenario is particularly probable. I should clarify though that I don’t think for a minute Labour are about to usher in a new golden age, rather I see the election of the current Labour party as the first step of our country on the path to a better future.

    Unless the next Lab government is an unmitigated disaster it will be a success in my book simply cos it will have proven that you can get elected on a left wing platform, that you can implement these ideas and the sky doesn’t fall in. Basically its election alone will have changed political discourse in this country (more so than it already has) to a point more in line with the rest of the Western world. Discourse where moderate social democratic reforms are not derided as loony left communism while nutty borderline fascist proposals are lauded as “mainstream and common sense” which is where our country has been for the past 35+ years.

    For that reason alone I’d deem it a success.

  42. The important point being that it won’t be easy to determine whether Corbyn or Brexit is to blame for this or that economic problem.

    It’s a unique opportunity for the left to implement their programme without automatically being blamed for its impact on the middle class.

  43. I did read something about the problems Labour will face if they win. In 1997 Labour were elected on the back of an economic recovery. No chance of that now.

  44. @Rivers
    ”Discourse where moderate social democratic reforms are not derided as loony left communism”

    It depends what you mean by ‘moderate social democratic’. If you mean Labour’s manifesto then yes that would fall under the ‘social democratic’ banner however if you are talking about what Corbyn and McDonnell actually believe then lol no. The idea they are just ‘moderate social democrats’ is hilarious.

    ”nutty borderline fascist proposals are lauded as “mainstream and common sense”’

    What ‘borderline fascist’ proposals are endorsed by the media as ‘common sense’?! The establishment hates the far right even more than it hates the far left and far right ideas are (rightly) derided. The ‘establishment’ or received wisdom support the status quo and people who aren’t going to rock the boat hence their bias in favour of technocratic centrists like Clinton and Macron. The idea that mainstream thought promotes fascism or the far right is just ridiculous.

  45. Then it’s a good thing that it’s the manifesto a future Labour Government will be given a mandate to fufil

  46. Pepps
    “If you mean Labour’s manifesto then yes that would fall under the ‘social democratic’ banner”
    Yes I’m referring to the manifesto.

    “What ‘borderline fascist’ proposals are endorsed by the media as ‘common sense’?!”

    Well to give the most recent example the whole revelations about foreign students apparently abusing their visa’s. The Tories (and indeed May in particular) made hay with that story for years claiming their where hundreds of thousands of immigrants posing as students to gain access to the country. That was clearly total nonsense and the left repeatedly called it out as such but the media ran with it.

    Now we have some actual facts and it turns out there where only ever around 4,000 foreign students who abused the terms of their visa, quite the exaggeration on the governments part, a mere 2400% off or their abouts yet we don’t even get a whiff of an apology from May or the media. indeed May is now claiming its because of her own policies that the figure is now so low and the media then runs with that too rather than calling out what any idiot can tell is total b**locks

    In a more sensible country the media would acknowledge their own failings to properly investigate this issue and May’s career would be in tatters for such a blatant screw up and/or deception but no its business as usual here in Blighty.

  47. Rivers10,

    How is that a “borderline fascist proposal”?

  48. Bill
    Stoking up racially motivated anti immigrant sentiment founded entirely on falsehoods with the sole purpose of dividing people for political gain is one of the bedrocks of Fascism.

    The fact that this incident didn’t descend into overt racism is the reason why I said “borderline”

  49. So presumably it’s just a short hop from fiddling the immigration figures to rounding up the Jews? Because rounding up the Jews is what real fascists do.

    Get a little perspective. Your hyperbole undermines your otherwise reasonable point.

  50. Polltroll
    Don’t take a single incident in isolation, throw in other “minor” incidents such as the Tories London Mayoral campaign in which they essentially called Khan a terrorist sympathiser, the “Go home” vans, the implicit endorsement of many of Trumps overtly fascist rants by failing to condemn him, the continued operation of the Yarlswood detention centre, the overtly racist stories that come out of our media most every other day most recently being the all but fabricated story about a child being abused by Muslim Foster parents, combined with the evident double standards on display routinely such as the fact that Jo Cox’s killer (an actual fascist) was apparently just a “crazed loner” according to our media and yeah I would say with all sincerity that if the situation drifted any further we would be in the grips of actual fascism.

    But I reiterate we’re not their yet hence “borderline”

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