Newark by-election

Yesterday was the Newark by-election, a relatively comfortable hold for the Conservatives over UKIP in second place. When the by-election was first announced there was an obvious risk for the Tories – it was taking place at a time when UKIP would be basking in the glory of a successful European election, there was always that chance that they could have pulled off a surprise victory. In the event it never happened.

I expect to see lots of comment today about what Newark tells us about the state of public opinion. I’ll make my usual post by-election comment that it doesn’t tell us much at all. By-elections are extremely strange beasts that bear very little resemblence to politics as usual. They take place in but one constituency (which may be extremely unrepresentative of the country as a whole), they have no direct bearing upon who runs the country, only on who the local MP is (voters in Newark knew that whoever won, the next morning there would still be a coalition government under David Cameron) and they experience an intensity of campaigning unlike any other contest. Essentally, if voters at a by-election perform pretty much in line with the national polls it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, if they behave in a different way then it’s likely because of the extremely unusual nature of by-election contests.

It doesn’t mean that by-elections don’t have an important effect on politics – they do. If UKIP had won or been a closer second it would have continued the “UKIP earthquake” narrative. As it is I think it might start playing into a “UKIP faltering” sort of narrative. That wouldn’t really be fair – it was, after all, a pretty safe Conservative seat and UKIP increased their vote by 22% – but politics is not always fair.

I’ve also seem some comment along the lines of why Labour weren’t in contention, and whether it was a bad night for them. Realistically by-elections do tend to end up becoming a two-horse race – people rapidly identify who the challenger party is and it normally becomes a fight between them and the incumbent; Labour were just a victim of that. Of course, in a different situation Labour could have been the challenger party – Labour would have needed a swing of 16% or so to win Newark, the sort of swing that the Conservatives got in Norwich North and Crewe & Nantwich. The fact is though that we knew anyway that Labour weren’t in that sort of position – they aren’t an opposition that’s tearing away into the sunset, they are an opposition holding onto a relatively modest poll lead. In the present political context, we shouldn’t expect them to be competitive in a seat like Newark.

Finally a brief word about the polling. Survation released a second by-election poll yesterday evening (conducted before the by-election, but released after polls closed), which was almost identical to Lord Ashcoft’s a few days earlier. Both polls had the Conservatives on 42%, both had UKIP on 27% and both were relatively close to the actual result of CON 45%, UKIP 26%. Worth noting in particular is that both polls got UKIP right this time, when previous by-election polling has tended to underestimate their support.


340 Responses to “Newark by-election”

1 4 5 6 7
  1. @DAODAO

    “…Merkel may sound pleasant (although that’s not saying much compared to previous Reichskanzlers…”

    Merkel is most decidedly not a Reichskanzler. She is the Bundeskanzler (or if you want to wax poetic, the Bundeskanzlerin). The two positions are not the same. The Federal Republic of Germany is not the continuation of the previous Germanies (although it occupies a similar space).

  2. Roland Haines

    Your dead right, they were Germans plus a few volunteers from occupied countries who defended the Normandy beaches.

    Loved the story about Major Howard, the taking of Pegasus bridge was a brilliant affair.

    Colin

    And yes we won’t see their like again.

  3. Those Normandy veterans. Deeply humbling to think about their professionalism, dedication, hard work and courage.

    Of course, a good few of them were the same people who has been castigated as work shy dole scroungers a decade earlier, at the depth of the Depression. Amazing what heights folk can aspire to when given a chance.

  4. @DAODAO

    “…@ Martyn…de Gaulle did not lead a “government in exile”, he led a rebel force…”

    Again, the British government did not hold that opinion

    I’ll go into this in more detail in my next answer. You’ll forgive me if it takes a few moments to write.

  5. @ Martyn

    Merkel wants to make the Ukraine into a German hinterland, just like the Reichskanzler of the 1930s.

    She could have been kicked out of power last September if the other parties in the Reichstag had co-operated to form a coalition government.

  6. @Daodao

    “…@ RogerH/Martyn…So I presume you would equally say that Al Nusra is the legal government of Syria?!…”

    I am not telling you who the legal government of anywhere is. I am telling you who recognises which government. The distinction is crucial.

    The concept of law breaks down at national borders. “Law” is those rules that can be enforced by a recognised authority. In the event of a civil war, or a defeated/disputed government, or a failed state, there may be no enforcement, no recognition, and/or no authority. In such circumstances the concept of a lawful government becomes difficult to define.

    To avoid ambiguity, we can state who recognises who. The IRA (used to?) sincerely hold themselves to be the legitimate government of the Irish state in direct apostolic succession since the Civil War, but that stance is not recognised by anybody else. The UK recognises the Kosovo government but not everybody else does. Russia recognises the South Ossetian government, but not everybody else does. Turkey recognises the government of Turkish Cyprus, but not everybody else does.

    You contend that the Vichy government was the legal government of France. My counterpoint is that the very term “legal government” is problematic, and my follow-up was to point out that Vichy was unrecognised by the UK nor by the other governments of the British Empire.

  7. National poll (Opinium):
    LAB – 35% (+2)
    CON – 31% (-1)
    UKIP – 19% (=)
    LDEM – 6% (-1)

    Courtesy #BritainElects

  8. I am in my early forties, but I have been really moved in recent years as our WW2 troops have become fewer and fewer, ans their importance has probably increased.

    To think that young men (nearly boys) half my age were in the centre of the carnage and horror on those Normandy beaches. I really cannot imagine that situation.

    My children are too young to really mention the wars to that degree, but in a few years I will telling them about it, and taking them to the Remembrance Sunday events.

    I’m sure of two things. Firstly, whatever we do for these veterans in their last few years is less than they deserve. Secondly, it’s good to know that our disagreements with other European nations are dealt with in a different way. Perhaps this is the greatest success of modern Europe – we haven’t had to sacrifice a generation of young men to the horror of war.

  9. JCB336.
    Many thanks about the Poll news. LD figure looks high.

    CATMANUEFF: All so moving; the stories about D Day.

  10. Correction

    I am in my early forties, but I have been really moved in recent years as our WW1 and WW2 troops have become fewer and fewer, and their importance has probably increased.

    To think that young men (nearly boys) half my age were in the centre of the carnage and horror on those Normandy beaches. I really cannot imagine that situation.

    My children are too young to really mention the wars to that degree, but in a few years I will telling them about it, and taking them to the Remembrance Sunday events.

    I’m sure of two things. Firstly, whatever we do for these veterans in their last few years is less than they deserve. Secondly, it’s good to know that our disagreements with other European nations are dealt with in a different way. Perhaps this is the greatest success of modern Europe – we haven’t had to sacrifice a generation of young men to the horror of war against our neighbours.

  11. “I am not telling you who the legal government of anywhere is. I am telling you who recognises which government. The distinction is crucial.”

    …. hard work or wot Martyn ???

  12. @Daodao

    “…Merkel wants to make the Ukraine into a German hinterland, just like the Reichskanzler of the 1930s…”

    I find that difficult to believe, and difficult to reconcile with the facts. Germany (unlike Poland, the Baltics and the UK) were arguing against involvement with the Ukraine situation. Merkel was willing to believe Putin’s stance that Russia was not involved with the insurgents until it became far too obvious.

    The problem is not that the FRG get involved outside their borders. The problem is that they won’t, unless you kick them. Given the historical problems with a proactive Germany, this is a problem I’m willing to live with.

  13. ” LD figure looks high.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    HAH

    LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. @Lefty L

    “Of course, a good few of them were the same people who has been castigated as work shy dole scroungers a decade earlier, at the depth of the Depression. Amazing what heights folk can aspire to when given a chance.”

    You’re right to point to some of nuances and ironies involved here and it’s wise to avoid getting too seduced by the “ripping yarns” anecdotes and war comic type parodies of the tabloid press, written and dreamt up by people who weren’t there. The most potent and moving accounts were those of the veterans themselves, the ordinary soldiers who spoke of the horror, paralysing fear, carnage and death involved on those Normandy beaches in 1944. They didn’t romanticise what went on but recounted the aching loss they felt for lost friends and for the thousands of young lives cut short.

    I was also immensely moved by the welcome the veterans received from the townspeople of those places they’d liberated. Second and third generation descendants of the people who’d greeted the allied troops 70 years before but still immensely grateful for the sacrifices made on their, and their forebears, behalf.

    Very brave men indeed but we mustn’t assume that mankind has lost the capacity to be that brave and noble again. It could well be that we will see their like again, although no-one in their right mind would want the circumstances that gave rise to their heroism to be visited on this world again.

  15. crossbatII

    “Very brave men indeed but we mustn’t assume that mankind has lost the capacity to be that brave and noble again”

    That is strange: exactly what I was saying to my wife [but not so well] 10 minutes ago.

    As I remarked earlier it is to Germany’s great credit also that they embraced a European Union, as did Churchill and Heath – two Conservatives one must add.

    Again as I said before when some were advocating a harder line, it is to the EU’s credit that the Ukraine situation is slowly stabilising by the use of diplomacy.

  16. @Daodao

    “…hard work or wot Martyn ???…”

    It sounds like I’m having a go at Daodao, but really it’s a cri d’coeur over imprecision. Laws, states, borders and governments are not fixed and eternal, they change (and in Europe this happens all the time). The concept “legal government” is problematic: any government is legal by its own lights since it recognises itself. Similarly, the phrase “illegal war” has been used so often in the context of Iraq that we’ve forgotten it’s nonsensical.

    I could bang on further but I need to make tea. How’s your knee, btw?

  17. Lots better thanks Martyn.

    Cheers, enjoy your tea.

  18. Newark told us absolutely nothing, except perhaps one thing.

    The Conservatives can still fight an effective by-election campaign using their national by-election team of professionals.

    This is interesting, because amongst agents of all parties there has been a question mark over this point for many years now.

    There now remains one further question as to whether they have a Rennard type figure (minus later scandals of course!) who can disseminate not only the techniques required to achieve such success, but also the drive and motivation amongst local associations in marginal seats who do not have such a national picked team of top-flight professional agents in situ in a broader fought GE campaign when such personnel are by definition more thinly spread.

  19. ROSIE AND DAISIE.
    I hope you are well; you seem to be, from your laughter.
    BTW, as children say, on text, I do think the LD Party will not do very well in eleven months time to the very day.

    ROLAND.
    I think Newark has not taught us very much. Matthew Parris was unusually partisan today, when writing about it.

  20. The courage of the D-Day veterans, and their modesty since, is astonishing. But it’s worth pointing out that not every action, by every soldier, on every day of the war was heroic.

    Brutality was commonplace on all sides. Many of those men who showed such heroism in battle also committed acts of brutality as great, or greater, than anything that Sgt. Al Blackman or the troops involved in the Iraq enquiry got up to.

    And let’s also not forget that astonishing deeds of heroism were common in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Let’s give every credit due to the generation that saved us from Fascism. But let’s also not pretend they were from a different species from us. They were men and women, not superheroes, just as their enemies were men and women, not supervillains. We have seen, and will see, their like again, but I fear we judge their successors by different standards, and through the prism of the political judgements that sent them to battle.

  21. I found the D-Day commemorations very touching – and quite right too for the veterans who deserve our thanks.

    However, I am always slightly perturbed by rash overblown statements made about the contribution of the Second Front to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Undoubtedly, it speeded Germany’s demise. However, let us not forget that after Stalingrad and Kursk (the latter always underplayed in the West in importance – the battle where the Panzer arm was effectively destroyed – thereafter always 2nd or 3rd rate) Nazi Germany was doomed. It was just a matter of time before the Red Army overran the Germans and would have “liberated” Europe anyway. I always feel we fail to give due credence to the overwhelmingly more important contribution the Red Army made to Nazi defeat, rather than our own comparatively late efforts from the West. I know we stuck it out for longer since 1939 – and the Russians effectively changed sides when attacked in 1941 – but the Britsh Commonwealth lost less than 1 million effectives, whilst the Red Army lost 12.8 million!

  22. Newark has taught us one thing… when Ozzie & Dave’s attention is diverted to a by-election, t’other cabinet ministers start fighting like ferrets in a sack. They’re like two year olds, you can’t take your eyes off them for 5 minutes!

  23. Rosie & Daisie
    We have been wallowing in D Day. For those of us who know the relative butchers bill between the western front and eastern front in, to take one year, 1944. It is beyond comprehension, that Great Russians and Ukrainians should allow even more blood and guts to stain that tragic, tragic soil.

  24. By coincidence, I have just today finished reading Martin Gilbert’s Second World War – all 750 large pages of it.
    It is a very comprehensive record of what happened in all theatres of war, both militarily and in occupied countries.

    Of many things that stand out for me, two particularly come to mind.
    The first is the sheer dogged determination of the Nazis and some of their fellow travellers to exterminate Jews, gypsies, the mentally ill and sundry other groups and – related but slightly different – the contempt for the lives of Slavs of all types. In the final months of the war they seem to have been more focussed on finishing this ‘job’ than on defending their homeland, which is doubly repellent.
    The other is the sheer scale of slaughter. He thinks the UK lost 264000 servicemen, 60000 civilian bomb victims and 30000 merchant seamen. The Soviet Union lost 10 million servicemen in action, 7 million civilians, and 3.3 million prisoners of war (which to me is especially shocking). 6 million Poles were murdered (about half of them Jews) plus 3 million Jews from elsewhere.

    A salutary tale on this anniversary.

  25. @Tony

    I’ve seen some recognition of the reality of the second front in the coverage, actually, along with lines that the real achievement of the Normandy invasion was to save large parts of continental Europe from Communism, and that if it had been delayed, or had failed, the shape of post-war Europe would have been radically different (it wasn’t spelled out, but the main difference it seems to me would have been a united, Communist, Germany).

    I visited the Soviet Union a couple of years before it collapsed, and the shadow of the war was everywhere. We think our cenotaphs are poignant. Every Russian city has a colossal and moving monument on a grand scale.

    But I’ve always found it a bit hard to judge the Russian contribution entirely in terms of their losses. After all, part of the reason their losses were so high is that their leaders, quite literally, didn’t care what happened to the Russian people or troops, just so long as they emerged victorious.

    And if the Soviet government hadn’t brutalised some of the non-Russian nations so severely in the 1920s and 30s, then perhaps they wouldn’t have had welcomed the German invasion quite so much.

    Had we treated our people and our soldiers with the cold-hearted contempt that the Communism leadership did, our losses would probably have been three times what they were.

  26. @Roland

    “@Tony Dean
    Newark taught YOU absolutely nothing because the truth is unkind to your loyalties.”

    What on earth do you mean? I am now looking forward to and working for a Labour victory through my Trade Union.

    This doesn’t alter the fact that my professional background was as a full time regional agent with the Liberals in the 80s working alongside Rennard – I appreciated his skills as an agent, and my comment was thus.

    If you read my comment again it has absolutely nothing to do with partisanship at all for any side. It is about whether a party has enough professional agents on the ground – that’s all.

    So, your jibe baffles me somewhat? What have I NOT learned?

  27. I just finished watching the enjoyable and thought provoking German drama series Generation War which covers the period from the invasion of Russia to the German surrender through the eyes of five friends – a singer, a military nurse, a Jewish tailor, and two brothers who serve on the Eastern Front during the Battle of Kursk and beyond. Very thought provoking and brutal in parts, especially how valueless human life became to all sides. It has its problems (I seriously doubt the Polish Home Army was anywhere near so anti-Jewish they’d refuse to free Jews from a concentration camp-bound train) but well worth watching along with Downfall to get a view from the other side.

    My granddad served with the US Army in the Philippines during the final months of the war and often said he’d never had so much fun in his life. The soldiers who were there on D-Day I fear wouldn’t have said the same thing. I visited Arromanches and Bayeux a few years ago and it’s almost impossible to go ten minutes without seeing something related to the invasion.

    In terms of second fronts I get the impression the war in North Africa and the invasion of Italy did a lot more as far as enabling the German downfall was concerned. By June 1944 the Wehrmacht was in full retreat from the Russians and the gig was basically up. That does not in any way diminish the achievement of those who stormed the beaches in Normandy though, since the effect of speeding up Germany’s defeat was that hundreds of thousands were saved from death by battle, bombing, reprisals or in the concentration camps.

    When the forces of fascism, ignorance and hatred rolled across Europe, those millions who stood in their way, who put their lives on the line to stop them deserve our eternal respect. Not just those who fought on the front lines but those millions who worked hard, dangerous jobs to keep them supplied, those who fought fires and dragged children from burning buildings, or tended to the wounded, or gave shelter to the vulnerable. They were all heroes in a way, and in another they weren’t. They were normal people doing what they knew was right, and that’s as much to be applauded.

  28. Neil A

    Well said.

    One of the problems with states glorifying their military, and calling them all “heroes” is that it equates the behaviours of those that were truly heroic with those who were just following (or sometimes disobeying) orders.

  29. Mr N/Neil A

    Brilliant stuff. Thanks.

  30. @Roland

    “Yes, if only we had a strong patriotic Labour administration. With absolutely no flinching and column dodging when it comes to Muslims”

    Whilst we agree about the need for a patriotic Labour administration, your second sentence worries me quite a good deal, mainly in its tone.

    Surely Labour MUST remain a campaiging anti-racist party and not pander to the quasi-racist agenda of the Right, just because a right-wing protest party has attracted some of our frustrated natural voters.

    The role of a democratic socialist party is also to lead and re-educate where necessary, not meekly to sound like our enemies for supposed electoral advantage!

  31. “But I’ve always found it a bit hard to judge the Russian contribution entirely in terms of their losses. After all, part of the reason their losses were so high is that their leaders, quite literally, didn’t care what happened to the Russian people or troops, just so long as they emerged victorious.

    And if the Soviet government hadn’t brutalised some of the non-Russian nations so severely in the 1920s and 30s, then perhaps they wouldn’t have had welcomed the German invasion quite so much.

    Had we treated our people and our soldiers with the cold-hearted contempt that the Communism leadership did, our losses would probably have been three times what they were.”

    Point well made, and needs to be said in the context of the number of their losses. Not that it makes the loss less to the families concerned, but as you say the number killed – however tragic it surely is – is not necessarily directly reflective of the relative contribution of a country to winning the war.

  32. A lot of unsung heroes in the war fought in New Guinea / Kokoda trail etc in utterly terrible conditions in uninhabited territory. The exceptional bravery of these Australians held back the Japs against all odds, and they suffered the most terrible privation in the process.

    Worth researching some first hand accounts for those who haven’t done so already.

  33. Mathew Paris,unusually partisan?What?Have you read his column over the
    Time he has been writing it?He is always partisan,why do you think he writes
    For the most partisan paper of the lot.

  34. I think we may be getting a reshuffle this week… possibly as soon as tomorrow morning.

    I’d imagine the focus will be the lower cabinet ranks with an extensive junior ministerial shuffle having taken place only last October and the senior cabinet all fairly secure.

    Chris Grayling is probably the most senior minister under any serious threat – I think they might look to move either him or Eric Pickles to the media side of Grant Shapps’ role (Shapps is doing the campaign management bit quite well). We’ll probably see a couple of new women brought into cabinet though I think Truss and Soubry are more likely than McVey, who is fine where she is. Theresa Villiers might be promoted to Justice so that there is a second women in a top or second rank position.

    I hope they get rid of Owen Paterson but I fear he might survive, possibly with a move, because he is considered a right-winger and sacking right-wingers might not go down well with the backbenchers.

    The odds also seem to be on Greg Hands stepping up to Chief Whip (Sir George Young on the backbenches for his last year) and Andrew Lansley leaving his post as Leader of the House ahead of taking up the EU Commissioner role.

  35. Ann in WALES.
    Hello Ann.
    I thought he was particularly partisan today. I have read him for over a decade and his ‘Chance Witness’.

    He seems not to have taken the 9% drop in the Con vote very seriously.

  36. “BTW, as children say, on text, I do think the LD Party will not do very well in eleven months time to the very day.”

    I think that is a given Chris.

    Also that they will get more than 6%.

  37. ROSIE and DASIE.
    Like 1951, when the Liberals did badly, so, I think will the modern LD Party, very sadly, for men like Simon Hughes.

  38. Yes, if only we had a strong patriotic Labour administration. With absolutely no flinching and column dodging when it comes to Muslims
    ————-
    Administrations shouldn’t be patriotic; that’s something which should be left to people. I don’t need David Cameron or Nick Clegg or Nigel Farage or Ed Miliband to tell me how I should feel about my country & its citizens.

    And I feel gratitude to every citizen of the allied countries who did their best to stop the Nazis – I’m not going to laud British people above all others; I am in awe of every citizen from all the countries who showed solidarity during the wars.

    I have no idea what you mean about Muslims; all I know is that Gove’s free schools policy seems to encourage segregation not solidarity; as does Mrs May’s ‘go home vans’ etc. The suggestion that these cabinet ministers’ squabbles are ‘patriotic’ isn’t worthy of serious consideration. Their pathetic jostling for position merited a mild ribbing (which I gave it).

  39. Chris Lane,
    Good evening to youI.I do not care for his rather blatant political views but I did
    Enjoy reading A Castle In Spain ,about how he and his family bought and restored a property in the hinterland of the Costa Brava,A region we know well.

  40. @ Neil A:

    You make some good points, but this gave me pause for thought:

    “Had we treated our people and our soldiers with the cold-hearted contempt that the Communism leadership did, our losses would probably have been three times what they were.”

    Yes it is true, and reprehensible, that they treated their own people with contempt, but then their backs were completely against the wall. Had we faced an initially very successful land invasion in WWII – as we almost certainly would have done were the Germans not tied up on the Eastern Front – then we would have had two choices: cold-heartedly throw men at the bullets like the Soviets, or capitulate like Vichy France. Neither option bears thinking about.

  41. NEILA

    @” But it’s worth pointing out that not every action, by every soldier, on every day of the war was heroic.”

    Why is it?

    Certainly not to the Normandy Veterans -who seem to dismiss & dislike the idea of being “heroes”.

    My impression is that their memories are filled to the brim with their fallen comrades. That is why they go back after all-to the gravestones & the memorials.

    They were brave beyond our understanding, because they had to be. Someone opened the landing craft gate, and they had to get out . Scared to death, but doing their duty. And 70 years later , still trying to understand why they survived.

    That is all that needs to be pointed out.

  42. @Roland Haines

    What does UKIP actually know about Muslims? The only thing it seems to advocate, like the BNP, is to normalise discrimination against Muslims and to blame Muslims for all the ills of UK society.

  43. I find it really sad that a few here see everything in terms of left and right – with right always being …… well……….right.

    I genuinely come here for informative debate – I certainly learn a great deal – and also a “virtual” friendship plus some humorous exchanges.

    If all those on the right adopted Neil A’s tone it would be far easier to just keep it at that gentle level. That even the D-day landings get dragged in is particularly odd.

    Following on from Amber’s point there will have been enormous bravery and sacrifice on ALL sides of that appalling conflict.

  44. Crossbat
    “Very brave men indeed but we mustn’t assume that mankind has lost the capacity to be that brave and noble again.”

    That was kind of my point. They were ordinary people who performed a duty when the time came. Others performed their duty by working 60-70 hour weeks to produce the coal, steel and equipment to win the war. Anyone who lauds these people should read The Road to Wigan Pier to see how the same people were judged a decade earlier when there was no duty for them to perform.

    The point was rammed home to me this afternoon at a kids’ party. I got talking to a bloke of my age, who has moved to Sheffield from Scotland to try to find work. He’s a cordon bleu chef, who has been out of work for 18 months. He’s moved down here because he’s got a job with Tesco delivering groceries. Another generation is passing through, on whom we are chucking abuse because of their supposed unwillingness to work, when the truth is that many of them are desperate to work and the real problem is the unavailability of work.

    I guarantee you that this generation, that certain sections of the population are so quick to pour scorn on, would perform similar heroics to that of our grandparents if the call came.

  45. @Colin,

    It’s worth pointing out, because in my view our troops are as courageous and selfless today as they were 70 years ago.

    To live and sleep every night in a tiny compound with a handful of comrades, amongst dozens of local troops whose loyalty is never completely certain. To walk out into terrain where you know there are snipers and IEDs, where your friend lost his life, or his foot, the day before in that same ditch, or alongside that same wall. To react to an explosion and ambush by returning fire, and making your way to injured friends (British and Afghan) to bring them safety.

    And yet these people are so often demonised, generally for doing things that have always been done, by soldiers in every conflict.

    When I hear the same sort of hagiography of our current troops as I do of our WW2 veterans, then perhaps it won’t be worth pointing out.

  46. @ Tony Dean

    ‘Whilst we agree about the need for a patriotic Labour administration, your second sentence worries me quite a good deal, mainly in its tone’

    Ditto – but no great surprise is it? It seems to be a common trait from that particular source!

  47. LeftyLampton
    ‘I guarantee you that this generation, that certain sections of the population are so quick to pour scorn on, would perform similar heroics to that of our grandparents if the call came’

    Indeed – here’s hoping they never have to.

  48. @ Mr. Nameless and Lefty,

    Well said.

    @ Neil A,

    Shooting most of their officers ten years earlier didn’t help the Soviet war effort much either.

    @ Tony Dean,

    Be fair, we learned something. I am now 100% convinced the Tories will hold Newark at the general election. ;)

  49. @CROSSBAT11: “I was also immensely moved by the welcome the veterans received from the townspeople of those places they’d liberated.”

    All the more so when you consider that about 50,000 civilians were killed in the D-Day offensive.

    “It was profoundly traumatic for the people of Normandy. Think of the hundreds of tons of bombs destroying entire cities and wiping out families. But the suffering of civilians was for many years masked by the over-riding image, that of the French welcoming the liberators with open arms.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Normandy

  50. Amusingly (to me) I have just spent a couple of hours editing a Wikipedia article, which happened to be on an aspect of the Normandy Landings. Wanting to find out what was happening in the world of polling I came here. And was momentarily very confused. (It doesn’t take much.) I shall repair to bed and can only hope that by the morning my Wikipeda site hasn’t been over-run by edits concerning the state of UK polling.

1 4 5 6 7