Phew! Andrew Smith just held on in Oxford East. People used to wonder whether he’d be vulnerable, on the grounds that Oxford East contains subtantial numbers of students and Muslims and gentrifying yuppie professional types, who are the three groups most often reckoned to be turning against Labour because of the war, and other things, but mostly because of the war. I used to be slightly concerned about this until I remembered that he had a majority of 10,000, and then I turned my attention to other things. But in the end he needed every vote he could get (one or two, possibly, delivered partly as a result of my efforts knocking on doors in Lye Valley around lunchtime) and just beat off the challenge from the Lib Dems’ Steve Goddard, who cut his majority by, well, an order of magnitude.
Why didn’t the Lib Dems win? They managed an impressive 11.83% swing, but that’s nothing compared to the 14.99% they scored in Cambridge to knock off Anne Campbell, or the colossal 17.33% they achieved in Manchester Withington. Perhaps the point here is that Oxford East isn’t really the university seat in these parts. That’s #8, above.