Amidst the growing likelihood of European elections this summer, and reports of Conservative woe in local election campaigning, we have a real Parliamentary vote with real voters – the Newport West by-election, only the third of this Parliament.

It offers something for almost everyone.

– – –

Ruth Jones (Labour):                       9,304   36.6 per cent   -12.7 per cent

Matthew Evans (Conservative):     7,357   31.3 per cent   – 8.0 per cent.

Neil Hamilton (UKIP):                      2,023    8.6 per cent   + 6.1 per cent.

Jonathan Clarke (Plaid Cymru):      1,185    5 per cent      + 2.6 per cent.

Ryan Jones (Liberal Democrat):     1,088    4.6 per cent    + 2.4 per cent.

Amelia Womack (Green):                   924    3.9 per cent    +2.8 per cent.

– – –

Majority:                                          1,951     8.5 per cent     – 4.5 per cent.

Turnout:                                         23,515   37.1 per cent   – 30.5 per cent.

Swing: 2.4 per cent to the Conservatives.

– – –

  • For Labour, there is a victory.
  • For the Conservatives, there is a swing.
  • For UKIP, there is the largest increase in vote share.
  • For the other main parties, there are rises in vote share.

But –

  • Labour’s vote is down.
  • So is the Conservatives’.
  • UKIP didn’t win the seat on a wave of anti-establishment protest – or even come second.
  • The smaller parties’ totals are derisory.

So, come to think of it, is that of all the contestants.  Turnout is down by over a third – from 43,438 at the last general election to 23,515.  That’s poor, of course, but by no means exceptionally low: nothing like the 18.2 per cent record low at Manchester Central in 2012.

At Westminster, we have floods, thunderstorms, Theresa May in negotiation with a Marxist who leads an institutionally anti-semitic party, a referee who plays for one of the teams, Nick Boles, Richard Drax, another backbencher who was Prime Minister In All But Name when the week began (and could still be), a possible EU-delivered No Deal, a probable extension – and no-one with a clue what will happen next.

In Newport, we don’t even have that event of journalistic legend – small earthquake, not many dead.  We have a tremor that barely registers on the seismograph.  Plus evidence that our old friend, Neil Hamilton, is still alive and kicking.