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This time was different because of Moorside - Corbyn is instinctively against it regardless of what the (awful) Labour candidate claimed she was for and this struck a chord with the electorate. It made people think for the first time - one party wants to tie me to the relative state of a hospital and one side is going to invest billions in the local economy. Yes people like nice hospitals, but no-one loses sleep about it if they need a job.
To turn Copeland blue is still frankly an amazing achievement - it is a collection of former mining towns which have generations of voters who instinctively vote Labour. Jamie Reed may not have been popular with Corbynites who blame him for its decline, but he was not a bad MP. He was better than Junket Jack who never moved to Copeland after years as the MP.
The candidate was awesome - she has a track record of getting stuff done. She doesn't look and sound like a politician. She made the Labour candidate look like the past and people opted for the future. Copeland is bottom of many league tables but the people aspire to better and Labour offered a hospital.
Labour are deluding themselves if they think this was an exception - this could happen across the North in many of the non-metropolitan seats ignored by Westminster and the media. Find the right local candidate who cuts across the expected political norm and you have half a chance.
Labour's MPs in Workington and Barrow should not rest easily - they are sitting ducks for repeating this formula. Just do it.
This is a constituency that Labour has controlled and neglected for umpteen years - they have managed to balance the anti-nuclear views of their party or leader by always claiming "They'll never be able to close it" about Sellafield and thus blinker the views of many associated with the plant. This time with Moorside plant up for grabs they were not able to play the "they'll never close it" card. Video of Corbyn's real views on Nuclear were lethal.
West Cumbrians are pretty stoic about their lot - they actually have become used to sub-standard services be it schools, hospitals and in fact anything on a list provided by a government as it has always tended to be second rate in Copeland, so the NHS card was something of an empty threat - reinforcing it with some pretty horrific literature was not wise from Labour.
I think the message I picked up was that people were fed up with the status quo - they aspire to more than "services". They want quality jobs and a life worth living rather than worrying about a waiting list and dare I say it in Trudy they saw a LOCAL who wanted the same things and someone who has a RECORD of getting things done. She doesn't look and sound like a politician, she is not an Oxford PPE Policy wonk, she doesn't lecture to the folks she met, she reflects them.
So complacency from Labour, overstated emphasis on "services" and a superb candidate all arrived at the same time when people were up for change contributed to a victory. I don't think Copeland is that unique - there are dozens of Northern seats like this indoctrinated to believe they can only aspire to "services" - ripe for quality local candidates to offer a vision.