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A Very British Jamboree

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, April 18th, 2015 - 33 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags: , ,

Yesterday, the Guardian headlined its UK Election reports with Ed Miliband’s rejection of a coalition with the SNP in the case of a hung parliament. That’s all very good, except for the small detail that the SNP aren’t seeking a coalition deal with Labour. Notably, Ed refused to state that Labour would cast a vote of no confidence in the event that the Tories sought to form a minority government off the back of being the largest party in Westminster post election.

 Meanwhile, with UK polls flipping around the low to mid 30% mark for both the Labour and Conservative parties, a Vote Swap initiative has been launched for constituencies in England. The idea is that Green and Labour voters arrange to swap their votes with one another across marginal constituencies in order to boost the total number of Green and Labour wins. I mischievously pointed out to a Green Party friend in the UK that depending on the lie of the land in her constituency, she’d be better to vote Tory if she wants progressive policies pursued after the election. The logic is that the progressive parties (SNP, Green and Plaid Cymru) will have much more leverage in Westminster if Labour come out of the election as the second largest party.

 Meanwhile, Lord Ashcroft (yes, that Lord Ashcroft), on the basis that latest polling shows the Labour Party in Scotland now on track to lose even their safest seats, is appealing to Conservative voters in Scotland to cast their vote for Labour in order to thwart the SNP.

 An indication of the magnitude of the shift in voting intentions since the 2010 UK election is that the Lib Dems had almost twice as many seats in Scotland as did the SNP (11 to 6). Now it looks as though the SNP will have about double the number of seats of the Lib Dems on a UK wide basis, even though only people in Scotland can vote for the SNP.

 On UK membership numbers, the SNP is now the third largest party in the UK (over 100 000) and Labour in Scotland are facing the possibility of being obliterated. To my mind, that takes some doing; to go from the party that has a cast iron, inter-generational ‘Labour’s in my blood’ vote to….gone?… in five short years…

 Interestingly, the fear card that both the Tories and Labour have played over the SNP having real power in Westminster hasn’t played out very well. Apparently, one of the largest google searches after the first UK Leader’s debate was English voters trying to find out if they could vote SNP. And in the latest debate a London studio audience greeted Ed Miliband’s reticence toward SNP overtures with…cheers for Nicola Sturgeon (1hour 23min and 45 sec)

 I confess that I don’t usually follow elections very closely. But the prospect of progressive parties in the UK having the leverage to stop austerity dead in its tracks and, as I see it, signal an end to the legacy of Thatcher and Reagan/Thatcher neo-liberal economic dogma (labelled Rogernomics here) has my interest piqued. There will be ripples coming our way.

 And so, on the morning of May 8th, I reckon I might have me lined up a liquid breakfast, watch the results coming in and raise a glass to the palpable fear I expect to see emanating from Cleg, Miliband, Cameron and the British Establishment in general. I’ll also raise a glass to the prospect of the NZ Labour Party taking note and getting its shit together for the 2017 campaign, although, on this second point, I won’t be holding by breath.

 

33 comments on “A Very British Jamboree ”

  1. whateva next? 1

    UK seems to be forced into MMP, despite being a FPP country, whereas NZ, an MMP country has tipped back into a FPP style (Team Key and his cronies who are token “other parties” only)

  2. adam 2

    I do worry about a Grand Coalition – when Labour will join with the Tories, and block out the parties on the left. War with ISIS or some such like – will be the excuse.

    Your suggestion seems more the reality though Bill – where by labour, just let the Tories form a minority government.

    • Murray Rawshark 2.1

      “I do worry about a Grand Coalition – when Labour will join with the Tories, and block out the parties on the left. War with ISIS or some such like – will be the excuse.”

      I think it’s slightly less likely to be formalised with Little in charge than it was with Goff or Shearer.

      • adam 2.1.1

        I was talking the UK election. But true it is a fear for Kiwis as labour are a tad untrustworthy.

        • Murray Rawshark 2.1.1.1

          How could I have made such a mistake? I even wrote my comment with a straight face.

    • DS 2.2

      There is zero chance of a Grand Coalition. UK Labour are raised on nightmare stories of Ramsay MacDonald and the betrayal of 1931,

  3. swordfish 3

    5 of the 6 major UK Election Forecast Models currently have the Parties of the Left/Centre-Left (not including the LibDems or Sinn Fein) winning a majority of seats.

    3 of the 6 suggest Lab will receive more seats than the Tories, 3 suggest the opposite. So it’s important for those interested in the up-coming Election to remember that it’s not simply about which of the 2 major parties wins the most seats or receives the highest percentage of the vote.

  4. dukeofurl 4

    I notice that quite a few labour mps and candidates belong to the cooperative party- which has its roots in the coop movement.

    Is it sort of a party within a party or just a regional grouping for election purposes ?

  5. Ecosse_Maidy 5

    The Westminster Elite are going to throw everything at Nicola Sturgeon and The SNP over the next three weeks. She represents all that they do not and they will employ the same shabby tactics of smear and fear to try to preserve the old order, either themselves or the right wing media.

    Sturgeon has presented her self to a wider, outside Scotland audience, as a progressive left alternative and you know what? They happen to like it.
    This provides the Establishment with another problem….
    How dare you new comer, voice progressive socialism in the rest of The UK!
    How dare you upset our mantra that Cuts are absolutely necessary and that there is an alternative!
    Now this happened during The Referendum campaign, and the SNP, Sturgeon, Salmond, Hosie were all trashed by the No campaign….Yet many Scots saw through it, not quite enough…Yet enough to electrify and connect Scots to The Political & Democratic Process..Hence the aftermath of The Referendum, the surge to 100,000 members and having to book one of the biggest public venues in Scotland, The Hydro in Glasgow, to accommodate a block of them in…..
    On that night, Strugeon was bigger than Coldplay.

    Its going to get really ugly now in the next few weeks….
    Tactical voting incentives will be invited for ConDemLabour voters to vote as one in Scotland to keep the SNP out .
    South of the Border,,,,Cameron, Crosby and The Posh Elite will espouse a message of Vote Tory, to keep a Labour-SNP understanding and prevent them from locking Cameron out of No10.

    I have confidence the slur and tactical nonsense will not work north of the border, They have been there before and will smell the fear of their opponents and the SNP will prevail, to return a large number of MPs to Westminster.

    The question is, Can that also be the case in the English Shires and Small Minority Labour Seats?…..I would like to believe it will, inspite of the incoming smear, fear mongering that will be being lined up by Crosbys PropaGander Machine.

    Time shall tell, howver I echo Bills sentiment, that man it would be so refreshing if something of that ilk occured here in NZ, either within Labour or Not.

  6. mickysavage 6

    Thanks Bill. The vote swap initiative sounds really interesting. If only something similar could work over here …

    • Bill 6.1

      The Vote Swap thing doesn’t actually bear any scrutiny.

      There are, to my knowledge, no marginal constituencies where the the situation is the Greens and someone else, but plenty where it’s Labour and someone else. So a boost to Labour votes might translate to there being another Labour mp in some places. But a boost to Green votes won’t translate into any Green mps anywhere.

      When I suggested to my friend that she might consider using it to vote Tory I was, yes, being mischievous, but also quite serious. The best prospect for progressive policies in the UK is if Labour come in second.

      As an aside, I’ve kind of wondered whether that bullshit Daily Telegraph claim (that Sturgeon and the SNP wanted Cameron in Downing Street) was a deliberate mis-interpretation of that fairly obvious thought being expressed.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        I guess not although I am sure there are a few Labour supporters thinking of voting for Greens Leader Caroline Lucas.

        I thought the suggestion that the SNP would support Cameron was a figment of Crosby Textor’s imagination. Of course as you pointed out previously Labour could pledge to cancel Trident and there would be no need for an austerity package.

        • Bill 6.1.1.1

          The claim could just as likely have been a ham-fisted attempt by Labour to dissuade Scottish voters from voting SNP. I really do believe they are so out of touch as to make that a possibility. (The ‘leak’ came from the civil service btw – some-one in The Scottish Office which is an arm of the British Civil Service)

          Caroline Lucas (ex Green Party leader – Natalie Bennet is the current leader) has a majority of over 1200 in Brighton. That’s only going to increase. No need for help from Labour voters.

          Natalie Bennet is standing in Holborn and St Pancras. Labour have a majority of roughly 10 000 over the Lib Dems there. Last time around, Bennet only got 2.7% of the vote (~1500).

          I’ve had a quick search of the most marginal seat Camborne and Redruth…(Greens not in the running) and then had a look at their overall performance last time around. Lucas aside, they averaged less than 1000 votes per candidate.

          When I went to their website they had a ‘Campaigns to Watch’ section. A quick look through suggests they need Lib Dem voters to come over in huge numbers…in their thousands. Possible I guess. Very fcking unlikely though.

          • mickysavage 6.1.1.1.1

            Caroline Lucas (ex Green Party leader – Natalie Bennet is the current leader)

            Dang right you are.

            The whole situation makes you appreciate MMP although the SNP has the potential of having ACT or UF type power and they are doing it all by themselves!

            • dukeofurl 6.1.1.1.1.1

              There is certainly talk about tactical voting in Scotland.

              “Alex Salmond faces a backlash in his battle to win Gordon, with Labour and Conservative supporters urged to vote Liberal Democrat to keep Scotland’s former first minister out of the House of Commons.” Independent

              Its currently a 30 year Libs seat

              “A campaign group, United Against Separation (UAS), has been asking voters across Scotland to ignore their loyalties and instead vote for whichever party stands the best chance of beating the SNP in each seat.” Independent

  7. Rotten Borough 7

    Vote Adder !

  8. CJess 8

    That’s a great piece, as usual Bill. I too will be watching the results come on 8 May with more interest than I’ve had in a decade or so. re Labour in Scotland though, their vote has been gradually declining at Scottish level since 2000-2002. (IMO a combination of the Iraq War and the effects of actually having devolution.)

    Though they’ve been returned en masse to Westminster in 2005 and 2010 much of that is on the back of declining turnout. At Holyrood their vote declined so much that the SNP had a minority government in 2007 and a majority government (with MMP) in 2011 – though there was also a decline in turnout there.

    That Labour took no notice of this decline, and that they appeared to retain the arrogance of assuming they are the “natural party” of Scotland are big contributors to the rapid decline after the disaster that was Better Together, and the surge for the SNP. Given that only 45% of the electorate voted for independence, the numbers who appear to intend to vote SNP on 7 May must also include a number of “no”voters – many of whom have been voting SNP at Holyrood elections for years. (15% of SNP supporters were polled as being likely no voters last year).

    Unfortunately seeing the headlines from the Ed Milliband interview in the Guardian today it seems that the UK leadership are trying more to attract the Tory/UKIP vote than they are to get back their lost progressive/left vote. I can only assume that will be a further boost for the SNP in Scotland. It’s helping me decide that’s for sure.

    • Bill 8.1

      Read the interview. My head hurts.

      There’s a peppering of left wing stuff in there…Syria, stating that any talk of an SNP coalition was a nonsense put out by his opponents (true)…

      He says he’s going for conservative Tories, Lib/Dems and UKIP voters. Well, he’s nowhere else to go having lost the progressive left vote. Admitting that, may well boost votes for progressive parties, although I just can’t see how the Greens can make headway in England. Plaid Cymru can maybe, just maybe, pick up 3 seats in Wales (probably only one). 50+ seats for the SNP in Scotland looks far more likely now than it did not so long ago…and if he’s now thrown ‘the wee ginger dug, (Murphy the Blairite) under a double decker in Scotland, well….

      Anyway, on the basis that he was pilloried as being too far to the left when he became leader, is there an outside chance he secretly welcomes the prospect of a progressive bloc in Westminster giving him the excuse to move Labour left?

      Probably not.

      Think I’ll just let my head hurt 😉

      • swordfish 8.1.1

        In the latest Scottish leaders Debate, Murphy occasionally reminded me of a criminally-insane axe murderer trying his darndest to appear normal in Court by unconvincingly regurgitating a series of well-rehearsed lines.

        As George Eaton in the New Statesman points out, Murphy has been forced into a 180 degree turn by the poll success of the anti-austerity SNP. He was one of Labour’s original fiscal hawks, in 2012 warning that the Party needed to avoid “shallow and temporary populism” and instead accept many of the Cameron Government’s cuts. Now forced to fight a desperate rear-guard action as Scotland’s centre of gravity shifts ever leftwards, Murphy’s now repeatedly pushing a resolutely anti-austerity message – a line which Miliband and Balls refuse to endorse.

  9. Once was Tim 9

    For Youses Info:
    there’s some sensible analysis by a guy called Kevin McKenna (from memory) who is a panelist on the latest Dateline London (BBC World News) on the whole SNP thing. I think he might be from The Observer (I was listening rather than watching) …. some pretty pertinent comments from him too on the state of the Middle East and Africa/refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Lampadusa

    • Bill 9.1

      Only viewable on a TV, yes? Googled and got the same old ‘only in UK’ player message. Or do you have a link?

  10. Once was+Tim 10

    Unfortunatey the link doesn’t seem to work for me either. It used to be ???bbc???.???/dateline london but it appears they’re making changes to their site still.
    As far as I can tell its repeated at 13.30 NZT on Sky 89. Thankfully I have a son who subscribes to Sky.
    Even the BBC World schedule pages aren’t as friendly as they used to be

    … PS http://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=dateline%20london is the link but doesn’t work for me these days either

  11. dukeofurl 11

    There seems to be the same wishful thinking about election outcomes as we had recently in NZ.

    We can see the same Crosby|Textor lines being used by the Tories.
    Brighter Future, on the brink of something great.

    Bill overegged the polls trying to imply there was a huge groundswell of opposition from candidates against Trident renewal when it was a CND self selecting survey.

    The election poll numbers I have seen seem to be ‘nationwide’ and SNP dont really show up as they dont have candidates outside Scotland ( ans where they will do very well).

    They really should have regional polling results as Cornwall doesnt vote like Newcastle and Wales Scotland Nth Ireland have different parties in play.

    AS well their FPP electorates arent adjusted regularly for population and from previous results can give labour more seats than if they are level pegging with the tories

    • Bill 11.1

      As I stated quite clearly on those Trident numbers, I was relaying what was being reported. I over-egged precisely nothing.

      On poll numbers, well of course the SNP don’t show up in UK wide polls. They’re buried somewhere in the x% of ‘others’. What you’re overlooking is that Scotland accounts for 59 seats at Westminster (down from 72). If, as expected, the Lib/Dems implode, then the SNP taking a tranche of those Scottish seats (as seems likely) will position them as the third largest political presence at Westminster.

      • dukeofurl 11.1.1

        Really .
        Around 12.5% of total candidates who answered CND survey, were 80% in favour ?

        is that what your headline said? Thats what 500 candiates out of around 4000 means.
        You didnt say it wasnt a random poll of candidates.

        I DID dig up a poll of labour candidates by a reputable polling company for the BBC who gave different results to your ‘CND survey’ ( regarding labour candidates)

        There is no doubt about Trident has big group opposed but it isnt a majority, using numbers to make it a majority is over over egging.

        • Colonial Rawshark 11.1.1.1

          Son of Trident is a bad waste of scarce tax payers money. Its another example of corporate welfare ahead of the welfare of the people, increases the insecurity of the UK, and further runs down the British Army.

        • Bill 11.1.1.2

          From the post…the headline was simply ‘Trident’ btw. No mention of numbers or sentiments or fuck all.

          Meanwhile, back in the real world, a whopping 81% of candidates from all parties contesting seats in the General Election who responded to a CND survey (500), are opposed to renewing Trident. The Scotsman (a right wing Scottish broadsheet) reports that 75% of Labour’s candidates oppose the renewal.

          500 mentioned in terms of those who responded.

          And in response to you question about the 75% reported by ‘The Scotsman’ , I supplied the link to The Newstatesman’ article that makes the claim.

          I didn’t claim, as you seem wont to imply, that a majority of Labour mps opposed. I reported that a majority of cross party respondees, who numbered 500, were opposed.

          As for the actual numbers and sentiments? Who knows. I guess we’ll find out in 2016 when the renewal vote comes up 😉

    • swordfish 11.2

      Dig down deep enough and you’ll find various regional breakdowns of UK polls (albeit broadly-defined regions – nothing as specific as County-by-County). There are no real surprises though – Labour’s heartland is, as always, the North (and increasingly, Greater London), the Midlands are relatively evenly-divided, the South (excluding London) is Tory territory (though not to the extent that it was 5 years ago).

      You’ll also find demographic breakdowns if you look hard enough.

  12. aerobubble 13

    ukip, wats that? monster raving loony party minus the funnies?

  13. Sable 14

    People are sick and tired of Labour. Who can blame them. An ersatz left party that now has more in common with the right. This applies in both NZ and the UK. Australia is little better. Hope SNP does well, they are decent people with an honest agenda.

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  • Speech to the Criminal Bar Association
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  • Awards support Pacific women
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