Interesting election May 5

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 pm, May 6th, 2011 - 15 comments
Categories: elections, uk politics - Tags:

Results are coming in for council elections in England and for the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies. The most interesting result will be the referendum on Alternative Vote for the whole  UK. It is likely to go down according to the polls. David Cameron came out strongly against it. He gained support from his backbench but there will be fallout for his coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The AV referendum was  their main reason for going into coalition.

Lord Ashdown has led the LibDem backlash against Cameron. As for the Tory backbench support, this comment perhaps sums up why things will not be smooth from here on:

One minister said: “It is naive to say that David should not have gone out and campaigned against a crappy electoral system that is a threat to our jugular. This shows what a superb political leader he is. The Lib Dems are duplicitous toerags, though I have to say they are very good ministerial colleagues.”

The Tories also aim to cut the number of seats under FPP, which will no doubt be a rural gerrymander. Ed Miliband supported Alternative Vote, which means he is taking a long view. Blair’s rejection of proportional representation early in the last Labour government was a crucial mistake in my view.

The Scottish Parliamentary election will also be interesting, with the Scottish Nationalists doing well at Labour’s expense.

15 comments on “Interesting election May 5”

  1. The Voice of Reason 1

    Outright wins for the SNP in Scotland and Labour in Wales. The SNP are promising a referendum on independence. Lib Dems deservedly thumped; can’t be long before Nick Clegg gets challenged. That puts the Cameron Government at some risk, I would have thought. I see the BNP have been caned, too. Good times!

    Not sure when the AV vote starts coming in, but I’m guessing it’ll be No by a length if only because Nick Clegg supports a Yes vote.

  2. Bill 2

    The potential for a referendum on full Scottish independence within 5 years makes the Scottish elections more than merely ‘interesting’.

    Labour have always relied on a large vote in Scotland to ‘carry them’ in UK elections. And if a referendum comes down on the side of independence 5 years from now, what then for Labour in the context of England and Wales?

    Not a single political commentator foresaw the magnitude of the SNP victory. They were meant to form a minority government with Labour a close run second. The SNP weren’t meant to have an outright majority as is looking to be the case.

    And just as the Labour Party here blithely turns a deaf ear to criticisms over its failure to speak for or to, its traditional constituencies, so it is in Scotland. And it looks like that arrogance and complacency; that degree of disconnect, just came back and took an almighty chunk out of their arse. And you don’t walk with half an arse.

    In the same vein that the Mana Party will be castigated and vilified at every turn, so it has been for the SNP. They, like the Mana Party, have negligible media and/or business support. They, like the Mana Party seek sovereignty and are very much to the left of Labour.

    Anyway, while acknowledging that there are massive differences in the political landscapes of NZ and Scotland, I guess it all goes to show that there are times when a lot of horses just grow sick and tired of getting scared.

    • rosy 2.1

      Not within five years, within this current parliament

      “Just as the Scottish people have restored trust in us, we must trust the people as well,” [Alex Salmond] declared. “Which is why, in this term of the parliament, we will bring forward a referendum and trust the people on Scotland’s own constitutional future.”

      Having said that, he also acknowledges a lot of the people who voted SNP this time don’t necessarily support independence.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        The upcoming parliamentary term will run for 5 years which is what he was referring to by saying ‘this term’ (he didn’t actually say current.

        “Jubilant at the “historic” scale of the SNP’s victories, Salmond said he would first demand much greater economic freedom for the Scottish parliament, including the right to set its own corporation tax and increase borrowing powers to £5bn. Then he would hold his referendum.”

        Last time there was a referendum (on devolution) was in ’78 (I think). Basically a majority of those who voted, voted in favour. But that wasn’t how democracy was intended to work out, so….the then Labour Westminster government decided that non-votes would count as ‘no’ votes.

        The current Assembly is seen by many as a ‘holding’ tactic.

        I guess a lot hinges on the wording of the referendum and whether Westminster makes moves to delegitimise it. The SNP have already said it wouldn’t be binding. And I guess that’s intended to overcome any constitutional objections.

        Funny, but last time I remember somebody trying to hold a non-binding referendum (Presidential term limits) was in Honduras and it led to a coup that some who claimed to be of the left were apologists for.

        • rosy

          Ah – I should have been clearer – he’s planning it for 3 to 4 years out. Interesting about the non-votes, they’ve got a lot of working out to do in terms of how it’s going to be run, and how to split the money. Apparently England think they’re supporting a bottomless pit of hopelessness that is Scotland but OTOH a report that was embargoed for 30 years show that if Scotland had have been independent and able to keep their oil money, people would be moving north for jobs by now, instead of south.

          • Bill

            And the SNP did get a clear majority.

            This is going to be interesting insofar as the UK government has embarked on a crazy strategy of austerity and holds many of Scotland’s purse strings. Meanwhile, the SNP are now going to seek to set corporate tax rates for Scotland and assume far greater borrowing powers before holding any referendum.

            As an aside, wonder what any break-up the UK would mean in relation to the Treaty?

            • rosy

              They certainly did! Cameron reckons he’ll fight with everything he’s got to keep the UK together – hmmm.

              I was talking to a man at Aberdeen airport a not so long ago, and he was giving me a bit of a run-down on the independence issues. It’s definitely not a forgone conclusion that a referendum will lead to independence, if he’s to be believed. However while I was there walking over broken pavements and seeing rubbish housing, as well as reading the embargoed ‘McCrone’ report I thought what have they got to lose? And maybe they’re thinking that as well, especially with added oil taxes in the last couple of months that threaten employment.

              As for the treaty – maybe that will be the opening for a republic – and let me dream…with the treaty principles at the heart of it.

            • Pascal's bookie

              As an aside, wonder what any break-up the UK would mean in relation to the Treaty?

              Pretty sure it means nothing. The fact that QE2 also happens to be the sovereign of Scotland at the moment is irrelevant to the treaty.

              Re Scotland, it’s a shame all the gas and fish have been eated already. Och well.

              • Colonial Viper

                Mined out their own lands and seas eh? Well I’m sure all the important people got rich off it by the time the good times ended.

              • Bill

                Yup. Just read that the Queen would stay as head of state. But the Treaty was with the British monarch…and Britain might not exist in a few years from now.

                And yup. Oil almost gone and fish almost gone. Who ate the gas? Anyway, on the up side, the SNP want all electricity being generated from renewable sources by 2020.

                • SHG

                  Britain is an island. Unless sea levels rise even more dramatically than predicted, it’s not going anywhere.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    No doubt the land will still be there, the nature of the society, social structures and constitutional arrangements might be a different story?

  3. I wondered how long it would take for Scotland to start drifting away from the rest of the UK after the Con/LibDem coalition announcement, and now the SNP victory will probably accelerate the process.

  4. John D 4

    Given that the UK is effectively ruled by Brussels, and will continue to hand over more and more sovereignty to this unelected bureaucracy, the results of the AV election are somewhat irrelevant.

  5. It’s hard to believe how much of a resounding NO the AV referendum got.

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