UK election goes down to the wire

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, June 5th, 2017 - 57 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, iraq, uk politics, war - Tags:

Who would have thought even two weeks ago that Labour had a chance of winning the UK election.

It was meant to be a foregone election.  Theresa May’s Conservatives were meant to crush all before them, achieve an increased majority and then proceed to dismantle the last vestiges of the UK’s involvement in the Common Market not to mention the Labour Party.

And Labour would then have a terrible choice.  Continue with Corbyn after the election despite his clear shortcomings or dump him and install some careerist Blairite.  Either choice it was predicted would result in the devastation if not the destruction of Labour.

But some strange things have been happening.

First of all and no matter what happens this has been Corbyn’s campaign.  He has done something very simple.  He has gone out and talked to the people and presented a comprehensive progressive policy platform.  Memo to all wanna be politicians.  Be yourself, talk about what you want to achieve and keep it simple and honest.

In stark contrast Theresa May has attempted to run the most sterilised of campaigns.  She has held herself out as being a strong leader while refusing to engage in any debates.  She has stuck to her strategy despite it clearly not working.  Her policy platform which contained for a short while the much derided dementia tax has not helped and reinforced the perception of the Conservatives being an uncaring party only interested in improving the plight of the rich.

And even the terrorist attacks on London and Manchester may not been helpful for the Conservatives in the way that such attacks traditionally benefit the tough right wing pro tough on terrorists party.  Because one of Corbyn’s main campaign themes, that is the damage being caused by austerity, is very relevant when it is considered that the Conservatives have cut thousands of police jobs and run down the health system.  There is nothing more likely to show the importance of these areas of public infrastructure than a terrorist attack that results in multiple fatalities and injuries.

And this next point needs to be repeated and repeated as Corbyn has been doing for many years.  The most sure fire way of creating terrorism is to oversee the destruction of countries.

Theresa May also has some questions to ask. Since 9/11 Saudi Arabia has been implicated in all sorts of action including support for Al Qaeda and ISIS yet America and the United Kingdom continue to have very cordial relations with that country. And a report prepared for the UK Government on this very issue will almost inevitably be buried at least until after the election.

From the Guardian:

An investigation into the foreign funding and support of jihadi groups that was authorised by David Cameron may never be published, the Home Office has admitted.

The inquiry into revenue streams for extremist groups operating in the UK was commissioned by the former prime minister and is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis.

The investigation was launched as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in exchange for the party supporting the extension of British airstrikes against Islamic State into Syria in December 2015.

Tom Brake, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, has written to the prime minister asking her to confirm that the investigation will not be shelved.

The Observer reported in January last year that the Home Office’s extremism analysis unit had been directed by Downing Street to investigate overseas funding of extremist groups in the UK, with findings to be shown to Theresa May, then home secretary, and Cameron.

However, 18 months later, the Home Office confirmed the report had not yet been completed and said it would not necessarily be published, calling the contents “very sensitive”.

A decision would be taken “after the election by the next government” about the future of the investigation, a Home Office spokesman said.

Donald Trump’s claim that more permissive gun laws would have prevented the attack and his criticism of Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan may not be helpful to May.

And the polls continue to narrow. The latest Mail on Sunday Survation Poll has the Conservatives ahead by only 1%. Yougov’s latest analysis has the Conservatives ahead by 4%.

Nate Silver has reviewed recent polls and still thinks that the Conservatives are likely to win.  But his post shows how split recent poll results are.  While there may be a liberal bias in the polls and May is safer than people think the mere fact that the polls are all over the place suggest that nothing can be taken for granted.

In recent election after recent election we have seen dramatic swings and unpredictable results.  Politics as usual is no longer working the way it used to.  And this week who knows, Jeremy Corbyn may have a chance of forming a Government.

Who would have predicted this three weeks ago?

57 comments on “UK election goes down to the wire”

  1. saveNZ 1

    Good luck for a win for Corbyn and a reversal from right wing politics that is making the world a more dangerous, divided, polluted, less transparent, more corrupt and poorer place….

    • 808state 1.1

      A reversal from Globalist politics you mean.

      Corbyn is the Bernie of Britain, who was the Trump of the American Left.

      And just like Bernie and Trump, Corbyn is not suppose to be in the game.

      A win for Corbyn would be another blow to the Globalists from the rising force of Populism.

      Western democracies will see a continuing rise of Populism as voters swing wildly Right and Left as they reach for a big stick to punish the unresponsive technocratic elites for the intractable crisis they create/can’t solve – flatlined growth, 3rd World immigration, environmental degradation etc.

  2. Ad 2

    Mickey, could you organize a bar for us to consider the results?

  3. saveNZ 3

    Faces of the mega-rich Tory donors helping raise £19,000 an hour to get Theresa May back into power

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/mega-rich-donors-helping-tories-10447619

  4. Andre 4

    It could indeed be that Corbyn is the right leader for Labour to get a boost from the attacks.

    He’s got a long consistent history of advocating a different approach than blowing shit up in other countries and screwing over the strugglers trying to make a new life in the UK. If the mood in the UK becomes “time to try something different coz more of the same isn’t working”, he’s got the record to be a credible different alternative.

  5. Bill 5

    Who would have predicted this three weeks ago?

    A-hem. And now I’m away for a happy play in me sand-pit 🙂

  6. gsays 6

    ” Labour would then have a terrible choice. Continue with Corbyn after the election despite his clear shortcomings or dump him and install some careerist Blairite. Either choice it was predicted would result in the devastation if not the destruction of Labour.”

    What I don’t understand Mickey, is why going with Corbyn as leader will destroy the Labour party.
    Despite the noise and ignorance from guardian reading, Blair fan MPs, surely these polls show the great unwashed are sick of the status quo.

    What is so wrong about having key industries nationalised? E.g. power, gas, water, internet, prison services…
    Maybe, as Jonathon pie has pleaded, people are voting for policies.

    • weka 6.1

      Blairites within Labour hate socialism and would rather the party suffered than be changed.

      • Andre 6.1.1

        You really reckon that’s the source of opposition to Corbyn within Labour? Or maybe it’s just a deeply held belief that overt socialism is unelectable and therefore an overtly socialist leader makes Labour unelectable and that a slower centrist path is the much better chance to make progressive changes? (A belief that’s hopefully about to be proven wrong)

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          By Blairite I was short-handing people who believe socialism is unelectable and want a centrist platform. Do you think there is a difference between third way people and those who prefer a slower centrist path to progressive change? (I’m sure there are subsets to those who oppose Corbyn). I’m not sure progressive change is possible via a centrist position, isn’t it by definition status quo?

          • Andre 6.1.1.1.1

            “I’m not sure progressive change is possible via a centrist position, isn’t it by definition status quo?”

            Well, look how far NZ has shifted with 9 years of a “centrist” government. If it can go one way slowly and steadily, it can go the other way slowly and steadily.

            Personally, when the indications are that a party wanting to take a big leap is unelectable, I’ll swallow hard and accept the slow patient route as a better choice than moving the wrong way. So I’m not about to bag elected representatives that take that approach. But I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, and I suspect most of the centrist Labour representatives would be too.

            That view kind of evolved out of seeing Hillary try the big leap approach with US healthcare (and fail), and the Democrats getting hammered for it in the next mid-terms, then Bill developing the “triangulation” approach to try to get some movement in a progressive direction.

            • weka 6.1.1.1.1.1

              National aren’t a centrist government. The Overton Window and how it has shifted tells us that, but do do National’s policies.

              Tell me, if you were able to vote in the UK who would you vote for?

              • Andre

                As far as I can tell, in the electorate National are generally seen to be centrist. And in politics, image is just about everything.

                Who would I vote for in the UK? I would really want to vote Green, but in the end I would vote for whichever candidate out of Greens, Labour, LibDem, SNP that was most likely to beat the Conservatives (or UKIP if they were a leader) in the electorate I was in. Even if that meant voting for a recidivist Blairite (with my hazmat gear on).

                • mickysavage

                  Haha in Scotland I would almost vote SNP. Otherwise Labour mostly …

                • weka

                  “As far as I can tell, in the electorate National are generally seen to be centrist. And in politics, image is just about everything.”

                  Sorry, but in the context of this conversation that is a nonsense. You’re saying that there is no political reality beyond the image. So policy, where NZ has been in previous decades, how NZ fits into an international political context, none of those things matter. The party with the biggest budget for PR gets to define what is left or right.

                  I don’t believe that in the electorate that is true. You’d have to ask people about things like values and history. What you’re talking about is MSM infotainment and spin, that’s not actual politics despite how much it affects politics now. And sure, Corbyn’s lot have got some good PR people now, but the reason they are shifting things is because of social democratic policy (or whatever it’s called) and because he is a genuine person.

          • Incognito 6.1.1.1.2

            I’m not sure progressive change is possible via a centrist position, isn’t it by definition status quo?

            That’s an interesting point weka.

            I am no political purist or pedant and I have always associated “the centre” with being ‘moderate’, i.e. not necessarily against (progressive) change but in small measured steps if you know what I mean. I thought the centre would thus be the base or starting position from which change could or would come. In addition, the (political) centre is not an immobile, inert and absolute point but itself changes over and with time. I guess I’m showing my (political) naïvety again 😉

            • weka 6.1.1.1.2.1

              I’m thinking centre in this case is Peter Dunne, who by definition doesn’t want progressive. He wants to hold the left and the right in balance, and he wants to stop the Overton Window shifting back left again.

              My own view is that change comes from the edge, and the centre adapts around those new ideas and actions. Conservatives (where the centre is currently) resist that because they are by nature conserving the status quo and uncomfortable with radical change. There is value in that when the centre is further left, but not when it is as far right as it is currently. So in that sense I understand what you mean about change being able to happen slowly from the centre, just not when the centre is off balance.

              I suspect that the flaw in this discussion is trying to argue on a flat line. We call neoliberalism RW, but I think it’s something else entirely. Third way perhaps, and we still haven’t come to terms with it.

              • Andre

                Seems to me Dunne is the ultimate example of a status-quo-ist. He found a comfy spot with Labour and was able to slide that over into a comfy spot with National. He doesn’t want to move anything anywhere.

                Whereas Key was quite happy and effective in moving things with slow steady pressure from a centrist position, so he never appeared to be very far from a centrist position. But look how far he shifted the centre. ACT out on the edge weren’t driving any change, Key just used them as a useful tool to justify some of his faster moves further from the centre.

              • Incognito

                Thanks.

                It seems to me that it is entirely possible to be a centre party and make policies that go in either direction whilst the political ‘centre of gravity’ doesn’t move (too) much. Some ideas, for want of a better word, are orthogonal to the political Left-Right axis.

                I think many people are quite moderate in their beliefs and actions with the odd ‘solar flare’ at the edges of their thinking & behaviour; a loop that is fixed at both ends. This metaphor could easily be taken further …

        • swordfish 6.1.1.2

          Andre “You really reckon that’s the source of opposition to Corbyn within Labour?”

          Blair (in the run-up to the 2015 Labour Leadership Election):

          The Independent: Tony Blair says he wouldn’t want a left-wing Labour party to win an election

          Tony Blair has said he would not want a left-wing Labour party to win a general election. The former prime minister said that even if he thought a left-wing programme was the route to victory, he would not adopt one.

          The wonderful old showbiz chanteuse also suggested:

          The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below … If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation.

          And, if I remember rightly, he and other Blairite / Brownite critics of Corbyn put a specific figure on that putative “rout”, suggesting he’d drive Labour support down well below 20% at the following Election if he was still leading.

          • Andre 6.1.1.2.1

            It takes a really special kind of arse to direct his intelligence agencies to sex-up the dossiers to justify going to war with a dimwitted Alfred E. Neuman lookalike.

            I suspect most of his acolytes aren’t in that league of arsery. Just entranced by his (former) ability to generate electoral success.

    • mickysavage 6.2

      What I don’t understand Mickey, is why going with Corbyn as leader will destroy the Labour party.

      I should clarify this. Corbyn’s clear shortcomings are his inability to play the game. If he wins being himself then great. If he loses then he is not good at playing the game, no matter how decent he is.

      If he loses badly then the Blairites will be after him and will stop at nothing. Civil war is likely to destroy the Labour Party.

      If he loses honourably then they will not be able to do this.

      And I agree with you about the policies …

      • Incognito 6.2.1

        By “playing the game” do you mean uniting the caucus?

      • weka 6.2.2

        Micky, do you believe it is a short-coming of JC’s to not be good at playing the game?

      • gsays 6.2.3

        Cheers, Mickey.
        For me one person’s ‘shortcomings’ are another’s breath of fresh air.

        As opposed to Mays Crosby textor scripted utterances, clearly out of her depth if spontaneity should occur.

        I get Corbyn can come across as not all over all detail, however in the few times I have watched him, his sincerity shines through.

        ‘It’s the vibe’.

  7. dukeofurl 7

    What hasnt worked for the Tories is a campaign designed by Crosby where the Conservatives push so called ‘red Tory’ or ‘labour Lite’ policies designed to capture labour leaning voters- while all the while having the usual harsh measures against working people hidden behind the curtain.
    Lot of publicity material apparently doesnt even mention the word ‘Conservative’ , instead focusing on May’s name and image

    The poor Tory polling in the last weeks of the campaign will have sent national in NZ into a bit of a spin as they have done much the same- from the same advisors.
    While the electorate system may yet save May, in NZ MMP works differently
    ( stangely Scotlands parliament version of MMP ended up giving the SNP more seats than their share of the vote as they used a regionalised list MPs)

    • mickysavage 7.1

      If Labour in the UK wins then Labour in NZ needs to get real staunch real quickly. And mean it.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.1.1

        ….and even if UK Labour only nearly wins, NZ Labour has a HUGE lesson to learn.

        Turn left (or at least socialist) for victory!

      • Bill 7.1.2

        On the basis that politicians and their views/prejudices are a wee bit more set than say if we were asking what they’d like from today’s menu at the restaurant, – what you reckon the chances of a shift with that 40% controlling “lock” in place?

        Every instance of a shift (with the exception of Trudeau’s “rhetoric and no substance” outflanking the left in Canada) has come from an influx of members who have been able to exert real influence.

        To (ahem) labour the point, anything over 40 members in NZ Labour is a waste of time and energy because that “lock” means they can never have any influence exceeding that would be had by 40 members. (Best scenario is 40 members who are all reading from the exact same page – and even then, they will not be able to push change)

        Is there anything on the cards that is going to remove that 40/40/20 piece of nonsense?

  8. Adrian Thornton 8

    Has anyone heard anything from Little or NZ Labour regarding Corbyn of late?
    Would be interesting to hear what they are thinking about this turn of events…

    • Anne 8.1

      I suspect they’re waiting to see what happens Adrian. If UK Labour wins or comes within a whisker of winning, I’m looking forward to NZ Labour showing less timidity and coming out fairly and squarely on the side of socially progressive policy. They’re more than halfway there (thanks in part to David Cunliffe) so they haven’t too far to go now.

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    I predicted about a week ago that if the race continued to be close, to expect to see more terrorist attacks, which there has now been. Serious thought has to be given as to who is behind these attacks and why an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organisation would prefer to have a hardline government in power in Britain. With the exception of acts of lone individuals, terrorist groups need a patron to support and assist them. Who are the patrons for these attacks. Saudi Arabia, Quatar and Turkey are among the states supporting ISIS. When I think of Saudi Arabia, I think of arms sales and oil. Would Saudi Arabia prefer a Conservative or Labour government? I would think the former. Just speculation but given Britain is now the second biggest arms exporter in the world and one of the major suppliers in the Middle East there would be a few people who want the election to go a certain way.

  10. mosa 10

    The only way of helping rid the world’s social democrat parties of neo liberalism including our own is a strong clear result for a socialist alternative that is elected and supported by the people in the British general election.

    That would be a start.

  11. David Mac 11

    Policy aside, I wonder if there is a world wide fashion for favouring the underdog. All cultures do to a degree but is our median mindset sliding that way?

    Back the ‘They haven’t got a hope’ for no better reason than ‘They’re not supposed to have a hope.’

    I’m not suggesting Corbyn’s platforms aren’t stimulating voters, I think there is an underdog factor at play too. After the treatment he received from his party and he has hung in there, it’s a good underdog story.

    Same as here, the man in the street can’t name 3 key Labour policies, I think the give terrier Jeremy a go aspect is a factor in his new found popularity.

  12. David Mac 12

    I think the same dynamic can be applied to Andrew but for all the right reasons. Rather than withstanding a volley of 1000 arrows from his friends. Andrew has brought a culture of unity to the Labour Party that it hasn’t seen since Helen.

    There is an important difference between the 2 ways Helen and Andrew instill harmony. Both are effective but one has a life-span. Fear works great, for a period. The opposite of fear is love. Nobody is scared of Andrew, he needed to do it with love.

    Wow there are some strong spirits in that Labour shadow caucus. All pushing and pulling in different directions under the roof of our broad whare. I’d struggle to get 2 of them seeing eye to eye. Little has done it. Brought unity and love to that band of hot-heads. Anyone that can do that, running a country is easy.

    • Anne 12.1

      Andrew has brought a culture of unity to the Labour Party that it hasn’t seen since Helen.

      He has indeed and he did it despite the volley of a 1000 arrows from the MSM. They willed him to fail and he didn’t. If he can wield together a disparate party like Labour into a cohesive force for good, then he can do it for the country as a whole. He has the makings of a strong and forceful leader and – like Helen Clark – he doesn’t abide fools. A point (imo) which is very much in his favour.

  13. Ad 13

    “We just needed another four weeks”
    (Drink)

    “It was The Guardian’s fault”
    (Drink)

    “It was the Blairite’s fault”
    (Drink)

    “It was MI6 planting the terrorist attacks that did it”
    (Drink)

    “We were never going to win against the media”
    (Drink)

    “They just don’t understand”
    (Drink)

    Could be a long night.

  14. Sanctuary 14

    Central to the revolt against the managerialist liberal centre in Europe and the USA is the impact of the GFC. It cannot be overstated how well NZ came through this crisis compared to Europe and the USA – largely due to the financial stewardship of Michael Cullen, remember Brash was screaming for tax cuts and he would have blown the lot and borrowed for more just as the crisis hit. Europe, especially the PIIGS, and the US was badly hit. Ten years on and all that can be promised is still endless austerity. After ten years of little or no recovery, the precariat and the poor is now in open electoral revolt against the technocrats and managers of the middle class across the US and Europe.

    Isolated from the great centres of ideas, with an intellectually sterile cadre party model, hobbled for the last decade with neoliberal deadwood and with no great choate engine of popular anger the NZ Labour party is becalmed ideologically in the 1990s and, as it sees it, without any great economic crisis to undermine the validity of the current ruling consensus it still sees itself merely as alternate managers the neoliberalism.

    It is a pity, because the public is (and always has) been hungry not just for sterile messages of technocratic competence but also for messages of hope. More to the point, socialism can only exxist with hope for a better future. What is socialism, if it isn’t about a theory of scientific progression to a better future? As demonstrated by Corbyn, all Labour has to do to get out of the polling doldrums is announce a few actually socialist policies aimed at the vast bulk of the population.

    • Bill 14.1

      Putting aside the analysis that the GFC may well have simply been a N. Atlantic FC, and also putting aside notions of socialism in a parliamentary setting…

      Maybe that’s all that “they” have – sterile messages of technocratic competence?

      You can’t fake values and conviction. Anyone who ever tries gets tripped and hammered because their ‘nice sounding’ stuff has no anchor or grounded reference point. That has huge implications for the notion that “they” simply roll out policies aimed at the vast bulk of the population.

      The fact that “they’ve” happily played the role of being alternate managers the neoliberalism these past however many years, strongly suggests “they” simply don’t possess suitable values (values don’t get put in a drawer and packed away for a rainy day).

      So we’re back to a possible influx of politically engaged people getting into parties and forcing various hands or wedging factions or whatever – but in the case of Labour, any influx thumps against that 40% mechanism that serves as an effective means of containment (vivre le status quo!) 👿

    • RedLogix 14.2

      Nicely written Ad.

      But as Bill says, they lack all conviction.

  15. Phil 15

    In stark contrast Theresa May has attempted to run the most sterilised of campaigns. She has held herself out as being a strong leader while refusing to engage in any debates. She has stuck to her strategy despite it clearly not working.

    Regardless of Corbyn’s pros-‘n’-cons, it’s apparent now that the Tory’s have run a terrible campaign and May has, to put it bluntly, shit the bed.

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