A Very British Coup?
May 7, 2015 12:56 AM   Subscribe

It's Election Day here in the UK and it's looking likely that neither party is going to win an outright majority of the seats in the house of commons: That being the case, are the conservatives and the right wing media machine in the UK already looking to manipulate the system to stay in power?

Although you can never tell, as there's always the chance of the Shy Tory factor bumping the lead of the conservative party.

Many believe that the Conservatives will win the most total seats, but will be outnumbered by a coalition of anti-Conservative MPs including Labour and the SNP. Ahead of the results day, the media and politicians from the right have begun a campain of delegitimising this coalition. Will the UK experience 'A Very British Coup'?

Lord Gus O’Donnell, the former cabinet secretary, has reminded David Cameron that he signed up to a Whitehall document that says the next prime minister will be the leader who commands the confidence of MPs, not which single party has the largest number of seats.

His remarks were then aimed at Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats (the Conservative's coalition partners) who has always said that the Lib Dems would talk to the leader of the largest party in the first place in coalition negotiations.

O’Donnell said: “The one thing we need to be aware of is people thinking that what Nick Clegg said last time constituted an iron law that only the biggest party, somehow defined either by seats or votes, gets to have the first say. That is not true.”

Owen Jones writes in the New Statesman:

"Our parliamentary system is quite straightforward. A government needs to be able to muster the support of the majority of sitting MPs in order to be legitimate. If it can survive a vote of no confidence, and most MPs back its Queen’s Speech – the government’s legislative programme – then its democratic legitimacy is unimpeachable. The magic number in order to govern – given Sinn Fein’s boycott of the Westminster parliament – is 323. But the Tories and their allies are arguing otherwise. They have told newspapers that they will “declare victory” if the party wins “most seats and votes”, and that Labour will have no “legitimacy” if it is the second party in terms of seats and needs to rely on the SNP. When Theresa May and the Mail on Sunday suggested that an SNP-backed Labour government would represent “the worst crisis since the abdication” – eclipsing the minor blip of the Nazi conquest of Europe – it was rightly mocked on Twitter. But this may well prove a mild foretaste of what is to come."

More on (playwright and dramatist) Dan Rebellato's blog:

"What I'm thinking is that the Tory strategy has not been focused on the pre-election campaign because it's been focused on the post-election campaign. They know there's going to be a hung parliament (this morning the Lib Dems claimed Cameron accepted he couldn't win weeks ago) and they're not really trying to win the popular vote. Instead, they are positioning themselves to stay in power by manipulating public opinion."

In case that was all terribly depressing, here's an impassioned video about the importance of voting and civic engagement from Owen Jones on the Guardian

Owen Jones: "As I say, the Tory campaign of fear or smear over Scotland could prove a success, allowing Cameron to return to No 10. If not, a very British coup will begin to unfold as soon as the polling stations close. It will have few opponents in the mainstream media. The left and the Labour movement will have to mobilise in great numbers. The health of our democracy and the future of our country will be at stake. "
posted by Cantdosleepy (672 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
Owen Jones is wrong. Now that we have the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the Queen's speech vote has no special status. The government can lose that vote, and still carry on.

Only a specific vote of "no confidence" can bring down the government.
posted by mr. strange at 1:04 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


just voted. Get out there people.
posted by psolo at 1:05 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I support Labour and am a daily Guardian reader to boot - but I am uncomfortable with this too ideologically partisan (Owen Jones? Good grief) and melodramatic General Election post.

(The title "A Very British Coup" is a phrase most associated in the UK with a fictional 1980s British novel and well-known TV drama of the same name which depicts a coup d'état against a far-left UK govt involving high profile assassination orchestrated by the intelligence services and ultimately a military overthrow with tanks on the streets. Seems a bit extreme to apply it here)
posted by Bwithh at 1:19 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


If not, a very British coup will begin to unfold as soon as the polling stations close

This is hyperbole. It'll just be a hung parliament and a coalition like last time, putting a sticking plaster over tensions within the ruling elites and efficiently sapping any dangerous political energy from the people. Finance capital prefers this even to outright fascism, and finance capital controls everything in the UK.

(Greetings from England's most marginal seat!)
posted by colie at 1:20 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Now that we have the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the Queen's speech vote has no special status. The government can lose that vote, and still carry on.

What? How the hell did that pass? Even Harper (may ticks infest his underwear) hasn't been that brazen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:25 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel like Jones is wrong, as long as Labour and the SNP stand strong in the face of the Tory/media criticism. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what the media says - what matters is how the votes go in the House. If Labour and the SNP can do a deal, then the Queen will be correctly advised to let them form a government.

The media and Tories can (and will) have a little cry about this, and a Labour/SNP government will have to face some fierce opposition, aimed at undermining them in the eyes of the public. But unless there are defections (as Jones suggests, but seems unlikely to me), I don't think he's right.

A prediction or two for you: UKIP and the Greens won't poll as well as expected (when people get into the polling booth and realise that their vote actually matters, and that the UKIP/Green candidate can't win, they'll vote for one of the big parties as the lesser of two evils).

Second: consider the outside chance that the Tories and the SNP can do a deal. I'm disappointed to see I'm not the first to say this. Happened here in NZ when a Maori nationalist party, formed as a splinter from the Labour party, ended up propping up a right-wing government when everyone expected it to go into an uneasy coalition with Labour.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:26 AM on May 7, 2015


What? How the hell did that pass?

The Fixed Term Parliaments Act is a very poor piece of legislation
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:27 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Owen Jones is wrong. Now that we have the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the Queen's speech vote has no special status. The government can lose that vote, and still carry on.

Only a specific vote of "no confidence" can bring down the government.


No, I don't think so. I believe losing the queens speech or budget would count as losing a vote of no confidence. Note that a no confidence vote does not necessitate a new election, and in fact the only thing that will do that is 2/3rds of parliament voting for it. So in other words, both Labour and the Cons admitting they can't govern. With Labour ruling out any sort of deal with the SNP, and the Cons poisoning the well, I think that might happen. The conservatives would probably be happy with that outcome: they are the only party which can afford another election in the next year.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:28 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm in two minds about voting. I probably will, but not without a hint of reluctance.

I don't want to be yet another of those apathetic voices whining away about how the parties are all the same. I want to be engaged in the civic life of this country and getting others engaged in it. But I can't shake off this feeling that by voting, I'm just giving my tacit approval to a knackered-out political system and a campaign that's been frankly bloody awful from all sides.

We have parties who are tinkering around the edges of the issues when what we really need is wholesale change in the way the country is run. For five years, we've had one of the worst governments in living memory. The constant barrage of cuts to public services, the instability of zero-hours contracts reducing us almost to serfs begging for work every week, the shit pay, the overheated housing market, the crumbling roads and trains and infrastructure, and the biggest elephant in the room - the environment. It's becoming such a depressing place to live and I can't see a way out through politics. People I know who lived through the miners' strike (and I mean lived through it, miners in Staffordshire and Yorkshire, not people who happened to be alive at the time in Reading or somewhere) say it's worse than Thatcher.

No party - not Labour, not the Liberal Democrats, certainly not the Tories - is making any sort of case for anything other than Business as Usual. Carry on with the neoliberal economic system, carry on with screwing over disabled people, old people, students, young workers, women, children. Carry on sending people to food banks because in one of the world's richest countries, we can't feed all of our citizens. Carry on ruining the environment and the social fabric of this country in the name of the gods of impossibly infinite Economic Growth. Carry on forcing us all to compete endlessly with each other for everything from money to jobs to homes. No one in the mainstream parties at this election is making any sort of move towards making this into the kind of country I want to live in - it's just more of the same old shite.

This is the constituency where I'm registered. It has a marginally wider selection of candidates than most, but realistically only Labour or the Conservatives are ever going to win it. If I thought it'd make a blind bit of difference, I'd vote Green. But in reality, I'm probably going to wander into the polling station, sigh, and put my X next to whatever's passing itself off as Labour these days.
posted by winterhill at 1:29 AM on May 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


Oh, didn't read that link. Huh. OK, that is really stupid.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:30 AM on May 7, 2015


I voted Green since I'm in a safe seat, would have voted Labour in a marginal.

Polling station seemed busy. I turned up at just after 7:05AM and there were already people ahead of me, had to wait a minute or so. Could be a high turnout.

Now that we have the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the Queen's speech vote has no special status. The government can lose that vote, and still carry on.

Only a specific vote of "no confidence" can bring down the government.


Technically. But you don't have a programme that you can pass. In reality you need to either come back with another Queen's Speech that the other parties will agree on, or resign.

This article is good on the details.

In theory, the (badly and hastily drafted) Fixed Term Parliaments Act raises the spectre of a minority "torturer party" that refuses to allow a new election to be called, but won't let the governing party govern by refusing to pass budgets and Queen's Speeches.

In practice though, that's unlikely. If the markets start trembling, it's likely that the other parties would combine to do something about it (pass a budget/QS, call a new election, repeal the FTPA). The torturer party's supporters would also be hit if there isn't a budget and the government stops paying salaries, or by whatever the executive can do to punish them.

I'm hoping there's a majority and we avoid this nonsense ( "oh we've just decided that the minority party with the most seats wins, hey look that's us!")

It's not that unlikely the polls are wrong. The average of polls is usually a couple of percent out. Bigger upsets also happen. This year in Israel Netanyahu won against the polls, in British Columbia a couple of years ago the polls were badly out, we all remember 1992 when Jom Major won unexpectedly. The actual result may be less tight than the polls predict.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:33 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


@Winterhill

I'm in Ireland and I feel pretty much the same. I vote for the least worst option. But we have people who constantly kowtow to vested interests, and maintain the same policies that screw people over time and time again. Our other option is voting for a bunch of unrealistic lunatics who don't have a plan other than 'hell no we won't do X and we'll spend money on Y and trust us, we'll get the money to pay for this somehow'.

I can't blame anyone for not voting in that situation.
posted by Swandive at 1:34 AM on May 7, 2015


No, I don't think so. I believe losing the queens speech or budget would count as losing a vote of no confidence. Note that a no confidence vote does not necessitate a new election, and in fact the only thing that will do that is 2/3rds of parliament voting for it

Cannon Fodder: that's not quite right I'm afraid.

There are two ways to call for a new election: a 2/3 vote that there should be an early election, or a regular majority vote of no confidence (unless the House votes confidence in a government within 14 days, so in this case you could change government without an election).

You're right that traditionally losing the Queen's Speech or Budget votes counted as losing a confidence vote. That's no longer the case. Which seems stupid to me. Though hopefully if a government lost such a vote, it would immediately face a confidence vote, enabling a new government or new election.

On preview I see you spotted this, and Theophile makes some very good points about how this would likely play out. But it's still a badly-drafted law dammit! :)
posted by Pink Frost at 1:36 AM on May 7, 2015


My word that is a bloody stupid law.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:42 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Go Labour and SNP!!
posted by persona au gratin at 1:43 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Second: consider the outside chance that the Tories and the SNP can do a deal

I would love to see a Nicola Sturgeon/David Cameron joint speech from the garden of 10 Downing St explaining exactly why they've decided to throw in together after such an unapologetic campaign of hatred between them over the campaign. Never say never but I think Sturgeon 'doing a Lib Dem' would really damage the SNP cause by calling a halt to the roll they've been on since the referendum.
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:45 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


British legal scholar Adam Tomkins gives his interpretations on the impact of the Fixed Terms Parliament act. There is more expertise here than I have seen in other articles.

By contrast, political playwright, James Graham, makes the point that the winner will be the leader who fashions the most compelling story - legality be dammed.

In more prosaic terms the BBC has invested in a new swingometer rated for higher tidal surges seen previously - to account for forecasted changes in Scotland. Rather than a stick on a nail - as in the 1960s. Swing is now seen as a multi-dimensional hip roll rather than a simple rocking motion.
posted by rongorongo at 1:54 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Second: consider the outside chance that the Tories and the SNP can do a deal

Fine, I'll say never. This is not gonna happen. Ever. I don't think you really appreciate how much Scotland hates the Tories. There is no way SNP will ever work with the Tories. There is no possible benefit for them to do so - "forming a functioning government" is actually not enough of a reason for a party whose purpose is to break up the union.
posted by like_neon at 1:55 AM on May 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


The chances of the SNP doing a deal with the Tories are zero.

Aside from the fundamental differences between the two parties, and the general toxicity of the Tories in Scotland, they have another election to fight in Scotland next year, and any overture to the Tories will not only never be forgiven by the majority of the Scottish electorate (as they are extremely aware), but they would also be handing Scottish Labour a perfect campaigning position to attack them from.
posted by pinacotheca at 1:58 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Second: consider the outside chance that the Tories and the SNP can do a deal

If the SNP do that they will be wiped out at the Scottish elections next May, and will become a political irrelevance. Scottish Labour are already talking about reconstituting themselves in a new form post-election so that they can put some distance between themselves and Westminster; the SNP would just be driving their latterday supporters back into their arms.
posted by rory at 2:00 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can't say much else with any degree of certainty, in this scary-arse election, but a Tory/SNP coalition is just never going to happen.
posted by skybluepink at 2:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


The coup is perhaps overselling things, I think the fears of an illegal power grab are a little delusional, but Conservative HQ are definitely working on post election strategy. If the Tories do not retain power then I expect to see Labour/SNP being absolutely monstered in the press. Every problem, real or imagined blown out of proportion.
Entirely fabricated claims of illegitimacy will be slung around and the various Murdoch papers will be doing their level best to drive a wedge between Labour and the SNP with the goal of another election within the year.
The Tories have deep pockets and can afford another election, no one else can.

And to add to the chorus, there is pretty much nothing more certain than the SNP never working with the Conservatives. They'd probably even work with UKIP before that happened.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:12 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


My only hope for anything good coming out of this election is that the media will start treating Nigel Farage and his party as the complete irrelevances they are. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
posted by threetwentytwo at 2:16 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's not a coup, that's Parliament.
posted by Segundus at 2:17 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Voted this morning, and got exit-polled for the first time, which was interesting.

I'm in a seat in Scotland that has been solid Labour for a while, but is looking like a possible SNP swing. It's going to be interesting that's for sure.

The extent to which the Tories and even Labour have undermined the democratic process with claims and counter-claims of legitimacy and extremely dangerous language that seeks to call into question processes which are the law of the land has actually managed to shock me. Being so desperate for power that you're willing to kick out the foundations of democracy so you can live in the ruins strikes me as the most imbecilic thing I can imagine. And these are the supposed cream of our country, half of whom studied the parliamentary system at Oxford.

If the rhetoric last year about how much they wanted us in the Union was even slightly true, they wouldn't be battering each other using the SNP as a stick. Because every poster with Alex Salmond picking an Englishman's pocket or Nicola Sturgeon being lambasted as the most dangerous woman in Britain is a direct kick in the face to the millions of people who decided they wanted to try and work to better Scotland's situation within the Union rather than outside it. It's telling us we don't actually matter, we are just the windy grouse moor at the end of the M6 that we feel like sometimes, and we'll continue to be ignored as long as we keep the oil and the whisky coming.

The Union is dead. And it wasn't the referendum that killed it, it was what Westminster did next and are doing now.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:20 AM on May 7, 2015 [33 favorites]


British legal scholar Adam Tomkins gives his interpretations on the impact of the Fixed Terms Parliament act. There is more expertise here than I have seen in other articles.

This was really good I thought. Tomkins points out at the end why the Act doesn't give the SNP quite as much power as they think.

[At this point maybe we could consider my SNP/Tory comment a derail that's been answered? :-) It was only ever meant as a long-odds suggestion - and yeah on reflection the Maori Party analogy from NZ doesn't work because there were things that National could offer them; that's not really the case for the Tories].
posted by Pink Frost at 2:22 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


They don't even help themselves with the anti-SNP rhetoric. From what I've seen most of Labour's English supporters are quite keen on the SNP and in the Scots having a disrupting voice in parliament.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:24 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


And these are the supposed cream of our country, half of whom studied the parliamentary system at Oxford.

Knowing how it works from the inside lets them dismantle it more effectively. It's a shame none of this truly comes under what's left of the Royal Prerogative. If my fundament were upon the throne I'd be having some stern words with my alleged ministers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:24 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Videos from Scotland: Jim Murphy, Saviour of the Union from a few weeks ago. And from today - Hunting Season Opens.
posted by rongorongo at 2:27 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought all that ridiculous business around the "There's no money*" note was quite telling.

It's long established tradition for an outgoing Chancellor to leave behind a note for his successor. These are traditionally a bit self-deprecating or arch. It is the height of bad manners to actually publicise it for political gain. It is just not cricket.
This is the kind of tradition that Old Etonians and Bullingdon chaps should absolutely know and respect deep in their very class make-up. But apparently not. Britain has no written constitution, it's all built on custom and tradition and generall being a decent sort, so if they're willing to commit such a terrible faux-pas over parliamentary custom, then there's not much they won't do.

*importantly not "There's no money left" which is how it is always reported.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:31 AM on May 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Second: consider the outside chance that the Tories and the SNP can do a deal.

As others have said, there's a greater chance of Ralph Nader being the next US president and appointing Grover Norquist as his vice president. Even ignoring the blinding, white-hot hatred between the two parties, the SNP aren't stupid, and it's been shown in many countries that every time a small idealistic party go into government with a big evil party, it's the smaller party that's hammered at the polls when it all falls apart (which is why we no longer have a Green party to speak of in Ireland).

The media and Tories can (and will) have a little cry about this, and a Labour/SNP government will have to face some fierce opposition, aimed at undermining them in the eyes of the public.

It's going to be way bigger than a little cry. It's going to be a 24 hour a day barrage from the press and it's going to be very nasty.

I'm in Ireland and I feel pretty much the same. I vote for the least worst option.

At least we have Single Transferable Vote so if there's someone you actually like, you can give them you number 1 and rank your other choices lower, so you're not throwing your vote away. In common with the UK though, we have the whip system (in fact we, well, the Irish Parliamentary Party, invented it) which means that you get kicked out of your party if you vote against them even once in parliament, so if you vote for someone in a big party you're voting for a droid who's there to make up the numbers. No wonder independents have been getting a bigger and bigger share of the vote.

This is the constituency where I'm registered.

Batley & Spen is a wonderful constituency name. Also you have someone called Karl Varley running for something called the Patriotic Socialist Party. Also the UKIP party candidate is called Aleks Lukic? At first I assumed his platform was "vote for me and give me a job so I can kick filthy Poles like me who are taking your jobs out of the country" but I did some reading and he says he's a local and went to somewhere called Heckmondwike Grammar School which is very Harry Potter.
posted by kersplunk at 2:34 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't understand Milliband's adamant position that he won't work with SNP. The behaviour of both Labour and Tory towards Scotland after the referendum has been insulting. All that talk about how important Scotland was to them and how things will be better if people just stuck around was utter bullshit. Both Milliband and Cameron barely passed through during election season. I get why Cameron didn't make much of an effort but it seemed short sighted and risky for Labour to act the same way, further strengthening SNPs rhetoric that they are the same.
I don't know what kind of amazing strategy Labour has up their sleeve for resurrecting themselves next year in Scotland but it's going to take something close to resurrecting Robert Burns from the grave.
posted by like_neon at 2:35 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Dateline Scotland General Election Special is also worth a watch.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:38 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember the "A Very British Coup" style campaigning from local politics.
In fact, it was a line the Liberal party here pushed a lot before they got into power, regarding coalitions and illegitimate government when Julia Gillard was (barely) elected.

Not surprising to see it exported to the UK.

Here, they're also using it to undermine the Senate, successfully (I think) convincing the punters that somehow the minor parties are illegitimate.

Finally, a song I get in my head whenever I see Cameron.
posted by Mezentian at 2:38 AM on May 7, 2015


SNP = Scottish National Party

Is that right?
posted by thelonius at 2:40 AM on May 7, 2015


That is right.
posted by Mezentian at 2:43 AM on May 7, 2015


SNP = Scottish National Party

Is that right?


Correct. Here's a pretty comprehensive explainer for non-UK folk of the different parties in contention.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:43 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't understand Milliband's adamant position that he won't work with SNP.

If he said before the election that he would, that would allow Labour voters to feel safe switching to the SNP, because their vote would still be likely to end up supporting a Labour administration. What he says after the election is another matter.
posted by Segundus at 2:44 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


What he says after the election is another matter.

The horse-trading, briefing and media wheel-spinning after this election is going to make 2010 look smooth as butter and the Belgian clusterfuck in 2010/11 totally decisive.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:47 AM on May 7, 2015


Interesting that you should say that Mezentian, because the Tories' election strategist is a guy called Lynton Crosby, formerly the Federal Director of the Liberal party.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:49 AM on May 7, 2015


Here's a pretty comprehensive explainer for non-UK folk of the different parties in contention... on Buzzfeed.

And, well, according to The Sun Cameron is the Baby Jesus reincarnated and Ed Milliband is a sandwich-eating Socialist.
posted by Mezentian at 2:49 AM on May 7, 2015


I can't understand Milliband's adamant position that he won't work with SNP.

There have been only two lines of attack on Ed in the Tory press -

1) He's a bit odd

2) You're really voting for the SNP

Opinions on No 1 have changed after a lot of campaign exposure through media that is not controlled by Conservative supporters, mainly the BBC (which is constitutionally impartial). No 2 could only really be nullified by Ed in interviews by a blanket statement that there would be no formal coalition after the election and I understand why Labour high command did it though it did involve throwing Labour in Scotland under a bus. I fully expect after the election for a Lab/SNP agreement to be a coalition in all but name.
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:49 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


mainly the BBC (which is constitutionally impartial).

I believed this once. The incredible mismatch between what I saw on the ground during the referendum and what was reported by the BBC disabused me of this pleasant fiction for good. They're not the Telegraph or the Mail, by any means, but they triangulate based on them and their much vaunted independence is so little-used when it comes to actually setting the news agenda that they may as well not have it.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:54 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think he did it because he thinks (probably rightly) that the SNP have little choice but to back labour.

He doesn't need a coalition (or even a confidence/supply agreement with concessions) because they will not work with the Tories, and there is no other way to make a government.
Any formal agreement with the SNP would likely see Trident off the table, so he relies on Tories to pass some stuff (Austerity/neoliberal things plus nukes) and SNP to pass the rest (vaguely leftish social democracy stuff).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:57 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


when people get into the polling booth and realise that their vote actually matters

If only that were true: some 60% of seats are considered "safe"; my vote is effectively worthless (or worth 0.04 of a vote according to VoterPower.org.uk).
posted by Acey at 2:59 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


mainly the BBC (which is constitutionally impartial)

This has pretty much always been a very British fiction. The BBC is impartial as long as you agree with them. I personally prefer media outlets to wear their bias on their sleeves; it makes it easier to think. And read Private Eye, which is biased too in its way but a bracing antidote to everything else.
posted by chavenet at 2:59 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm so proud of Australia. We totally set this trend in delegitimising minority Labor governments who lawfully form governments under Westminster principles a few seasons back.
posted by chiquitita at 3:02 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]




There have been only two lines of attack on Ed in the Tory press

Even my mum, a Mailite who hates Miliband, had to admit that the Mail revealing that *shock* Ed had girlfriends before his partner, was utterly ridiculous.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:05 AM on May 7, 2015


'If I thought it'd make a blind bit of difference, I'd vote Green. But in reality, I'm probably going to wander into the polling station, sigh, and put my X next to whatever's passing itself off as Labour these days.'

4 reasons the Greens are not a wasted vote

Why Owen Jones is wrong this time
posted by popcassady at 3:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, the Tories are basically claiming that in the following situation:

33% of seats: Northeastern Socialist Whiffle Party
33% of seats: Southwestern Socialist Whiffle Party
34% of seats: Raving Monster Loony Party

... the Raving Monster Loony Party is clearly the one that should be in charge?

I hate them so much.
posted by kyrademon at 3:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the “party leader has had girlfriends” stories were the point were it became clear that the right wing press was starting to get desperate. Did it not occur to them that pointing to intelligent, attractive women who’d had chosen to go out with Ed would rather counteract the ‘Ed the geek’ narrative they’d spent so long pushing?

If you’re in a safe seat, vote as you please! Your vote acts as advertising to the main parties that you a) have particular views and b) actually vote. I think you actually have more net effect voting for a minority party in a safe seat than if you vote for one of the main parties.
posted by pharm at 3:08 AM on May 7, 2015


like_neon: it it seemed short sighted and risky for Labour to act the same way, further strengthening SNPs rhetoric that they are the same.

Given this, how do you see things playing out for the SNP if they support Labour (whether coalition or confidence and supply)? Are their voters likely to punish them?
posted by Pink Frost at 3:11 AM on May 7, 2015


Interesting last Lord Ashcroft poll with a large sample size of 3000. This shows a tie, while his previous ones had a 2-point and 6-point Tory lead.

The late breakers who decided in the last few days are going Con 5, Labour 8, LD 8, UKIP 5. The people who always knew were Con 43, Lab 45, LD 24, UKIP 9.

Could be just random sample variation... or could be that the late breakers are going for other parties than the Conservatives...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:14 AM on May 7, 2015


Nicola Sturgeon has openly and repeatedly asked Ed Miliband to work with the SNP to keep the Tories out.
Partially this was an electoral strategy to say that a vote for the SNP is not a vote for the Tories, but I think SNP supporters know what they are signing up for. They know they can't have an SNP PM, and they know that the SNP will never back the Tories.
SNP voters expect a vote for the SNP to mean a vote for Miliband as PM.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:16 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


a very British fiction

Ah the Beeb, at the risk of derailing the thread it must be doing something right to be accused of political bias from every part of the political spectrum quite so regularly.

I think he did it because he thinks (probably rightly) that the SNP have little choice but to back labour.

I have the, admittedly horribly naive, view that an SNP alliance might allow Ed the breathing room to drag Labour policy in a slightly more lefty direction.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:17 AM on May 7, 2015


I fully expect after the election for a Lab/SNP agreement to be a coalition in all but name.

Yes, that would be sensible. But he has consistently ruled out any kind of deal. Technically he could just pass laws and dare the SNP to vote against them, but this kind of brinkmanship is stupid: The SNP could just withhold their support for any law Labour wanted passing that they didn't want passing. Without any kind of formal deal I don't see how Labour can govern.

If Ed Milliband made any kind of deal now he would be crucified by the press, and I suspect by public opinion too, and, more importantly, but many of his own MPs. If the voters do what they say they will do in polling, I don't see any sustainable government appearing.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:17 AM on May 7, 2015


I suspect it would work more along the lines of Miliband saying to the SNP what do you want for you to vote yes on X, Y and Z. The SNP don't get cabinet positions in this model but its the only way Labour are going to be able to govern and if the choice is governance or quitting this is what they will do.
posted by biffa at 3:21 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sigh.

Under the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act of 2011, a vote of No Confidence that passes, that is not followed by a Vote of Confidence that passes within 14 days forces elections. It's right there, Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011, Section 2 Paragraph (3). Period, end of statement.

A vote on the Queen's Speech has *never* been an explicit vote of confidence. It was a warning shot across the bow of the new government, but it was never the explicit downfall. That came later, when the current PM resigned and a new one tried to form a government. Often this didn't mean elections.

If Cameron tried to continue without the support of Parliament, yes, he would lose that vote. The motion that would then be tabled? "Moved, that this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." The chances of winning that vote after losing the Queen's Speech vote and the election would basically be null. He'd then have 14 days to either somehow assemble a coalition to win a confidence vote, resign and have someone else do it, or you'd have elections. Yes, again.

Remember: Before FTPA 2011, the UK was unlike pretty much everywhere else, in that the PM got to decide when to call elections. They could wake up and say "Hmm. Elections six weeks from today, I think."

The reason for the FTPA 2011 is the Liberal Democrats. In a coalition government, where you have a large majority and smaller minority party and the ability to call snap elections, the minority partner was at a serious weakness. If the majority party became popular, they could drop the writ, and if they won a straight majority, they could then tell the coalition minority to fuck off.

Thus, the FTPA 2011 is there to protect the LibDems in Government from the Tories dropping the writ should they have become popular. If there's a Labour/SNP coalition or whatnot next, I would not be surprised if part of the agreement is that FTPA 2011 remains in force. No backies on the agreement if you suddenly get popular, Milibrand!

Note that if the Tories or Labour should ever win clear control, it would be a trivial matter for them to repeal the FTPA 2011 and go back to the "We can call elections whenever we feel it's in the government's own interest to do so." And, you know, I've always found it somewhat interesting that the UK feels this is a good thing, but they clearly do.

Really, I know why Labour hated FTPA 2011. "Fuck, we are *stuck* with this shit for five years." And I get that. But hey, if you win, then the Tories get to deal with "Fuck, we are *stuck* with this shit for five years." And, besided, Labour, you *could* have actually had PR, it was in your manifesto, you had more than enough of a majority in 1991 to do it, and you fucked that up. So, well, not a lot of sympathy here for you.

Aside: Interesting side-effect: In a late reading of the FTPA 2011, they realized they'd set the election date to the same day as the election date for the Scottish Parliament. Oops. So, Section 4 was bolted on, which states that if this Parliament does last the full term (which it did), the Scottish Parliament would sit an extra year, and thus, the Scottish Parliament Elections are now going to be held on 5 May 2016, giving MSPs an extra year on their terms, and as long as FTPA 2011 remains in effect, if the Westminster and Holyrood elections coincide, the Scottish Parliament is extended a year and those elections are moved back accordingly.
posted by eriko at 3:23 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Interesting last Lord Ashcroft poll with a large sample size of 3000.

The Ashcroft poll is a bit clearer on the Ashcroft home pages, poll data here, fuller data tables here, with Ashcroft's analysis here.
posted by biffa at 3:25 AM on May 7, 2015


Biffa: That's a different poll, he did one on the 5th and one on the 7th.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:28 AM on May 7, 2015


Second: consider the outside chance that the Tories and the SNP can do a deal

Scotland has a better chance of winning the World Series of Baseball than this happening. Scotland has a better chance of landing on Mars than this happening. I have a better chance of being PM than this happening.

And, if this should happen, I honestly think those SNP PMs might be murdered. You do *not* work with the Tories if you want political success in Scotland. A big factor in why SNP is doing so well in Scotland is Labour worked with the Tories in fighting the independence vote.

To quote another person who won't be PM. "Nope. Not gonna happen. Wouldn't be prudent. Not gonna do it."
posted by eriko at 3:29 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Voted SNP this morning. My GE2015 prediction...

Conservatives to win most seats and votes but will be unable to command a Commons majority even after talking to Lib Dems, UKIP and DUP. No Queens speech from them as a result.

Buck passes to Labour who will agree coalition government with LibDems to provide some semblance of legitimacy for English voters and strength in any English only votes. SNP, Greens, Plaid and SDLP will all agree to support / pass Labour Queens speech giving further legitimacy across the UK.

Newspapers will go crazy.

Ed Miliband new PM, Cameron resigns.

SNP will work behind scenes with new govt but spin always saying otherwise.
posted by Caskeum at 3:30 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


But he has consistently ruled out any kind of deal.

Right now, he has to. The Tory press has been playing the OMG SCOTLAND card hard. If Miliband even hinted at a Lab/SNP deal, that would just feed into that.

I'm hoping that, after the poll close, he and Alex Salmond announce their engagement, just to watch every Tory newspaper explode. Even if they call it off the next morning, it would be worth it.
posted by eriko at 3:32 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with that, with the possible exception of Labour trying to avoid getting in bed with the Lib Dems if possible, but they certainly will if needs be.

I am really curious to see if Clegg survives. Especially if he survives on the coat tails of a Tory tactical vote only to go into coalition with Labour.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:33 AM on May 7, 2015


he and Alex Salmond announce their engagement

Alex Salmond isn't the leader of the SNP anymore. Not that you could tell from the Tory poster campaigns.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:34 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


A vote on the Queen's Speech has *never* been an explicit vote of confidence

Not exactly a recent example, but back before the FTPA it was certainly the case: House of Commons info office "Governments can also be forced into resignation or into calling a general election by being defeated in the debate on the Queen's Speech (its legislative programme for the session) as for instance on 21 January 1924"
posted by Pink Frost at 3:34 AM on May 7, 2015


The incredible mismatch between what I saw on the ground during the referendum and what was reported by the BBC disabused me of this pleasant fiction for good.

The BBC is biased pro-government because that's who cuts the checks. How much so depends on how much hardball the current government wants to be. This government was VERY much a hardball government, so this BBC has been very pro-government.

When one of the first things the new government does is talk cuts of the BBC, it's not because they care about BBC budgets, its because they want BBC News under their thumb.
posted by eriko at 3:34 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


And, if this should happen, I honestly think those SNP PMs might be murdered. You do *not* work with the Tories if you want political success in Scotland. A big factor in why SNP is doing so well in Scotland is Labour worked with the Tories in fighting the independence vote.

The SNP was in effective coalition with the Tories at Holyrood from 2007 to 2011. Somehow they seem to be doing okay now.
posted by sobarel at 3:35 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Musical Interlude: Two Robots & A Nigel Farage.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:43 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The SNP was in effective coalition with the Tories at Holyrood from 2007 to 2011. Somehow they seem to be doing okay now.

The difference there was that they were in a minority government, and had to rely on opposition parties to get bills through parliament, and, you know, keep the country moving along.

However, Scottish Labour adhered to the "Bain Principle" where they refused to support any SNP motion, even ones including amendments they themselves had proposed. So without that Tory support, the SNP would have been unable to govern effectively between 2007 and 2011, not due to any sympathy between the two parties, but simply because Scottish Labour would block any motion put forward by them regardless of its merits.

As the SNP now has a clear majority in the Scottish Parliament, this is no longer an issue.
posted by pinacotheca at 3:50 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's a rewriting of history by Labour spin doctors. Even the Labour press at the time didn't try that one. There was an SNP minority government which horse-traded to get the budgets through while having confidence and supply from the Greens. Labour was still dazed by losing, so did some weird stuff like secure amendments to budgets and then vote against them. The Tories were more on the ball in consistently asking for concessions for supporting the budgets - but only got harmless stuff like a few more plods on the beat for their troubles. That 'coalition' line was unheard of until it became a Labour talking point a few weeks ago, it doesn't work because it's not how anyone remembers it.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:50 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not exactly a recent example, but back before the FTPA it was certainly the case

Again, it's not an explicit vote of No Confidence, in the sense that a vote of No Confidence forces the PM to go immediately to the Sovereign and resign the Government. Losing the Queen's Speech or a Supply bill may well leave the Government in a place where it is so compromised that it has no other choice but to do so, but it isn't required to immediately do so. Losing an explicit confidence vote forces them out, period, end of statement, there's no hope for them there. Note that before FTPA 2011, it did *not* force an election, if someone else could form a government that could hold the confidence of Parliament, that would do. Later, there was a requirement to hold elections at least every five years, so you had to meet that clock.

With FTPA 2011, after losing a No Confidence vote, a clock starts. Either a new government forms within 14 days, defined as one that can win a vote of Confidence, or the government is forced to resign and elections are held, so it is now clear that a No Confidence vote will bring down a government and if a new one cannot form in two weeks and gain the confidence of parliament, then elections will be held.
posted by eriko at 3:52 AM on May 7, 2015


Remember: Before FTPA 2011, the UK was unlike pretty much everywhere else, in that the PM got to decide when to call elections.

Citation needed?
NZ, Australia and most commonwealth countries allow that (with the Crown's rubber stamp).
Wikipedia seems to suggest (with a small number of examples) that I was correct in my belief.

If you exclude nations without regular coups. Or no elections.

I've wavered on fixed terms, but the seem to cause more problems than they fix.
posted by Mezentian at 4:00 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah the Beeb, at the risk of derailing the thread it must be doing something right to be accused of political bias from every part of the political spectrum quite so regularly.

It is a fallacy to believe that just because a piece of programming receives complaints from across the political spectrum that it was therefore unbiased. Once upon a time the "political spectrum" really meant those on the political left, centre and right. Today the more important dimension is between those who are in the establishment versus those who are not (without wishing to over-cite Owen Jones, he did write about this). Arguments are all too often won by those who are most sensitive to adverse criticism of their viewpoint, who have the biggest platform for making their voices heard or who have the greatest influence on those who run BBC itself.

Here in Scotland the problem seems to be more acute. The problems came to a head at the referendum (see "London Calling - How the BBC stole the referendum" for example). During the recent campaign we have seen political debates chaired like this and we have seen this event reported like this, for example. Cumulatively this reporting undermines journalistic credibility and, as a result, those Scots who will be voting for the SNP today are very unlikely to be those who believe anything that BBC Scotland - or most of the country's mainstream media - tells them.
posted by rongorongo at 4:01 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The BBC news is ridiculous in its utterly venal slavering before power, its 'false balance' nonsense over things like climate change, and the way it talks to viewers like they're absolute idiots. It's worse than North Korea for events like a royal baby. I don't know anyone who's bothered with it for years - apart from having to pay for it.
posted by colie at 4:07 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


They don't even help themselves with the anti-SNP rhetoric. From what I've seen most of Labour's English supporters are quite keen on the SNP and in the Scots having a disrupting voice in parliament.

I've been a Lib Dem voter for years, but am voting Labour in this election because of the Lib Dem's actions in the coalition. However, I'm also an English nationalist and so the idea that the SNP might use their influence to break up the union gives me no worries whatsoever. I'm likely in a small minority, but still find it weird to see how strongly some folk are attached to the union. Come on, it ain't that good.
posted by Thing at 4:09 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


As an immigrant to Scotland, I don't get to vote. I do, however, get to watch as others decide my fate.

Wheee.
posted by kyrademon at 4:14 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's a rewriting of history by Labour spin doctors

I must be mis-remembering the wide discussion of it at the time, people talking about "the Eck and Bella show" and the four SNP budgets that only passed with Tory support. It's so long ago and my memory is so addled by time and malt whisky.

Anyway, the point was the idea that working with the Tories is total anathema for the SNP is nonsense, and the idea that Scottish MPs would be "murdered" if they tried even more so. Politicians are usually pretty pragmatic (and opportunistic) when it comes down to it.
posted by sobarel at 4:16 AM on May 7, 2015


A friend in my city was unable to vote this morning. Apparently he had received his poll card correctly to the correct address, but at the polling station they had his name down with no address (??). He phoned the electoral office who said he was all fine and registered. Not sure if he's gone back to try again but sounded like the list of names they had at the polling station was out of date?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:19 AM on May 7, 2015


An SNP government using a few Tories to get SNP policies passed in Scotland is very different from a Tory government using the SNP to get Tory policies passed in the UK parliament.
posted by kersplunk at 4:20 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, count me as another onlooker who's taken aback at the ferocity of the Tory attacks on the SNP during this campaign. Their attitude is "ok Scotland, you lost the referendum so you're still a full part of the UK, but you don't deserve to have any input into who the next government of the UK is. Only English people are allowed decide that."
posted by kersplunk at 4:22 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Anyway, the point was the idea that working with the Tories is total anathema for the SNP is nonsense

If you really can't see the difference between the two situations, then let's just say that I fear for your grasp of political nuance.
posted by pinacotheca at 4:23 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


We're going to be in Scotland on vacation next week - I'm getting the sense that it may be a good idea to steer away from controversial topics such as politics and on to the safer, calmer grounds of football, how Amuricah Saved Y'all in DubyaDubya Two, and You Call This Beer?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:34 AM on May 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


Well, Miliband has ruled out talking to the rebellious Scots, so either he finds some lawyerly way to Chewbacca-defense out of it ("This is not a coalition, or a supply deal, this is a ..."), the SNP vote miraculously collapses as Scots realise that, no, they're not getting independence, get over it and come back to the fold (which is, shall we say, exceedingly unlikely to happen), or the Tories get their minority government, though not the means to pass legislation.

The SNP seem to be in a similar place to the Arab parties in the Israeli Knesset; they have an ethnic minority support base which translates into seats, but them having any role in any government to be formed is politically out of the question.
posted by acb at 4:38 AM on May 7, 2015


It must be a sign of Britain's decline and my encroaching dotage, but this Anerican (who lived his teenage years in London) finds the whole spectacle oddly more comedic and unrelated to economic or political reality than the American election culture it increasingly resembles.

I used to get all idealistic and push back at people who said "if voting could change anything it would be illegal." Now I agree with them. Hell, I'm one of them. Elections as media spectacles, classic bread and circus nonsense.
posted by spitbull at 4:38 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


As an immigrant to Scotland, I don't get to vote. I do, however, get to watch as others decide my fate.

You are a non-EU immigrant presumably. EU folks can vote in local elections.
Very few countries allow non-citizens to vote in national elections.
posted by vacapinta at 4:39 AM on May 7, 2015


> "I'm getting the sense that it may be a good idea to steer away from controversial topics such as politics ..."

You should be safe as long as you stick to noncontroversial political issues like the Referendum, the Royal Mail, and Margaret Thatcher. Oh, and be sure to bring up the trams if you pass through Edinburgh!
posted by kyrademon at 4:44 AM on May 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


(Just to be clear, please do not follow my advice under any circumstances.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:45 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I can't hear you with this broken pint glass in my ear.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:46 AM on May 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


You are a non-EU immigrant presumably. EU folks can vote in local elections.
EU citizens can't vote in national elections in the UK though, unless they gain citizenship. Or is that what you meant?
posted by Happy Dave at 4:46 AM on May 7, 2015


Very few countries allow non-citizens to vote in national elections

The amount of non-citizens who can vote in the UK's general elections is pretty large actually (including citizens of the Republic of Ireland and many Commonwealth countries)
posted by brilliantmistake at 4:54 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


We're going to be in Scotland on vacation next week - I'm getting the sense that it may be a good idea to steer away from controversial topics such as politics

On the contrary, not only will political conversation topics be welcome - but that you will find people actively soliciting your views. The 45/55 split at the referendum means that everybody has family members, colleagues and friends who are on different sides of that debate. The electorate is engaged with politics in a way I have not seen elsewhere in the UK. Scotland's current political world is currently quite widely misunderstood and miss-reported outside the country however; as with any political conversation the best tactic is to ask people for their opinion.
posted by rongorongo at 4:59 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is the height of bad manners to actually publicise it for political gain. It is just not cricket.
This is the kind of tradition that Old Etonians and Bullingdon chaps should absolutely know and respect deep in their very class make-up. But apparently not.


What do you expect from an oiky St Pauls boy?
posted by atrazine at 5:00 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Alex Salmond isn't the leader of the SNP anymore. Not that you could tell from the Tory poster campaigns.

Which is why I said Alex Salmond. Plus, since Nicola Sturgeon is actually a female, it wouldn't cause The Daily Fail to explode nearly as much if she were to become engaged to Ed Miliband.

Remember the goal isn't to get Ed and Alex to shack up, though if they want to do that, more power to them. The goal is to watch the Daily Fail explode in the WHARGARRRBALGCLPYSE.
posted by eriko at 5:01 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


That would be quite amusing. They should totally do it.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:03 AM on May 7, 2015


I am this close to sending my ten quid in to the OMRLP as they seem to be the only party with the right frame of mind about things.
posted by delfin at 5:09 AM on May 7, 2015


when people get into the polling booth and realise that their vote actually matters

If only that were true: some 60% of seats are considered "safe"; my vote is effectively worthless (or worth 0.04 of a vote according to VoterPower.org.uk).


My vote counts... as long as I cast it for one of the two main parties, which are neck and neck in my constituency, each expected to win about as many votes as all the other six candidates put together. At this rate, by the time I've persuaded myself that I should grit my teeth and vote for the one I deem the lesser evil, it'll be midnight and the polls will have closed.

I so wish the AV referendum had gone the other way.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:10 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It may be a bit late, but there is always voteswap.org or swapmyvote.

And the general notion that a very strong turnout by UKIP or The Greens is a good inidcation that Electoral reform would be a good idea?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:14 AM on May 7, 2015


I so wish the AV referendum had gone the other way.

One of the greater ironies of this election is that under AV the Tories may well have achieved a clear majority today
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:15 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


In theory, the (badly and hastily drafted) Fixed Term Parliaments Act raises the spectre of a minority "torturer party" that refuses to allow a new election to be called, but won't let the governing party govern by refusing to pass budgets and Queen's Speeches.

You guys should absolutely enshrine a powerful minority torturer party into law. It's working out great in America! You, too, could turn passing routine budgets into an annual national crisis! Woohoo!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:19 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Nicola Sturgeon is actually a female

Are people confused by her first name being mostly male outside UK and Germany? Could explain that strange "Nicola is much shorter than average, even with heels" reference I saw in a local paper the other day (according to Google, she's actually just over UK average height).

Still pretty harmless compared to the "save our bacon! from this (jewish) guy pork pork pork pig's ear pig pig bacon" stuff you'll find elsewhere.
posted by effbot at 5:19 AM on May 7, 2015


> Still pretty harmless compared to the "save our bacon! from this (jewish) guy pork pork pork pig's ear pig pig bacon" stuff you'll find elsewhere.

The sooner the press become as irrelevant around election day as they are the rest of the time, the better. I was waiting in a sandwich shop in Oldham the other day and the only reading material available was The Sun. I was expecting to be outraged by its contents, but it's just boring! I'm amazed anyone actually buys it - it's deathly dull. The Tory papers have so little to say that they have to resort to the cheapest of cheap gags about the shadow chancellor's name. He's in the next constituency to me and it's briefly amusing to see BALLS signs on lamp-posts, but that's about it.

Here in sunny Batley and Spen, the polling stations are busy even before the evening peak. The returning officer from the council was at mine when I went to vote, on the phone asking for more staff to be sent because of the queue. Goodness knows what chaos awaits those daft enough to leave it until tonight to vote.
posted by winterhill at 5:28 AM on May 7, 2015


One of the greater ironies of this election is that under AV the Tories may well have achieved a clear majority today

That assumes people would vote the same way under AV as they do at present, which - if my experience of tactical voting is anything to go by - they probably wouldn't.
posted by sobarel at 5:40 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm in Scotland -- specifically, in Edinburgh North -- and I voted by post a week ago.

I'm a member of the Scottish Green party and I had to think carefully, but in the end I voted Scottish Green. Our candidate will lose their deposit, but it's a statement of principal and I don't object strongly to either of the two likely winners so there's no point in voting tactically.

(Edinburgh North is a long-standing Labour stronghold held by Mark Lazarowicz MP. (I know him and consider him to be a solid constituency MP and unambitious back-bencher, not a Blairite shitweasel.) Hitherto the main threat was the Liberal Democrats with the SNP in third place, but the LibDem vote collapsed after 2010 due to their unwise choice of coalition partners, and it's now looking like a narrow SNP majority: if not SNP, then Labour. Either way, the MP returned from my constituency is about as likely to end up in a coalition with the Conservatives as I am to run away to Syria and join IS, so I'm not too worked up about the outcome.)

My understanding is that a lot of voters who would be inclined to vote for the Scottish Greens are tactically voting SNP this time round, because there's zero prospect of the ScotGP returning an MP anywhere in Scotland under FPTP. This will change drastically in next year's Scottish Parliamentary election, which is held under rather different rules, as a result of which there are Green MSPs sitting in the Holyrood parliament ...

TLDR: the Scottish voters treat a Westminster election differently from a Holyrood one. Don't expect today's SNP clean sweep of Scotland to be repeated next summer.
posted by cstross at 5:42 AM on May 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


*waves at cstross* - Edinburgh North and Leither here too.

I'll vote Green at the next Scottish Parliament election and Green if we ever get independence, but for now I'm lending my vote to the SNP as per your surmise.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:44 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


About a year ago I'd got back from a bike ride and was sat in my local cafe. It was early and while the first orders were being cooked the owner went to the local shop to buy some papers to leave for customers.

She joked that she was going to buy The Guardian and everyone would have to deal with it. Everyone laughed, and she came back with a Sun, Star and Mirror.

It was weird.
posted by vbfg at 5:45 AM on May 7, 2015


as with any political conversation the best tactic is to ask people for their opinion.

...and offer to buy a round. I wonder if I have enough time to print up a "Will Trade Beer for Opinions" shirt?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The plotters will attempt to administer a fatal blow to the Union, whether they see it as such or not: they will tell the Scottish people that the MPs they have elected are political pariahs who have no rightful say over the governing of the country. And then they will wage the mother of all campaigns against the legitimacy of a Labour-led government.

Methinks someone is giving the Tories far too much credit. There is a plot, but it would seem to be coming from within the political left.

Scotland voted convincingly in the autumn against independence. (Though I doubt Scots will be celebrating Sept. 18 as the Scottish Day of Dependence.) Having voted to remain in union with England and Wales (and the other place that does not merit mention in this discussion), marginalising Labour by voting for the SNP now makes perfect strategic sense for Scotland.

Instead of voting Labour and relying on a majority Labour government in Westminster to hand out the goodies north of Hadrian's wall, voting for the SNP would provide the Scots with enormous leverage within a potential Labour-led government. A minority Labour-SNP government would give 4% of the vote sway over 85% of the electorate.

It doesn't take a free university degree to imagine the sweet, sweet benefits that could flow north from such an arrangement.

This would make for an impressive bloodless coup of Labour - which is why Milliband properly rejects it out of hand - but giving "the conservatives and the right wing media machine" credit for it is nonsense.
posted by three blind mice at 5:52 AM on May 7, 2015


Edinburgh South here. *waves to the neighbors*
posted by kyrademon at 5:53 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Edinburgh South here. *waves to the neighbors*

Argh! A Scottish horde in the thread! Flee everybody! Flee!

Quickly! Before they support a left-wing programme of reform and economic stimulus!

/Tory
posted by garius at 5:56 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


> "A minority Labour-SNP government would give 4% of the vote sway over 85% of the electorate."

... because clearly the Lib Dems have exercised total control over the Tories for the past five years?
posted by kyrademon at 5:57 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


*waves to the neighbors*

IMPOSTER!
posted by Mezentian at 5:58 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


... because clearly the Lib Dems have exercised total control over the Tories for the past five years?

Man, the Lib Dems need to get into the UK Upper House.
That's where it's at.

One person can decide fates.

ObJoke: Lords.
posted by Mezentian at 6:00 AM on May 7, 2015


"Goodness knows what chaos awaits those daft enough to leave it until tonight to vote."

I like a challenge. I'll let you know how it was. Although, tbh, where I live I suspect only about 20% of eligible voters could actually be arsed to walk up the hill to the polling station. There's a chippy not too far away so maybe that'll sway the numbers.
posted by longbaugh at 6:00 AM on May 7, 2015


> "IMPOSTER!"

Immigrant! My vowel-impoverished country of birth lacks your abundance of U's, so I have come to your land of opportunity! (And bring with me my COLORFUL national spelling and sense of HUMOR.)
posted by kyrademon at 6:02 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


where I live I suspect only about 20% of eligible voters could actually be arsed to walk up the hill to the polling station.

Dear UK,
Regards, the Colonies.
PS: Try weekend voting.
posted by Mezentian at 6:03 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Waves as cstross and HappyDave - and over a little at kytademon. I guess North Edinburgh is over-represented in the thread. Maybe we could add in Irvine Welsh's contribution too. Interesting day for the city.
posted by rongorongo at 6:05 AM on May 7, 2015


At least it's refreshing to see other parts of the country being relentlessly oversimplified and stereotyped after last year. Apparently everyone south of Watford and outside of London is a graspingly avaricious white-haired racist?
posted by Happy Dave at 6:11 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait, what?
Australians get sausages for voting?
How does this work?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:12 AM on May 7, 2015


It works because Australia is fundamentally a meat-based culture, and has been so long before the hipsters of Dalliamsburg discovered heritage-breed pulled pork and started doing artisanal butchering courses.

Supposedly the canonical Australian breakfast is a big rump steak with a fried egg on top. No, I've never seen it either, but it's supposedly A Thing. Perhaps in the Northern Territory where a day's work is riding the boundaries of a cattle ranch twice the size of Wales or something.
posted by acb at 6:19 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


may the worst party lose!
posted by ennui.bz at 6:20 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or possibly the wurst party, in Australia.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:24 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Relevant today: Stewart Lee on UKIP
posted by garius at 6:29 AM on May 7, 2015


Australians get sausages for voting?

I thought that was Sweden, and that they stopped doing that a bit back?

(the folder you got with the voting card used to include a short comic strip showing how to vote, and the last frame had the happy voter munching on a hot dog. Finally, the Election Authority got tired of all the silly questions it generated, and threatened to remove all pictures from the folder, since "the citizenry cannot distinguish between reality and illustration".)
posted by effbot at 6:34 AM on May 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


I know it's the traditional role of expats to moan about how everything has go he to the dogs and the proud country they left behind is now a smoking ruin, etc, etc, but Jesus, everything to do with the UK for the last decade has just been depressing as hell.
posted by Artw at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


The sooner the press become as irrelevant around election day as they are the rest of the time, the better.

The British press has lost it: "The attempt by wealthy foreigner media owners and ‘non doms’ to influence the election has become an election issue in itself. That’s the ultimate catastrophe for Fleet Street: it gambled its credibility on a risky political calculation but hasn’t delivered to the Conservatives. If anything, it’s embarrassed the party it so raucously backed. Whatever happens tonight, the papers have lost the respect of their readers and the fear of our political leaders. It will be a long repentant road back to any kind of relevance."
posted by effbot at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


My hopes for this election: not electing actual nazis. That's about it.

/gloom.
posted by Artw at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Just voted with my heart for the party I want to get in - Labour. I should have voted tactically to keep the Tories out, except we're in a highly marginal seat and the only other realistic vote was for the party most likely to help them (Lib Dems), so either way I end up helping a Tory government back in. I voted as I did because I want the other parties to realise there are other voices and values to represent, where I live. Now worried it was a wasted vote that'll backfire. Shows what a mess the system is. Bring on proportional representation.
posted by dowcrag at 6:59 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lots of East Coast Scots above- my West Coast perspective.

I come from a family steeped in Labour traditions. I was brought up aware that at the turn of the 20th century the SNP was an anti-immigrant, and specifically anti-Irish party. Was never one for narrow nationalism, beyond supporting the national football team.

I voted 'Yes' at the referendum after returning from a few years living "on the continent". I had previously voted against devolution back in 2000 or so (believing that an extra layer of politicos and bureaucracy would not be beneficial).

Labour have lost it big time up here. They moved rightwards to court the marginal seats in previous elections, and took "their" Scottish hinterland forgranted.

Even still I felt a little quesy about voting against Labour this year due to historic allegiances and conditioning... Then I looked up the voting record of my local Labour MP- he voted against equal marriage and mitochondrial research. Hopefully I have helped chuck him in the dustbin of history today.

Will be really interesting to see how the aftermath pans out. SNP will be looking to show that they are competent and not a threat to economy/stability, but at the same time they will not reach their strategic goal (of eventual independence) if everything in the UK works splendidly.

Interesting times. Makes a change to be voting in a contest where my vote will be counted not weighed. In the past for most Scots elections have consisted of voting for Labour then waiting to see who England chooses as the winner. The right-wing English press and politicos who 'love-bombed' us with "please don't go" pleas before the referendum are now having a hissy fit that Scottish MPs may have a bearing on the next UK government, and making noises about 'legitimacy' of any coalition that includes the SNP. (Insert own joke here regarding 'legitimate' and Tories.)
posted by Gratishades at 7:10 AM on May 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


rongorongo: "In more prosaic terms the BBC has invested in a new swingometer rated for higher tidal surges seen previously - to account for forecasted changes in Scotland. Rather than a stick on a nail - as in the 1960s."

I always enjoy when I get to see the things that Monty Python was riffing on.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:13 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember vividly the first time cstross told me he was a support of the Scottish Green Party.

I apparently gave him quite the look because he immediately said "no, no, not the English Green Party and in no way the American Green Party and spent two minutes quickly explaining why he wasn't batshit insane.

I kind of wish I had a picture of the look on my face, to be honest.
posted by eriko at 7:16 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jesus, everything to do with the UK for the last decade has just been depressing as hell.

In the fields of everything but craft beer I concur.
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:18 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


But, yes, the SGP seem to be a very rational bunch and in an non-FPTP world or where they're polling over 30% I'd vote for them, presuming the candidate in question isn't J Idiot Fuckjob. Every party has at least one of those.
posted by eriko at 7:18 AM on May 7, 2015


Getting rid of FPTP when the chance was there would have been a great idea, it turns out. Pity it became a poll on the Lib Dems.
posted by Artw at 7:23 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Unusualy for MeFites, I'm leftish-leaning (actually, I'm anarcho-syndicalist, but I also beleive in Captain Kirk and the Enlightenment, so I have to humour reality much more than I'd like across a range of subjects). In the past, I've been a number of things but most recently - as in, at the last election - I was Lib Dem. I didn't trust Labour after Blair went bonkers and Brown muffed the post-leadership change election, and I'll vote Tory only after Callistan cuddle-sponges have turned my brain to algae soup. (Not even then.) My family was Lib-Dem, and they were the mildy eccentric, heart-in-the-right place, inclusive choice.

Moreover, my constituency - traditional north London Labour - was one that was on the Cleggmania hit list. For the first time in my voting history, my vote might actually make a difference.

I got to the booth, ready to vote LD.

What I didn't know until I got there, because the media don't usually bother to list absolute no-hoper candidates, was that the Official Monster Raving Loony Party was standing.

Hah I thought, as I propelled my pencil towards the LD box. Hah. I paused to savour the moment - five seconds every five years, so why not make the most of it? - and...

Reader, I voted for him. The guilt hit almost at once - it was a marginal seat! - but I am a child of Python and a son of the Bonzos, and believe to the core of my being in the serious business of not being serious, so I had to. In the end, the Labour candidate won comfortably.

Later, when the bastard LibDems kept the Tories in power and helped fuck over most of the things I believe in, I was glad to have gone for the honest option. Best vote I ever cast.

This time... well, I've forgiven Labour for Iraq, but not for their commitment to austerity. It's a safe Labour seat once again. I couldn't vote LibDem, obvs, and Green.. well, too anti-science for me, and the only other choice (said the Guardian) was UKIP, who are too anti-human for me. But my local MP's a decent cove so I was going to vote Labour, while holding my noise... but, guess what. No MRL this time, but a Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol Party candidate.

I enjoyed this half-decade's five seconds of democracy just as much as last time as - like last time - I got to vote for something I truly believe in without compromise and without consequence.

Now, I'm on the train to Scotland, where I shall be falling in with my SNP pals for what promises to be a pretty good night with plenty of Portillo moments and lots of genuine suspense. And something to celebrate, which I don't think's going to be the case south of the border for a bit.
posted by Devonian at 7:35 AM on May 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


I've just voted. Despite everything I still find the ramshackle nature of British democracy at the sharp end quite reassuring. The same old run-down community hall, the same old stubby pencils, the same old panel of old dears who thank you for your vote. The political landscape might have got uglier and more irrational, but at least the act of voting is still calmingly mundane and drama-free.

Sending a parcel at the post office before I went was much more hassle.
posted by sobarel at 7:42 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Marina Hyde's take on the election has been fun all the way through but this is a definite high point.
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I voted. I would have voted Green Party (while they still seem a bit flakier than their Australian counterpart, they show promise, and may well end up becoming the modern centre-left party Britain lacks), except for the fact that my local MP is Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran Labour MP who has been excellent on issues such as the NHS, TTIP, the Leveson reforms and such, and the Greens would have an uphill battle topping his record. So I voted Labour; I have little faith in the Labour Party as an organisation, but have faith in the combination of my local MP and the relative weakness of party discipline in the UK.
posted by acb at 7:49 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I voted Green. My constituency has drifted from Tory to Labour marginal over Tories to three way marginal to Tory marginal over lib dems but this time around looks to be safe Tory, with either LDs or UKIP rolling in second but likely to be pretty far behind. If the LDs had any chance I might have held my nose despite working in HE and RE, both sold out by the coalition, but they don't look to have one.
posted by biffa at 7:58 AM on May 7, 2015


Glasgow North here, another safe labour seat that has a strong chance of going SNP.

Going into this feeling positive, chance for the kicking to Labour here to focus parties to think again on getting shot of FPTP for PR of some flavour then great.

At the Scottish level if the turnout is up noticeably on previous general elections then it shows that people who have been engaged by the referendum are continuing to be more involved in politics and hopefully trying to be a little better informed which is positive now and for the future regardless of the result.
posted by Leud at 8:05 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Voted LibDem, as I feel they've been unfairly cast as the villains of the current Coalition, whereas I think they've been a moderating force against the nasty side of the Conservative Party. Whatever you think of the Coalition policies, you have to admit, it's worked, in as such as we have had a stable government. Personally, I would much prefer a three-way coalition between Labour, the LibDems and the SNP to form the next government.
posted by salmacis at 8:45 AM on May 7, 2015


So that's one vote they've got then.
posted by Artw at 8:47 AM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


As an outsider, I'm positively fascinated how a somewhat-unpredictable outcome of this election has caused the system to lose its shit. Would that the US had an election more interesting than a coin-flip.
posted by rhizome at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Another Edinburgh North and Leither here! I wish I'd taken tomorrow off so I could watch the results come in.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2015


As an outsider, I'm positively fascinated how a somewhat-unpredictable outcome of this election has caused the system to lose its shit. Would that the US had an election more interesting than a coin-flip.

I imagine much the same would happen in the US if most of the population decided both major parties were unelectable and voter participation crashed.
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on May 7, 2015


I imagine much the same would happen in the US if most of the population decided both major parties were unelectable and voter participation crashed.

I'm being lazy by not actually looking up the statistics, but I'm pretty sure that by UK standards US voter participation crashed a long time ago, driven by total disdain for the major parties and disinterest in elections altogether.

it's a commonplace on the fringe left for people/organizations suggesting that people not vote to send a message / to avoid granting legitimacy to an electoral system that's not particularly democratic. If not voting actually sends a message, in the US at least this message was sent and ignored long ago.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:09 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


A Brief Political History of the United Kingdom, 538
What Does England Want?, The New Statesman - "Not since the 1640s, when Scottish armies repeatedly marched south against Charles I, has the English establishment been so politically threatened in its heartland."

both via Omnivore
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:09 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm being lazy by not actually looking up the statistics, but I'm pretty sure that by UK standards US voter participation crashed a long time ago, driven by total disdain for the major parties and disinterest in elections altogether.

Voter turnout at the last few elections in the UK:

1992 - 78%
1997 - 71%
2001 - 59%
2005 - 61%
2010 - 65%

The last time turnout reached 60% in a US election was in 1968.
posted by dng at 9:17 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well that's something to be glad of I guess.

The point about the two main parties rendering themselves unelectable stands though.
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I imagine much the same would happen in the US if most of the population decided both major parties were unelectable and voter participation crashed.

Voter turnout for the last US Congressional midterm election was 36%. (And in 2010 it was only 40%.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:29 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


In what sense are the Republican party electable? The Democrats are hardly any better. The American electorate just hasn't realised yet.
posted by salmacis at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2015


Voted LibDem, as I feel they've been unfairly cast as the villains of the current Coalition, whereas I think they've been a moderating force against the nasty side of the Conservative Party.

I have some sympathy for this insofar as the expectation that the LibDems would be economically to the left was mostly driven by wishful thinking, but they've allowed through the Tory attacks on judicial review, the cuts to Legal Aid, secret courts, DRIP, charging fees for employment tribunals etc etc. If the Liberal Democrats can't even stand up for fundamental Liberal values then what are they for?
posted by sobarel at 9:34 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


They might cheer everyone up a bit during this miserable election by being completely obliterated, that's about it.
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering what UK MeFites think of Irving Welsh's missive in the Guardian today:

The UK is now a pointless entity, existing solely to protect entrenched privilege and continue the transference of the country’s resources to a global elite. For most citizens it’s a failed state, which cannot guarantee social progress, a decent education, the opportunity for useful employment or a debt-free life. With Scotland cast in the role as the conscience of Britain, or a running sore on its politics (delete to taste), as it continues to both manoeuvre and be manoeuvred out the UK door, the unionist rightwing desperately proclaim that the Scots have “gone mad”.
posted by Nevin at 9:47 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Consistent with what I've observed from afar, though as mentioned above I probably have a gloomy expat view of it.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The last time turnout reached 60% in a US election was in 1968.

It's always funny the way people in the US imagine that a two-party state is somehow on the democracy side of the equation as versus a one-party state. But, at the local level, the US is more often than not a one-party state. If the choice was between a single Andropov or two almost identical Andropov's to vote for, you would have better things to do too...

In some ways, maybe the two parties represent dialectical opposites and elections the inevitable annihilation and synthesis of the next stage of history... but uh.. no.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


As an American, I have to admit that I'll be waiting to get my results and interpretation from the Bugle. Sorry, Guardian, get back to me when you have a pun-run column.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:52 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm wondering what UK MeFites think of Irving Welsh's missive in the Guardian today:

I agree wholeheartedly with it. But then I'm one of the Scots that's 'gone mad' by questioning neoliberal austerity forever and the Tories.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:53 AM on May 7, 2015


salmacis: "In what sense are the Republican party electable? "

In the sense that they win elections.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


That FPP article is pretty hilarious. "OMG! How dare the Tory press spin things to suggest that if Labour don't get more seats than the Tories a Labour-led goverment would be illegitimate! That's equivalent to a coup! Now excuse me while I spin things to suggest that a minority Tory-led government would be illegitimate:"
We are sleepwalking into a dangerous moment. If there is a left-of-centre, anti-Tory majority in parliament then the Tories must fall, however many seats they have won. Left-wing parties will have won the election and a left-of-centre government led by Labour must take office. And yet it would be deemed “illegitimate” by the Tories and most of the media.
I mean, yes it's bollocks to suggest that a minority-Labour government would be "illegitimate" so long as it has the confidence of the house. But it is identical bollocks to suggest that a Tory government is unthinkable if there are a majority of "left-of-centre" seats in the house. If the Tories can persuade the minority parties to support them against their natural political instincts then they have exactly the same right to form a government as the Labour party does.

"Your spin is treason, my spin is patriotism" is a pretty shallow rhetorical position.
posted by yoink at 10:04 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Consistent with what I've observed from afar, though as mentioned above I probably have a gloomy expat view of it.

What's has been happening in the UK over the past few years reminds me of the political scene in Canada 25 years ago.

In Canada, however, there were two regional, nominally separatist entities: in the west, there was Reform (similar to Ukip) and in Quebec there was Bloc Quebecois on the national level.

The 1993 Canadian election saw the conservative party (Progressive Conservatives) obliterated. Much of their support was taken away by Reform in the West, and by Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.

Anyway, as a Canadian I find the SNP exciting simply because (as far as I can tell) they have ditched parochial identity-based nationalism in favour of (as far as I can tell) a values-based approach. They provide a roadmap for progressive politicians in Canada (we have an election later this year).

As a Canadian, I always thought that in theory Quebec should separate if it wanted to, or continue to pursue sovereignty association. At the local level I realize it's way more complicated than that, and I will never ever have a firm understanding of Quebec politics and issues, but I do respect what Brian Mulroney was trying to do at Charlottetown and Meech Lake - create a framework that would allow Quebec to sign the Constitution. He failed, and once the other provinces voted against it, why not let Quebec go its own way?

From the sidelines, the treatment of Scotland since the September referendum seems disgraceful. I would vote for SNP, that's for sure.
posted by Nevin at 10:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


But it doesn't say "if there are a majority of "left-of-centre" seats in the house" it says "If there is a left-of-centre, anti-Tory majority in parliament"

If the Tories can persuade the minority parties to support them against their natural political instincts then they are not part of the anti-Tory majority that the article is talking about.

It's suggesting that the Tories will try to hold power on the basis of being the largest party, which has no constitutional standing. I think it's maybe a bit of a stretch as it is, but it's not saying what you say it's saying.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2015


Artw: "My hopes for this election: not electing actual nazis."

But, historically, Taunton is a part of Minehead already.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:25 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't like the sound of these 'ere boncentration bamps.
posted by delfin at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


But it doesn't say "if there are a majority of "left-of-centre" seats in the house" it says "If there is a left-of-centre, anti-Tory majority in parliament"

Yes, and that is the "spin" part of the article. The Lib-Dems are "anti-Tory." That didn't stop them (as is perfectly within their constitutional rights--however fat-headed and short-sighted a decision it was) from forming a coalition government with the Tories. His claim is that if the Tories are outnumbered by "left of center" parties then there must not be a Tory-led government. That is fatuous nonsense of exactly the same order as the claim that Labour--as a minority party--would be somehow acting unconstitutionally to ally with the SNP or the Lib-Dems or whomever.

And nobody should vote for a non-Labour party thinking "oh, of course they'll throw in with Labour and eschew the vile Tory scum." I simply cannot count the number of times people have made that mistake (the Lib-Dem case being only a pretty recent one). Small parties are magnetically drawn to making deals with the Devil, and the reasons are pretty clear. When they make a deal with their ideological enemies they can usually point to any concessions they win as very clearly something they achieved which wouldn't have been achieved otherwise. Any concessions they win from their ideological allies just looks like the kind of thing their allies would do anyway. Similarly, their ideological opponents have to place a higher premium on their support, so they're more willing to offer them plum cabinet positions and so forth. Personally, I think these calculations are short-sighted because they don't factor in the voters' sense of betrayal--but that all seems very remote when you're sitting down and hammering out bargains, and the shiny offices and news-release-worthy policy concessions and such-like look very appealing.
posted by yoink at 10:40 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


There was an article, not long back, rubbishing the claim that this is the UK's first internet election. It said, quite rightly, that the internet has been a force for the past couple of elections. But it mistakes just how much people have now abandoned traditional media for online sources. The idea that the Sun could throw the election is now becoming laughable though once it was serious. They've lost a third of their readers since the last election.

It will be a great day when we are at last free of them.
posted by Thing at 10:53 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


What's a good streaming radio station to listen to as results come in? Is there an intelligent BBC stream? I read the Guardian and the Telegraph, and in Canada listen to CBC's Vancouver station. So pretty center-left. Anything suggestions for intelligent, non-bombastic radio streams to listen to would be appreciated!
posted by Nevin at 10:56 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think these calculations are short-sighted because they don't factor in the voters' sense of betrayal--but that all seems very remote when you're sitting down and hammering out bargains, and the shiny offices and news-release-worthy policy concessions and such-like look very appealing.

Also worth remembering was the numbers in 2010

Conservative: 306 (+97)
Liberal Democrat: 57 (-5)
Labour: 258 (-91)
Others: 29 (-1)

Lab+LibDem=315

Lab/LD didn't have the seats. You could toss in SNP and the one Green and get 322, but that's *exactly* over the line of the majority (thanks to the five Sinn Féin members who don't sit and the Speaker who only votes in ties, and that vote is constrained) which means every single backbencher has the power to bring down your government. That's not going to work.

LD+Con=363. It was a clear majority. It was really the only workable coalition short of Lab/Con. So, either the Tories were going to try a minority government and there would be elections again soon, or there was going to be a LibDem/Tory coalition. Nothing else was going to work.

This time around, it looks like SNP will be the Other Lego Brick, which means Labour/SNP if the current poll numbers hold out. But -- we'll see. It isn't truly over until a government wins a vote over the Queen's speech or a confidence vote if the Queen's Speech is defeated in Commons. If neither happens, we'll be doing this all again in, oh, late June or early July.
posted by eriko at 10:58 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's a good streaming radio station to listen to as results come in? Is there an intelligent BBC stream?

You probably want the BBC World Service or Radio 4.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:01 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's a good streaming radio station to listen to as results come in? Is there an intelligent BBC stream?

BBC Radio 4 would be your best bet. Likely to be the most informative. If I were following it on the radio, I'd be hopping between that and BBC 5 Live.
posted by popcassady at 11:02 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering what UK MeFites think of Irving Welsh's missive in the Guardian today:

As a Scot living in England, I think Welsh's real interest at the moment is in how the political sea change that looks to be taking place up north will impact England itself. That is a pretty good question: Scots have been forced to spend 3 years thinking about what it means to be British in a world where empire, nationalised industries and other elements which held it together - are no longer there. England has been changing at a more leisurely pace so far: we see St George flags where there were once union jacks - but one gets the feeling that a faster pace of change might be triggered by moves in Scotland. You can see him write more on this in "Engerland Swings Like a Pendulum do" from a few weeks ago - I think that's a more interesting article.
posted by rongorongo at 11:04 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


For the first time in my life I've got skin the UK political game (a family member is involved in the SNP) and have been paying close attention to the UK general election. The mechanics of First Past the Post, many viable parties, and small constituencies are interesting. It makes for a completely different sort of political calculus than that I'm used to, though following Canadian politics got me used to the basic idea.

What's especially interesting to me is that the UK media seem not to have the analytic tools to handle the situation. It's a bit like following the 2008 primary battle between Clinton and Obama, where many in the US media just didn't understand at all how the rules worked (and fair enough to them, neither did Clinton's campaign manager). It get the same feeling, reading the British media, where so many grew up under a political paradigm that just doesn't exist anymore and are failing to adjust to the new one. It's been pretty interesting to observe.
posted by Kattullus at 11:08 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kattulus: Here is some recent data from the FT which shows changes graphically for each Scottish and English marginal seat. Things are complicated - even before we throw in the unpredictability of actual voters. I guess it must be quite hard to try to convey that to a regular TV audience (assuming the producers understand it).
posted by rongorongo at 11:14 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know it's the traditional role of expats to moan about how everything has go he to the dogs

Dogs waiting sadly outside polling stations could be election day memes

This dog was so politically engaged, it was wearing a rosette. However, we have blacked it out lest the political allegiance of this dog sways your vote.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:36 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just voted. Was told by member of family that it was busy at 3 pm, and it was still busy at 7.30 pm. Never seen it so busy. I wonder if we're in line for a rather high turnout. We have three elections in our area though, so that may be driving it.
posted by Thing at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just voted in Birmingham Ladywood. Busy here too, with a substantial queue outside the polling station. I'm going to be very interested to see what the turnout is because it feels likely to be unusually high.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:03 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


This dog was so politically engaged, it was wearing a rosette. However, we have blacked it out lest the political allegiance of this dog sways your vote.

The correct action would have been to ask the dog to leave the area of the polling station and if it failed to do so to summon a police officer.
posted by biffa at 12:08 PM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't like the sound of these 'ere boncentration bamps.

You mean the "thegitherness clachan" that the Scottish Nationalist Socialist Party wants to build?

Ae Fowk! Ae Rick! Irn Bru!
posted by ennui.bz at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2015


I voted at 3pm and I was literally the only voter in there. Hopefully it was just a quiet time.
posted by badmoonrising at 12:14 PM on May 7, 2015


But, historically, Taunton is a part of Minehead already.

Disappointingly, you have to go to the next constituency to the east (the hometown of Mr Hilter) before you find a candidate whose party has even the slightest ambitions to annex a neighbouring district.
posted by ambrosen at 12:41 PM on May 7, 2015


Just voted in Birmingham Ladywood.

Birmingham Ladywood is the name of my next prog rock band that becomes a heavy metal band.
posted by eriko at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]




I also had to queue (Leeds West) and where I work (Bradford West - George Galloway's seat) there was a polling station on the university campus which seems to have been busy all day.
posted by vbfg at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2015


#dogsatpollingstations is my favoritest hashtag in a long time.
posted by azpenguin at 12:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


(The title "A Very British Coup" is a phrase most associated in the UK with a fictional 1980s British novel and well-known TV drama of the same name which depicts a coup d'état against a far-left UK govt involving high profile assassination orchestrated by the intelligence services and ultimately a military overthrow with tanks on the streets. Seems a bit extreme to apply it here)

I haven't read the book, but in the television version there weren't any tanks in the streets. That's what makes it a "British" coup.
posted by Nevin at 1:12 PM on May 7, 2015


Disappointingly, you have to go to the next constituency to the east (the hometown of Mr Hilter) before you find a candidate whose party has even the slightest ambitions to annex a neighbouring district.

If that's the case, we should have a referendum on whether we want to kick the Romans out.
posted by popcassady at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2015


eriko: I apparently gave [cstross] quite the look because he immediately said "no, no, not the English Green Party and in no way the American Green Party and spent two minutes quickly explaining why he wasn't batshit insane.

Just quickly, what's the difference between the Scots and the English (and Welsh) Green Party? I just had a quick look at their manifestos and they seem broadly similar (and what I'd expect from a Green party - except that the Scots don't mention the environment until page 13 for some reason...).
posted by Pink Frost at 1:19 PM on May 7, 2015


If that's the case, we should have a referendum on whether we want to kick the Romans out.

I vote yes - they've had their two millennia.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2015


And what have they ever done for us?

[sorry]
posted by Pink Frost at 1:23 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I'm off to get a bottle of wine before the offy closes, since I don't think I can face this sober. Radio 4's coverage starts in half an hour. (I have turned into an Old, who usually has Radio 4 on all day long, and overall, their coverage of the whole ugly mess has been pretty good, considering.)
posted by skybluepink at 1:33 PM on May 7, 2015


A friend in my city was unable to vote this morning. Apparently he had received his poll card correctly to the correct address, but at the polling station they had his name down with no address (??)

The young guy in front of me at the polling station (Belfast) had the same thing happen. Had his electoral card but wasn't on the register. It was after 7pm so they said it was too late to do anything about it. I felt gutted for him as he was with his parents and it looked like it was his first time registered. He turned to his mum and said "Oh well, not like it would have made a difference anyway." (Not wrong exactly, but a pity to have to go straight to weary cynicism before you've cast your first vote.)

What's a bit worrying is that this is the third example I've seen of people not being on the register when they get to the polling station.
posted by billiebee at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


FYI I'm running a UK Election Slack chat tonight - mefi mail me if you want an invite.
posted by adrianhon at 1:50 PM on May 7, 2015


billiebee - just saw another acquaintance on Facebook with the same problem. The fact that people have registered before the deadline and then not been able to vote is frankly disgusting. If it had happened to me I'd be incensed.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh my god. The exit polls are so fucking terrible.
posted by skybluepink at 2:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Exit poll = tiny Con majority.
posted by pharm at 2:02 PM on May 7, 2015


Jesus.
posted by popcassady at 2:04 PM on May 7, 2015


Also, Labour wiped out in Scotland, as predicted. We'll see if it's reflected in actual votes though.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:04 PM on May 7, 2015


Jesus, the exit polls.
Con 316
Lab 239
SNP 58
Libdem 10
Ukip 2
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:04 PM on May 7, 2015


no no no no no
posted by litleozy at 2:05 PM on May 7, 2015


Damn, this isn't looking good.
posted by antiwiggle at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2015


Con + LD just gets them a majority. Ugh.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2015


This is horrific.
posted by ukdanae at 2:07 PM on May 7, 2015


Fuck. Five more years of one Tory nationism.
posted by vbfg at 2:07 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also if this is right, an EU referendum.
posted by ukdanae at 2:09 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


A Tory government holding power with a tiny little homunculus puppet Lib Dem faction won't last long, I'd be willing to bet. I mean, ten seats?
posted by Happy Dave at 2:10 PM on May 7, 2015


Even if Clegg is still an MP, can he stay as LD leader? And if not, can LD be relied upon to join a Con coalition?
posted by adrianhon at 2:11 PM on May 7, 2015


Cons will go for a minority government & ditch the LibDems if those numbers are real. They can rely on the tacit support of the UDP if necessary.
posted by pharm at 2:12 PM on May 7, 2015


The exit polls are way out of whack with almost every poll that's been done -- and had to have been done earlier to be ready to broadcast at poll close.

One of the two is wrong. We'll see. But a 326 "majority" is a death majority. All you need is *one* backbencher causing trouble and you're screwed. Hell, what's left of the Lib Dems might as well not bother going into coalition -- and without the LibDems, Cons+UDP+UKP is still a bare majority.

All you need is that prediction to be off by a couple for Labour and it's over for the Tories.
posted by eriko at 2:13 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ugh, seriously?!
If these exit polls are even close then that's tremendously depressing.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:13 PM on May 7, 2015


And SNP 58? There's only 59 seats in Scotland.
posted by eriko at 2:14 PM on May 7, 2015


Voted this morning, and got exit-polled for the first time, which was interesting.

What did you tell them, Happy Dave? This is clearly all your fault.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:14 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


They can rely on the tacit support of the UDP if necessary

Do you mean the DUP?
posted by billiebee at 2:16 PM on May 7, 2015


A senior Lib Dem source in Nick Clegg’s camp said:

"Our initial thoughts on the exit poll are that it doesn’t match any of our internal intelligence and we find it quite extraordinary that not a single bit of evidence has pointed to this so far. Labour losses and Tory gains seem extraordinary. For the SNP to take all but one seat in Scotland would also be extraordinary. We are going to take a loss we’ve always known that and it’s not going to be an easy night but we think 10 is right at bottom end of our expectations."

Nicola Sturgeon considers them far too optimistic for SNP... so?
Still hope?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:16 PM on May 7, 2015


YouGov exit poll - CON 284 MPs, LAB 263, LIBS 31, SNP 48, UKIP 2, PLAID 3, GREEN 1
posted by adrianhon at 2:17 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


What did you tell them, Happy Dave? This is clearly all your fault.

I looked deeped into the collective id of the United Kingdom, saw some words along the lines of 'Better Together' and laughed a deep, hollow laugh. Then the sky turned black and the rocks melted and the Jockalypse began.

Then I got a leaflet from the nice Ipsos Mori lady.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:19 PM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


God okay those two polls have widely different results, for both the CONS and, more tellingly to my mind, the LIBS

maybe can still hope?
posted by litleozy at 2:19 PM on May 7, 2015


I really hope so. The country can't take another five years of this.
posted by longbaugh at 2:22 PM on May 7, 2015


USians can watch the ITV election night coverage via C-SPAN. So far it hasn't been nearly as frenetic as Monty Python led me to believe it would be.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 2:28 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Are ITV doing their coverage from a slightly misshapen train?
posted by vbfg at 2:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where is the link to the YouGov poll? All I can see is their final poll from yesterday, no mention of an exit poll.
posted by ambrosen at 2:32 PM on May 7, 2015


It does look like they're in some sort of cupboard.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:33 PM on May 7, 2015


They just mentioned the YouGov poll on Radio 4, but I'm not finding it anywhere online.
posted by skybluepink at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2015


YouGov: YouGov has not done an exit poll. A re-contact survey today simply gave us no reason to change our final numbers from yesterday.
posted by adrianhon at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really not looking like the whole "fuck Scotland" strategy has worked out at all.
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, right: The Guardian has the YouGov poll now.
posted by ambrosen at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2015


There’s an awful lot of ruin in a nation longbaugh.
posted by pharm at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, I wouldn't expect the NHS or the BBC to survive another Tory government, for a start.
posted by Artw at 2:37 PM on May 7, 2015


Rumours abound that senior Tories think Balls might have been ousted. I think this is remarkably unlikely.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:43 PM on May 7, 2015


To help understand the ramifications of that exit poll, consider a video of a man punching himself repeatedly in the face while also trying to use one foot to kick himself in the balls.
posted by reynir at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yay, just seen my dad on the TV at the Sunderland South count.
posted by antiwiggle at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there any indication that the exit poll was overly optimistic for Tories. Because it doesn't seem like their margin for error can handle too many seats not being conservative or else they'll have to reach out to the UKIPs and shit like that.
posted by vuron at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2015


 So far it hasn't been nearly as frenetic as Monty Python led me to believe it would be.
Well, they haven't let the swong out of the box yet …
posted by scruss at 2:47 PM on May 7, 2015


The YouGov exit poll is apparently not an exit poll?
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on May 7, 2015


YouGov says: "YouGov has not done an exit poll. A re-contact survey today simply gave us no reason to change our final numbers from yesterday."
posted by Catseye at 2:50 PM on May 7, 2015


Nah, it's a re-contact of an earlier poll, done on polling day.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:51 PM on May 7, 2015


First return is an overwhelming win for the Labour candidate... Greens got more votes than LD.
posted by Nevin at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2015


Technically Bridget Phillipson can declare her own government if she moves fast (being the majority of sitting MPs at the moment).
posted by antiwiggle at 2:53 PM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


LDs lose their deposit in Sunderland South, I think.
posted by adrianhon at 2:53 PM on May 7, 2015


Nevin: Sunderland is the safest of safe Labour seats. No surprise there.
posted by pharm at 2:53 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, UKIP beat Con to second place.
posted by adrianhon at 2:53 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


She should peg it to Westminster and claim the best seat.
posted by vbfg at 2:55 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there any indication that the exit poll was overly optimistic for Tories. Because it doesn't seem like their margin for error can handle too many seats not being conservative or else they'll have to reach out to the UKIPs and shit like that.

Most of the reaction I'm seeing suggests people are surprised at how well the Tories did. So may be over-optimistic. UKIP aren't likely to win more than a couple of seats, so not much help for the Tories there.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:56 PM on May 7, 2015


I'm on the gin and starting the election results drinking game.

Dimbleby throwing to someone who's not ready - check. (Ooh three times since I started this comment)
Dimbleby referring to graphics which aren't on the screen - check.
Should have taken tomorrow off work...
posted by billiebee at 2:56 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Victory Gin.
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm on the gin and starting the election results drinking game.

I've finished the gin and now I'm looking for the razor blades.
posted by popcassady at 2:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am just going outside and I may be some time.
posted by dng at 3:00 PM on May 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Also, UKIP beat Con to second place.

UKIP beat Nate Silver's prediction by quite a lot (22% to 12%). Labour down a bit (59% to 55%).
posted by Pink Frost at 3:01 PM on May 7, 2015


[Basil Brush] And a note for today's voters... You're going the wrong way, you fools! Ha ha ha hah BOOM BOOM
posted by delfin at 3:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


A good clean shave makes me feel better too.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


When do the independent UN election observers declare?
posted by chavenet at 3:02 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


People are generally reluctant to admit publically how racist they really are (not counting place like 4chan) so I think UKIPs are always going to poll poorly ahead of the election.

Hopefully they still get stuck in the 1-2 seats though.
posted by vuron at 3:03 PM on May 7, 2015


Whoever gets in we are fucked as they are all signed up to TTIP and massive cuts. Its just that the tories will screw the poor ever harder than (1) they already have, and (2) Labour. Bye bye England, it was nice for a short while.
posted by marienbad at 3:04 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Enough with the stupid hat.
posted by klue at 3:05 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh god, why did I only buy one bottle of wine?
posted by skybluepink at 3:06 PM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


If Ukip have the votes it looks like they have and force an EU exit referendum, that's the Union done for. Even if they don't, it's still done for, it might just take longer.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:07 PM on May 7, 2015


I think I should move to Scotland before they rebuild Hadrian's wall.
posted by lucidium at 3:08 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Both sides of Hadrian's Wall are in England. I should think we'll have a nice fence.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:10 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


My hopes for this election: not electing actual nazis. That's about it.
/gloom.


You don't elect germans in the UK. You coronate them.
posted by srboisvert at 3:13 PM on May 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


BBC: a final poll of polls compiled by the Press Association puts the Tories on 276 seats, Labour on 271, Lib Dems on 28, SNP 48, UKIP three and Greens one.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lib Dems have lost their deposit in the first two seats reporting.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:20 PM on May 7, 2015


Labour hold Sunderland Central. Unsurprisingly.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:21 PM on May 7, 2015


Lib Dems have lost their deposit in the first two seats reporting.

I'm an immigrant - do people actually put up a real cash deposit?
posted by ukdanae at 3:22 PM on May 7, 2015


Yes, £500 for parliamentary elections.
posted by ambrosen at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2015


Yes, they have to - I'm pretty sure its part of the law. Although I believe they will take a cheque.
posted by marienbad at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2015


Lib Dems have lost their deposit in the first two seats reporting.

Should be donated to hardship funds for students.
posted by reynir at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can’t stand coronate. The verb is “crown” dammit.

ukdanae: Yes. It’s to prevent endless spoof candidates. You have to put up about £500 & get 50 people to co-sign. You lose the deposit if you poll less than 5% of the vote.
posted by pharm at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow LDs annihilated in Sunderland West.
posted by billiebee at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2015


New rule: if you don't declare by midnight you don't get an MP.
posted by antiwiggle at 3:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


vuron: People are generally reluctant to admit publically how racist they really are (not counting place like 4chan) so I think UKIPs are always going to poll poorly ahead of the election. Hopefully they still get stuck in the 1-2 seats though.

Having recently spent five years as an immigrant in the UK, it didn't seem to me that people had much problem expressing racist/anti-immigrant views ;-). I do take your point that people might not be 100% honest with pollsters (the 'shy Tory' effect becoming a 'shy UKIPer'?). Hope you're wrong, obviously, and they end up with 1-2 max.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:33 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow LDs annihilated in Sunderland West.

I just heard the Sunderand Central announcement, where they had the same result. Hell of a cheer for the socialist/union party's 300-odd votes, though (didn't catch the full name, sorry). Did they just scrape 5% to keep their deposit, or are they just a cheery bunch?
posted by metaBugs at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2015


I am deriving a small amount of bitter joy from seeing Lib Dems lose their deposits.
posted by skybluepink at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


One (small) advantage of FPTP is that even if UKIP get a lot of votes, it won't necessarily translate to seats, which is the curse of all small parties under this system. It's cold comfort though, because a substantial UKIP vote, even without seats, will continue to encourage the rightward drift of other parties to try and win those voters back.

Super glad about that referendum result now, really. Because obviously an SNP majority Scotland is totally going to be listened to by a Con-LD skingraft coalition with UKIP yapping at its heels. Sigh.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:38 PM on May 7, 2015


Wouldn't you want UKIP to get a fair share of MPs, though? Millions of racists not feeling politically represented sounds ... explosive.
posted by klue at 3:39 PM on May 7, 2015


skybluepink: "I am deriving a small amount of bitter joy from seeing Lib Dems lose their deposits."

It's the one bright spot. They've become the Polyfilla of British politics. Just pop them in any cracks in your majority, sand it down nice and smooth and compliant and paint your preferred tone of bastarding hypocrite yellow.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


americannews.jpg
posted by Drinky Die at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh God Sammy Wilson. The dread of the DUP having any sway at all makes me ill.
posted by billiebee at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ha, LibDem Deposits
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:41 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's up with the polls closing so late? In Canada (also Westminster, FPTP) the polls typically close at 6pm, and you can call a winner by 8pm at the latest.
posted by Nevin at 3:42 PM on May 7, 2015


klue: "Wouldn't you want UKIP to get a fair share of MPs, though? Millions of racists not feeling politically represented sounds ... explosive."

What I'd prefer is for a voting system that actually allows people to not throw their votes away in 'safe' seats in such a way that all they can be is an oblique and usually right-leaning signal to the big parties that continues to push the whole country to the right.

But the Lib Dems fucked that too.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:43 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, although the LibDems pushing AV seemed like the wrong move to me. Straight PR for the win (MMP works perfectly well too).
posted by Pink Frost at 3:45 PM on May 7, 2015


It's not going to happen, but I'd love to see Clegg snivelling like Portillo in '97. It would salvage the night for a brief, glorious moment.
posted by skybluepink at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2015


What's up with the polls closing so late? In Canada (also Westminster, FPTP) the polls typically close at 6pm, and you can call a winner by 8pm at the latest.

6pm? Disenfranchising commuters would be a bit harsh!

7am-10pm means most people have a fighting chance of making it to the polling station.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:48 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I guess because it's always on a workday? Polls are open late to make sure everyone can make it.

Canada seriously counts all its votes within about 2 hours, though? How big are its constituencies?

Re: safe seats -- my current neighbourhood has been labour since the 1940s, and the previous places I've lived have been similarly safe for their respective parties. Makes the idea that my vote can make a difference even more laughable, other than throwing a protest vote at a tiny (...and non-racist) fringe candidate in the hope that it'll help them keep their deposit.
posted by metaBugs at 3:48 PM on May 7, 2015


In Canada (also Westminster, FPTP) the polls typically close at 6pm

What happens if you work til 6? Or 9-5 with a commute?
posted by billiebee at 3:48 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's up with the polls closing so late?

And on a weekday? Why on earth are you voting on a working day? Civilized people vote on Sundays. And have a nice hot dog afterwards.
posted by effbot at 3:49 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


What happens if you work til 6? Or 9-5 with a commute?

Employers have to give you time off to vote, basically half a day either way, or let you leave work early to make it to the polls.
posted by Nevin at 3:51 PM on May 7, 2015


What happens if you work til 6? Or 9-5 with a commute?

There's this thing called "early voting" which apparently doesn't exist in the UK.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:51 PM on May 7, 2015


This is just the worst possible combination of results possible. It is absolutely hide-under-the-duvet bad.

Although it looks like Farage may get tonked in Thanet, the Ukips must feel energised. When you scrape the shiny media-friendly surface off, they're loons and racists all the way down.

This will lead them to claim an anti-EU mandate, so that when the referendum comes, the very very economically stupid in-out referendum, the mood will be further hauled rightwards. If the UK votes to leave the EU, the Scots almost certainly will not and that's the trigger for a new independence referendum because it changes the UK's situation profoundly.

This makes me deeply, deeply frustrated, angry and tired. I was furious with the Lib Dems for going into coalition with the Tories rather than going for a confidence and supply arrangement but they were at least a teeny tiny bulwark against Osbo's fanatic austerity. A lot of politicians I think are good sorts are going to lose their seats. I can't even enjoy the prospect of Sheffield Hallam handing Nick Clegg his P45
posted by finisterre at 3:52 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


No no no effbot, the one true way to vote is elections on a Saturday, polls close at 7, you count your votes by 10 or 11, everyone can have a nice election night party. Then if you win you can drink more and deal with your hangover on Sunday, not Monday. [Although last time out with early voting we knew by about 7.15 that the right was going to win easily, which was hella depressing]
posted by Pink Frost at 3:52 PM on May 7, 2015


Thanks everyone! The absolute humping of the Lib Dems is the only small grim nugget of satisfaction I've found so far.
posted by ukdanae at 3:55 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope Nick Clegg's next professional role involves the phrase "Do you want fries with that?"
posted by eriko at 3:56 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Stewart Lee on Paul Nuttall of the Ukips. He understates their ilogical awfulness.

On the plus side, Galloway may have lost Bradford West. Couldn't be more delighted that that egotistical shithouse may get his arse handed to him.
posted by finisterre at 3:57 PM on May 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


There's this thing called "early voting" which apparently doesn't exist in the UK.

You mean early in the day?
posted by billiebee at 3:58 PM on May 7, 2015


You can vote by post in the UK in the weeks before polling day.
posted by pharm at 3:59 PM on May 7, 2015


You mean early in the day?

No, in the days leading up to the election.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:59 PM on May 7, 2015


Fucking YES! if Galloway is gone. I do not live there anymore but I'm still a Bradford lad at heart.

Rumours abound that Danny Alexander is gone too.
posted by vbfg at 4:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't trust the post anymore. Thanks, Cameron!
posted by billiebee at 4:02 PM on May 7, 2015


I have two friends who are counting the ballots overnight. It's a safe Labour seat (South Coventry) but they still expect to be up until 3 am. Everything is done by hand, all ballots are first sorted into valid and spoiled (spoilt? I'm also an immigrant with crazy colonial spelling) and then they go back through and hand count the valid ones. Apparently some places hire bank tellers because they're good at counting slips of paper. I consider the non-electronic nature of the UK voting system as a check (cheque?) in the plus column.
posted by tractorfeed at 4:05 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Since it's become a point of discussion, no poll in Canadian federal elections closes before 7. BC/YK is 7, Alberta/NWT is 7:30, SK/MB/Atlantic Canada is 8:30, ON/QC/NU is 9:30.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:05 PM on May 7, 2015


Is it too lowbrow to ask wtf is happening with Robert Peston's hair?
posted by billiebee at 4:14 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


No. He looks like he’s trying to relive being 17 again. Maybe it’s a wig!
posted by pharm at 4:15 PM on May 7, 2015


Incredible interview with Tom Harris, Labour (Glasgow South) on STV. He's a broken man.
posted by pinacotheca at 4:19 PM on May 7, 2015


Since it's become a point of discussion, no poll in Canadian federal elections closes before 7. BC/YK is 7, Alberta/NWT is 7:30, SK/MB/Atlantic Canada is 8:30, ON/QC/NU is 9:30.

My apologies. I guess I am being "West Coast-centric" in thinking that Canadian federal elections are generally called by 9pm West Coast time, which I suppose is after midnight in Newfoundland and Labrador.
posted by Nevin at 4:19 PM on May 7, 2015


He looks like he’s trying to relive being 17 again.

Definite hints of early 90s Jarvis Cocker.
posted by billiebee at 4:23 PM on May 7, 2015


check (cheque?)

Actually in that sense the word is tick. Happy to help!
posted by Acey at 4:24 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually in the UK one should cross one's ballot, not tick it.
posted by topynate at 4:27 PM on May 7, 2015


You can tick it. The ballot papers advise a cross but I believe the requirement is clear intention.
posted by vbfg at 4:29 PM on May 7, 2015


Dimbleby gets "ethnic" name wrong - check!
posted by billiebee at 4:30 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I believe the requirement is clear intention

i drew a smiley face
posted by billiebee at 4:30 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well these are interesting results according to the exit polls. Substantial gains for the conservatives WTF UK?
posted by humanfont at 4:31 PM on May 7, 2015


i drew a smiley face

ಠ_ಠ
posted by topynate at 4:32 PM on May 7, 2015


At least there's a hex map.
posted by Artw at 4:39 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've avoided the election coverage because on Film4 we've had Airplane! and Serenity playing. Dead Man's Shoes is on now, and Brazil will be coming up.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:46 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


wow, urbanwhaleshark, you'd rather watch awesome movies than election coverage? Are you mad? just joking, sounds like the perfect antidote.
posted by marienbad at 4:49 PM on May 7, 2015


Another lib dem deposit gone, 4 for 4 now.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:50 PM on May 7, 2015


Even Dead Man's Shoes is going to seem like a feelgood movie compared to the election coverage.
posted by dng at 4:50 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is it possible that the LDs could be completely eliminated or do they have a safe district or 2
posted by vuron at 4:51 PM on May 7, 2015


Swing from Labour to Conservative in Swindon. Guardian suggests Labour losing votes to UKIP.
posted by Pink Frost at 4:52 PM on May 7, 2015


It's been three hours of extrapolating wildly from the shock exit poll and I am so ready for that part of the night when results come too quick to follow.

Hoping at least it's as predicted that Farage falling flat on his figurative face is the Portillo moment this election.

(This is the de facto live thread, yes?)
posted by comealongpole at 5:00 PM on May 7, 2015


LDs kept a deposit in Wandsworth? D:
posted by klue at 5:01 PM on May 7, 2015


Note that pretty much every extrapolation is based on that one exit poll or the results of 4 returns. So, were scrambling for data.
posted by eriko at 5:03 PM on May 7, 2015


Damn. Finished the first bottle.
posted by Leon at 5:05 PM on May 7, 2015


Looks like I picked the wrong day to give up heroin.
posted by marienbad at 5:08 PM on May 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


That's what Clegg said.
posted by billiebee at 5:09 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Twitter full of comments of a recount in Bradford West. The local paper has been projecting the results announcement at about 5am since late evening. A recount at 1am would be strange indeed.
posted by vbfg at 5:09 PM on May 7, 2015


Late to the party. Here's a great description of how the exit poll actually works. I'm really not convinced it's that wrong. Maybe 300 Tory seats.
posted by cromagnon at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2015


Trying to find a silver lining: it's cool that, of the five seats announced so far, four have been won by women.

So, were scrambling for data.

I've been listening to radio 4, and their naked desperation to get anyone to say literally anything other than "it's too early to tell" is hilarious.

Still though, the exit polling was designed and analysed by the same team who were bang on last time around. It's arguably a more complex situation this time, but they've also increased their data gathering. So I'm not too optimistic that they're way out.

Must be a weird evening for them, actually: they want to see their model succeed, but they're academics and therefore probably left-leaning. A night of conflicts...
posted by metaBugs at 5:12 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for making me feel better, cromagnon.
posted by marienbad at 5:12 PM on May 7, 2015


I drew a smiley face

There's always the wank, wank, good guy, wank option.
posted by ambrosen at 5:15 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bradford Council has reported Respect's George Galloway to the police for allegedly breaking election law for tweeting about exit polls before polls closed, the BBC has learned.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:17 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The esteemed leader of the respect party showing no respect to voting law? Perfect!
posted by marienbad at 5:21 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this exit poll is looking horrifyingly correct. Dammit.
posted by skybluepink at 5:24 PM on May 7, 2015


What actually happens to lost deposits? General treasury? Or is there some kind of fund?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:27 PM on May 7, 2015


Swings from Labour to Conservative? From LD to UKIP? Seriously people, we're going to have to find a reeeally big naughty step.
posted by billiebee at 5:28 PM on May 7, 2015


Two thoughts:

1. If the Lib Dems are decimated as predicted, I wonder if those remaing might not end up ganging up with Labour and its allies.

2. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Boris as PM a lot sooner than expected/wanted.
posted by popcassady at 5:29 PM on May 7, 2015


wanted? hahahahahaha
posted by marienbad at 5:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, not wanted anytime sooner than never.
posted by popcassady at 5:32 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


BBC saying Conservatives hold Nuneaton, which was seen as a key Labour target :(
posted by Pink Frost at 5:53 PM on May 7, 2015


So are people punishing the LibDems for coalition with the Tories by abandoning them and voting Tory? What is actually happening here?
posted by vbfg at 5:54 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


  Jim Murphy, Saviour of the Union

Fuck, but that's spot-on satire.
Some estimates circulating at the East Renfrewshire count suggest Jim Murphy has lost to SNP candidate Kirsten Oswald by about 5,000 votes.— joncraigSKY (@joncraig) May 8, 2015
posted by scruss at 5:55 PM on May 7, 2015


Yeah, there goes Nuneaton. Time to stick a fork in it, and get some sleep.
posted by skybluepink at 5:57 PM on May 7, 2015


Oh fuck. The guy in charge of the exit poll now saying that it may be wrong and Tories may well get a majority!?! Poll had predicted swing to Labour in Nuneaton but swing was to Tories.
posted by popcassady at 5:58 PM on May 7, 2015


Has there ever been a time when a sitting government increased its number of seats?
posted by vbfg at 6:02 PM on May 7, 2015


I'm just gobsmacked by this. Gobsmacked and disappointed.
posted by corvine at 6:03 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


The last time it happened was in 1983, when the conservatives gained an extra 58 seats.
posted by dng at 6:03 PM on May 7, 2015


NHS. RIP. FFS.

So angry. So, so depressed. This is going to be horrible.
posted by Hobo at 6:06 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not since Thatcher in 83
posted by humanfont at 6:06 PM on May 7, 2015


Welcome to the brand new world of the corporation owned uk, people.
posted by marienbad at 6:09 PM on May 7, 2015


Lost deposits are "forfeit to Her Majesty" under the Representation Of The People Act 1983. So general pool.
posted by cromagnon at 6:10 PM on May 7, 2015


So they did. On a reduced share of the vote, interestingly. Only a small amouint, but still. (44% to 42.4%)
posted by vbfg at 6:10 PM on May 7, 2015


Oh no. ):
posted by Quilford at 6:19 PM on May 7, 2015


SNP take their first seat (from Labour) and LibDems hold their first.

Nate Silver's live forecast has Tories at 297, Labour 250. He seems to be updating reasonably frequently, about 20 minutes ago he had Tories at 300.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:23 PM on May 7, 2015


So are people punishing the LibDems for coalition with the Tories by abandoning them and voting Tory? What is actually happening here?

Some of that is going to be the death of tactical voting - no point voting Lib Dem to edge them ahead of the Tories if they're just going to be Tories anyway.
posted by Artw at 6:26 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


As predicted Labour is being wiped out it Scotland. I'm going to bed.
posted by antiwiggle at 6:27 PM on May 7, 2015


> "BBC saying Conservatives hold Nuneaton ..."

Welp, we're boned.
posted by kyrademon at 6:30 PM on May 7, 2015


Mhairi Black, a third year politics student at Glasgow university, has prepared for her finals next month in the most extraordinary way - by defeating the man who planned the party’s entire election campaign, Douglas Alexander. In doing so Black, who is 20, has become the youngest MP since 1667.
posted by dng at 6:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


As predicted Labour is being wiped out it Scotland. I'm going to bed.

Mixed feelings on that. I'd probably vote SNP too given the choice.
posted by Artw at 6:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


dng, I literally had that same quote ready to paste in :).

Good for her.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:34 PM on May 7, 2015


I would too. I am insanely jealous.

It's time for an independent Bradford, a small war with Scotland and for health care to be provided by Scandanavian peace keepers. It's our only hope.
posted by vbfg at 6:34 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


heh.
But it was just a day after her selection that the first hard political knock came. In what seems an oversight by the SNP PR machine, Black’s Twitter account still held tweets from when she was a teenager. During an especially tense match between her beloved Partick Thistle and rivals Celtic, she had tweeted: “I’ve only just realised – I really f***** hate Celtic” and “Celtic, yer a joke! #scum.”

“Yes, making the front page was a surprise,” she said ruefully. “My brother came through and said: ‘Have you seen this?’ But then he said: ‘You got a bit heated during a football match. Tony Blair started a war. Let’s put it in perspective.’

“So it was a shock to the system, but you have to think about what your political opponents are doing, trawling through to find old messages written by a teenager and holding them relevant in a country where 100,000 children are living below the poverty line. Maybe their priorities are a bit skewed.”
posted by Drinky Die at 6:41 PM on May 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


The swing to the SNP in Scotland is monumental. Approaching a 35% swing in some places.
posted by kyrademon at 6:48 PM on May 7, 2015


Am on very fine Glengoyne cask strength.
posted by rongorongo at 6:50 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Salmond now talking about possibility of a progressive alliance. "Asked what he would do if David Cameron were to offer the SNP full fiscal autonomy, he sidesteps the question." - Guardian.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:51 PM on May 7, 2015


And they're saying increase in turnout in Scotland of 9%.
posted by paduasoy at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2015


Yeah, that looks about right ... turnout percentage in Scotland looks like it's averaging in the low to mid 70's. Further south it looks like it's generally in the low to mid 60's.
posted by kyrademon at 7:06 PM on May 7, 2015


If the current estimates are accurate with roughly 299 Conservative MPs how can they actually form a government?

There isn't enough Tory + Lib Dem + Ukip to meet the minimum number.

It seems like Labour + SNP + Lib Dem + Green + PC is the only viable coalition
posted by vuron at 7:17 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jim Murphy's concession speech was pretty much the only credible thing I've heard him say.
posted by rongorongo at 7:21 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


There isn't enough Tory + Lib Dem + Ukip to meet the minimum number.

Remember the Ulster Unionists - the DUP has 6 seats at the moment, and the UUP has 1. They'll back a Con govt. It'll be a mess whatever happens though.
posted by Pink Frost at 7:27 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


So regardless LDs are the kingmakers. Will they realize that they have to be something other than Tory proxies or they'll disappear or will they just live on as a strategic voting option?
posted by vuron at 7:34 PM on May 7, 2015


Maybe the LibDems will step in in key votes and prevent them fucking things up!

Ha ha ha ha ha gaaaaaaaargh...

I have a cold, I don't even feel like drinking myself into a coma, pity me.
posted by Artw at 7:35 PM on May 7, 2015


  Jim Murphy's concession speech was pretty much the only credible thing I've heard him say

Fundilymundily!

I see that some of the nastier Tory types are pulling out old tweets from Mhairi Black's feed, scrubbing the dates and posting them as recent. Some of them date back to mid-2010, when Mhairi wasn't even sixteen. So I say to these repulsive posters “I'll bet that ganging up on a 15 year old lassie makes you feel like a really big man, doesn't it?”
posted by scruss at 7:40 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Modified BBC swing-o-meter broken by 39% swing in Glasgow East.
posted by rongorongo at 7:49 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tories have gained Eastleigh from Libs - Mike Thornton was the sitting MP following the Chris Huhne scandal. Has been held by LD since 1994. In the 2013 by-election UKIP was the second party. Haven't seen the figures yet so not sure what the swing was. Interesting article from 2013 about the oddness of Eastleigh politically: How Labour got lost in Eastleigh's unplanned sprawl.
posted by paduasoy at 7:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not happy to see a vote share increase by UKIP.
posted by chapps at 8:06 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know it's all going to change but right now Labour has almost twice as many seats as the Conservatives... Kind of weird seeing this declared as an outright Tory victory already.
posted by Artw at 8:16 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East, formerly just about the safest Labour seat possible, went SNP. Almost 74% turnout; I remember when voting there was like “Here's the Voter! The Voter is here!”. Unbelievable. So happy.

On the last day for registration, some Facebook friends egged me on (not in the Jim Murphy way) to register. I tapped in some details to my phone, and — lummee! — I was eligible to vote. Had to vote by proxy, but it all worked out. This is the last time I was eligible to vote in the UK, and I'm glad I still could.
posted by scruss at 8:16 PM on May 7, 2015




My constituency, So'ton Itchen, has just flashed up as Con gain. Fuck fuck fuck. Five years of Royston (previous leader of the council). I cannot bear it.

Goodness knows, I voted Labour more reluctantly than ever because they didn't seem a credible opposition - not fighting austerity or privatisation agenda. Where do you go from here if you want to be active against welfare cuts and the general Mail hate speak? Try to support Labour to become a credible opposition? Join the Greens in the wilderness? Support independent groups like CPAG?

Fuck fuck fuck.
posted by paduasoy at 8:28 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


And Boris is in.
posted by paduasoy at 8:32 PM on May 7, 2015


Labour just held Edinburgh South?
posted by scruss at 8:33 PM on May 7, 2015


Have had to mute Boris with his infuriating down-home speak. "We don't need any fancy analysis to tell us what this means ... " May not be as easy to shut him up if he becomes PM.
posted by paduasoy at 8:35 PM on May 7, 2015


Vince Cable just lost his seat. At the announcement, he looked like some had just taken a shit on his living room carpet.
posted by Len at 8:40 PM on May 7, 2015


Simon Hughes and Vince Cable both lose their seats for the LibDems (to Lab/Con respectively). Conservatives starting to make some wins.
posted by Pink Frost at 8:40 PM on May 7, 2015


Vince Cable is out. Wow.
posted by Nevin at 8:42 PM on May 7, 2015


Ctrl-F didn't find the General Election Results Live Stitch, so there it is.
posted by rifflesby at 8:45 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Len I gather that's how many lib dem voters felt on seeing the party's actions in coalition. Watching those craven dogs get thumped is one of tonight's few pleasures.
posted by smoke at 8:47 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry, everyone. I remember that horrible feeling of dread when Harper won a majority-- and the damage he's done since then, it doesn't bear thinking of.
posted by jokeefe at 8:49 PM on May 7, 2015


The damage done by Cameron, Osborne, and Clegg is far worse than anything Harper has been able to do so far in Canada.
posted by Nevin at 8:54 PM on May 7, 2015


Cable losing has to be the Portillo moment since Clegg held Sheffield Hallam.

I will never tire of Dimbleby's election night traditions.
posted by kendrak at 8:55 PM on May 7, 2015


The Monster Raving Loony Party has a web site.
The Loony Party declare they are ready and willing to form a CoALEition with any other party especially the Scottish Nationalist Party as we share the same party colours, yellow and black.
Our ‘red line’ policy is that once in government we will reclassify Scotland as an ‘overseas territory’ and the right to vote to be removed from everyone except for English second-home owners.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:55 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clegg held his seat? Bloody nora.
posted by scruss at 9:00 PM on May 7, 2015


My friends in England went to bed hours ago, seeing the writing on the wall. This feels worse than 1983 and 1987 did. Ugh, maybe it's time to move to Scotland.
posted by vickyverky at 9:02 PM on May 7, 2015


And one — one — conservative hold in Scotland.

SNP should be pretty happy with their gain of 44 seats.
posted by scruss at 9:03 PM on May 7, 2015


The leadership race blood letting that will happen with the Lib Dems, UKIP, and Labour will be interesting to see play out. I'm kind of excited about it.

This is hard to watch in a weird way. I remember staying up all night in 1997 watching the coverage and feeling youthful glee for a party I would never vote for. I totally bought into the New Labour lie. I wrote pop songs about the cabinet. I went to the UK in 2001 to be there for the election, running around the city to catch resignation and stalking the cabinet outside Downing Street. But by 2005, I was soured from Labour and politics. 2010 I felt bad for Brown, but wasn't surprised.

Today... I just don't get it but I don't know what Labour could have done differently. Labour shouldn't have depended on the Scotland seats so much, but the SNP had to know this was going to keep Cameron in Downing Street. When they say that Whitehall has to listen to them it just sounds naive.
posted by kendrak at 9:09 PM on May 7, 2015


Just woke up but I'm in a nightmare. 332 of 650 seats have declared. The later seats to declare are disproportionately rural and Conservative, so the raw results are not representative. Percentage results so far:

Party %
LAB 32.8
CON 31.0
UKIP 11.3
SNP 8.8
LD 7.1
GRN 3.2

UKIP are massive in vote share for a minor party. At a guess they're mostly taking votes from Labour where it counts, as some warned. At another guess the "Shy Tory" vote has now become a "Shy Tory" and "Shy UKIP" vote which is why the polls were so wrong.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:11 PM on May 7, 2015


[Mike Thornton] added: “I’ll be looking for a job. If you know anyone who wants to take on an ex-MP with a knowledge of Westminster and a way with words, I’d be very happy to know about it.”

Well, at least he's open and honest about his ambition and need to become lobbyist scum.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:12 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, electionforecast.co.uk gives the Conservatives a 35% chance of governing in their own right - and does not rate Labour plus any other combination of parties as being capable of achieving a majority. That's quite a turnaround.

Was Obama helping Labour or something?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:38 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Awful result. Labour & Lib Dems need a total overhaul and rethink.
I don't know if the SNP will ever be properly held to account for their highly superficial but highly effective image of progressiveness. I'd like to see new unionist progressive alternative party launched in Scotland
posted by Bwithh at 9:39 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


FiveThirtyEight notes that the four highest-profile Western elections of the last year -- the Scottish referendum, the U.S. midterms, the Israeli elections, and now the UK -- all featured significant polling errors (all of which underestimated the strength of the right wing, incidentally). They're now projecting the Conservatives have a 20% chance at winning 320 seats, a 1-in-500 scenario less than 24 hours ago.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:45 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are the govt policies working for the majority? Is this a sign that they want these polices to continue?
posted by asra at 9:46 PM on May 7, 2015


Oof, this is terrible. Salt in the wounds is that the fee tory voters my age I've spoken to seem to know nothing of policy at all, making vague allusions to "stability", or have gone for the classic trap of think certain policies will help them financially when really they'd need to be ten times richer to benefit.
I don't want to say there's no good reason to vote conservative, but these were sort of frustrating and depressing.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:49 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


How could Labour lose voters to UKIP? That makes no sense to me.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:50 PM on May 7, 2015


In The North post-Thatcher, voting Conservative for a lot of working class people was totally unthinkable. UKIP was able capitalize on their concerns about job security and immigration. It's fairly short sighted but that's seems to be the case in some places.

I don't want to say there's no good reason to vote conservative, but these were sort of frustrating and depressing.
The BBC talked to some young voters and one said he voted Conservative because they would make the UK strong and then went on to say Miliband looked weak. Superficial and honest.
posted by kendrak at 9:55 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Elections like this, or when Canada re-upped with Stephen Harper and his dead eyes, are weird in part because they're reminders that people in foreign lands can be almost as shit-for-brained as Americans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:57 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Looks like Britain is getting the racist, classist divisiveness they deserve. David Bullingdon Cameron, soon-to-be lame duck President of Southern England.

I wonder whether there are ways of investing profitably to make money off of the upcoming Scottish independence? Maybe the correct play is shorting the British Pound?
posted by markkraft at 9:59 PM on May 7, 2015


440 out of 650 declared, Cons just caught up with Labour...
posted by Artw at 10:01 PM on May 7, 2015


Elections like this, or when Canada re-upped with Stephen Harper

The Conservatives got 39% of the popular vote with 61% turnout in the 2011 federal election. Hardly an overwhelming majority, and hardly indicative of Canadian political sensibilities.
posted by Nevin at 10:04 PM on May 7, 2015


How big of an issue is immigration? I know I've heard of a lot of tension around immigration in Britain, especially regarding immigrants from Eastern Europe. Whereas, immigrants from former British colonies are not resented as much.

Why Britain’s anti-immigration candidate prefers Indians to Eastern Europeans
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:04 PM on May 7, 2015


So with the result pretty much certain, some interesting issues:

*UKIP making a fair bit of noise about how unfair the electoral system is, noting that they and the Greens should have won a lot more seats. Another chance for electoral reform?

*Boris Johnson has been talking up the idea of a more federal UK, with more powers devolved to the individual nations, but also to regions within England. He could well be the next Tory leader, so what will we see happen here? If not, do we see another IndyRef? [How could the Scots push for this if they wanted one?]

*We're now looking at a referendum on EU membership. How's that going to look, given that Cameron supports membership, as do his business backers, but large parts of his party don't? He could have a very tough time maintaining party discipline.
posted by Pink Frost at 10:12 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Golden Eternity: How could Labour lose voters to UKIP? That makes no sense to me.

At a rough guess, a sense among working class voters that Labour wasn't listening to their concerns, that UKIP were the only ones standing up for the underdogs. Concerns including local poverty, unemployment, sense that immigrants were 'taking their jobs' and driving down wages (much more of a concern in regional cities than somewhere like London). Also a sense that the big parties were all the same, as bad as each other (like how you get US candidates presenting themselves as outsiders who will bring straight talk to Washington, UKIP present themselves as the anti-establishment party).

How big of an issue is immigration?

Massive. UKIP obviously wanted to cut immigration a lot. the Tories ran in the last election on a platform of cutting immigration, Labour apologised for allowing too much immigration and not listening to people's concerns about it...only the LibDems are a bit more relaxed. Though UKIP says it's in favour of skilled immigration - it wants to close the borders to unrestricted EU migration but then allow in anyone who has needed skills.
posted by Pink Frost at 10:19 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's interesting how London is a sea of red, while its (presumably affluent) suburbs are a sea of blue.
posted by Nevin at 10:36 PM on May 7, 2015


As horrid, lying, warlike, corporate, and unethical as Tony Blair was, it seems like Cameron is determined to secure his place as being the biggest notorious disaster for Britain since Margaret Thatcher. Worse for Brits than sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.

Is it any wonder that the Scots are saying "a plague on both their houses"?
posted by markkraft at 10:40 PM on May 7, 2015


Scotland showing what happens when you have an actual alternative to Labour for your anti-racist vote.
posted by fullerine at 10:47 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Elections like this, or when Canada re-upped with Stephen Harper and his dead eyes, are weird in part because they're reminders that people in foreign lands can be almost as shit-for-brained as Americans.

What do you mean "foreign lands", Anglosphere?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:11 PM on May 7, 2015


Well fuck.
posted by salmacis at 11:36 PM on May 7, 2015


12.3% UKIP - they got nearly 2.5million more votes than LD. Fuck this country. Fuck it hard. Is it too early to start drinking?
posted by longbaugh at 11:47 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's i11:00 somewhere. Just bear in mind that seeing double means twice as many UKIP assholes.
posted by frimble at 11:51 PM on May 7, 2015


@JamesFHall: "Bonkers electoral stats: UKIP get 3.5 million votes and get 1 seat in Commons. SNP get under 1.5 million votes and get 56 seats. #GE2015"
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:52 PM on May 7, 2015


56.
posted by Caskeum at 11:58 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the EU referendum issue is going to tear the Tories apart now. The markets won't react favourably to such uncertainty either.
posted by vacapinta at 12:05 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


@JamesFHall: "Bonkers electoral stats: UKIP get 3.5 million votes and get 1 seat in Commons. SNP get under 1.5 million votes and get 56 seats. #GE2015"

In the US, California with a population of 40 million gets two seats in the Senate.
Wyoming, with a populaton of 0.5 million gets two seats in the Senate.

Welcome to non-proportional representation.
posted by vacapinta at 12:08 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Decent breakdown:Labour hasn't just failed to win - it's worse than that.

Labour today is waking up to something much worse than failure to win. It has failed to account for its defeat in 2010, failed to recognise the deep sources of its failure in Scotland, and failed to produce any kind of intellectual diversity and resilience from which answers might arise.
posted by like_neon at 12:21 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Vacapinta: to be fair that's only half the story. California has 53 seats in the House of Representatives and Wyoming has 1.
posted by like_neon at 12:25 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


UKIP get 3.5 million votes and get 1 seat in Commons. SNP get under 1.5 million votes and get 56 seats.

I bet you guys are really grateful for first-past-the-post now. Pretty soon you'll be clamoring for the electoral college!
posted by Apocryphon at 12:29 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Best kick to the balls ever.
posted by biffa at 12:31 AM on May 8, 2015


Oh, fuck. Here it comes: Five more years of the Tories, with a mid-term hand off to Boris, just to make it even worse, and I am totally certain Labour is going to conclude they need to go even further right. I should've stayed in bed.
posted by skybluepink at 12:32 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm just glad the USA doesn't have the dumbest politics any more. Good luck with your coming crisis, friends in the UK.
posted by Justinian at 12:33 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even the pro-Tory Economist magazine isn't happy with a Tory majority.
"This course will leave Mr Cameron more beholden to his irascible backbenchers. And it will make sensible policy less likely."

They fear that Cameron will take the UK out of the EU and also believe the UK may lose Scotland. Not good outcomes for anybody but the inevitable result of divisive politics, of pitting people against each other, rather than working together to solve problems.
posted by vacapinta at 12:39 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Clearly this has been a terrible night for Labour, and a great night for the SNP. But it's a real sign of the times that the Cons are declaring 'victory' with a projected, what, 3 seat majority? It sounds like a recipe for disaster, just as vacapinta's link suggests.
posted by adrianhon at 12:43 AM on May 8, 2015


On the other hand, the monstrous Esther McVey lost her seat, so there's been a slight improvement here on the Wirral this morning.
posted by skybluepink at 12:44 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


How dismal this is. The size of the UKIP vote in particular depresses me: millions of Britons who think the Tories are too soft… I’m curious about these ‘Shy Tories:’ are they just liars who find sport in misleading pollsters? or are they ashamed of their affiliation, yet able to overcome their qualms of conscience in the privacy of a voting booth? Either way, they have laid an appropriately unsound foundation-stone for the coming government.
posted by misteraitch at 12:44 AM on May 8, 2015


skybluepink: I grew up in West Kirby, so it's a delight to see Esther out and Labour back in!
posted by adrianhon at 12:45 AM on May 8, 2015


Current vote share (after 621 of 650 seats) gives the Cons + UKIP 49% of the vote. Labour + SNP + Green got 39.5% of the vote. Lots and lots and lots of people voted for the xenophobic right yesterday. Whatever problems reform of the voting system is supposed to solve, it would not stop the UK getting hardline right-wing governments.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:45 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


England seems a very cold and harsh place this morning. I do wonder if this is the high water mark for UKIP though with the new Tory government swinging more to the right.

Cue another year of Labour faffing about trying to find a new leader too.
posted by brilliantmistake at 12:57 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is pretty confusing. The SNP have taken all of Scotland but have almost no power in Westminster. To me it seems they're lame ducks if anything and can only agitate for further devolvement from the Union.
posted by PenDevil at 12:59 AM on May 8, 2015


Look on the bright side, guys. It's going to be a Tory government, but at least the lack of a proper majority means it's going to be volatile and unstable.
posted by Segundus at 1:03 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not really, PenDevil. Even if we assume a hypothetical where the SNP didn't exist and every single one of those seats went to Labour, the Tories would still form a majority and could pass whatever legislation they wanted.

From the perspective of the SNP voters, voting for a regional party sends a clear message about demands for further devolution (approaching some sort of quasi-federal system, you'd expect) more than voting for Labour and having a 'Scots caucus' within a broader group of MPs.
posted by modernnomad at 1:06 AM on May 8, 2015


(for clarity, that response is based on a guess that your confusion is as to why anyone would vote for a regional party knowing it would have no chance of forming a government in a westminster system - see also the Bloc Quebecois in Canada)
posted by modernnomad at 1:07 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


They said the 2010 parliament was going to be "volatile and unstable" too. I don't buy it. Surely this result can only improve Conservative morale, enable them to fully implement "austerity" (i.e. the complete gutting of the public sector), and do so knowing that they'll have no effective parliamentary opposition, no coalition partner to keep onside, and the near complete support of the plutocrat-owned press and the BBC. They can do whatever the hell they want.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:12 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I get that but Scotland had a referendum on independence a few months ago and lost. Although I guess the SNP rout is a 'feature' of constituencuy based systems where they might have lost on a national vote but on a constituent level can win the majority. Sort of the reverse situation with what usually happened to the LibDems in the past (lots of voters but too spread out to win constituencies).

Is it less "we want total separation" and more "we want to keep some of that sweet sweet oil money ourselves"?
posted by PenDevil at 1:16 AM on May 8, 2015


Look on the bright side, guys. It's going to be a Tory government, but at least the lack of a proper majority means it's going to be volatile and unstable.

It'd be nice if they could just have a volatile and unstable government in a sandbox environment where the poorest and most vulnerable won't be fucked over, but that's not an option. And in truth, why should it be? A significant cohort of the British electorate has voted explicitly to fuck over the poorest and most vulnerable in exchange for preserving the wealth locked into their precious bloody house prices, and, in the spirit of Black Wednesday, I sincerely hope that they are fucked over themselves as a direct consequence of their vote.

Meanwhile, the new SNP MPs look capable and formidable. I just hope that the party has the smarts to deal with the nutjobs at the fringe.
posted by holgate at 1:25 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pendevil: Given that 'YES' got 45% in the referendum, I think that ~45% of the Scottish electorate did indeed want total separation rather than merely 'sweet sweet oil money' as you so delicately put it. Now, obviously this is a gross approximation and there were differences between seats in Scotland, but assuming a solid bloc of 45% SNP voters, that would mean that practically all opposition parties - Lab, Cons, LD - would have to unite to defeat them. Which they didn't.
posted by adrianhon at 1:25 AM on May 8, 2015


Ah right you are. Only a matter of time before another Scots vote then, especially if the there is an EU vote as well.
posted by PenDevil at 1:31 AM on May 8, 2015


At a rough guess, a sense among working class voters that Labour wasn't listening to their concerns, that UKIP were the only ones standing up for the underdogs.

Those brave, brave people who could stand up against the conspiracy of silence about the moral failures of non-white people that somehow managed to show up everywhere in spite of it being a taboo. Or something. You can argue until you're hoarse that economic vulnerability is the cause and xenophobia is the symptom, but if enough people want to hate on foreigners, that's what they'll do. There's only so much you a political party can do without betraying what it is.
posted by holgate at 1:33 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Still not 100% sure SNP would campaign for another referendum in next year's Holyrood elections, but I've heard that they could ask for the right to hold one at a time of their choosing. Or perhaps they'll link it to the EU referendum somehow.
posted by adrianhon at 1:34 AM on May 8, 2015


I'm just glad the USA doesn't have the dumbest politics any more.

I, uh... don't think so. And I say this as a citizen of neither country.
posted by Quilford at 1:38 AM on May 8, 2015


Interesting: Unless Tessa Munt holds onto her seat, there'll only be 8 Lib Dem MPS - and they'll all be male.
posted by adrianhon at 1:38 AM on May 8, 2015


Look on the bright side, guys. It's going to be a Tory government, but at least the lack of a proper majority means it's going to be volatile and unstable.

This result is beyond the wildest dreams of Tory planners though. There'll at least be a semblance of unity around Cameron for the first couple of years, long enough to push through things like boundary reforms and the gutting of social security.
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:39 AM on May 8, 2015


Yeah, other than a few individual hateful MPs going down (I repeat: Bye, Esther!) and the Lib Dems getting their just desserts, I think we're going to be utterly screwed.
posted by skybluepink at 1:51 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Folks look on the bright side, we're about to enter a golden age of biting, cynical Brit comedy.
posted by PenDevil at 1:52 AM on May 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


Europe is starting to fall apart at the fringes.

I say, let's get this over with quickly. Greece and the UK obviously don't won't to be a part of it, so there's no point in keeping them. You can't keep someone in a marriage who doesn't want to be in it. Especially if they keep bitching and complaining and demanding special treatment all the time.

Another similarity between Greece and the UK: Both don't manufacture anything of value that can be exported anywhere (possibly with the exception of Jaguars in the UK). The UK has financial services, but those won't be in demand once they leave the EU. Greece at least has sun and tourism.

Both will probably lose 10 to 20 years before they come to their senses and rejoin. And it seems that the UK actually has more to lose than Greece (which has already lost most of its wealth to corruption and its oligarchs).
posted by sour cream at 1:59 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looking back on my note about the SNP - they actually got a clean 50.0% of the vote in Scotland!
posted by adrianhon at 2:16 AM on May 8, 2015


Wow, feel like I've been hit over the head with a sledgehammer. Anti Gay religious nuts back in charge in my constituency and a bunch of cunts back in charge across the water.

It's the end of the union imho. This rise of Nationalism is terrifying (not to Godwin the thread but National self determination got us nowhere in the past)
posted by twistedonion at 2:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Two tiniest of silver linings: Most women MPs ever and Nigel Farage lost his constituency. I hope that means he's going to resign as leader of UKIP? Didn't he mention something like that?
posted by like_neon at 2:38 AM on May 8, 2015


Aye. He said he'd resign "within ten minutes" from memory.

Hopefully Douglas Carswell will get the leader job there, as the only serving UKIP MP. That'd kill them off nice and swiftly as he's odious, with none of the Wetherspoons charm of Farage.
posted by garius at 2:41 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Farange? Even if he does resign, I don't think we've seen the end of him.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:45 AM on May 8, 2015


The damage done by Cameron, Osborne, and Clegg is far worse than anything Harper has been able to do so far in Canada.

Like fuck. The UK was already bought and paid for and deep into the toilet long before those shitwizards got in. They've just accelerated the rocketride into the sewer that started long before; they didn't start it.

Harper initiated and has followed through. The deliberate destruction of all that is good and right in Canada in the last decade or so hasn't been a floppy follow-through, it's been a kristallnacht fucking kick-off.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:48 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was up way too late last night and am going back to bed again in a minute, but ...

Scotland going to the SNP is not why Labour lost, and I'm finding that narrative bizarre. If Labour had won every single seat in Scotland with rest of the results the same, they would still have lost. If Labour lost every single seat in Scotland and won a not-even-close-to-a-plurality of 270 seats or so everywhere else, they'd be forming a new government soon. SNP said over and over they'd form a government with Labour, so for the specific purpose of whether Labour is actually in charge or not, every SNP victory might as well have been a Labour victory.

What happened, as far as I can tell, is that Labour did not pick up nearly as much of the Lib Dem vote as they thought they would. As of right now, with some seats not yet declared, the Lib Dems have lost 45 seats. The Tories have picked up a net of 24 seats. Labour/SNP combined have picked up a net of 25 seats. (And some smaller parties have made minor gains or losses.)

Since the Lib Dems were in a coalition with the Tories, that means the governing coalition actually has in fact lost the 25 seats to the other side. That just isn't nearly enough for the other side to win it.

In fact, the SNP sweep of Scotland would have been BENEFICIAL to a Labour government if there could have been one. A number of those seats the theoretical Labour/SNP Coalition picked up were the SNP taking seats away from the Lib Dems in Scotland. Scotland voting the exact same way it did last time would have meant FEWER seats for a left coalition government. The SNP did a stellar job picking up seats for a potential left coalition. Labour didn't.

(To put it in terms for any Americans reading ... blaming the SNP is like blaming Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and therefore for all purposes of forming a majority counts as a Democrat, for helping to keep the Democrats from having a Senate majority.)
posted by kyrademon at 2:48 AM on May 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


Just went to make coffee and had the pleasure of watching Farage fail to win live on TV. Probably the only piece of genuine joy I've had out of this election.
posted by permafrost at 2:48 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Farange

Farage + Falange
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:57 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Conservatives now officially have 323 seats, enough for a majority. I wonder if they really are going to force housing associations to sell off their private assets, where they might find £12 billion (non-pension) welfare to cut, and if they will hold an EU referendum. An interesting five years to come.
posted by Thing at 3:11 AM on May 8, 2015


What a dismal morning. Goodbye, NHS, hello, families having to budget thousands a year for health insurance.

All to play for in the upcoming in-out EU referendum, then. Hoping against hope that the question isn't framed as "Should Britain leave the European Union?" to give Brexiters the positive connotations of a "yes" vote, but I fear it will be. On the other hand, there's this one hopeful sign.

At least (desperately searching for silver lining) the Tories will be less and less able to pin future bad news on Labour, as the memory of Blair/Brown recedes further into the past.

Both don't manufacture anything of value that can be exported anywhere

The CIA World Factbook ranked the UK as the eleventh-highest exporter in the world in 2014. It can't all have been Jaguars.
posted by rory at 3:11 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Farage back in the garridge.
posted by vbfg at 3:11 AM on May 8, 2015


I was with 'No' in the Scotland referendum but fuggit, Scotland, get away while you still can. Run! Make a big moat. Hadrian's wall 2. Sever the lands and push off into the north sea before they can get you. Don't worry about me, i'll bite them
posted by Drexen at 3:14 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whatever the new equivalent of punk is going to be, it better be fucking good
posted by Drexen at 3:14 AM on May 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


Balls out. Cunts in.
posted by popcassady at 3:21 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Conservatives now officially have 323 seats, enough for a majority.

The Guardian is saying 326 seats.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:22 AM on May 8, 2015


Proof above all that Jim Murphy has always just been about himself: he “… is not resigning: determined to offer period of stability and be leader of fightback”. A fightback? You and whose army? You've just presided over a colossal rout, and you think you can fight back?
posted by scruss at 3:24 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Al Murray's reaction when the Tories take Thanet.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:27 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hoping against hope that the question isn't framed as "Should Britain leave the European Union?"

You should hope it is; people almost always vote no to referendums.
posted by smoke at 3:28 AM on May 8, 2015


The Guardian is saying 326 seats.

Sinn Fein don't sit, so the house size is 646 in practice.
posted by Thing at 3:30 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Farage and Clegg have both just announced their resignations.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:37 AM on May 8, 2015


Ed next then.
posted by garius at 3:38 AM on May 8, 2015


House size of 647 now, I think, since Sinn Fein lost Fermanagh and South Tyrone to the UUP, which means 324 for a majority. But the Conservatives have already passed that now.
posted by kyrademon at 3:38 AM on May 8, 2015


When Farage first appeared on television, on Have I Got News to You, he said that he didn't mind how his name was pronounced, as long as people were saying it.

So farewell, then, Niggle Farrago.
posted by Grangousier at 3:45 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Looking back on my note about the SNP - they actually got a clean 50.0% of the vote in Scotland!
They also appear to have got more votes than all the other Scottish parties combined on that chart. I have been smiling at the notion of the leafy Miss Jean Brodie area of Morningside in Edinburgh now being "Scotland's Labour Heartland".
posted by rongorongo at 3:46 AM on May 8, 2015


You should hope it is; people almost always vote no to referendums.

In referendums on more obscure constitutional matters, sure. But on big questions of national identity, everyone in Scotland saw the power of Yes last year.
posted by rory at 3:48 AM on May 8, 2015


The Guardian's 9 Reasons To Be Cheerful. #8 is a good one.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:48 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Guardian's 9 Reasons To Be Cheerful
They missed the fact the the UK electoral map now looks like Maggie Simpson.
posted by rongorongo at 3:53 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Most women MPs ever

In NI we lost two women MPs so we now have 2 out of 18. We are represented nearly entirely by white men, and our biggest party is made up of right-wing anti-choice homophobic white men. Good times.
posted by billiebee at 4:02 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm still shocked by how wrong the pre-election polls were. Y'all need to figure out how to get good samples to predict your elections.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:11 AM on May 8, 2015




Yep, so a conservative majority unfortunately, Labour lost more than expected and Lib Dems obliterated throughout the UK.

Turnout in Scotland of 71%+ though so that is outstanding, hopefully it will continue. SNP result ahead of what anyone realistically expected but the question now is what can they do with a majority Con in place. I hope they can have a positive influence but can't really see how right now. It'll be interesting to see what happens next year in the Scottish elections.

With UKIP losing Farage and the Con promise of referendum on Europe then little chance of defectors to UKIP to break that small majority.

The % of vote vs number of seats for Green/UKIP should help bring electoral reform back to the fore though obviously it's not in Con interest to do so. Labour should be more favourable to it now at least.

Lets hope that we don't have too much damage done over the next few years. The votes are in, time to do the best we can with what the people have chosen.
posted by Leud at 4:23 AM on May 8, 2015


Miliband has now resigned as Labour leader. "Harriet Harman, the deputy leader, will take over until a new leader can take over. She will be representing the Labour party at this afternoon’s VE Day commemorations at the Cenotaph in London."
posted by rory at 4:29 AM on May 8, 2015


I'm just glad the USA doesn't have the dumbest politics any more.

Uhh, hasn't the Governor of Texas been making noises about a planned military training operation being cover for a federal invasion? Just saying...
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:57 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Whatever the new equivalent of punk is going to be, it better be fucking good"

I predict what comes next musically in the UK will fit into two categories:

- Music for young, snotty, arrogant toff elite to feel sexy and superior to. Lots of fashion and branding, with shimmering vacuousness.

- Music for straight up suicide, geared to the poor and disenfranchised. It won't be goth, because few under 25 will be able to afford the makeup with all that student debt. Suicide vests as fashion accessories.
posted by markkraft at 5:07 AM on May 8, 2015


Anti-immigration politicians are off to a good start: I'm now a hell of a lot less likely to move to the UK.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:10 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually, I am thinking it might be a good idea to move to Scotland, as they are likely to get their independence and actually do things right.
posted by markkraft at 5:12 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I moved from right-wing-run Australia to Labour-led Britain in 2001, turned out brilliantly.
posted by rory at 5:17 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actually, I am thinking it might be a good idea to move to Scotland, as they are likely to get their independence and actually do things right.

Totally ignorant on this, but wasn't the Scottish referendum depicted as a "once in a lifetime" kind of thing? Is there serious discussion that voting to become its own country again is going to start becoming an annual thing or something?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:18 AM on May 8, 2015


I think they have the right to hold a second referendum if the UK decides to leave the EU (since Scotland would want to stay in the EU).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:20 AM on May 8, 2015


And, well. Fascinating.

Props to the BBC exit poll. Twice, they got it right. Twice, nobody else did. Next election, whenever that is (there's no reason for the Cons to keep FTPA 2011 around) you are going to have to bias the hell out of the pre election poll. The only thing they even came close to getting correct was SNP.

It's a thin majority. But, unless scandal hits causing a few by elections, it's enough. And, well, if the UK thinks they can think their job problem by putting the people who caused it into power again? Ok then.

Tories will want to play the LD destruction as an anti-EU referendum. It's really an anti-LD referendum. Nick Clegg went to the crossroads five years ago, and the devil took his due today. The real question is do they even try anymore or do they reform into a new party by merging with someone else. As, indeed, the old Liberal party did back in the day.

SNP wins big. Now, will the promises made during the referendum be paid? Tempting to tell 'em to fuck off with that majority, but you get a couple of bye elections and suddenly all you need is one bad day and your out. Cameron could actually make a true mark in history if he goes federal strong, and the logical place start is the place that's all set to go - but any explicit deal with SNP will be hard, unless cast as "we'd never do this but SNP is forcing us." SNP looks like they're working with the Tories and they'll look like LD next election.

Labour? They need a leader, they need a story other than "not Tory." They have the Democrat problem. They didn't make the mistake they did last time - Milibrand has stepped down right away. They should have a nasty fight for the top, to help them decide who they are. It's the succession of mediocre since Blair that's killing them in the public eye, and unfortunately, as party leader, the public eye is one of your jobs. Brown and Milibrand may have been brilliant government officials, but as public party faces? They couldn't do the job.
posted by eriko at 5:21 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there serious discussion that voting to become its own country again is going to start becoming an annual thing or something?

There most certainly is.

All it will take is a strong SNP showing in next year's Scottish Parliament elections (likely) and the UK voting to leave the EU (might do, who knows?) and we'll be headed straight for another one.
posted by rory at 5:21 AM on May 8, 2015


Totally ignorant on this, but wasn't the Scottish referendum depicted as a "once in a lifetime" kind of thing?

The exact quote, from Salmond, now no longer leader, was 'once in a political generation' - my emphasis.

If the UK goes to an EU vote, the SNP will likely clamour very loudly for a second referendum, as the EU hate is nowhere near as frothing up here as it is down there. It will still require Westminster assent unless something fundamental changes, but the Tories may decide to cut their losses.

All the 'that's settled forever, shut up Scotland' chat from Labour, Lib Dems and Tories is consensus manufacturing, rather than reflecting anything actually written down and agreed upon. Democracy means you get to try again - no vote is forever and rightly so.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


And if the SNP keeps increasing its vote from this new 50% mark, there's always UDI.
posted by rory at 5:27 AM on May 8, 2015


I live as an EU immigrant in Scotland. I have no idea what's going to happen with my life in the next five years. I'd like to think nothing's going to change but right now I have a sinking feeling in my stomach that I'm living on an unsteady, rocking, leaking boat.
posted by kariebookish at 5:32 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Arguably, you're in probably the safest part of the UK for an EU immigrant. I for one will vote hard against anyone looking to remove us from the EU and not just because I have loads of mates from around the EU who live here, but because it would be economic suicide.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:37 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


fuck shit cock wank jizz balls queef twatwaffle knobcheese
posted by lalochezia at 5:37 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


fuck shit cock wank jizz balls queef twatwaffle knobcheese
posted by lalochezia at 5:37 AM on May 8 [+] [!]


Oh, very funny.
posted by Thing at 5:39 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why were the polls accurate in Scotland but not in England? Because people are proud to vote Scottish Nationalist but embarrassed to vote Tory.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:39 AM on May 8, 2015


Are they though? They don't seem to be that embarassed to say they've just voted Tory after the fact. The exit polls were way more accurate than the polls leading up to the vote. Still undercooked, but it was less of a phenomena there.
posted by vbfg at 5:42 AM on May 8, 2015


I hear you, kariebookish ... spouse and I just had the "If the UK leaves the EU, we may be forced to leave the UK" conversation. We're not even from elsewhere in the EU; the UK dropping out might simply cut off access to certain international resources and make it impossible for her to work here.

It's so, so, so stupid.
posted by kyrademon at 5:42 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The SNP know that, if they can wrangle another referendum relatively soon - and if Yes goes on to lose that one too - then the issue really will be locked in a box put away on a high shelf for a generation or two. For both arithmetical and moral reasons they therefore would need to believe that they were in for a resounding win at the outset. Recent polls show that support for a Yes vote in Scotland now hovers around 50% - they would probably be very unwise to start without at least 55%. To increase that support they need to continue to govern well in Scotland, win again in Hollyrood in 2016 and use what power they have effectively at Westminster. That will all take time.

One problem they may face is that the better the polling for "Yes" seems to be, the more reluctant the union parties at Westminster will be to let them have another go. The 2014 referendum, with its simple "yes/no" wording, was probably only permitted to take place because percentage support for "yes" at the outset was only in the high 20s.

What I find interesting in England this morning is that, in contrast to Scotland, there is no effective opposition to the Conservatives: Labour, the Lib Dems and even UKIP have all lost their leaders. Alongside the referendum game in Scotland I shall be watching what happens down south with equal interest.
posted by rongorongo at 5:44 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The exit polls have several things going for them that the polls don't.

1-They get people who just voted, rather than people who say they are going to vote.
2-They have a massive sample size
3-They have been running for a while, so can run in the same constituencies and polling stations. So even if people lie, they can correct for that, provided they lie in a similar way to how they lied in the previous election.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:45 AM on May 8, 2015


HappyDave, I am definitely living in the right/safest part of the UK - but there are an awful lot of IFs and BUTs at the moment (strangely I felt better about the referendum - maybe because I was able to vote in it and have my say whereas I am a mere bystander now ..despite paying taxes and doing jury duty).

I am absolutely terrified at the prospect of a five-year Tory government. I can find no other way of putting it. Terrified.
posted by kariebookish at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am absolutely terrified at the prospect of a five-year Tory government.

"We're all going to die, Lisa."
"I meant soon."
"So did I."
posted by Acey at 5:52 AM on May 8, 2015


>> Both don't manufacture anything of value that can be exported anywhere

> The CIA World Factbook ranked the UK as the eleventh-highest exporter in the world in 2014. It can't all have been Jaguars.


And if you look a little closer, the CIA factbook has this to say about the UK economy: "Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined in importance but still accounts for about 10% of economic output."(*)

That's why I said "manufacture". The UK economy relies to a large extent on services that will be in much lower demand if they leave the EU. Banking for example. I heard that some banks such as HSBC are considering leaving London already due to the uncertain conditions there.

Of course, there are some that say that large chunks of the banking sector are mainly parasitic, don't produce anything of real value and are plagued by unfair practicies and exceptions that are designed to keep the UK in the EU. Getting rid of that might actually be good for the rest of the continent, so good riddance.

(*) Just for comparison, here is what the CIA factbook says about Italy and Germany:

Italy: The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family-owned...
Germany: The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment ...

But anyway, good luck with all those banks and insurance companies.
posted by sour cream at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2015


maybe because I was able to vote in it and have my say whereas I am a mere bystander now ..despite paying taxes and doing jury duty).

My wife is an immigrant from the US, and there's a reason we blitzed through the citizenship process as fast as we possibly could as soon as she arrived. I could see the looming spectre of ten years of the Tories, probably egged on by UKIP, and I wanted to get out of the clammy, expensive, invasive grip of the UK Border Agency as soon as possible before someone changed the rules.

If you have the option of going for citizenship (I think 5 years residency is the minimum now) I'd go for it, sooner rather than later, unless it forces you to revoke your birth citizenship (I think Denmark still does that?). We have at least one American friend who never bothered after moving here and I'm really worried about how the xenophobic clusterfuck down south will affect them.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:55 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Damian Lyons Lowe, CEO Survation regarding a telephone poll taken on the afternoon of 6th May that predicted Con 37% Lab 31% and why they chose not to publish it:

"the results seemed so “out of line” with all the polling conducted by ourselves and our peers – what poll commentators would term an “outlier” – that I “chickened out” of publishing the figures – something I’m sure I’ll always regret."
posted by Ness at 5:56 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's interesting how Australia, Canada, and the UK are all displaying a propensity to elect the same brand of milquetoast, waspy hooligan.

And by interesting I mean horrifying.
posted by Alex404 at 5:58 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you have the option of going for citizenship (I think 5 years residency is the minimum now) I'd go for it, sooner rather than later, unless it forces you to revoke your birth citizenship (I think Denmark still does that?).

Dual citizenship wasn't an option until this year (it'll start being an actual possibility starting this September) and - believe me - I have already priced it.

And apart from my own predicaments, the whole Will They/Won't They of EU membership is going to affect the British economy - and withdrawal is complete trade suicide in my not so humble opinion. I will never ever learn to understand the Tories.
posted by kariebookish at 6:00 AM on May 8, 2015


But anyway, good luck with all those banks and insurance companies.

I didn't vote for 'em.

I work for a different service industry, in the form of higher education. We export (in effect) a lot of graduates who come here for their further degrees. That's "[some]thing of value that can be exported anywhere".

J.K. Rowling doesn't manufacture cars. These people don't manufacture gadgets. This Englishman invented something of value that can be used anywhere, including by us right now.
posted by rory at 6:07 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dual citizenship wasn't an option until this year (it'll start being an actual possibility starting this September) and - believe me - I have already priced it.

If you need any help navigating the byzantine citizenship application process, MeMail me. The new .gov.uk 'simplified' Border Agency website actually managed to be worse and more incomprehensible than the previous Home Office one, which was quite a feat. I've helped a few friends and acquaintances get their ducks in a row.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:10 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Could pro-Europe Tories help force the new government out? Surely pro-Europeans are in the majority. Here's hoping for a cross party ousting of Cameron.

We're also half a dozen sleaze scandals away from a hung parliament. (Anyone got anything on anyone?)
posted by popcassady at 6:12 AM on May 8, 2015


Sour cream - if anyone wants to argue that the UK may as well sail off into the sunset because only manufacturing physical goods is worth bothering with, that's up to them, but I imagine that the rest of the EU and the world value us for more than that, even leaving aside the banks.

I have no idea how much they do, though. I hope nobody's counting on a European love-bomb of the UK at the last minute when the Tories hold their in-out referendum. It's going to have to come from the pro-EU UK side.
posted by rory at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2015


Yesterday was only the second time I voted for a candidate who won(Labour edging out the LibDems in Bermondsey). The last time, in 1987, I woke up early and hung over, borrowed a jacket from my sister and went for a miserable, squinting, hungover walk in the early morning sun. From a passing van came a tirade of homophobic abuse, almost certainly because of the jacket. That's what a Tory government is like: getting homophobic abuse with a hangover.

The fact that their much-vaunted economic and political competence is totally fictitious (much as the infamous incompetence of the last Labour government is, largely), combined with the fact that they will now redouble their efforts to smash the remaining social infrastructure suggests that the next few years will be bumpy. What we need from Labour is a bastard, a political operator who can give them a hard time, but there seem to be none available, just more smarmy gits.

In other news, I see that Boris will now be shirking his responsibilities and phoning it in in two elected offices simultaneously now - Mayor of London and member of Parliament for Uxbridge.

The temptation at moments like this is to see it as the end of the world, but it's far, far worse than that. The world will just keep rolling on, straight over us.
posted by Grangousier at 6:22 AM on May 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


Interesting thought by Matthew d'Ancona:
Above all, the Tories had what the prime minister privately called the “human shield” of the Lib Dems. It was the coalition’s junior party that the electorate punished last night. The electoral blows slid off blue and on to yellow: again, and again, and again.
That gives the scant hope that in five years time, the Tories won't be able to escape again — at least, not in the same way.
posted by adrianhon at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


What does everybody think would happen to Britons living in Europe in the event of a Brexit?
posted by ellieBOA at 6:25 AM on May 8, 2015


That gives the scant hope that in five years time, the Tories won't be able to escape again

Though now there's no one to stop them redrawing constituency boundaries. And they still own all the media.
posted by Grangousier at 6:25 AM on May 8, 2015


And they'll have Boris as PM, who could spend the next 5 years being filmed doing nothing but munching on live kittens but still have 87% of the support of everyone, everywhere. I don't know why this is the case, but it just is. Mind control. Imprinting. Pheromones. Something.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:29 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Personally, I think Labour lost this election back in 1381, when Wat Tyler missed his opportunity to take out Richard II during negotiations at Smithfield, but that's just me.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:32 AM on May 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


If you have the option of going for citizenship (I think 5 years residency is the minimum now) I'd go for it, sooner rather than later

The time it takes to get indefinite leave to remain/permanent residency also factors in here, making it more than 5 years in effect in many cases. But a definite yes to going for it sooner rather than later, if dual citizenship is possible. For one thing, the fees keep going up and up as part of the general "let's make life harder for the tabloids' scapegoats" approach.
posted by rory at 6:32 AM on May 8, 2015


Looks like the final number is going to be 329 or 330, which is a thin but solid majority. No coalition needed. Add in the 8 DUP and unless something major happens to shatter the party, they're solidly in control.

For one thing, the fees keep going up and up as part of the general "let's make life harder for the tabloids' scapegoats" approach.

Well, that and since they'll be cutting taxes on those who don't need to have their taxes cut, they have to pay for Trident somehow. Have you flown into a UK airport from overseas recently? The taxes are more than a one-way far to the US.
posted by eriko at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2015


And they still own all the media.

I have a dream of an outlet with all the same positions as Private Eye but buffed and polished to within an inch of respectability. There doesn't seem to be anything out there for those who want to be informed citizens and not just party fodder.
posted by Thing at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sonny Jim: "Personally, I think Labour lost this election back in 1381, when Wat Tyler missed his opportunity to take out Richard II during negotiations at Smithfield, but that's just me."

I wonder if there are any alternate histories written about that? It certainly was a very close run thing.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:50 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It will be interesting to see who wants to be friends with the Tories this time. In the last government the Lib-Dem coalition gave them a safe working majority of about 40. But - with the toxicity of that plan readily apparent to the Lib Dems - I can't see them, or anybody else, being too keen to make the mistake again. That leaves them with a majority of under 5 votes. Anybody listening to sounds of triumphalism from the Conservatives or their media should be mindful of that narrow lead.
posted by rongorongo at 6:54 AM on May 8, 2015


What does everybody think would happen to Britons living in Europe in the event of a Brexit?

This is an important question for the 700,000 or so British citizens living in Spain. It's likely that Britain would stay in the European Economic Area, which allows freedom of movement. I think a lot of anti-EU people in Britain don't realise that a lot of the things they blame the EU for (freedom of movement, court of human rights) aren't actually part of the EU. Also, having continued access to the EU common market after leaving means having to continue following EU law in those areas (like Norway and Iceland do) while losing the right to have an influence on what those laws are.
posted by kersplunk at 7:05 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


It would be interesting to see the horrible anti-eu xenophobia mirrored in Spain as it is here. If only because UKIP is bizarrely popular amongst them.
I am pretty sure the majority would genuinely not see the irony in being deported back the UK,
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:21 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


But - with the toxicity of that plan readily apparent to the Lib Dems - I can't see them, or anybody else, being too keen to make the mistake again.

You are thinking of them as normal people and not empty desperate husks willing to beg for tiny scraps of power from their master's table. How much more proof do you need that the Lib Dems will forego dignity, logic or common decency for a pat on the head and the illusion that they might get something, anything, that they want? But the Tories now have an effective majority of 14, possibly 15 when St Ives declares, plus there are 10 unionists with their long and proud history of doing what they are told in exchange for money in the pot and a continued blind eye to their regional misogyny and homophobia.
posted by biffa at 7:26 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Conservatives Appear to Have Won in the UK: What the Left Should Do - "
Want to win from the left? Be left-wing. Offer a real alternative to neo-liberalism."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:30 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


And the final count:

Conservative 331 (+24)
Labour 232 (-26)
SNP 56 (+50)
LibDem 8 (-49)
DUP 8
Sin Fein 4
Plaid Cymru 3
SDLP 3
UUP 2
UKIP 1
Green 1
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:51 AM on May 8, 2015




Conservatives Appear to Have Won in the UK: What the Left Should Do - "
Want to win from the left? Be left-wing. Offer a real alternative to neo-liberalism."

the Blair-ites would rather lose than abandon their friends in finance and banking.

the next thing which happens in EU-land is either the default of Greece or the capitulation of Syriza. But the election in UK says everything you need to know about the prospect of an anti-austerity wave in Europe i.e. the political strategy of Syriza is a total failure.

But, Greece also shows just how limited political indepence really is: How much lee-way would the banks give an independent or, worse, federally independent, Scotland to abandon city banker austerity driven policy?
posted by ennui.bz at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2015


Also, it's interesting to look at the results in Grimsby vis a vis Labour voters going UKIP:
Labour 13,414
Conser. 8,874
UKIP 8,417
LD 1,680
Green 703
posted by ennui.bz at 8:11 AM on May 8, 2015


The weird thing about this election? By the voting numbers, it was a massive, massive victory for UKIP. Who lost 2 seats and now have only one.

One of the big deals of the election is, of course, the collapse of the Lib Dems. They went from getting 23.1% of the total vote last time to getting 7.9% this time, a drop of 15.2. So where did those votes go?

The Conservatives increased their share of the vote from 36.4% to 36.9%. That is indeed an increase, but if the rest of the Lib Dem votes had gone to Labour, the Conservatives would have gotten completely clobbered. They didn't.

Labour did get a little, increasing from 28.9% to 30.4%, an increase of 1.5. And the shift that went "to the left" is actually significantly higher than that, because SNP was taking votes from both Labour and the Lib Dems. SNP had an increase from 1.6% of the vote to 4.7% of the vote, tripling their share with a 3.1 increase.

So of the 15.2 Lib Dem drop, the Conservatives got 0.5 and the potential left coalition, after trading around with each other got 4.6.

The rest went to UKIP.

UKIP increased from 3% of the vote to 12.6% of the vote. An increase of 9.6. They did BETTER than the SNP. They quadrupled their share of the vote, and they were starting at a higher point to begin with. 3,881,064 people voted for UKIP.

Labour lost because the Lib Dem votes they were counting on to bulk them up went straight to UKIP. The only reason we aren't staring staring down a Conservative/UKIP coalition with a heavy presence of the latter are quirks of geographical distribution.

I find that ... pretty terrifying.
posted by kyrademon at 8:11 AM on May 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


Another way of looking at this.

Conservative 331 (+24)
LibDem 8 (-49)
--------------------------
Previous Government: -25

Labour 232 (-26)
SNP 56 (+50)
--------------------------
Previous Opposition: +24

It just landed exactly wrong and put enough apples into Tory laps. SNP wins were from Labour, which didn't help the opposition, it just shifted the numbers on that side, and from LibDem, which helped a little bit. Cons wins were from Labour, and that tells the tale. Shift 7 of those wins and it's a different day.
posted by eriko at 8:13 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


That does seem to be the case kyrademon, I think the constituency by constituency analysis will tell a fuller picture, but it looks like a good proportion of the lib dem support was the "I hate parties of government" vote.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:14 AM on May 8, 2015


At least with Miliband gone we won't have to hear complaints anymore about how his i's are too close together.
posted by JackFlash at 8:15 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd be surprised kyrademon, if many votes went straight to UKIP. I fear that many Lib Dems went to Labour, after their 'betrayal' in government, while Labour lost more than they gained as previous working class Labour voters saw UKIP as an answer to their woes.
posted by Gratishades at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Every ten years, as a result of the census, the US redistricts all its house seats to try to make them all about the same size (in terms of population).

Does the UK do anything like this? Or are districts traditional and unchanging?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2015


Does the UK do anything like this? Or are districts traditional and unchanging?

We have boundary commissions, but some political horse trading meant a redistricting that should have happened didn't.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:32 AM on May 8, 2015


kyrademon - UKIP increased from 3% of the vote to 12.6% of the vote. An increase of 9.6. They did BETTER than the SNP. They quadrupled their share of the vote, and they were starting at a higher point to begin with. 3,881,064 people voted for UKIP.

And yet they end up with only one MP. For once in my life I am glad of the first past the post system!

Labour also increased their share of the vote overall, but lost seats.
posted by asok at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2015


Does the UK do anything like this? Or are districts traditional and unchanging?

See also rotten boroughs and the Reform Act 1832.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:47 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does the UK do anything like this? Or are districts traditional and unchanging?

A little of column A, a little of column B.

As Cannon Fodder notes, they change things up every now and again. But UK constituencies have, for lack of a better term, a continued historical identity that US districts don't. And even leaving out the few outliers like the Isle of Wight, the UK allows substantial differences in district size where the US bars more than minimal differences within states.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:54 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


List of United Kingdom Parliament constituencies - in general each represents 60000-70000 people but ther are some outliers.
posted by Artw at 8:58 AM on May 8, 2015


Whatever the new equivalent of punk is going to be, it better be fucking good

I hope it sounds like this. Cameron speaks the truth!!
posted by billiebee at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


We have boundary commissions, but some political horse trading meant a redistricting that should have happened didn't.

Be glad, that redistricting was rotten and would've increased conservative domination.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:06 AM on May 8, 2015


ArtW: that list is actually a trifle misleading in relation to what was being discussed, in that it lists the constituencies based on the new boundaries introduced in 2006 (2005 in Scotland) - not sure how they come up with the numbers for the 2000 figures using the same boundaries.

Interestingly, this review cut the number of Scottish seats from 72 to 59 to bring the numbers in line with typical English constituency populations.
posted by biffa at 9:14 AM on May 8, 2015


kyrademon: Ashcroft did some a post-vote poll, which includes tables of how people who voted this time voted in 2010, and generally vote. I'm not sure if "shy voter" effects skew them to the point of uselessness though.

The column of how 2015-Conservative voters voted in 2010 is 81% Con, 5% Lab, 11% Lib Dem, 2% UKIP.

2015-Labour voters in 2010 voted 9% Con, 64% lab, 24% Lib Dem.

2015-UKIP voters in 2010 voted 43% Con, 14% Lab, 18% Lib Dem, 19% UKIP.

So I think it must come down to locations. UKIP voters came mostly from the Conservatives, but presumably in their safe seats where it didn't cost the Tories seats. But the smaller chunk which came from Labour hurt them in the marginals.

Labour are being squeezed from the Right in England, and the Left in Scotland. It's hard to see a policy mix that can help them in both.

I'm still reeling from all this.

Ever since the Eighties there's been a comforting truism of the "progressive majority". Thatcher may have been winning with 40% of the vote, but the rest of us were opposed.

With this election, Tory and UKIP together got 49.5% of the vote.

Taking the absolutely broadest idea of "progressive", Labour and the SNP and the Greens and the Lib Dems together got 46.9% of the vote.

If there was ever a "progressive majority", it's gone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Taking the absolutely broadest idea of "progressive", Labour and the SNP and the Greens and the Lib Dems together got 46.9% of the vote.

If there was ever a "progressive majority", it's gone.

Hard times can make (some) people harder. The Tories know this and have capitalised on it. But there's a difference between mere hard times and truly desperate times. The apocalyptic war we fought 70 years ago reminded us as a country that we should look after each other as much as we can. The electorate has forgotten that, since we're now electing politicians born after the Berlin Wall fell, never mind ancient history like the Second World War.

My hope is that it won't take another European war to remind us it's a good thing to look after each other. My fear is that it will.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:05 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


@KarlreMarks: "Russell Brand will resign from his role as Russell Brand at noon. #GE02015"
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:07 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Labour are being squeezed from the Right in England, and the Left in Scotland. It's hard to see a policy mix that can help them in both.

It will be interesting to see what the impact will be of the SNP having all the Scottish MPs and getting fuck all from Westminster for 5 years. Will it be another referendum or will it be voter disenchantment for next time?
posted by biffa at 10:23 AM on May 8, 2015


from the Guardian:
Labour was expecting a result in which the Tories scored only 270 to 290 seats. Its internal focus groups were showing the party was being hit by Cameron’s repeated warnings of a minority Labour party government in thrall to a rampant leftwing SNP demanding concessions on borrowing and independence. But this concern did not appear to be reflected in the national opinion polls.

Labour staff said there had been an unholy alliance between the SNP and the Conservatives in which the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, repeatedly used the vocabulary and threats designed to alarm English voters.

But the party is also reflecting on whether mistakes were made in the first few months of Miliband’s leadership, when he refused to make concessions to the public belief that the crash in 2007 and 2008 had been exacerbated by Labour overspending. The party’s economic offer by the time of the election was blurred as Labour refused to spell out a clear deficit reduction timetable.

But others believed Miliband was mistaken in failing to defend more of the New Labour record.
sounds like the Labour stables need a cleaning...
posted by ennui.bz at 10:36 AM on May 8, 2015


http://www.metafilter.com/149439/A-Very-British-Coup#6040314

sad...... and a reasonable analysis.

The lib dems really fucked up. They lost 80% OF their seats! One one hand, while they were in power they DID somewhat muzzle the rabidity of the tories a little, but in doing so, by being weak junior toadying partners who refused to do what they should have - i.e Quit the Coalition on some spectacular betrayals of their core principles (tuition fees? as one example), they completely sold out the progressive vision that david steele, paddy ashdown etc set up over many years as a viable 3rd party. No one likes a lapdog to a bully - and one that can be painted so easily as such.

a dark day indeed

the natural third party in England (not the UK!) is now UKIP; 1 in 8 voters voted for a spectacularly fascist racist deranged party - even more deranged than the conservatives! ; we will see more, not less of this know-nothingism.

If there is not an SNP-labour coalition in the next parliament, I see nothing but center-right and right wing UK govs for the next 20 years. That really means bye bye welfare state, not just the death by a thousand cuts, but actual destruction.
---

To quote Neil Kinnock in his "I warn you" speech full on the eve of his disastrous loss:

If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you.

I warn you that you will have pain–when healing and relief depend upon payment.

I warn you that you will have ignorance–when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right.

I warn you that you will have poverty–when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can’t pay.

I warn you that you will be cold–when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford.

I warn you that you must not expect work–when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don’t earn, they don’t spend. When they don’t spend, work dies.

I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light.

I warn you that you will be quiet–when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient.

I warn you that you will have defence of a sort–with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding.

I warn you that you will be home-bound–when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up.

I warn you that you will borrow less–when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday–

– I warn you not to be ordinary

– I warn you not to be young

– I warn you not to fall ill

– I warn you not to get old.

---

If it's not a

.

For the UK, it's damn close.
posted by lalochezia at 10:49 AM on May 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


Any chance of re-importing the other Miliband?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:53 AM on May 8, 2015


I warn you...

I'm a Marxist but I still think it's that kind of macho-man 50s 'oratory' that got Kinnock labelled as a 'windbag' for ever. George Galloway is the last person alive speaking like this.

the natural third party in England (not the UK!) is now UKIP


UKIP got thankfully finished off by this election and the UK's first-past-the-post system.
posted by colie at 10:57 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I warn you...

I'm a Marxist but I still think it's that kind of macho-man 50s 'oratory' that got Kinnock labelled as a 'windbag' for ever. George Galloway is the last person alive speaking like this.


Is his analysis wrong or is this merely an issue of tone and style? 'cos if the latter, am dissapoint.
posted by lalochezia at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


> fuck shit cock wank jizz balls queef twatwaffle knobcheese
> posted by lalochezia


Esoterically eponisterical.

Or am I just the last one to look that word up?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:00 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


lalochezia: It's mainly the tone. You can't substitute your own apocalyptic predictions for peoples' lived experience, and why would you want to unless you were just trying to drum up votes out of fear - which is exactly what the Tories did just now.

Also, this stands out as very strange to our post-2008 eyes:

I warn you that you will borrow less–when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

posted by colie at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


the natural third party in England (not the UK!) is now UKIP; 1 in 8 voters voted for a spectacularly fascist racist deranged party - even more deranged than the conservatives! ; we will see more, not less of this know-nothingism.

As a fully paid up member of the white working class, you don't know the half of it. Labour could have countered with a stronger hand from the left on economic and social issues, appealing to people's own lives and experience. But engaging with the kind of hate out there is just pandering.
posted by Thing at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I cannot help but think the huge news focus on the Mediterranean migrant crisis had a big impact. Other than the election itself, and the royal baby, I can't think of anything that was in the news as frequently during the last couple of weeks.
posted by skybluepink at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have no idea about British politics, and therefore can express no opinion about election results. However, something a Labour incumbent said in the aftermath of the election results resonated with me, as a Canadian.

We have an election coming up and we have the choice as a nation between reelecting a centre-right party to govern the country for the next five years, or somehow voting for a centre-left party (the NDP). In there we also have a liberal party (Liberals), and some newer emerging parties (Greens).

I don't want the Conservatives to win, but the NDP in Canada has traditionally campaigned for Opposition status, and I don't think at this point in time they are electable.

So what a Labour incumbent (not Alastair Campbell, but I have included his remarks for context) said last night really resonates with me, and shows what Canada's NDP must do to win office either this fall or some day in the future:

Alastair Campbell, the former Labour communications chief, made a similar point, calling for a big discussion. He wrote: “After a result as awful as this, there has to be real deep soul-searching and honest analysis about how and we have gone from being a party identified as the dominant force across UK politics over a decade and more, to where we are today”.

The message was hammered home by Pat McFadden, the shadow Europe minister. He said the result asked “big questions about our message, our appeal and how to build a winning coalition. The truth is, in Labour-Tory marginals which decide ultimately who gets to govern, we made virtually no headway”.

He added: “We moved away from New Labour somewhat in 2010 and we lost that election and if there was one thing Ed Miliband was clear about, he was turning the page on New Labour even more emphatically than Gordon Brown was and we see the results even more emphatically last night.

“We don’t just need a new person at the top of the Labour party, we need a new argument, too. We will always be the people of the lower paid, but we need to be more than and be the party of the aspirational family that wants to do well. We need to speak about wealth creation and not just wealth distribution.

posted by Nevin at 12:02 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Miliband came across as a fundamentally OK bloke in the end, but let us not forget the painfully idiotic Labour Immigration Mug.
posted by colie at 12:15 PM on May 8, 2015


the idea that "wealth creators" have not been pandered to sufficiently by the mainstream parties is laughable.

what campbell means is labour needs to kiss the ass of the rightwing media and parrot their favorite talking points. all of murdoch's papers came out 100% for the tories; the only way to please them would be to fellate along blair's lines.

the whole conversation re:social justice/economics/immigrants/welfare in the uk has been poisoned by the active overton windowing of this media much like it has in the usa .

different toilet, same shit stain.

the argument that needs to be had is one that will last a generation - about what politics can and should do against vast power inequities and natural resource distribution - assuming "the west" still can access resources for governments that represent their people's actual interests at all.
posted by lalochezia at 12:20 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


> "kyrademon: Ashcroft did some a post-vote poll, which includes tables of how people who voted this time voted in 2010 .."

Interesting. Assuming that those numbers are accurate, doing a quick and dirty comparison to party size, it makes the narrative look more like this:

About a seventh of former Conservative voters changed to UKIP, which is quite a lot ... but it was pretty much entirely in districts that were safe for either Labour or Conservative. So the Conservatives didn't lose much by it and UKIP gained nothing from it.

In comparison, only about a twelfth of former Labour voters changed to UKIP. Still a swing, but it really wasn't disaffected Labour voters swelling their ranks for the most part.

About a sixth of Lib Dems changed to Conservative, and about a seventh changed to UKIP. About a third went to Labour, about a third stuck with the Lib Dems, and really only a very small number switched to the SNP (although that is to be expected when part of a nationwide party switches support to a regional party, it's not going to be a huge percentage overall.)

This makes sense when you consider that the right wing coalition actually shrank and the left wing coalition actually grew, as has been pointed out here before; it just wasn't enough to make a difference and has been overshadowed which specific elements of the coalition grew or shrank.

So basically, a fair number of Lib Dems did go to Labour, and Labour did get seats out of it, but not nearly enough of them switched that way to win it for them overall. Former Conservatives made up the bulk of the unnerving swing to UKIP, but not in places where it lost the Conservatives much.

(And while I didn't analyze it much, it's pretty clear that the SNP made its gains from Scottish Labour and the Scottish Lib Dems, which shouldn't come as a big surprise because they weren't likely to come from anywhere else.)
posted by kyrademon at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


PenDevil: This is pretty confusing. The SNP have taken all of Scotland but have almost no power in Westminster. To me it seems they're lame ducks if anything and can only agitate for further devolvement from the Union.

modernnomad makes a good point with the comparison to the Bloc Quebecois in Canada (and, I'd suggest, the Reform Part in western Canada that arose at the same time, and the Wildrose Party that split the conservative vote in Alberta just this week).

As a voter, sometimes power isn't enough of a reason to trade in your values. Sometimes you realize that the party which has been promising to uphold your values hasn't been doing that, and won't do that, and has been spending the past decade hanging onto power simply by scaring you with how much worse the other guy will be.

Sometimes, as a voter, you've got to say, no, I'm willing to be a beacon in the wilderness. I'm willing to stand for my actual values. I'm willing to wait until the national parties come to me. I won't give out ambiguous signals anymore that say I'm okay with settling for the less-bad option.

Eventually, if there are enough of you, the national parties will come to you.
posted by clawsoon at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2015


As an American, I wonder how much of the new support for UKIP is a reaction to the Pakistani gang-rapes of British girls and the way the authorities seem to have done nothing about it?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:57 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The NDP surge in Quebec last election reminds me more than anything else of the SNP victory in Scotland. NDP had a charismatic leader (Jack Layton), a populist message, and so many NDP MP's were in their early 20's, university students.
posted by Nevin at 12:58 PM on May 8, 2015


All Tory all the time. And here we go!

"Snoopers' charter set to return to law as Theresa May suggests Conservative majority could lead to huge increase in surveillance powers....The Conservatives are already planning to introduce the huge surveillance powers known as the Snoopers’ Charter, hoping that the removal from government of the Liberal Democrats that previously blocked the controversial law will allow it to go through."
posted by vacapinta at 1:03 PM on May 8, 2015


CP: not as much as the running down of the economy in some areas and the crush of an austrerity agenda with the subsequent disenfranchising of large volumes of the electorate.
posted by biffa at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The NDP surge in Quebec last election reminds me more than anything else of the SNP victory in Scotland. NDP had a charismatic leader (Jack Layton), a populist message, and so many NDP MP's were in their early 20's, university students.

And each caucus has zero influence in a majority Tory government.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:13 PM on May 8, 2015


All Tory all the time. And here we go!

They're also about to cut a program meant to help the disabled into work, on the logic that they want more disabled people to work, so they need to give the money to rich people, or something.

Oh, yeah, and as soon as the majority was announced the Torygraph published an article advocating dismembering the NHS.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Miliband came across as a fundamentally OK bloke in the end, but let us not forget the painfully idiotic Labour Immigration Mug.

It was, however, painfully idiotic because Labour could in no way win the policy war over immigration. Both Conservatives and UKIP would always out-pander them on that issue. But I think a lot of leftists howling about this mug forgot that Labour just cannot position itself as a pro-immigration party either. There are simply no votes in pro-immigration in England. I know more people who are supportive of involuntary repatriation than open borders, and that's not a joke. In fact, I know nobody supportive of open borders, and few who fully support the free movement of people in the EU.

As an American, I wonder how much of the new support for UKIP is a reaction to the Pakistani gang-rapes of British girls and the way the authorities seem to have done nothing about it?

You wouldn't believe the things people say, or just how many people are saying them.
posted by Thing at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


What a lovely day? - It’s a difficult day in Scotland. The results of the UK election point to a Scotland that wishes to veer to the left, alongside an England that continues to lurch to the right.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


>The NDP surge in Quebec last election reminds me more than anything else of the SNP victory in Scotland. NDP had a charismatic leader (Jack Layton), a populist message, and so many NDP MP's were in their early 20's, university students.

And each caucus has zero influence in a majority Tory government.


I think we agree on this point as well. I do not think for a moment that electing NDP or, in the case of Scotland, SNP means that either party are "lame ducks" in Parliament. The problem with a Westminster style of government is that the party with the most seats controls the legislative agenda.

However at least the NDP, while being strong in Quebec (and therefore committed no matter what to the decentralized, devolved approach to federalism that has been the CPC's hallmark) is, unlike SNP, at least a national party.

And while I don't live in Scotland, I would say that at least the SNP has truly articulate, charismatic, influential leadership with Salmond and Sturgeon.
posted by Nevin at 1:34 PM on May 8, 2015


I wonder how much of the new support for UKIP is a reaction to the Pakistani gang-rapes of British girls and the way the authorities seem to have done nothing about it?

Curiously, we didn't witness an election backlash against the white child abusing members of parliament, TV hosts, priests and elite school teachers and the way authorities seem to have done nothing about it. No, UKIP is exploiting plain old right-wing race baiting and I'm not surprised that you brought it up.
posted by JackFlash at 1:34 PM on May 8, 2015 [11 favorites]




Chocolate Pickle, from the Guardian liveblog (which I've mainlined today), Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt said he blamed the switch to UKIP on nationalism that Labour didn't manage to speak to.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2015


Heh. Various LibDems out on Twitter pretending they wouldn't be enthusiastically endorsing each and every horrible thing the Tories do if they were still relevant.
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2015


The saddest* thing for me is that there will be no more Ballot Monkeys. Comedy that was actually funny on the television.

*Actually not the saddest thing about this election.
posted by asok at 2:21 PM on May 8, 2015


Hmmmm...
posted by Artw at 3:30 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Heh. I can't tell if this tweet is intentionally ironic:

@ishaantharoor: "Funny how patronizing everyone is being about Brit election. As if UK is some sort of tiny, quaint island with a shrinking role in the world"
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:07 PM on May 8, 2015


Well the UK currently has a shrinking role in the world, and every country is "quaint" but it's hardly tiny. Sure it's small compared to India but current population trends put it on track to be the most populous country in Europe in the next 20-30 years or so
posted by Bwithh at 4:13 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


(And yes even if Scotland goes independent )
posted by Bwithh at 4:13 PM on May 8, 2015


Certainly there's some US folk who need to stop tempting fate.
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


@ishaantharoor: "Funny how patronizing everyone is being about Brit election. As if UK is some sort of tiny, quaint island with a shrinking role in the world"

And not the world's fifth-largest economy by GDP, a charter member of NATO, the G7, and the UN (and permanent member of its Security Council), and fifth-biggest military (by expenditure) with an independent nuclear arsenal.

It's only the political antics of Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, et al. that make it look small.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tony Blair called it :
The result in 2015, he quips, could well be an election “in which a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result”. Asked if he means a Tory win, Mr Blair confirms: “Yes, that is what happens.” Although Ed Miliband, the current Labour leader, has spoken of a shift in economic thinking since the financial crisis of 2007-08, Mr Blair firmly denies that Britain’s centre ground has shifted. “I see no evidence for that. You could argue that it has moved to the right, not left.”

And the above is not one of
10 Delusions about the Labour Defeat
posted by Bwithh at 4:23 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing I realised about Cameron over the last few weeks - and it's one of those things that when you see it, you can't unsee it - is that he's a complete fake. He's not the leader of the Conservative government, but someone employed by them as a spokesman.

He's not a statesman, he just plays one on TV.

That's the reason he just gives answers and walks abruptly away, and why he's desperate to avoid potentially unpredictable debate situations where he's not fully briefed (I'm not sure that PMQs counts as one of those). Check it out. He's a man of astounding vacuousness.
posted by Grangousier at 4:28 PM on May 8, 2015 [8 favorites]



It's only the political antics of Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, et al. that make it look small.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:20 PM on May 8 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]



Yes, this.

And many foreign commentators with little familiarity with the UK tend to think that British political culture's problem is that it is obsessed with self-deludedly playing the heavyweight of its imperial past. It is not. That hasn't been true for 50 years or more. The far greater danger is the opposite "Little Englander" mentality which is insular and parochial and isolationist.
posted by Bwithh at 4:30 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


He's not a statesman, he just plays one on TV.

Also on Vine.
posted by effbot at 4:35 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




The result in 2015, he quips, could well be an election “in which a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result”.

Oh, that'll be a Blairite centre right Labour Party just got crushed. Fuck that guy, he couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it.
posted by Artw at 5:11 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]




The UK was recently passed by thr French and is now the 6th largest economy and not the 5th. The BBC Newhour this morning reported that allies are concerned about the UK's ability to complete necessary updates to the nuclear deterrent given existing costs and delays along with the SNP's opposition to the Trident base in Scotland. Also there is a concern that the UK will struggle to fulfill NATO commitments on military upgrades and expenditures.
posted by humanfont at 6:27 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


humanfont, all my Google results are showing the opposite, saying that the UK economy passed that of France around Christmas (apparently because UK includes prostitution and illegal drugs in its economic figures).
posted by clawsoon at 6:41 PM on May 8, 2015


The World Bank, CIA World Factbook and UN say otherwise. The IMF forecast calls for the UK to pass France again this year. However this was before EU quantitative easing.
posted by humanfont at 6:52 PM on May 8, 2015


I wonder if we're working with different definitions of "recent". The World Bank numbers only go up to 2013, so they wouldn't reflect changes from last year (my "recent"). France's economy passed the UK's in 2008 (perhaps your "recent"?).
posted by clawsoon at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2015


In any event, the two economies are within a rounding error on that number and the more useful measurement, so we're having something of a useless disagreement. :-)
posted by clawsoon at 7:11 PM on May 8, 2015


Without Scotland, UK probably falls below Italy, Canada and the Republic of Togo.
posted by Rumple at 8:23 PM on May 8, 2015


humanfont, all my Google results are showing the opposite, saying that the UK economy passed that of France around Christmas (apparently because UK includes prostitution and illegal drugs in its economic figures).
posted by clawsoon at 6:41 PM on May 8
[+] [!]


What clawsoon is describing is an accounting change required by a European Union directive based on recommendations made by the United Nations (some non-EU countries such as Norway, if I recall rightly also made the change)

While the change was legally required by the EU of all its member states , France resisted , presumably for moralizing domestic political reasons

(Side note: prostitution has long been legal in both the UK and France although some forms of it are banned. Legal prostitutes are required to file tax returns - their industry has long been included in UK and French official economic accounting )
posted by Bwithh at 9:04 PM on May 8, 2015


Groundhog Day Comes Round Again (Peter Hitchens)
Let me start by saying without equivocation that I was wrong. I am genuinely grateful to the many persons on Twitter who were quick to point this out to me this morning.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:51 AM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Bugle's election special [iTunes]. Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver are sweary, baffled and depressed.
posted by Kattullus at 3:13 AM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]






Given the labour party emerged from a desire to secure a greater share in the profits of toil for workers it's not really that surprising that their centres of support are in areas associated with the driver for industrialisation. I'm less clear on why so many of the rural poor are so keen to stick with the Tories.
posted by biffa at 7:29 AM on May 9, 2015


Yet there was a problem. Yes, Blair had just won Labour an unprecedented third term, but only thanks to the United Kingdom’s creaking electoral system. Labour had secured just 35.2 per cent of the vote, and the support of a mere 22 per cent of the electorate. In the wake of its victory in 1997, it had somehow mislaid four million votes. Particularly in its working-class heartlands, its core support was increasingly tending to sit on its hands, while middle-class malcontents looked to the Liberal Democrats. All told, the party’s support was unravelling, something which had actually been evident even when New Labour was in its pomp: at the 2001 election, for example, woeful turnout meant that Labour had attracted the support of only 24 per cent of the total electorate, and secured fewer votes than Neil Kinnock had managed in 1992.

In 2007, in an augury of the great political turnabouts to come, Alex Salmond became First Minister of Scotland, and began dismantling Labour’s hegemony north of the border. Soon after, Labour acted on its rising angst about Blair and installed Gordon Brown, who, after making vague promises of some kind of social democratic renaissance, then delivered more of the same, without any of his predecessor’s political wizardry. So it was that at the election of 2010, Labour’s vote-share came down to 29 per cent—its second-lowest showing since 1918.

posted by Nevin at 7:30 AM on May 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Once, the franchise was restricted to property owners. Now, in essence, houses cast proxy votes in the UK, because wealth is so bound up with property values. Houses don't want other houses coming in and reducing their value on the market. Older houses distrust newer houses. Houses own their people and dictate their vote.
posted by holgate at 9:19 AM on May 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


This election has done one thing I never thought possible: Made me feel bad for UKIP. About 1 in 6 people who voted chose UKIP or Green. And yet between them they have two MPs. In a proportional system, the Greens would have 25 MPs and UKIP would have 82. This doesn't count the number of people who voted tactically against their honest preferences, or those that didn't vote because their votes are essentially worthless. I hate UKIP and everything they stand for and the idea of them controlling that much power make mes angry..But you know what makes me angrier? The idea that a massive number of people have effectively no representation in their government because of an archaic political process that makes it impossible for anyone but the entrenched interests to achieve any kind of power.

Since 2001, less than half of all British people who can vote have chosen to vote Tory or Labour and that trend keeps increasing. It's insane to act as if the support of 2/9 people in a system that strongly encourages tactical voting away from the smaller parties is anything like a mandate for government. Labour and Tory inhabit a shrinking centre of neoliberal consensus that most British people reject.

Whatever this is, it's not democracy. The question isn't why Tories won and Labour lost: It's whether you can even call it a legitimate government at this point.
posted by xchmp at 12:35 PM on May 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


But you know what makes me angrier? The idea that a massive number of people have effectively no representation in their government because of an entrenched and archaic political process that makes it impossible for anyone but the entrenched interests to achieve any kind of power.

But you know what gives me some little comfort? The idea that the massive number of people who voted in this election did so as a protest against the two major parties because they knew that the UKIP candidates wouldn't have a real chance of winning their seats in a FPTP system. Although this is only a hypothetical, such a scenario would be a logical follow-up to the UKIP getting all those useless European Parliament seats last year.

Not much comfort, though.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:43 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


But you know what gives me some little comfort? The idea that the massive number of people who voted in this election did so as a protest against the two major parties because they knew that the UKIP candidates wouldn't have a real chance of winning their seats in a FPTP system.

Well yes. I think you can also interpret the collapse of the LibDem vote as a reaction to them becoming part of the mainstream. Looking at Lord Ashcroft's post election poll, most former LD voters appear to have gone Green . In fact, the number of additional voters they gained between 2001 and 2010 is almost identical to the number who switched to Green this year. The number who appear to have switched away from Labour in 2010 is also strikingly similar to the number switching back this year. This is reading into the statistics, but it looks like their increased support since 2001 was made up of a lot of people who weren't voting for them as a protest against a particular party, but against the Lab/Con system as a whole.
posted by xchmp at 1:51 PM on May 9, 2015




The post-industrial cities that have always been the core of English Labour support are close to their industry's source of power, which in turn required labour. I'll be happy to gift a face palm at the profound lack of insight if he hasn't done it already.
posted by vbfg at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


What infuriates me is that in every discussion of PR on twitter (I know, echo chamber and so on, but it happens elsewhere too) the high UKIP figure is seen as a reason not to change.

Disenfranchising your political enemies is not the mark of a modern leftist social democracy.
It is quite literally Stalinist.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:01 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


What amazes me is people think the set of numbers with the high UKIP number is a good advertising for it.
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2015




Translating the 2015 GE results into a PR model, it seems a Tory-UKIP alliance ( or a Tory minority government in a Parliament with UKIP in a powerful position of influence ) would be a likely outcome ( assuming the LibDem leadership is so shocked by their loss of vote share they rule out another Coalition with the Tories )

Wonder what would happen under AV?
posted by Bwithh at 4:17 PM on May 9, 2015


Tony Blair on what Labour needs now

Perhaps he can take time off from giving speeches to oligarchs and central Asian dictators to offer his services. Mates' rates.
posted by holgate at 4:29 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bwithh: "Tony Blair on what Labour needs now"

He thinks that they need to be even more centrist?
posted by octothorpe at 4:33 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure Tony Blair thinks Tony Blair is what any given thing needs now. That or a war.

What they desperatly need is for people to be actually enthusiastic about voting and campaigning for them. A Blair like charismatic leader might be a way of doing that, a compelling set of policies other than "we're not the Tories, but we'll sort of halfhearted my implement any of their policies you like" would be another. Looking at why the SNP kicked the shit out of them rather than being snotty about it would be instructive.
posted by Artw at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


(Plus, let's face it, his view of what Labour is actually doing is probably solely based on whatever the Murdoch press is saying)
posted by Artw at 6:07 PM on May 9, 2015


The illegitimacy claim is really interesting (and someone up-thread has probably made the point) but this is taken directly from Australia's Tony Abbott who when opposition leader levelled this claim ad nauseum against the minority Gillard government. The murdoch press picked it up and carried ran with it as only they can, then the rest of the morons in the local press gallery decided to get on board.

Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor (http://www.crosbytextor.com/ - I don't want to give the the hyperlink - are the Australians' who ran the Tory's campaign.

Oddly though, if Abbott were to have formed a minority government - that would have been totally legit.
posted by mattoxic at 8:35 PM on May 9, 2015


Chris Dillow:
Back in the 90s, it was easy to be a party of aspiration... the world economy was growing well and a favourable supply shock - a falling China price - was boosting real incomes. A government could thus deliver rising living standards simply by not screwing things up too much.

But now is not then. Labour productivity has been flatlining for years and the intelligent talk today is of secular stagnation, not of a new economy. This changes everything. In a world of zero productivity growth, people's real incomes can rise only in one of three ways: by moving from unemployment to work (which whilst a good thing is not what Mr Johnson means); or by getting a lucky supply shock such as falling commodity prices, which might not happen; or if one person's income rises at the expense of another's.

When productivity is flat, "aspiration" is a zero sum game.

This means that if Labour is to be a party of aspiration, it must do one or both of two things. Either it must shift incomes from profits to wages, say by embracing wage-led growth - which not Blairite and might not work. Or it must offer policies to raise productivity.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:01 PM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Labour's former deputy PM, John Prescott:

“The global recession was caused by the greed of bankers and only Gordon Brown’s rescue plan saved the banks and our economy from total global collapse.
I said to both Eds, both personally and in the parliamentary Labour party, that it was vital we nailed these Tory lies. But I was told: ‘We want to focus on the future, John, not the past.’ I warned them if we didn’t defend the past, we wouldn’t have a future. This general election has depressingly proved that."

UK's Daily Mirror: Labour lost the election 5 years ago and here's why
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:51 AM on May 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


There is a pattern of correlation between coal fields and election returns. (/r/geology)
posted by bukvich at 4:58 AM on May 10, 2015


*** Begin rant ***

Grim as the next five years seem now (the FTP act is very poorly thought through) I'm afraid I think it's only the beginning of that which is to come after. What I believe many may not have fully realized is that the cracks which are beginning to appear in all the public services (most obviously the NHS/emergency services/education*/legal aid* but when was the last time you saw a pothole being filled in other than in the home counties?) they are just about still papering over a much deeper rot in the the UK's infrastructure.

When the Tories are through looting the the rest of the public sector over the next few years it will take decades of public investment to just get us back to where we are now. As Adam Smith put it, "there is a great deal of ruin in a nation".

Even if we had got the result of the wildest projections of ~280+ Labour seats moderated by the seemly progressive SNP. And further, somehow, Ed Balls had lost his mind/come to his senses and given up on austerity-lite and gone full bore fiscal economic stimulus** to provide a real rather than a city-financial, overheated-housing-market, rentier-class only recovery. It would have been a long road back to anything like what now seem like the halcyon days of the late 90's early 2000's.

Labour's fundamental mistake it seems to me was in not offering any vision other than a Tory-lite style winding down of the state which seemed driven entirely by the need to fit the media's (not academic economists'**) obsession with the national debt/deficit (admitted originally whipped into being by the right). When they could have been offering a strong Sturgeon-like anti-austerity message exposing the naked neoliberal zealotry of the Tory destruction of the post-war state on one hand and on the other seriously addressing the working classes real, however misplaced, fear of immigrants undercutting them on what few full time working class jobs remain. It seems to me that the Tories siphoned off the the LD voter collapse in three-way marginals while in all the con/lab marginals UKIP picked up the working class vote where Labour haven't seriously addressed lower income needs since the pre-Blair years.

* My God, the sheer audacity of Gove and Grayling.

** See basically all of the last five years worth of Krugman's and Simon Wren-Lewis' blogs .

*** Rant over, resume drinking heavily to assuage bitter cynicism ***
posted by Beware of the leopard at 8:51 AM on May 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


MeFi's own, Tom Watson is making a bid to become Labour deputy leader. He's raising campaign funds here.
posted by popcassady at 9:48 AM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure the next election really matters. I'm pretty sure the UK is going to make it another 5 years. Whatever's left after everything has been sold off and all rights rescinded isn't going to be anything.

And those that have pocketed the proceeds will just move off elsewhere or wall themselves off.

Fuck.
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is a pattern of correlation between coal fields and election returns. (/r/geology)

Thanks for posting that for the third time. The reason is still blindingly obvious.
posted by biffa at 12:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good grief, I keep hearing these quotes about Blair et al insisting Labour should re-occupy the centre ground as though Miliband were Fantasy Arthur Scargill or something, rather than someone running on a platform of implementing Tory austerity policies gently over ten years instead of harshly over five. It's actually unbelievable.
posted by comealongpole at 3:19 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Miliband was unable to capture the "center" because Cameran already owns it. I doubt Miliband could have gained many votes by changing his economic policy positions. Unfortunately, voters are not all that rational all the time. But a politician's first job is to win elections, and to do that Labour or the Lib Dems or whoever will certainly have to win back the "center" some how. Where else will they find votes?

+972: Ed Miliband is a Jewish leader of historic magnitude - With his refreshingly cool attitude towards Israel, the defeated leader of the British Labour Party heralds the future of Jewish politics in the West.
Miliband visited Israel several times. As a child, he would come to spend holidays with his grandmother in Tel Aviv – he still has many relatives living in the country, including West Bank settlements – and as Leader of the Opposition, he made an official visit to Israel, which included the obligatory stop at Yad Vashem. Miliband repeatedly styled himself as a friend of Israel, resolutely committed to the two-state solution. He was even once caught saying that he was Zionist, a statement that he was quick to retract and mindful of not making again.

Despite all this, the 2015 General Election probably saw the smallest proportion of Labour voters among British Jews, traditionally a key constituency of the party, since the Second World War. This is the irony of Miliband’s leadership, as British journalist Josh Glancy recently wrote in Tablet Magazine. In today’s Britain, a leader’s stance on Israel, rather than his roots, is what defines his “Jewishness.” Even inconsequential criticisms of Israel, like his disapproval of the IDF’s conduct during last summer’s Gaza War and his support in Parliament for a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, were enough to proverbially excommunicate him. For an increasingly defensive Jewish community, anything less than an unequivocal support for Israel – in the style of Prime Minister David Cameron – places you in the rival camp.
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:01 PM on May 10, 2015


In today’s Britain, a leader’s stance on Israel, rather than his roots, is what defines his “Jewishness.”

What a repulsive, incoherent, dog-whistley article! A sane organisation would have said "Gosh, British Jews voted along much the same lines as everyone else, despite the fact that one of the parties had a Jewish leader. I guess that shows that the issues that affect Jews are much the same as the issues that affect everyone else." No, it's got to be Ed Miliband jumped on the table and danced the hora while singing my vote was bought by the Elders of Zion and it still wasn't enough for them!
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:08 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]




The 2015 British election and the UK’s creeping constitutional crisis
The revelation for me was that the 2015 election created a confluence of circumstances that could ignite a serious set of interactive problems — Scotland, Europe, the voting system, powers of parliament, especially if it was a hung parliament.

So I ran with that scenario and asked what could be immediately disastrous for the status quo (the monopolistic and undemocratic London troika of politicians/bureaucrats, media and finance). The idea I came up with was the demise of the Labour Party.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


British Jews voted along much the same lines as everyone else

Well, they're definitely more conservative than average; in JC's targeted poll, 69% said they'd vote Tory (who ended up getting 36.9% of the popular vote), 73% considered Israel being a quite or very important influence. Both numbers are slightly up from the 2010 election. Error margins and "shy tory" effects not included.
posted by effbot at 1:56 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Farage stays as UKIP leader after resignation rejected

Doesn't the cloud to this shitstorm have any silver lining?
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:12 AM on May 11, 2015


Farage stays as UKIP leader after resignation rejected

That's hilarious. "Well I promised to resign, and TECHNICALLY I did!"
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:58 AM on May 11, 2015


What Republicans Can Learn From British Conservatives, David Frum, The Atlantic.
Stephen Harper in Canada. Tony Abbott in Australia. John Key in New Zealand. And now, impressively reelected, a second-term David Cameron in the United Kingdom.

Center-right leaders are in charge of every one of America’s closest English-speaking allies. Only in the United States does the liberal left govern. With Hillary Clinton holding strong leads in the polls over all her likely opponents, this form of “American exceptionalism” looks likely to persist for some time to come. Why?
Drop the English-speaking requirement, and you get to add Likud's recent win too. Similar to the UK election, polls underestimated the level of support.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's actually unbelievable.

And yet the revisionist history is already in draft, with supporting citations from spivvy idiots like Alan Sugar. Strangely, defeat isn't an orphan so much as an extended family of the slightly disinherited.
posted by holgate at 11:36 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Center-right leaders are in charge of every one of America’s closest English-speaking allies. Only in the United States does the liberal left govern. With Hillary Clinton holding strong leads in the polls over all her likely opponents, this form of “American exceptionalism” looks likely to persist for some time to come. Why?

Maybe it's because what passes for "liberal left" in the US is pretty darn close to what anyone else would consider "center right"?
posted by octothorpe at 11:56 AM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]




the man of twists and turns: "What Republicans Can Learn From British Conservatives, David Frum, The Atlantic. [...]
Only in the United States does the liberal left govern.
Last time I checked, conservative Republicans controlled the House, Senate, Supreme Court, a historic majority of state legislatures and governorships, and are probably even odds to take the White House next year, Clinton's temporary advantages in party unity and name recognition notwithstanding.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:21 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Welcome to mortified Britain: Full of young Tories who secretly hate themselves - "David Cameron may have won another term but his young supporters are still too embarrassed to tell anyone they voted Tory. Radhika Sanghani shines a light on the Conservatives stuck in the political closet"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:23 PM on May 11, 2015


Also: Lib dems, why they lost SO SO BADLY. Apart from the singular betrayal of tuition fees,

Tuition Fees: Trebling Annual Tuition Fees to £9000 (despite promising to abolish them).

the below list of Tory Enabling is a sign of their "Progressive" Nature they colluded is some of the more odious lawmaking in the UK (Copied and edited from a guardian commenter).


NHS - Health and Social Care Act 2012
Thanks to Liberal Democrat votes they must share responsibility for wasting £3billion on a top-down NHS reorganisation while more people wait longer in A&Es and over 5,000 nurses are cut.
Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Lib Dems helped Tories abolish it
Bedroom Tax
(Spare Room Subsidy) Voted with the Tories to charge poor people between £14 and £24.00 PER WEEK inflicting distress and suffering on millions, now over 50,000 people are in rent arrears and face eviction and the figures will continue to increase.
Privatisation of Probation Service
VAT BOMBSHELL
In opposition Clegg & LibDems spoke of "TORY VAT BOMBSHELL" then voted with Tories to increase VAT to 20%
Part Privatisation of prison service
Sure Start Centres

Supported Tories to close over 558 Sure Start Centres (so far) despite promising not to,
Cut Income Tax for Millionaires
Backed a Tory cut in the top rate of tax, giving 13,000 millionaires a tax cut worth an average £100,000 while millions are paying more.
Mansion Tax
Nick Clegg said "The Mansion Tax is right, it makes sense and the Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for it. they said they would "stick to their guns" however when given the chance to stand up for their own principles and vote for a mansion tax, Liberal Democrat MPs voted against it.
Constitutional Reform
Nick Clegg said his constitutional reform programme would be "the biggest shake-up of our democracy since the Great Reform Act of 1832". It wasn't. He abandoned Lords reform after Conservative MPs refused to back it, and he failed to deliver reform of the voting system.
Police
In the Liberal Democrat manifesto, Nick Clegg promised to put 3,000 more police on the beat. But in Government they backed Tory plans to cut more than 15,000 police officers.
Special Advisers
In opposition, the Liberal Democrats said that special advisers "are political jobs, and should, therefore, be funded by political parties". They changed their tune when they got into Government. Nick Clegg alone has sixteen Special Advisers - paid for at the taxpayers' expense.
Lobbying Bill
Not one single Liberal Democrat MP opposed the party of the government’s draconian Lobbying Bill that muzzles charities and campaigners.
Secret Courts
In an Act of Parliament Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour of Secret Courts and helped put on the statute books
Legal Aid
Liberal Democrats voted with the Tories to stop ordinary people gaining access to legal aid;
Judicial Review
The curtailing of judicial review.
Workers Rights
Removing workers rights to a tribunal and charging them at least £1000 to bring a case
Royal Mail
Vince Cable assisting the Royal Mail given away to Dave’s fat cat hedge fund mates stealing millions from the British taxpayer


etc,.
posted by lalochezia at 1:41 PM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


They pretty much committed suicide as soon as they signed up for the coalition.

What's amazing is some of them are still suprised by that.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's pretty much my take. People had run out of trust for Labour in 2010 because of Iraq and other shit so they went lib dem, they also turned our to be utterly untrustworthy shits. The people who voted Tory in 2010? Got what they voted for, Tory wankers, were comfortable with that, so stayed with them. Picked up a few of the people fed from the others who didn't feel there was anywhere to go. SNP got more. A credible alternative in England might have cleaned up, instead there was a split for ukip, green etc. All this crap about 'why did the LDs get published while the Tories got rewarded?' Well obviously because the LD voters were fucked off by being betrayed while the Tory voters weren't disappointed at all.
posted by biffa at 2:54 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


They pretty much committed suicide as soon as they signed up for the coalition.

What's amazing is some of them are still suprised by that.
posted by Artw at 9:46 PM on May 11 [1 favorite +] [!]


That's what makes it so galling about the results. Let's say that the Tories had won an outright majority (much like 2015's) in 2010 with no need for the coalition. Let's be extremely generous and give them 364 seats as they had with the coalition. Hard (almost laughably so) as it is to believe, it may well be true the the LibDems did some what temper the slash and burn policies of the Tories during the coaltion. But that all matters for naught for what happens this election.

The LibDems served as a human shield for the Tories in the 2015 election. All the rage of the electorate was laser focused of the LibDems but imagine not that the LibDems had lost 49 seats but the Tories had from the hypothetical 364 majority and fallen to 315. Now, we can dream the incredible dream* of a Lab+SNP coalition. That's why on election night I couldn't even muster up much schadenfreude from see LibDem after LibDem lose their deposit as those should have been Tory losses.

*All though this would be no picnic at least it probably wouldn't end in the break-up of the British state in its current form.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 3:23 PM on May 11, 2015


Yes, rightwing newspaper coverage did cause Ed Miliband's downfall

Then Labour has a big fucking problem, because even if the right-wing press didn't have the right to be biased to the point of vituperation, the right-wing Government would have no incentive to do anything about it.
posted by topynate at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2015


I suspect getting over real and imagined reasons to vote against them will be a far more summountable if they can present a compelling argument for voting FOR them.
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's really needed is the rapid appointment of a new youthful and hopelessly inexperienced leader, approved by the mail and express, who will spend five years lurching to the right, does nothing to address what voters might want and with no idea how to address the fragmentation of the opposition vote. Preferably a professional and London based. Willing to cut all ties with the unions/workers and do nothing about the press.
posted by biffa at 1:40 AM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ideally a woman, to test the waters as it were. It means the party is looking to the future and getting rid of old ways of thinking. Also, it will buy time while we're trying to get a proper leader.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:55 AM on May 12, 2015


Because one day the UK might be ready for a woman Prime Minister. If we're very lucky she might even be a proper leader in her own right, as strange as that sounds.

(What was the emoji thing for sarcasm, again?)
posted by Grangousier at 12:40 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]




(I like to think that even most French would turn up to something billed as a "gallerie vernissage" in overalls rather than a dinner jacket).

Other news you might have missed: SNP candidate elected in Great Yarmouth.
posted by rongorongo at 7:21 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why does Peterhouse Primary Academy hate Plaid Cymru?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:23 AM on May 13, 2015


The Establishment Is Losing Control: Britain Shows Us Change Is Possible - "When the election results first became clear, I pointed out that Thatcher’s real victory was not the policies she had put in place or the changes she had made to the UK, it was that the main opposition party had become neo-liberal as well. This meant that her project would continue, no matter who was elected."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:02 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]




This is bleakly funny: HOPE
posted by Rumple at 9:46 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]




Sure Start Centres
Supported Tories to close over 558 Sure Start Centres (so far) despite promising not to,


I recall there was debate, at least academically if not politically, over whether SureStart was achieving its goals within a reasonable cost. There was a case made that given the money spent the outcomes were relatively poor. It is not right to criticize Labour for attempting SureStart, as the achievement gap between children in different classes does begin at birth, but it is fair to question whether the program was a success. Another program, or reform of SureStart, might well have been the most reasonable course of action.

That said, I doubt the Conservative party is over-interested in evidence, even were it to support their policy. Listening to experts would swiftly wither their manifesto to a sere husk.
posted by Thing at 2:47 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]




Yup, it's fucked.
posted by Artw at 4:03 PM on May 15, 2015


Given that in the past Special Branch and MI5 have fingered Greenpeace, the Labour Party and the harmonica player Larry Adler for dangerous extremism, one can only assume the best way to escape punishment for not actually committing a crime is always to vote Tory and never to complain about the government ever. Because they're fighting for our freedom to shut the fuck up and do what we're told.
posted by Grangousier at 4:47 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Inside the Milibunker: the last days of Ed

But what does it mean for Ireland?
Now, who in Westminster can be expected to sympathise with the Tory leadership’s view that human rights cases are largely non-serious* and the preserve of trouble-makers, misfits and unshaven terrorists? Welcome, DUP, with your reassuringly unreconstructed social conservatism, conviction that human rights are merely a conceit for mouthy nationalists and eight seats in Parliament. Do take a seat at the table.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 PM on May 15, 2015






Charlie Stross republishes his entry from the 2006 Glorifying Terrorism SF anthology.
posted by frimble at 7:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]








Speaking of UKIP and the far right: UKIP candidate who got 6000 votes declares himself a national socialist, says he admires Mosely and Powell, and claims that UKIP has been taken over by "Jewish special interest groups".

I mean, he didn't actually use the word Nazi, but holy shit...
posted by metaBugs at 2:12 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Storified account of the fabricated evidence, diplomatic protocol breaches, poor journalistic verification, hastily deleted tweets and back tracking that followed on from Alistair Carmichael's "Frenchgate" smear against Nicola Sturgeon. It will be interesting to see if this leads to a bye-election in Carmichael's constituency. The affair also led to this barrel scraping interview by the BBC's James Cook.
posted by rongorongo at 4:11 AM on May 24, 2015


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