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It's a basic irony, folks...
May 3, 2005 10:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm amused by today's Editorial in The Sun. It starts off with how a protest vote against Labour may mean 'you could be signing a young person's death warrant' due to the Liberal Democrat party's drugs policy.

The second half of the newspaper's editorial is a tribute to Anthony Wakefield... whose death came, of course, as part of the Blair government's war in Iraq... a basic irony that the newspaper has failed to pick up on. [via Bloggerheads]

For those who don't know, The Sun - which backs Blair, though not like this - is the UK's biggest selling newspaper and is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
posted by tapeguy (32 comments total)

 
Blair has stood on 'Ooooh look how horrible the others are' ticket. After 8 years in power, it suggests there isn't too much to say about his record.

No wonder tactical voting is a national sport in Blighty.

And don't mention the war
posted by quarsan at 10:29 PM on May 3, 2005


In many respects Labour's record in power is not too shabby. The main problem appears to be Blair the person, and the fact that people don't trust him and want a change.

Tactical voting is mainly done to keep the Tories out, not anything to do with Labour's record.

The Sun has a proven track record of backing who it thinks is going to win anyway, since it likes to be associated with winners.
posted by salmacis at 12:30 AM on May 4, 2005


Labour are campaigning on their record, and their record is not all that bad, as the Nosepeg Brigade never tire of telling us. But the good things they have done do not outweigh the lies, the war, or the attack on civil lliberties and the rule of law.
posted by TimothyMason at 12:51 AM on May 4, 2005


have to agree, Iraq overshadows a lot of positive work Labour has done. They have put a lot back into education and the national health service after years of Tory neglect.

The bookies are convinced Labour will win.
Labour are 1/50 on.
12/1 against a Tory win.

Those are some big odds.
posted by johnny novak at 1:03 AM on May 4, 2005


Ah the joys of media monopolization. Here in BC Canada we have the highest concentration of single media ownership in the country with CanWest owning the two major daily's, a major TV news network, and many of smaller papers.

It's little surprise that in a current provincial election we are hearing little negative about the current ruling party, which happens to have close ties to CanWest.
posted by futureproof at 1:17 AM on May 4, 2005


Of course they'll win, but hopefully the majority will be reduced enough to weaken Blair though not so much that it cripples Brown when he takes over.

Of course, people are talking about a majority of 70 being a massive setback for Blair. When Major (last Tory PM) left he had a majority of, eh, what was it, two? six? Some dudes had to be wheeled in from hospital to vote, whatever it was.
posted by bonaldi at 5:57 PM on May 4, 2005


Does LibDem really not have a chance? I can't believe you guys are going to make the same mistake we did.
posted by amberglow at 6:03 PM on May 4, 2005


Fellas, this sounds like the last Australian election all over again.

(eg: journalists who supported the mainstream ruling conservative party, as well as ultra-conservative religious right, telling people a vote for the Green party is a vote for people dying from drugs.)

Except, the funny part is, in the Australian election it was the conservative party making these kind of bullshit claims. It was the conservative party making use of media-inspired fear. It was the conservative party spreading lies and often engaging in openly illegal practices against minor parties. In the UK, it seems it's the "Labour" party that's taken on that role. How proud UK Labour must be.
posted by Jimbob at 6:15 PM on May 4, 2005


Labour are campaigning on their record

Well, for the past week or so, it seems to have been 'a vote for the Liberal Democrats will let the Conservatives into power' - see here - or just the plain old 'don't vote Conservative'

Does LibDem really not have a chance?

Of course not. Despite the name, they're not our equivalent of the Democrats in the US. They are the third party. Today's papers say it all. The Sun has the front page headline 'Come On You Reds' - the Labour party's 'colour' is red. Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror, one of our other best-selling and influential tabloids, has the less-subtle front page headline 'Vote Labour'.

Here, for our foreign chums who may not know much about British politics, is a quick round up.

The present Government today - and extremely likely to still be tomorrow - is Labour. Historically you'd consider it an equivalent to the Democrats in the US, though like the Democrats they support most of the same policies as the Republicans - the Iraq war, privatisation of hospitals and public transport, etc - and are a lot further to the right now than they ever have been. Tony Blair is our Prime Minister. Labour will win the election, though there's a slim chance that Reg Keys - whose son was killed in Iraq and who is an anti-war, independent candidate - might beat Blair to the constituency seat of Sedgefield. If Blair isn't elected back as an MP, it's very unlikely that he can remain Prime Minister. The thing is, only people in Sedgefield actually get to vote for Blair. The rest of us get to vote for his fellow candidates in the Labour party.

The main opposition is the Conservative party, led by Michael Howard. This was Maggie Thatcher's party in the 1980s. Nearer to the Republican party in the US than the Labour party is.

The third largest party in terms of MPs is the Liberal Democrats and, despite the name, is probably closest to Ralph Nader when he ran for the Green Party and as an independent. This party's leader is Charles Kennedy. The only party to outright oppose the war in Iraq. They've got even less chance of 'winning' than the Conservatives do.

Then there's the smaller parties, like UKIP and Veritas (bascially standing on an 'anti-European Union' platform and nothing else), the Green Party, the Scottish National Party (in Scotland) and Plaid Cymru (in Wales). In Northern Ireland you can vote for the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labour Party. Then, back on the mainland, there's the BNP, which is basically a bunch of racists, so they don't count. But don't worry, because they won't get an MP elected, and, despite all their bluster, UKIP and Veritas probably won't either. In fact, UKIP, Veritas and the BNP have never have an MP between them. Yes, OK, UKIP - unless you count their members ventures in the Anti-Federalist League and the Referendum Party - and Veritas have only really been formed since the last election.

At the 2001 election, the seats won were as follows:

Labour: 412
Conservative: 166
Liberal Democrat: 52
Other: 29

This gave a Labour a majority of 166. Turnout was 59%.

This time around we're looking at turnout of around the same or less. Polls say that Labour's majority will be cut to around anything from 60 to 120 seats. Tony Blair will do worse this time around than in his previous two elections, but it probably won't be fatal to his Premiership.

However, he's been in power for eight years now and everybody has known all along that there was a deal within the Labour party that Blair would hand over power to Gordon Brown, his second-in-command and the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. This looks likely to happen in the next 18 months to two years, halfway between this and the next election. What's more, Tony Blair can stand down as Prime Minister and give power to Gordon Brown without calling another election, as happened in 1990 when Thatcher handed over to John Major, who was her Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Any other Brits please feel free to pick through my post and tell me how wrong I am. It's been a long day...
posted by tapeguy at 6:56 PM on May 4, 2005


Spot on tapeguy, although Blair doesn't have to be an MP to be Prime Minister. If it came to it, he'd be bumped to the Lords, and someone would act for him in the Commons. It's been done before.

Amberglow: The two elections don't really compare. Where Bush is a twat actually sown into the lining of Big Business and has no acceptable policies, Labour are, Iraq aside, by and large the good guys. Iraq was out of character, whereas with Bush it was just business as usual.

Which is why they spent the first few weeks of the election reminding everyone of the good they've done, and they're spending this week attempting to warn everyone who was so pissed off by Iraq that if they don't vote, or protest vote, we might end up with a Tory government. Which basically nobody wants, apart from those with excess babies who don't mind them being eaten.
posted by bonaldi at 7:09 PM on May 4, 2005


What if Blair doesn't hand power over to Brown tho? You guys trust him, after all the lying and giving Bush whatever he wants?
posted by amberglow at 7:12 PM on May 4, 2005


It's not entirely his decision. If he loses a vote of no confidence, or - as happened with Margaret Thatcher - a party leadership election damages him enough, he'd be out.

We're not voting for a Prime Minister today, we're voting for MPs who have party affiliations. The party with the most MPs gets to make the government, and basically chooses for itself who will lead it, and be Prime Minister.
posted by bonaldi at 7:14 PM on May 4, 2005


This post is pathetic.
If people reading MetaFilter don't know:
a. the Sun is the UK's largest circulation newspaper
b. owned by Rupert Murdoch
then they should go back to spending their time at AOL.

,dave
posted by davebarnes at 7:19 PM on May 4, 2005


We do know that, dave--we just don't want Blair rewarded for being Bush's bitch. Our biggest newspaper is USA Today, yet it's not as influential as others like NYT or Washington Post.
posted by amberglow at 7:21 PM on May 4, 2005


I'm shocked, shocked!.. that the Sun seems to be respected as a newspaper. Given that the paper's most notable section is the tits and ass on the daily page 3 girl, it's positively surprising that any of its typical readership even makes it to the op-ed page, although its tabloid format does facilitate one-handed page-turning.
posted by clevershark at 8:10 PM on May 4, 2005


a protest vote against Labour may mean 'you could be signing a young person's death warrant' due to the Liberal Democrat party's drugs policy

Since a vote against Iraq is a vote for gay marriage, this only seems rational.
posted by dreamsign at 8:56 PM on May 4, 2005


bonaldi: "apart from those with excess babies who don't mind them being eaten". Brilliant stuff!
posted by pascal at 9:01 PM on May 4, 2005


bonaldi: "apart from those with excess babies who don't mind them being eaten". Brilliant stuff!

He reads books
posted by TimothyMason at 10:00 PM on May 4, 2005


"The third largest party in terms of MPs is the Liberal Democrats and… The only party to outright oppose the war in Iraq."

The SNP and Plaid also opposed from the start and of the parties you mentioned that don't have seats in the Commons, the Greens also opposed.

I think the SDLP also opposed, but I don't follow NI politics.

Spot on precis though.

posted by jackiemcghee at 10:18 PM on May 4, 2005


Point taken Tim, but I was not suggesting that the idea of the tories wanting to babies was original - I just liked the way that the accepted fact that the tories want to eat babies was brought into the comment. Cheers.
posted by pascal at 11:08 PM on May 4, 2005


i don't respect the sun at all, but they often get political scoops. for example they were the first (by months) to get the date of the election.

what could be significant this time is the popular vote. parliament won't reflect it and it's time for a change.

labour are running scared, not of the tories, but the lib dems, claiming that a vote for the lib dems will let in the tories by the back door.

but a vote for labour will let in the republican party through the front door
posted by quarsan at 11:37 PM on May 4, 2005


Don't worry, no-one with a triple-digit IQ respects The Sun.
posted by anagrama at 3:07 AM on May 5, 2005


they just bombed (to attempted to) your consulate here this morning.
posted by amberglow at 4:59 AM on May 5, 2005


Um, ok, I'm just a bit clueless here.

Would it really be the case that the Conservatives would win if Labour does not win a majority? I thought that one of the quirks about this system was that governments are frequently built of coalitions.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:54 AM on May 5, 2005


Hey tape, I'll drive to your house to give you every penny in my bank account if Keys unseats Blair in Sedgefield. He's sitting on what, a close to 18k majority there. Would be the single biggest swing in political history.

KirkJob, no and no. If Labour fails to win a majority you get a hung Parliament. It's unbelievably rare although John Major came perilously close in the early 90s. In such a circumstance you'd expect a Labour-Lib Dem coalition but the Lib Dem leader Charlie Kennedy ruled this out recently (easy to do when there's no realistic prospect of it happening and to do so garners political capital.)

The British electoral system first past the post almost never delivers coalitions outside of wartime and has a tendency to severely over emphasize voters' intentions delivering potentially crushing Parliamentary majorities unreflective of relatively close fought campaigns.

These are some of the reasons that many are calling for proportional representation although I'd be surprised if it happens - turkeys after all do not vote for christmas.
posted by dmt at 9:43 AM on May 5, 2005


So did you guys vote? Any exit polls or anything yet?
posted by amberglow at 9:55 AM on May 5, 2005


The polls don't close until 10pm, amberglow, so it'll be a while yet before any results are in - it is traditional to stay up to the wee hours watching the inevitable happen very, very slowly, with entertainment courtesy of the BBC's Peter Snow and his armoury of graphs, swingometers and breathless shouting.

Sometimes it's worth it - the face of Michael Portillo, then a high-ranking Tory, when the returning officer announced that he'd lost his seat was a sight I'll remember for the rest of my life. (God, the 1st of May 1997 was such a beautiful day - I remember saying, 'This New Labour thing was just a vote-winner, they'll be good Old Labour from now on.' I don't think I've been so utterly wrong about something in all my life, before or since!)

Oh, and despite the fact it's a secret ballot, I don't mind saying I voted Lib Dem. It felt weird - I was a member of the Labour party, tearing up my card in 1995 when they became "New" Labour and dropped Clause IV, but have voted for them since then. (Clause IV was "To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service", ie nearly everything the party is supposed to fucking well stand for in a single sentence.)
posted by jack_mo at 10:34 AM on May 5, 2005


First exit polls are announced at 10PM BST, 5PM EST. Most of the results should be through by midnight on the east coast, so you could probably have an ertertaining night in front of the news channels - if they decide to cover it.
posted by tapeguy at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2005


cool---i'll be watching (if i can find a station showing it here)! and jack_mo--i'm with you--i would have definitely gone LibDem. (Labour has really swung right tho too, i think). I remember Thatcher and how she messed you guys up for years--Tory never--i'm glad they don't have a real chance this time.
posted by amberglow at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2005


The Labour campaign has annoyed the crap out of me. Blaming the electorate for potentially letting the Tories in is a great way for the New Labour cabal to ignore their own culpability in this fiasco. Blair is a terrible liability and has to go and I literally can't bring myself to vote for him.

And to those who say "hold your nose": that's what I did last general election and look what's happened since then. It was really difficult for me to vote for Labour last time because I knew Blair could only be bad news, but I did it because I thought some of the decent people in the party would start to make a stand. Instead we got the Iraq war and it made me feel sick. Don't hold your nose - if you think for a minute that Blair can't get worse in this term, that maybe he'll learn some humility, you're out of your mind.

I decided I'm quite happy to risk a Tory victory - they could only win by the slimmest of margins and so would be fairly impotent anyway. But can the tories win? Not a chance. If the LibDems can significantly increase their share of seats then I'll be pretty happy.
posted by dodgygeezer at 11:02 AM on May 5, 2005


Actually, I think there's another benefit to voting LibDem. If we can encourage a third party then hopefully we can avoid American flavour democracy - chose either the right-wing idiot or the very right-wing idiot. With a third party we can at least have some kind of choice and a better chance of some oppostion on whatever issues matter to us most.
posted by dodgygeezer at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2005


Exit poll: Labour majority reduced to 66.
posted by bonaldi at 3:00 PM on May 5, 2005


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