Blair wins third term in UK
May 5, 2005 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Blair wins third term in UK overcoming public outcry against his handling of the war in Iraq. His Labour party was elected despite attracting votes from only 22% of those eligible to do so.
posted by drewlondon (74 comments total)

 
Well, same result, wildly different reasons.

Bush wins because of the war on terror.
Blair wins for his sound fiscal policy.

Only the world loses.
posted by dreamsign at 10:02 PM on May 5, 2005


It says 36% in the article, drewlondon.
posted by blacklite at 10:03 PM on May 5, 2005


36% of those that voted, but 22% of those that are eligible to vote.
posted by drewlondon at 10:04 PM on May 5, 2005


I've only been reading a bit on the British elections, but it seems to me that the other candidates--Conservative and Lib Democrat--would have been worse...Blair's the lesser of 3 evils...any thoughts on this, British MeFiers?
posted by zardoz at 10:06 PM on May 5, 2005


Apparently this 36% is the new "record" for the lowest percentage of the vote held by a winning party in a UK election. It'll be pretty hard for Blair to pretend that it was much of a victory.
posted by clevershark at 10:07 PM on May 5, 2005


As they say, "it's the economy, stupid". Labour have timed this election well. There are concerns however that the economy in the London area is about to go into recession, reflected in the 5% swing in London to the Conservatives.
posted by drewlondon at 10:09 PM on May 5, 2005


Newsf-- oh... toss off.

It'll be pretty hard for Blair to pretend that it was much of a victory.

Hmm. Heh. Haha. HAHAHAHA!!

"Hard" except for the BEING PRIME MINISTER bit.
posted by scarabic at 10:17 PM on May 5, 2005


It will actually be closer to 34% of the vote for Labour, according to BBC projections. That translates into a pathetic 22% of the British public. Liberal Democrats are around 23.5%, up over 5%, while Conservatives are about 31%, up about .5%

The largest percentile swing in this election is towards the Liberal Democrats, with an increase of about 33% for both their share of the vote and their share of seats in Parliament. I think it's especially encouraging that they are also winning over major centers of education, such as Cambridge. It's a good omen for the future of the party.

Both the Conservatives and LibDem have concerns about their future. LibDem failed to dislodge Conservative voters, and lost seats to them in several races, which is disconcerting if a new Labour government under Blair's successor becomes popular again. The Conservatives got out their voters, but still only increased their share of the vote by .5% against an unpopular Prime Minister, so arguments that the Conservatives are a dying party are still valid. Labour is also in a predicament, because obviously Blair and Iraq dragged the party down significantly. Blair's government is far weaker than before -- practically lame duck -- and Labour MPs will be more prone to rebel against Blair and his policies. They have good reason to be, because being too close to Blair is beginning to have some significant political risks for some of them with their constituencies.

Something tells me that Gordon Brown could replace Tony Blair long before we see David Tennant replace Christopher Eccleston.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:25 PM on May 5, 2005


The high point was watching (live on CSPAN-2) Tony the Poodle and his lawyer wife having to literally stand behind Reg Keys as Keys memorialized his son, killed in the Iraq War, and publically hoped that one day Blair would apologize. (Too bad the Beeb cut away form the close of the speech.)
posted by orthogonality at 10:28 PM on May 5, 2005


Excerpt from Key's speech:
A grim-faced Blair stood just behind Keys as he said of the war, "If it had been justified by international law, I would have grieved and not campaigned; if the weapons of mass destruction had been found, I would have grieved and not campaigned. ... I hope in my heart that one day the prime minister will be able to say, I'm sorry."
posted by orthogonality at 10:29 PM on May 5, 2005


"Hmm. Heh. Haha. HAHAHAHA!!

"Hard" except for the BEING PRIME MINISTER bit."


Labour voters didn't vote for Blair. If anything, Labour's losses have been a referendum against Blair. The guy is only the leader of his party, and could be replaced tomorrow. He leads a party that just took a major hit and that is being seriously pressured to swing to the left. It is an increasingly divided party that will have a serious problem passing any legislation that is remotely controversial, too.

Lots of Labour leaders and voters want Blair to go... and it is no coincidence that he spent all of his time campaigning with Gordon Brown, who will obviously replace him... most likely in the next year. Heir apparent.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:30 PM on May 5, 2005


How can they be so DUMB?
posted by homunculus at 10:35 PM on May 5, 2005


before we see David Tennant replace Christopher Eccleston

At least you don't have to wait for Eddy Izzard to replace him, which is about how long it will take for us to get the religious nutjobs out of our government (i.e., never).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:44 PM on May 5, 2005


Insomnia: It looks to me like the Conservatives will get more than 31%, probably more than 33%. That extra couple of percent is important for gauging the future, as you point out. If they could get 34% I think they'd be thrilled, but I think it will be a touch lower.
posted by Justinian at 10:52 PM on May 5, 2005


Oh yeah, when do the lawsuits and recounts start? It's not an election without lawsuits and recounts.
posted by Justinian at 10:58 PM on May 5, 2005


Why do the Brits hate America?

(er, love)
posted by Balisong at 11:40 PM on May 5, 2005


Don't forget the radical judiciary decision as to which candidate was actually elected!

I'm thinking that given the pathetic voter turnout, perhaps Britain is best governed by monarchy...
posted by five fresh fish at 11:51 PM on May 5, 2005


What does it say about our modern political landscape that two powerful countries elected otherwise harmful men into top office solely because there were no real viable alternatives?
posted by nightchrome at 11:59 PM on May 5, 2005


I voted Labour in order to see Tony Blair remain in power. I admire Tony Blair and approve of all his policies, his style, everything he has done. To the people who did not bother to vote I say: fuck you. You chose not to vote, therefore you don't count, literally. Labour got a majority, therefore they are in government, that is the way it works, and I am glad. Because I have seen Labour put money into schools and hospitals, which the Tories plainly would not do. I supported the war against Iraq because I wished to see the despotic Saddam deposed, and he was.

I am stating my opinion here because it seems everyone else is anti-Blair, therefore I thought it was worthwhile me posting about my pro-Blair sentiments. Blair is an asset to Britain because he is an intelligent man who believes in social justice.
posted by mokey at 12:04 AM on May 6, 2005


I was quite impressed by all the goings-on at Sedgewick (Reg Keys' speech), but I was literally shocked by this:
George Galloway "clashing" with Jeremy Paxman (Windows Media)
I'm Canadian, so I'm not used to interviewers being anywhere near this challenging of authority.
George Galloway is a Scotsman who ran for MP in Bethnal Green and Bow, a generally poor, small constituency in east London. He moved to Bethnal Green after finding that there was the most support for him and his party, the socialist anti-war Respect Coalition. He also wanted to make a point of defeating a pro-war candidate -- his opponent, the incumbent Labour MP Oona King. The campaign turned rather controversial in spots, as mentioned in the BBC story, and it seems as though some racial tensions were stirred up -- Ms King is both Jewish and Black.

Anyway, Jeremy Paxton does not seem to want to allow Galloway to get away with this without taking some heat over it, and ... I was impressed. Most especially afterward, when Paxton says "but he has got a point", and then talks about the Iraq war. Seemed classy to me.
posted by blacklite at 12:17 AM on May 6, 2005


Uh, that should be Paxman all the way through.
posted by blacklite at 12:20 AM on May 6, 2005


"Labour got a majority"

Ya gotta love those 34% majorities...

"I have seen Labour put money into schools and hospitals, which the Tories plainly would not do."

If the Tories adamantly refused to fund schools and hospitals, why should it surprise you that a Labour government could do better? Just think of how much more Labour could've done, if they didn't rack up a 1000 pound per family war debt... much more, infact, if you count the increased cost of oil, the waived debts owed by Iraq, and the cumulative macroeconomic effect.

The last time I checked, social justice didn't mean decieving your country and damaging its democracy in order to get them to wage an illegal war on a foriegn nation.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:24 AM on May 6, 2005


Ya gotta love those 34% majorities...

You're talking about the percentage of the vote, I'm talking about the numbers of representatives of each party elected as MPs, which are currently as follows:

LAB 353 CON 195 LIB DEM 59 OTHER 12

This means Labour has 57% of the seats in the House of Commons. Therefore they are the largest party, with 158 more MPs than the second largest party. That is a pretty clear majority.

Regarding the war, nations and laws are all well and good but people are important too, and we helped Iraqis not be repressed and killed by their government, so I am glad of that, otherwise they would still be living in fear of their lives. This is surely noble and altruistic of us?
posted by mokey at 12:44 AM on May 6, 2005


Meanwhile, I hear that Perky Goths are winning in the British Gothlementary Elections...
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:53 AM on May 6, 2005


we helped Iraqis not be repressed and killed by their government

Instead it's us and the insurgents. How noble.
posted by the cuban at 12:57 AM on May 6, 2005


mokey. How do you feel about Blair's statements on Iraq's nonexistent non-conventional weapons? Do you feel that he was lied to, or lied, or is incompetent or how would you explain his pre-war statement?

Blair has been good Prime Minister on the whole, you have to wonder why he went to war. Imagine if he hadn't, this victory would have been huge.

It should be remembered by politicians that an unpopular war better be quick and bloodless, or your support will crumble.
posted by sien at 1:01 AM on May 6, 2005


"we helped Iraqis not be repressed and killed by their government"

You mean that we helped them not be killed by our crippling sanctions, don't you?

While Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis during the uprising after the first gulf war, the biggest killer after '92 wasn't Saddam by a longshot. It was a series of incredibly brutal and often unnecessary sanctions.

There were lots of ways to help Iraqis gain their freedom, allowing them to throw off the shackles of a corrupt government and take back their country. Invasion and occupation was just the most radical method amongst several possible alternatives, many of which would've been far more legally viable.

We tried none of these alternatives first, as a series of steps designed to escalate the pressure on Saddam's regime. Instead, we committed ourselves to the one option that was *guaranteed* to turn Iraq into a victimized terrorist state.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:05 AM on May 6, 2005


Well i voted, but it was almost entirely pointless. What with our messed up first-past-the-post system, my vote means nothing in a Conservative stronghold.

We really *need* some electoral reform. If the Lib Dems had proportional representation, they would be up at ~150 seats, not 60.

Mr Blair is not as popular as it might seem from american observers - many absolutely despise him, with or without the war. This was certainly a victory despite him, not because of him.
posted by iso_bars at 1:06 AM on May 6, 2005


Looking back, it seems that the "biggest rally in U.K. history" turned out to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
posted by Ljubljana at 1:27 AM on May 6, 2005


reg keys was a key moment as an ashen faced blair stood behind him as he gave a dignified speech explaining why he ran.

"If this war had been justified by international law I would have grieved and not campaigned,

If weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq -- again I would have grieved, not campaigned. Tonight there are lessons to be learned.

I hope in my heart that one day the prime minister may be able to say sorry.

That one day he will say sorry to the families of the bereaved. And one day the prime minister may be able to visit wounded soldiers in hospital."
posted by quarsan at 1:33 AM on May 6, 2005


The question to be asked - how long will he remain as leader of the party?

I don't think that there's any kind of legal requirement for him to stay as leader for a certain period, and daresay that the party will replace him after about 6 months with someone who doesn't conjour up images of lies, broken promises and insincere smiles...
posted by Chunder at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2005


Instead it's us and the insurgents. How noble.

As far as I'm aware we have now stopped killing Iraqis.

There were lots of ways to help Iraqis gain their freedom

Do you mean freedom from Saddam's regime? Surely that involves the removal of the regime? Saddam was a very obstinate person, I do not think he was likely to bow out due to international pressure.
posted by mokey at 1:39 AM on May 6, 2005


As far as I'm aware we have now stopped killing Iraqis.

hahahahaha
posted by nightchrome at 1:46 AM on May 6, 2005


As far as I'm aware we have now stopped killing Iraqis.

you mean you already slaughtered them all?
posted by matteo at 2:19 AM on May 6, 2005


Despite the fact that I'm a natural LibDem voter, Linda Riordan (lab) got my vote this time purely on the back of Alice Mahon's (the previous Lab MP) anti-war stance and my own worries about the BNP. Hopefully Linda will piss Blair off as much as Alice did.

And finally, Chris Hopkins can stop sending me bloody Junk mail. I've got a bin full of his badly scrawled rubbish.
posted by seanyboy at 2:47 AM on May 6, 2005


Something tells me that Gordon Brown could replace Tony Blair long before we see David Tennant replace Christopher Eccleston.
If they take bets, I wonder what's the odds for Gordon Brown replacing Blair before the year ends.

Also: this hugely unproportional electoral system, is hugely undemocratic as well. It means that not all votes count anywhere near the same.

Finally, anyone else frightened by the rather robust performance of the fascist BNP?
posted by talos at 2:48 AM on May 6, 2005


It was mentioned before but it bears repeating... Tony Blaire did not 'win' the election. Well, he won his seat in Parliament, but he didn't win being Prime Minister. There's no direct vote for that. So this election in no way is a mandate for him.

His party simply won a majority, and a significantly lower one than last time, which is directly attributable to the dislike for Blair himself. Hell, he even admits it. How big of you, Tony. Let's see what you admit during your criminal trial brought by the parents of the men you so cravenly and dishonestly sent to their deaths under false pretenses.

The election results were a big 'fuck you' to Tony Blair, and richly deserved. I'd be curious to hear what UK residents think of Gordon Brown, who will be replacing him soon unless Hell freezes over. I know he's a serious Euroskeptic and a proponent of fiscal austerity as well as privatization in many areas, but he also seems to have a much better track record than Blair with the socialist roots of the Labour movement. Those seem to be kinda conflicting impulses.
posted by the_savage_mind at 3:36 AM on May 6, 2005


I've been incorrectly predicting blair to be dumped for about 2 years and the Labour Party are yet to grow a spine.

The man is seriously out of control, I fear his messianic streak will force him to hang on until the next local elections which will mean labour get hammered and a lot of good labour councilors will lose their seats.

About 100 Labour MPs are out of a job this morning and they have only themselves to blame, they know Blair was a liability and they shirked from getting rid of him. Perhaps they can implore their former colleagues not to make the same mistake.

As for Paxman vs Galloway, they deserve each other.
posted by fullerine at 3:44 AM on May 6, 2005


There are some horrendous misrepresentations of the statistics in this thread. The percentage of votes attained from those eligible to vote is a ridiculous measure of success. This "22%" is meaningless. A low turnout sucks for all the parties. That the proportion of Labour's vote is not proportional to the number of seats won is because we do not have proportional representation. This also sucked in the 1980s and early 90s when it worked in favour of the Conservative party.

Also, I wish Americans here and in the press would stop referring to the "Labor Party". It's a British organization so it's called the "Labour Party" wherever you're from, I'm afraid.

Don't anyone be misled by the anti-Labour feeling in this thread. This is a damned good result for Labour. The party has never achieved a third successive victory, and a majority of 66 is significant: especially for a third term. It is plenty to wield considerable clout in parliament when it comes to passing legislation.
posted by nthdegx at 3:45 AM on May 6, 2005


Don't anyone be misled by the anti-Labour feeling in this thread

I think the feeling is more anti-bliar rather than anti-labor.
posted by the cuban at 3:50 AM on May 6, 2005


I think the feeling is more anti-bliar rather than anti-labor.

WER$£^$%Y&GFHSDFGNHSFNJ!
posted by nthdegx at 3:56 AM on May 6, 2005


To the people who did not bother to vote I say: fuck you. You chose not to vote, therefore you don't count, literally.

No, fuck you (now isn't that productive?). I'm exasperated to once again see this implication that every ballot not cast was due to apathy. Personally, the "holding my nose and voting" option for me this time was voting for ANY of the candidates presented. So far as I'm concerned, refusing to vote is a valid protest against the simulation of a democratic choice that is presented to us in the current party political system. Shit with sweetcorn or shit with peanuts? Neither thanks. The ever declining turnout is a far more effective symbol of protest than any number of votes for protest third, fourth or fifth party candidates, who due to the current stacked system have no chance of influencing anything. I'd much rather see people go to the ballots and spoil their papers than just stay at home personally, but I am certain that in a very high proportion of cases, it is not just down to apathy.

Big surprise that Labour won another majority mokey. Wonder how things would have looked if they kept their commitments to electoral reform, made in return for the help of the Liberal Democrats pre-1997? Not so rosy I suspect. This to me is the essential paradox of Labour. I also am relatively warm about many of their policies, certainly more so than any of the main alternatives. However, their style of government by dictat is totally unacceptable. Labour, and more consistently Tony Blair, have left a trail of broken commitments behind them (over electoral reform, hunting, Iraq, yes... even tax), and consistently show themselves to be the most obnoxious type of manipulators, both of the support of others, and of the institutions of government. They have no respect for the wishes of the people that he represents, and while you and others like you may be prepared to throw autocratic rule into the hands of someone that you perceive to be "intelligent", based on the fruits of his PR team's labour, I certainly do not. I'll take democracy instead, thanks.
posted by bifter at 3:59 AM on May 6, 2005


I just watched that Paxman v Galloway video and I have to say Paxman made an absolute tool of himself there. I usually like the guy and I certainly appreciate his aggressive style, but "How do you feel about putting one of the few black women MPs out of office" is a textbook example of "poisoning the well" and it's a shame Galloway didn't simply dismiss it as exactly that; possibly adding something about being saddened to see Paxman use the tactics of a retarded member of the remedial school debating society.
posted by Decani at 4:01 AM on May 6, 2005


I do agree with you, bifter, but one concern is the wave of extremist candidates that can possibly find success in a society with ever dwindling turnouts. Hence the proportion of votes going to BNP candidates rising again.
posted by nthdegx at 4:14 AM on May 6, 2005


I think it's a great result. A majority of about 66 (as the BBC did well predicting at 10PM last night) would mean that it will be far harder to just push bills through parliament. Last time we had a spineless opposition and a government with a huge majority that meant they could pretty much do what they wanted. Both these things have changed, which can only be for the good.

As for the electoral system, I agree it's flawed but personally I'd rather have a system like this than PR. Who wants a minority party being able to dictate terms just because they're the broker in a hung parliament?
posted by ciderwoman at 4:19 AM on May 6, 2005


HOWARD IS RESIGNING RIGHT NOW!
posted by nthdegx at 4:35 AM on May 6, 2005


I'll take democracy instead, thanks.

Firstly I would like to apologise for swearing and for giving offence, I am sorry. How long to you think it will be before mass abstentions bring about a change in government or in the party political system? It may never happen, and would the resultant government be any better than what we have? I am skeptical of there ever being a perfect political party that is why I am happy to vote for the one I approve of most..
posted by mokey at 4:36 AM on May 6, 2005


HOWARD IS RESIGNING RIGHT NOW!

Right, not exactly: he's staying on til the tories sort themselves out...
posted by nthdegx at 4:37 AM on May 6, 2005


I felt a real sense of shame that my country was dumb enough to elect a man who is an idiot puppet of greedy, amoral forces. But it is a little worse to elect the idiot's bitch.

I can't believe the UK is cagey about european unity, but willing to play remora to our shark. There's only one thing worse than being a bully-- being a toadie.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:39 AM on May 6, 2005



I felt a real sense of shame that my country was dumb enough to elect a man who is an idiot puppet of greedy, amoral forces. But it is a little worse to elect the idiot's bitch.


Yeah. Very strong economy. Investment in schools and hospitals. Pro-europe. High employment. As much as you might like to be all about you, it really isn't.
posted by nthdegx at 4:42 AM on May 6, 2005


As much as you might like to be all about you, it really isn't.

I think it's partially about the US. After all, Blair is the Bonnie Parker to Bush's Clyde Barrow.

And it probably makes you all feel good to have a hand in some old-fashioned imperialism, right? You guys used to be the best at that!
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:57 AM on May 6, 2005


clevershark: "It'll be pretty hard for Blair to pretend that it was much of a victory."

The Labour spin doctors are making sure everyone interviewed uses the phrase 'historic third term'. Even the BBC had this up as it's main headline earlier today.

The other catchphrase appears to be 'the Liberal Democrats failed to gain any key seats', forgetting of course that they're up 13 seats so far.
posted by tapeguy at 5:01 AM on May 6, 2005


I'm pretty chuffed locally...in Brighton Pavilion the Greens finished 3rd (just behind the Tories) with a massive swing.

David Lepper, Labour 15,427 35.5%
Mike Weatherley, Conservative 10,397 23.9%
Keith Taylor, Green Party 9,530 21.9%
Hazel Thorpe, Liberal Democrat 7,171 16.5%

Last election (2001):
David Lepper, Labour 19,846 48.7%
David Gold, Conservative 10,203 25.1%
Ruth Berry, Liberal Democrat 5,348 13.1%
Keith Taylor, Green Party 3,806 9.4%

And the turnout went up from 58.9% in 2001 to 63.8% this year. 1st Green MP in 2009/10?
posted by i_cola at 5:02 AM on May 6, 2005


Mayor Curley, if you want to get all national stereotypes to hurl a few insults to cover-up for your blatantly ridiculous assessment of the election, that's fine. The view of Blair as Bush's lap-dog serves as a beautiful satiric image, and a valuable one too. The problem is when simplistic satire, rather than wryly commenting upon a situation, is used to form opinions in those without a clue. The word Bush hasn't come up in any of the election coverage I've seen. Rightly so. Blair opposes Bush on many issues, including climate change, and tells him to his face. The opposition party would also have elected to go to war in Iraq. Both Labour and the Conservatives claim there were lots of good reasons for Britian to do so. Blair makes a more compelling case than Bush does. I won't pretend for a moment that Anglo-American relations were not a large factor, but it is one factor in one issue that plainily took a back seat given the relative success of both Labour and Conservative. The fact of the matter is there are lots of compelling reasons to vote for Blair in spite of the war. There were few compelling reasons to vote for Bush, and people voted for him because of the war. I know which I think is worse.
posted by nthdegx at 5:06 AM on May 6, 2005


The fact of the matter is there are lots of compelling reasons to vote for Blair in spite of the war.

I can't figure this out. I was living in Wales in '95, when the whole debate about Clause 4 of the Labour constitution was going on. It was obvious then that the man is a disingenuous, Clinton-style opportunist who's willing to prostitute himself to get his party votes. Why did he come up through the ranks of the Labour Party if he was for privatization?

That's why I compare him to American politicians. Because he's an American-style politician-- moving to make his party indistinguishable to its primary competition and doing what's expedient rather than what's right. And when you willingly adopt the shittier parts of the American system, you're fucking yourselves.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:23 AM on May 6, 2005


About 100 Labour MPs are out of a job this morning

They lost ~100 from their majority, you have to halve(ish~) that to get the number out of a job. (They're actually down 47 at time of typing.)

Personally I'm pleased, my constituency kicked out the sitting Labour MP who was a parachuted ex-mayor of Islington and replaced her with a young Lib Dem, the Lib Dems coming from 3rd in the last election. The constituency battle was a nasty and quite complex one, the Conservatives divided themselves, the Labour MP made an issue of the Conservative candidates homosexuality and frankly seems a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work, happy to see her out of work.


Julia Goldsworthy Liberal Democrat 16,747 34.9 +10.4
Candy Atherton Labour 14,861 31.0 -8.6
Ashley Crossley Conservative 12,644 26.3 -3.6
Michael Mahon UK Independence Party 1,820 3.8 +1.0
David Mudd Independent 961 2.0 +2.0
Paul Holmes Liberal Party 423 0.9 -0.5
Hilda Wasley Mebyon Kernow 370 0.8 -1.0
Peter Gifford Veritas 128 0.3 +0.3
Richard Smith Removal Of Tetramasts In Cornwall 61 0.1 +0.1

Wouldn't have minded Labour's majority being cut a bit more, with a few more Lib Dem seats, but not bad.

Also happy to see Kilroy-Silk get fuck all.
posted by biffa at 5:38 AM on May 6, 2005


Why did he come up through the ranks of the Labour Party if he was for privatization?

Unfortunately I think we're now in a position where it's practically politically unthinkable to make any stand against the position that the market is best placed to deliver. Whilst I think the market is best for delivery of many things within society, clearly there are too many examples of market failure to justify the application of market forces wholesale across all societal functions. Failure of the market to effectively address a whole host of social and environmental issues provides considerable evidence that reconsideration of the use of market or 'near-market' instruments is necessary. I'm not sure how a change to make this reconsideration can be brought about in the UK. But i don't think it's just Blair, certainly Brown won't be any different and I'm not sure who would be.

That's why I compare him to American politicians. Because he's an American-style politician-- moving to make his party indistinguishable to its primary competition and doing what's expedient rather than what's right.

But isn't expediency a necessity in politics? Previous lack of expediency from the Labour Party saw it stand on its principles while the Tories screwed the people who should have been voting it into power.
posted by biffa at 5:47 AM on May 6, 2005


But isn't expediency a necessity in politics?

From a pragmatic sense? Probably. But isn't it infuriating to have to say "Sure, he's a filthy whore, but he's marginally our filthy whore"?
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:53 AM on May 6, 2005


Spot the loony:


posted by meehawl at 5:58 AM on May 6, 2005


A few points.

1) My prediction was wrong. I said Labour Maj. 40 +-5, it currently stands at 63 with 20 outstanding seats.

2) I'm surprised that Howard resigned. The tell was "200 for Tory", and they currently have 197 seats, with 20 outstanding, 200 is rather likely. But, he said he'd deliver, and he didn't, and now, he's standing down.

3) I think the biggest losing winners will be, in the end, the Lib Dems. They lost a fair amount of their old seats to Tory, but gained even more in cities against Labour. The problem -- these are Anti-Blair seats, likely to swing right back to Labour come the next election.

I think the Kennedy needs to slide aside. He's done a good job in building Lib Dem representation, but he's likely to get tagged as someone who can't get the job done if he stay for another election. The Lib Dems need to start acting as a second opposition, showing that they could govern. They've ridden "anti-Tory, anti-Labour" as far as they could (and have done so quite adeptly) but to make further gains, they now need to show the public why they should vote for Lib Dem, not against Labour or Tory.

4) As to Labour -- this was a slap in the face. Most of the lost seats were the quiet, pliant MPs who voted lockstep with the government. Many of the kept seats were the ones who'd rebel. Several votes that were made last Parliament would have failed with the majority Labour now has -- and with the historically low actual percentage of votes, calls to reform the voting system will increase, and Labour will have to work with the opposition(s), rather than dictate laws.

For those wondering how bad the British system of elections can be. Here's the current totals, by percentage then by seat

Labour: 36.2%, 354 seats (63 maj)
Tory: 33.2%, 197 seats
Lib Dem: 22.7%, 62 seats
Other: 7.9%, 12 seats

If you assigned seats strictly by percentage, this is what you get. (Note, there's some fuzz in the change numbers, since 20 seats haven't been declared yet.)

Labour: 234 (-120)
Tory: 214 (+17)
Lib Dem: 146 (+84)
Other: 51 (+39)

Not only would Labour be a minority government, they'd almost certain have to form a coalition to govern at all -- the Tories would need to convince only 11 other MPs to vote with them to shoot down Labour, and the Lib Dems would be a much more potent force.
posted by eriko at 6:07 AM on May 6, 2005


posted by Mayor Curley at 1:23 PM GMT on May 6

Right. I agree with you entirely, there.
posted by nthdegx at 6:14 AM on May 6, 2005


With proportional representation, the BNP with 0.75% of the vote would have about 5 seats. Do we really want that?
posted by Orange Goblin at 7:17 AM on May 6, 2005


Obligatory Michael Frayn quote from "Democracy"
We won. That was our great mistake, Willy. Defeat is the only thing this party understands. Defeat is a testimony to high ideals. Defeat makes no demands. Victory means you have to do something- and doing something always involves dissent and compromise and making mistakes.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:20 AM on May 6, 2005


With proportional representation, the BNP with 0.75% of the vote would have about 5 seats. Do we really want that?

It depends on what particular system of PR you want to use. Many countries use an electoral eligibility threshold, where in order to qualify a party must secure a minimum of 2-5%, either locally within a multi-seat constituency or nationally within a list system. Failure to secure such a threshold means that the votes are automatically re-distributed using lower preferences, so that the voter's "intent" is not completely wasted.

Note that one theoretical outcome of such a system is that the voter "intent" is diverted from radical, marginal parties into more mainstream parties.
posted by meehawl at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2005


Can you imagine Blair giving a press conference next week, and saying "I've earned capital in this election, and I intend to spend it"?
posted by fungible at 9:21 AM on May 6, 2005


The LibDems are the future. : > (and i love that Baroness old lady)

(and CNN Int'l is still covering it alot, for those of us here)

And it was so interesting to see the BBC coverage last night--from 3d Silly Walks on Downing St. to the Swingometer to the battlegrounds--very different and funny.
posted by amberglow at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2005


A lot of young people voted Lib Dems.

We figure we dont like the Tories, Blair sucked - give them yellows a try.

Next time the Lib Dem ad slogans should be "f*ck it, vote Lib Dems, you may as well"
posted by 13twelve at 10:59 AM on May 6, 2005


Can you imagine Blair giving a press conference next week, and saying "I've earned capital in this election, and I intend to spend it"?

Don't be silly. Bush had a mandate, after all.
posted by gigawhat? at 11:41 AM on May 6, 2005


paxman for prime minster?
posted by andrew cooke at 11:51 AM on May 6, 2005




With proportional representation, the BNP with 0.75% of the vote would have about 5 seats. Do we really want that?

It's an interesting question. I'm a PR purist, Charter 88 signatory Liberal Democrat. I have to say that if they got the votes then they deserve the seats.

I'm of the view that stupid ideas are destroyed by their public expression and rebuttal. The idea of Robin Cook ripping Griffin to tiny pieces on the floor of the Commons I find quite appealing. In trying to marginalise these views one makes them 'cult' and perversely attractive to the disaffected. If they've been public demonstrated to be stupid and wrong-headed then they won't be attractive. John Stuart Mill wrote about this a long time ago and he was write then and he's right now.

I have to say that I'm also opposed to the removal of the franchise of those with marginal views. Who next? The Communists? Greens? Lib Dems?

The issue in my view is that the BNP is backed by an infrastructure which is quasi criminal in nature. Should we be extending resources and legitimacy to such an organisation. This forms part of the basis of the Tories' objections to Sinn Fein sitting in Parliament and objectively there's still a link from SF to the IRA to gun gunning, drug dealing and prostitution. It would not a problem unique to allowing the BNP Parliamentary representation but it does present an issue that I would like to see addressed.
posted by dmt at 9:18 AM on May 8, 2005


I won't quit, vows Blair as cabinet rift opens --...The timetable being discussed within his private circle is for him to trigger a party leadership contest in July 2008 and remain as Prime Minister while the succession is resolved, allowing the new leader to take over that autumn. ...

See? He probably had no intention of stepping down.
posted by amberglow at 3:30 PM on May 8, 2005


All I care about is how did The Loony party do, and why can't we have a loony party in the U.S.? That'd be the coolest thing. I'd vote for insanity. It's the only political idea that makes any sense.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:51 PM on May 8, 2005




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