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May 23, 2008 2:16 AM   Subscribe

The Tories first by-election win in over twenty-five years... the end of New Labour?
posted by fearfulsymmetry (50 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
A Conservative general election win feels inevitable at this point in time. I don't know about the end of New Labour, though. Perhaps it'll disappear in name, but its legacy would be felt under a David Cameron leadership - perhaps moreso than under 5 or 10 years of Brown. That may not be entirely true in substantive policy, but in terms of perception I think people see Cameron as a logical successor to Blair.
posted by nthdegx at 2:37 AM on May 23, 2008


Yep, Tory government within two years. There are huge numbers of newly registered voters who have never known anything but New Labour. I'm old enough to remember the disintegrating Tory party of the mid-nineties, and I'm Scottish, both of which are enough to give me pause about voting Conservative. But I detest the current government with a passion, because they take the worst elements of statism and authoritarianism and bundle it all up into a truly noxious way of governing. And they're about as 'Labour' in the sense of what that used to mean as the Tories are.

A lot of issues voters will swing, purely to get rid of follies like the ID card scheme, 42 day detentions and the myriad of laws and restrictions introduced in the last eight years. The Tories were no better in their last government, with the draconian Criminal Justice Bill and crackdowns on raving, but the British people have a strong 'time for a change' vibe right now, in a way I haven't felt since 1997.

The cynic in me says that Cameron's Tory Party is still the same old blend of arch-capitalists, Establishment bigots and old-money snobs it always was, albeit with a vaguely charismatic front-man. But then people thought the same about New Labour - working class socialism with a presentable new approach. In reality, New Labour pretty much demolished the old Parliamentary Labour party, and has dug itself into a hole which it will take a long time to emerge from.

My hand will hover over Lib Dem, but I'm not sure I can bear to throw my vote away again - they're just not up to it. I hate two-party systems.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:45 AM on May 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Fortunately here in Scotland we have the SNP to vote for, and they're doing a pretty good job in government. The Conservatives should love the independence, by the way - it would get a large swathe of Labour voters out of the system.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:59 AM on May 23, 2008


Hear hear, Happy Dave. I was a kid when New Labour were elected, and I'll be voting for the Lib Dems. It's where my politics lie and, although they don't have direct experience in leading the country, at least they aren't entrenched.

Although a Tory win is probably pretty inevitable, I think the Libs could find themselves in a much stronger position, at least relative to Labour, after the dust has settled.
posted by Drexen at 3:04 AM on May 23, 2008


Great! So the choice is between "arch-capitalists, Establishment bigots and old-money snobs" and the party that desperately needs a slap in the face. I don't envy you, english.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:05 AM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, this sucks hot monkey balls. I cannot bear David Cameron and his whole fake "Green" routine (riding his bike while his limo follows behind).
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:06 AM on May 23, 2008


It seems quite likely that the Conservatives will win the next election. I think it's far from inevitable though.

Mid-term opinion polls and by-elections tend to punish established governments, but they tend to recover somewhat by election time. In 1985 the Conservatives under Thatcher were down to 31% in the polls, and they came back to win a 102 seat majority. Brown is slightly lower at 27%, but that doesn't rule out some kind of victory.

If the economic slowdown lasts less than two years, it's quite possible there will be some sort of recovery before the election. Brown could then get credit for steering the country out of recession.

There also doesn't seem to be that much of a Tory revival in Scotland and Wales. They still seem to have been kicked back into an English-only party. It's hard to imagine an SNP/Conservative coalition: they're on opposite sides of the spectrum, and the Conservatives have traditionally been strongly Unionist.

Civil liberties infringements like ID cards and internment of terrorist suspects seem to be quite popular with the electorate. Cameron has so far remained principled on them. So, in an general election campaign negative campaigning could do pretty well for Brown. "Under soft Cameron, illegally-immigrated paedophile terrorists in hoodies will rape, murder and blow up your childen".

So, I'd say Brown is down but definitely not out.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:17 AM on May 23, 2008


Crewe and Nantwich?

Really, that's why I love Britain so much, you guys came up with the most charming names ever -- now I want to spend my weekends in a pretty little cottage in Nantwich!

re: the Tories, at least Cameron is not as big a tool as Boris.
posted by matteo at 3:21 AM on May 23, 2008


I'm really not looking forward to a conservative government, but like many people I think it's inevitable at this point. Brown has made a few nasty fuck-ups, is thoroughly uncharismatic, and has the bad luck to be the figurehead at a time of global economic trouble. Theophile has reminded me, though, that the Tories remain unpopular in Scotland and Wales, which gives me a little hope.

Being middle-class, I have little to fear financially from a conservative government (unless they actually break the economy) but I'm worried for people in less fortunate financial/social situations. I'm very concerned for LGBT rights under the Tories, too.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:43 AM on May 23, 2008


fake "Green" routine

The Tories in the 1990s did introduce the Fuel Duty Escalator, increasing fuel duties ahead of inflation - a real, serious anti-global-warming measure. Labour scrapped it after protests by hauliers, and has stuck to waffling on while doing nothing to curb development, airport expansion, increased car use and failure to act on renewable energy. Not much in it on that front, I'd argue.

None of the political establishment is really up for doing anything about climate change, because, I think, the electorate doesn't really care about it. Too remote, too open to cheating, too much personal cost. I think we'll see significant change only after the coming economic downturn, when people are feeling more confident again, and Bangladesh is flooded at the cost of millions of lives, and China and India and the US agree to some cuts in carbon output.

More likely is that we'll stop generating so much carbon because we'll run out of economically-available sources of it.
posted by alasdair at 3:49 AM on May 23, 2008


I'm very concerned for LGBT rights under the Tories, too.

For me, this week, Cameron voting to reduce the upper limit on abortion reminded me of that American saying about "the Right wants a government small enough to fit into your bedroom."

I'm okay, in that I'm in a Labour-LibDem marginal, so I get to vote LibDem without feeling like I'm wasting my time but appease my conscience. If I had a Labour-Tory seat I don't know what I'd do.
posted by alasdair at 3:56 AM on May 23, 2008


The Tories also, as one of their last acts, brought in the disastrous privatisation of British Rail, essentially dismembering Britain's state-run rail company and selling the parts to private companies under poorly thought-out arrangements, presumably out of an ideological faith in the intrinsic value of free-market "shock therapy".

A decade or so down the track, Britain's rail fares are the highest in Europe, service is abysmal (commuters often have to stand on long journeys), and anyone who's not a hair-shirt environmentalist or rail obsessive flies any distance longer than London to Birmingham (hence airport expansion). Meanwhile, taxpayers are paying several times more in subsidies to the private companies (to prevent them from pulling the plug and letting the system collapse altogether) than they were for the supposedly Inefficient Socialist Monopoly they replaces.

Interestingly, the privatisation has been partly reversed in London under the former mayor, "Red" Ken Livingstone. With a blue-blooded Tory in office, this is not going to continue; Boris Johnson already scrapped the Transport For London plan to take over the Southern Rail franchise, and I wouldn't put it past him to sell off the Overground to First or National Express or someone.
posted by acb at 4:00 AM on May 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Liberals are the worst of the lot. I'm a Green but would rather see the Tories in than a Liberal administration. They claim to care about things, then do the opposite - in government in Scotland Liberal Ministers backed a massive motorway through Glasgow, abstained on ID cards, forced through GM crop trials despite their own party's opposition, etc etc

At least the Tories are relatively honest about where they plan to screw you. Honestly, what's wrong with England? An undemocratic voting system, leading to a choice from three appalling parties. Makes me want to weep.
posted by imperium at 4:46 AM on May 23, 2008


So they won by election? As opposed to by lottery?
posted by Eideteker at 5:15 AM on May 23, 2008


By-election, foo.
posted by matthewr at 5:16 AM on May 23, 2008


Don't write the epitaph for Labour yet.

Oil and housing are going to get worse before they get better -- and not all crises will redound to the Tories benefit. All those working class first-time Tory voters being quoted in person-on-the-street interviews may definitely reconsider if they start to feel themselves as personally vulnerable.

If Sarkozy, Berlusconi and Merckel are sucking wind abroad, or Boris Johnson within, people may think twice about the virtues of a send-a-message swing to the right.

Finally, this may be the election in which Labour, to survive, grants the Liberal Democrats electoral reform, which would require the Tories to do a lot better than most people think possible to win a majority of seats in the Commons.
posted by MattD at 5:17 AM on May 23, 2008


It seems strange to me this development. Blair had so successfully triangulated and removed so many positions from Tory demagoguing that they became the party that struck a nice sense of balance between free economy and government regulation/oversight/taxes. The Tories had nowhere to go. It seems now that the Tory argument is that Labour should have been more actively involved in the Economy -- seeing and averting the housing crisis, more regulation of the banking industry, etc.

Should they even win, are they really Tories that are winning? It would be a fascinating thing however -- "conservatives" essentially winning via liberal grievances.

Also, please correct me if I'm wrong, but is not the Iraq war deeply unpopular in Britain/Europe. At least Brown wants to pull out right? Are the Tories different that neocons here who salivate at the thought of invading places and trying to make them democracies?

Again, more to my original point -- I think Blair and New Labour's ideas have sort of won the day (much like whoever gets closest to Clinton's triangulating will be successful here). The messenger might change, but New Labour and what it stood for is still the cat's meow.

From native observers, I'd love to be corrected, better informed here if I'm not.
posted by skepticallypleased at 5:53 AM on May 23, 2008


The biggest danger for the Conservatives is smugness. If they start looking ahead to victory and people see too many grinning posh boys on TV they'll start getting second thoughts.

The news media have been pushing relentlessly to try to encourage and manufacture political crises since roughly around the time of the will-he-won't-he early election dilemma. You can argue they're reflecting public opinion, but I think they've gone beyond that this year and are determined to prove they can take Brown down. I'm not his biggest fan, but I'd rather have nerdy politicians than 'charismatic' ones, and some of the recent reporting about the 'credit crunch' (I'm already sick of that term) and fuel prices has been ludicrous.
posted by malevolent at 5:55 AM on May 23, 2008


Great! So the choice is between "arch-capitalists, Establishment bigots and old-money snobs" and the party that desperately needs a slap in the face. I don't envy you, english.

God, I love (unintentional?) irony.
posted by recoveringsophist at 6:28 AM on May 23, 2008


malevolent: it didn't do Boris Johnson any harm. If a posh buffoon with no managerial track record, no policies other than a comically implausible "21st-century Routemaster" and the usual right-wing dog-whistles about "law and order" and "cutting costs" can get in, then surely Cameron (who's a better Blair than Blair, much in the way that Blairism was Thatcherism with better PR) can do nicely.

There are a lot of people who would ordinarily despise the Tories, but who can't bring themselves to see Brown's Labour as the lesser evil. A lot of centre-leftist voters, even if they don't vote for the Tories, could put themselves out of the race, leaving the swelling populist right to carry the election.
posted by acb at 6:44 AM on May 23, 2008


I'm not old enough to have ever seen a resurgent Tory party heading back to power. It's rather unpleasant.
posted by bonaldi at 6:48 AM on May 23, 2008


Also, please correct me if I'm wrong, but is not the Iraq war deeply unpopular in Britain/Europe.

Very unpopular. In my mind, this is when the corner was turned for New Labour - one million people marched in London against the war and Blair brushed them off.

As disappointed as I am in Labour, the prospect of the Tories back in power makes my blood run cold. Especially as the main impetus appears to be - as stated above - the broad feeling that it's 'time for a change'. The Conservatives need demonstrate no competence, no plan, no vision, they just have to not mess up. This I think is the explanation for why a buffoon of no notable achievement like Boris Johnson could defeat Ken Livingston, who's been a great force for London.

Great! So the choice is between "arch-capitalists, Establishment bigots and old-money snobs" and the party that desperately needs a slap in the face.

Tragically, this is a completely apt description of the situation.
posted by outlier at 7:05 AM on May 23, 2008


#Alasdair, actually, the American Right, under the leadership of Grover Norquist and his organization Americans for Tax Reform want a Government "small enough to drown in a bathtub". (Nice, right?)

Here's an old-ish (2001) article from The Nation about Norquist and his operation.

(Of course, if you don't collect taxes, you're incapable of launching elective foreign wars, but our American Right doesn't allow troublesome facts to interfere with their election campaigns. I'm sure that the same thing occurrs over there in the UK.)
posted by vhsiv at 7:17 AM on May 23, 2008


Especially as the main impetus appears to be - as stated above - the broad feeling that it's 'time for a change'.

It's a truism that oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them (with more than a little help from the fourth estate, IMO).
posted by Leon at 7:29 AM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not old enough to have ever seen a resurgent Tory party heading back to power. It's rather unpleasant.

Yeah, horrible, innit. I remember Thatcher very clearly but am way too young to remember the run up to the '79 election.

I think some of the comments here are spot-on; the right-of-centre media would definitely love to give Brown not just a bloody nose but a fatal beating, and egging on/bigging up the Tories is a large part of that. The trouble will come if people really, truly believe in Cameron and his policies – which so far amount to not much more than bashing Labour anywhere they see a chink in the armour, lots of vague, handwaving bullshit about the environment, and the usual xenophobic immigration stuff – rather than see him and his party as I think they currently do, which is a group of nice, scrubbed-up poshoes who have the charisma and voter appeal that Gordon Brown has never had.

At the moment, the Tories are simply a pleasant-looking alternative to a government turned sour in the eyes of the public. Plenty of first time voters, not to mention those too young to truly remember how horrible the Tories were last time round, will vote in protest against Labour without really grasping what a Tory government means.

Why are they pissed off with Labour and, to a greater extent, Brown? Lax regulation of the economy, and an absolute abrogation of responsibility on the part of the Financial Services Authority over Northern Rock. The crumbling rail system which, as someone noted above, now channels far more public money into the pockets of First Group and Virgin et al. shareholders than was ever spent on running the publicly owned British Rail. The parlous state of the NHS (less so in Scotland, but still), which has been ruined by internal markets, MRSA, and endless PFI/PPP schemes, nearly all of which hold local authorities to ransom for terms of approaching 30 years. (The same goes for schools building programmes.) Fuel prices – not the government's fault, but it's the government that gets hammered with calls for reducing fuel duty at exactly the same time as BP and Shell announce record profits.

Plenty of reasons to not vote Labour there. But people are deluding themselves to a dangerous degree if they really think that David "Dave" Cameron and his Eton-stacked shadow cabinet would make any of that any better. Do people really think that Cameron would tighten regulations and toughen up monitoring of the economy, and call for stricter controls on markets? Why, that's old nanny-statism, that's inhibiting growth! And if they do anything with the rail network in this country, it will be allowing train operators to further strip back services deemed unprofitable, while restricting or disallowing any expansion that might conflict with the growth of the aviation industry. PFI and PPP? We're going to see very soon what Boris Johnson wants to do with that in London, after Livingstone fought against it for years. Don't think they'll do any different elsewhere – keeping all that stuff off the balance sheet, as Brown has done, will make the books look too sweet to balance properly, and anyway, we all know that private is inherently more efficient than public. (Efficient for the shareholders, yes; for pupils and teachers in schools built – badly and on the cheap – with a shelf life of less than 30 years, not so much.)

And this is all before we get on to things like 42 day detention of terror suspects and ID cards; those watchwords about being tough on terror will see to that, and well, if you don't have anything to hide, why are you so scared about ID cards? You're probably an illegal immigrant with three under-the-counter jobs, claiming benefits for your 12 nonexistent children whilst feverishly plotting to blow up Tower bridge, aren't you?

In short: none of the things that people hate about what new Labour have done in the last decade are going to get any better under a Tory government. Because the things people hate about this government are the things that the Tories would never have dreamed of getting away with doing, even when Thatcher was at the height of her popularity.

It's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.


On preview: ah, The War. Be interesting to see where that goes under a Tory government. There are a lot of Tories who secretly – and some who not so secretly – yearn for a return to the days of Empire and British muscle in Mesopotamia; a good supply of oil and latter-day colonialism would be a fine combination for them. And there are enough arms dealers with deep pockets amongst their friends and donors that it'll be trebles all round come 2010!
posted by Len at 7:40 AM on May 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Actually, vhsiv, the "small enough to fit in your bedroom" meme is different. I first remember hearing it on The West Wing, but it's spread around now. Don't know if Aaron Sorkin wrote it or ripped it off, but a quick look around couldn't find any cites older than 1999-2000-ish, when it would have been on American TV first.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 7:58 AM on May 23, 2008


I find it terribly depressing that the Conservatives managed to win this by-election just a few days after Edward Leigh has been so vocal.

They can go on about green policies and tax and corruption and Labour can be utterly useless and bumbling and piss off every public sector worker in the UK. But that there's still the Tory party.
posted by liquidindian at 8:24 AM on May 23, 2008


And this is all before we get on to things like 42 day detention of terror suspects and ID cards; those watchwords about being tough on terror will see to that, and well, if you don't have anything to hide, why are you so scared about ID cards? You're probably an illegal immigrant with three under-the-counter jobs, claiming benefits for your 12 nonexistent children whilst feverishly plotting to blow up Tower bridge, aren't you?

Fuck Len, you're depressing me. I hear that from otherwise intelligent people constantly.

Bollocks to it, maybe it's time to move to Iceland.

Just kidding, I'm positively foaming at the mouth for some jobsworth arsehole to try and make me show a national ID card in five years, just so I can tear him a new one and take it to the courts. Would be nicer if it never happened, but we do love something to get angry about.

Although come to think of it, the Tories have no real reason to resist Scottish independence, most of the country hates them unconditionally, and an independent Scotland would be an easy way to say 'Look we've reduced your tax burden!

Maybe it's time to go back to the Auld country and cut the whole stinking, authoritarian mess adrift. I grew up with buckfast, parochialism and arbitrary violence - I'll take that over being barcoded by a bunch of smug bastards in Whitehall (who are pocketing cash and board positions from IT contractors like billy-oh) any day.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:29 AM on May 23, 2008


Ah, terrific -- a Steve Bell link. Political cartoons don't get much more acerbic.
posted by blucevalo at 8:36 AM on May 23, 2008


I'm interested and horrified by how quick the fall has been... Brown seemed to have some sort of 'well thank god Blair's gone, at least Gordon was good with the economy' vibe when he came in. Then there was the election that never was when Brown was just too clever by half tying to finesse the Tories and ended up looking weak. Then the Credit Crunch started to bite, the housing market bubble bursting and suddenly Brown looks like he's mis-managing the economy now.

New Labour was basically Tory Lite but the real Tories... oh dear me.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2008


Happy Dave: Although come to think of it, the Tories have no real reason to resist Scottish independence, most of the country hates them unconditionally, and an independent Scotland would be an easy way to say 'Look we've reduced your tax burden!

Yeah, it might reduce the tax burden, and it certainly wouldn't lose them any votes up here, since they don't have any in the first place, but given that their official name is the Conservative and Unionist Party, granting Scotland independence would be backtracking on a good 200 years of official Tory policy. And not to mention the sputtering outrage such a move would produce in the more rabid sections of their support; imagine what Maj. Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells would have to say about splitting up the great British military by hiving off all those jock bits of the army. Of course, they're jocks, therefore uncouth and whatnot, but bloody great fighters! And then there's the high Tory aristocrats and landowners who hold the title deeds to vast swathes of Scotland – what if an independent Scotland taxed them to the hilt or – even worse – under some socialist Scotch government, forced them to sell the land or hand it over to the state? Heaven forbid ...
posted by Len at 8:51 AM on May 23, 2008


I'm very annoyed with Brown getting assasinated in this way. He has good progressive policies on education and development aid. The 10p tax should make the middle class richer - the poorest will (ahem) get 'targeted benefits'.

Everyone in British politics is towing nearly the exact same line, the differences are minute compared to America. Problems with the NHS, rail etc are systematic - i.e not the result of the ruling party but just a consequence of things needing to be evolved (i.e solved).
posted by RufusW at 9:16 AM on May 23, 2008


A decade or so down the track, Britain's rail fares are the highest in Europe, service is abysmal (commuters often have to stand on long journeys), and anyone who's not a hair-shirt environmentalist or rail obsessive flies any distance longer than London to Birmingham (hence airport expansion).

Bollocks. The reason you have to stand and the fares are so high is that demand is so high. The service provision (ie capacity) in general has not gone down, in many places it's gone up considerably, with demand keeping pace if not outstripping it.

Interestingly, the privatisation has been partly reversed in London under the former mayor, "Red" Ken Livingstone. With a blue-blooded Tory in office, this is not going to continue; [...] and I wouldn't put it past him to sell off the Overground to First or National Express or someone.

Again, bollocks. London Overground is owned by MTR Laing in much the same way Silverlink was owned by National Express. All that's different is that it's overseen by Transport for London rather than the Department for Transport, though TfL have a bit more control over LOROL than the DfT had over Silverlink. But the general arrangement is not all that different.

Boris Johnson already scrapped the Transport For London plan to take over the Southern Rail franchise,

Again, bollocks. It was the Labour-controlled DfT who got to make that decision. I'm not aware of Boris being involved in its scrapping.
posted by cillit bang at 9:31 AM on May 23, 2008


This article (and specifically the talk of swingback) is quite interesting (written before the results were in).

re: Scotland, I would imagine the two most pressing issues would be North Sea oil and military bases. And who would decide on these matters, and on what basis? English law? Scots law? ICJ acting as an arbitration tribunal?

And the constitutional position is also pretty complex. Does the Act of Union 1707 allow itself to be repealed by the current Parliament, given that the Act created it (and therefore could be seen as a higher power - as close to a Constitution as Great Britain is likely to currently get).

re: Crewe and Nantwich, it seems like it's just people trying to stick it to Brown. I imagine Ken would've done a lot better as an independent this year as well. And the whole "Tarporely Toff" thing was ridiculous (as is the amount of column space devoted to the following: Eton, public schools v state schools, the Bullingdon Club. I remember no one making so many references to Oxford when Blair was elected PM, even though 25 British PM's were educated there).

To be fair, the media more than anything seems to be having the largest effect on politics - I haven't got a clue what anyone's policies were regarding Crewe - I just know that one of them is the daughter of a famous and well-regarded Labour MP, and the other is the son of a millionaire etc. etc.
posted by djgh at 9:38 AM on May 23, 2008


I think Blair and New Labour's ideas have sort of won the day

IMO this is largely true. It's hard to imagine any UK government getting away without being serious about child poverty, for example. The minimum wage introduced by Labour is here to stay, and the Tories would be under huge pressure to at least keep increasing it in line with inflation.

Of course, it's also true that with few exceptions the Blair/Brown government hasn't been radically different from the Major one that preceded it.
posted by tomcooke at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2008


cillit bang: on the railways, I draw your attention to this article (in The Times, no less):
posted by acb at 10:11 AM on May 23, 2008


/gloom

It's the post Thatcher years all over again, except this time it's the Tories that will be the beneficiary of Prime Minister being a dull and unpopular replacement for an axed psychopath.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2008


Canada had pretty much the same thing happen with Paul Martin, who took over from Chretien, and promptly got pummeled. People really don't like it when party manipulating 'heirs' take the helm when leadership is supposed to be democratically contested.

My favourite David Cameron moment was when he was asked what his favourite album was and he said "The Queen is Dead" and then realized what he had said and quickly added "except for the title".
posted by srboisvert at 10:56 AM on May 23, 2008


Nice Steve Bell cartoon, BTW.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2008


Steve Bell is magic. His pre-local-election cartoon, in a similar vein, may also amuse.
posted by imperium at 11:38 AM on May 23, 2008


imperium - Awesome!
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2008


I'm all in favor of a Tory victory in the next general election, but mainly as a means to an end. The Tories in Scotland are largely (if not totally) ineffective, and a Tory government in Westminster would give the SNP a lot of ammunition in favor of an independence referendum.

Though a Conservative government would hardly easily approve a referendum, it could put so much leverage into the movement that Labour might actually put a Scottish Independence Referendum in its platform -- and not just what Brown seems to have been doing recently, trying to time a referendum in the winter (how better to keep the voters from showing up in Scotland!) and with very strange and squirrelly wording.

Labour has been looking line the US Republicans lately with the Surveillance State and nearly indefinite detentions without charge.
posted by chimaera at 1:14 PM on May 23, 2008


Cameron is in Scotland just now, and has been making a lot of noise about keeping the union and being ready to work with Salmond to prevent him making the case for independence.
posted by bonaldi at 2:24 PM on May 23, 2008


Sigh.
A decade of moaning about Tony Blair being all spin and no substance, then after just a year of 'Not Flash Gordon' Labour's poll ratings are down round their ankles. Come back Tony, all is forgiven.
The Conservatives are furiously spinning Cameron as the 'heir to Blair', but apart from being young and smiley I can't see much that of a resemblance. Of course, none of us know what Cameron is really like because the Tory's haven't really announced any actual policies yet. This, of course, hasn't stopped the British public from deciding to vote for them.
Cameron is Eurosceptic and unlikely to do what is necessary to combat climate change. DO NOT WANT.
posted by greytape at 2:55 PM on May 23, 2008


that American saying about "the Right wants a government small enough to fit into your bedroom."

My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub. -- Grover Norquist
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:42 AM on May 24, 2008


Come back Tony, all is forgiven.

Not by me, he isn't. The sooner we get rid of the tax-wasting expense-padding scum the better. Labour have been getting away authoritarian orwellian tactics the tories couldn't have dreamed of pulling off. ANR systems across the country, including very visibly in London. ID cards. The RIP act making personal encryption effectively illegal. the RIP act giving councils the power to put surveillance tails on a 3 year old. The pensions burglary. Giving the finger to a million people marching in London, and invading Iraq anyway. Using european methods to pass legislation they couldn't pass domestically (see the RIP act and the new email/website logging act).

Not to mention the massive increase in taxes for virtually no benefit. Scrapping the 10p rate to pay for the 20p bribe to the middle classes, then borrowing another 2 billion to pay for a 1 off bribe to the poor AND the middle classes just before crewe and nantwich. I'm personally better off from it, but it's an incredibly cynical move. Atrocious regulation of the financial system, including a 50 billion quid labour-heartland job-saving buyout of Northern Rock. Oh, and destroying the pensions scheme. And crippling students with debt just so they can say they got 50% of people to go to university on a mcdegree.

Gordon Brown mismanaged the economy, especially the housing market, and now he gets to reap the benefit. I'm no fan of the tories, but they couldn't possibly be worse than labour without actually instituing martial law and going round shooting people. I'd vote liberal, they're actually pretty strong in my area, but they're as policy light as the tories, except for even higher taxes, and I've had enough of my disposable income falling in real terms year after year thank you very much.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:38 AM on May 24, 2008


"I'm no fan of the tories, but they couldn't possibly be worse than labour"

You have no idea.

I almost want the Tories to win just to show all those who didn't live under Thatcher what they can be like.

At least popular music will get better.
posted by fullerine at 8:03 AM on May 24, 2008


For every Specials there was a Duran Duran.
posted by Dr.Pill at 3:23 PM on May 24, 2008


I did live under the entirety of Thatcher's reign, fullerine. Things got pretty hairy at the end, but were reasonable in the middle, if you weren't in a working class union. New Labour turned out to be nothing like Wilson or Callaghan's government - they made an entirely different set of mistakes.

Oppositions don't win elections. Governments lose them for incompetence.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:21 AM on May 25, 2008


"You're a passenger in a car that someone else is driving, and your hands are tied, and up ahead is a container lorry full of hot liquid manure that you're definitely going to run into the back of, but your driver's deaf and blind and not slowing down, so there's nothing you can do except writhe in your seat and brace yourself for the impact.

"That's roughly how I feel following the Crewe and Nantwich byelection"

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:43 PM on May 25, 2008


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