Friday 7 May 2010

The people have mumbled!

Nothing can take the shiteating grin off my face today.

There will be no Tory majority government. Labour kicked back. The Lib Dems held the line, although they didn't make the gains they hoped. The worst-case scenario here is a hobbled Tory minority dragging its bloated, stinking carcase around the Commons until progressives throw enough rocks at it to make it squeal out another election. Yes, they can and probably will do some damage. No, it won't be as bad as it might have been.

Other bloody brilliant things: Greens get their first MP in Brighton, with party Leader Caroline Lucas taking the seat. UKIP and BNP vote surge isn't as high as predicted, and Griffin suffers a punishing defeat in Barking. Homophobic Tory hate preacher Philippa Stroud lost to the Lib Dems, as did nepotite toerag Anuzziata Rees-Mogg (although her little brother Jacob, the one with the nanny, won his Somerset seat). UKIP and the BNP turned in almost no votes in Wales and Scotland. The one tragic loss in all of this is that heroic pro-choice, pro-science, rationalist MP Dr Evan Harris lost his seat in Oxford after a boundary change. He'll be back, though. As will the left.

The people have mumbled; faced with the prospect of Torygeddon, the people have stammered. This is not how enfranchisement looks, but it's enough to have made David Cameron very, very angry and, you know, that's fine by me.

The Tory day of glory is soured, and there will be no 1997 moment for the Conservative party whilst I'm young, although this is enough of a gotcha moment to help the left get its goddamn boots on and remember what it's for. We've got a long, hard fight ahead of us. But we knew that anyway. And the beast coming over the hill just started to look a lot sillier. Let's stay a bit cheerful.


  1. Thanks for the positive words. After staying up all night, I'm struggling to muster more than a tired scowl about the whole thing. Poor Nick Clegg, he nearly cried...

  2. thanks for seeing the positive. i've been a bit blue all day but there is a light!

  3. Well, as a Labour supporter, if you'd offered me this result at the start of the campaign I'd probably have taken it.

    The sad thing is that if Gordon Brown had quit this time last year and either Miliband or Alan Johnson had led Labour into the election I reckon they would've come pretty close to being the biggest party.

    It was a bad night for the Lib Dems based on the Cleggmania of recent weeks - although, once again, they weren't squeezed as much as I would've predicted at the start of the campaign and getting over 50 seats in the electoral circumstances is by no means disgraceful.

    Sad they've lost Evan Harris - my favourite Lib Dem by some distance, particularly sad he lost by under 200 votes to the Tories.

    Unfortunately, the Tories could still have a 1997 moment while you're young because there's at least a 50/50 chance of another election within the next year.

  4. Celia Wellington-Moon7 May 2010 at 15:41

    Don't get your hopes up.

    Any cooperative relationship between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats cannot possibly last for long. Our nation hence is hence likely to face another general election before Christmas when the Tory minority government loses a vote of confidence in the Commons and cannot continue with its hamstrung legislative programme.

    Labour will not have had enough time to rebuild itself and find a new narrative, and, if the LibDems are blamed for bringing down the government, we may yet end up with a Tory administration with a decent majority sooner rather than later.

    Torygeddon has been postponed not cancelled.

    Be afraid... be very afraid.

  5. If the LDs can nail down PR, by hook or by crook, then it wasn't a total debacle.

    If they trade that away for seats in the cabinet and empty promises, I will spit on their grave.

  6. Mumbled, indeed: a 6% swing from Lab to Con, and a 1% gain in the Lib Dem share of the vote.

    That sounds like an electorate with nothing particular to say: or rather, too many contradictory opinions for the simple left-and-right swingometer.

    It might also be an electorate that hasn't changed its mind; a worrying development if that implies an unchanging 'core vote'. If true, that means the road to success in any party - and the best result a politician can hope for in an election - is an appeal to the core support. Events in America show that this leads to an abandonment of the centre and consensus, polarisation and wilfully destructive partisanship.

    Perhaps there is a message in the mumble after all.

  7. sinister agent7 May 2010 at 19:21

    I'm with Julian. Clegg has the chance here to make history in a way that Blair's pathetic ego never could, if he just fights his bloody nipples off for reform at any cost. It took a lot to regain my support after the Kennedy backstabbing. If they sell us out on this one, though, they'll be blowing their own feet off.

  8. Clegg,has taken the first step to power, by dipping his toe in the murky pond,saying that he would negotiate with the party with the most seats,and that is the Tories.By doing so side stepping the traditional incumbent having priority.

    Cameron, has stated that he will look at electrol change defining a minimum shift.Within 5 minutes of that statement Clegg, left his home and headed to the Tories headquarters.

    Cameron,can rule with a minority government cutting deals for supply and confidence.A move that will be popular for the Tory old gaurd,as they would not be to cheery about coalition no matter who.

    So the Libs may be in government with the Tories,however,they will have to stay on the ball when it comes to P.R. as there are a few structures to choose from.

    Where i am,those who recieved 1.6%of the vote on a Parliamentary occupation of 600 odd seats would have gained 12 seats.P.R.can be confusing and at times does through up strange bed fellows not always worker friendly, but its about control of power.And in truth you are now experiencing a limited form of it.

    Who would have thought of a Tory Lib/Dem government.Politicians who can trust them.

  9. Can anyone count whether enough of the minor parties want proportional representation to make a solid coalition if Clegg can wrangle it out of Labour?

  10. The people have mumbled; faced with the prospect of Torygeddon, the people have stammered.

    Not really. The electoral boundaries were what really did for them. Labour constituencies have fewer voters than Tory ones. With a similar share of the vote to the share Cameron actually got, Labour would have had a 90-plus majority.

    In 2005 Labour got 35.3% against the Tories 32.3% - which gave them 356 seats against the Tories 198 and an overall majority of 66.

    2010 - Tories 36.1%, Labour 29% - which gave the Tories 306 seats and no majority, and Labour 258 - 60 more than the Tories got in 2005 on 3.3% less share of the vote.

    Still, it was nice to see those people demonstrating against the unfairness of it all today.

  11. @James - with the possible exception of the DUP, all the minor parties support PR so Labour, Lib Dems, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, SDLP, Alliance, Greens and Independent could form some of coalition or alliance.

    The problem is that it would be a wildly unstable coalition with lots of complicating factors including:
    - The main policy of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parties at Westminster post-devolution is to demand more money for their area to spend. A government that held itself together by giving them extra money while also executing massive cuts in public spending overall would end up very unpopular in England.

    - While the Scottish Nationalists do support PR and are a broadly centre-left party on most issues, in terms of achieving their overall goal of Scottish independence, they have far more chance of doing so if the UK is governed by an unpopular centre-right government which has very few MPs in Scotland - so they would probably prefer a Tory minority government to broad centre-left coalition.

    These two problems alone - and there's lots more - mean the chances of a centre-left-nationalist coalition surviving long enough to get an electoral reform bill through parliament are very small.

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