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Friday, May 07, 2010

SO THEY COULD ALL LOSE

Unlike what I (& Henry Kissinger) said yesterday.

Current results excluding Northern Ireland
Party -------Seats Net -----Votes --% -+/-%
Conservative --302 +94 10,592,258 36.2 +3.8
Labour --------256 -88 -8,509,376 29.1 -6.3
Lib Dem --------56 /-5 -6,751,786 23.0 +1.0
Scottish NP -----6 --0 ---491,386 -1.7 +0.1
Plaid Cymru -----3 --+1 --165,394 -0.6 -0.1
Green -----------1 --+1 --279,279 -1.0 -0.1*
UKIP ------------0 ---0 --904,564 -3.1 +0.9*
BNP -------------0 ---0 --556,945 -1.9 +1.2*

Labour lost. Not quite as badly as they might have but definitely lost.

The Conservatives lost. With the economy reeling, Labour holding for a 4th consecutive result, the Tories having dropped all their principles for power they haven't done it, indeed they have had barely above 1/3rd of the votes. Also the Ulster Unionist party, allied to them, has been wiped out.

The LudDims lost, as I predicted. Indeed moreso since I had not expected Labour to open a 6% lead over them. In an election where they had according to some polls been about to become largest party; where for the first time ever they were getting media coverage to match the big parties; where the normal argument against voting LD, that it is a "wasted vote" which would let in the other party no longer applied (indeed where Labour ministers were saying vote LD not Labour because Labour is the wasted vote); where public contempt for the big parties has never been as great, the LDs have nonetheless lost seats & barely gained votes. The public, for the first time, got to see the Luddism, nanny statism, illiberality, eco-fascism, government parasitism, eurofanaticism, mass immigrationism, nihilism & all round lunacy of a conglomeration of single issue fanatic groups & they don't like it. The catastrophic nature of the result is being hidden by the fact that they do have the balance of power & that Labour are quickly & the Conservatives less quickly to supporting a democratic electoral system. The LDs have to go for PR or most of their membership would hang the leaders. But while FPTP disadvantages them against Labour & Tory it gives them a massive advantage against UKIP, the BNP & Greens.
Once again I was in the audience for Brian Taylor's Big Debate on BBC radio today. Guests were Murdo Fraser (Conservative(, Ross Finnie (LD), Shirley Anne Sommerville (SNP) & Patricia Ferguson (Lab).

I stand by the opinion that if the LDs had been traditional liberals willing to promote economic growth through free markets rather than deciding that anything but state control & eco-fascism was "illiberal & incompatible with party membership" they would now be thegovernment. And more importantly Scotland would be better off & the UK could expect to be.

My question was "Nick Clegg has always said that they would first negotiate with the largest party so in honour they must first talk to the Conservatives. However we can visibly see Labour politicians rolling over on proportional representation which I would consider a democratic requirement. I would particularly like to hear from Murdo Fraser on whether he thinks that would be something that would make the Conservatives walk away from power".

It took a while to get round to Murdo's chance to answer & technically he didn't answer it, as so often happens to difficult questions. What he did instead was to complain that the FPTP system had, most unfairly, given the Scottish Conservatives only 1 seat with nearly 400,000 votes. Ross Finnie cheerfully agreed with him how unfair FPTP is leaving Murdo to quietly point out that it worked well for them in England. The subtext must be that some reappraisal is taking place in Conservative ranks.

David Cameron has just made a public statement. Apart from a little silliness (low carbon economy) & some platitudes they are offering a "cross party Parliamentary enquiry" on PR. The devil is in the detail - such an enquiry could either mean getting rid of it for years followed by the Conservatives saying they don't like the result & will ignore it or it could mean a couple of weeks & the Conservatives using the PR supporting result as a way of climbing down from their present position. The devil will be in the detail & in how hard Clegg holds out but I think the fact that it is cross party, with Labour already committed to some reform, makes this a credible opening gambit.

Tory MP Douglas Carswell has also come out firmly for PR (he had made noises before) & Iain Dale says "I don't see electoral reform as an insuperable barrier... But a formal coalition is only worth the candle if it is for the long term - four or five years. The LibDems need to be bound in."
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* This is the way the table is laid out by the BBC. Note that the Greens are listed ahead of UKIP & the BNP despite getting 1/3rd & 1/2 as many votes respectively. Typical. One result of PR will be that it becomes more difficult for the BBC to decide which small parties to propagandise for.

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