Got sent this link yesterday and it seems like a good place to talk over some of the implications of the UK’s comprehensive spending review.
So visit CSR10 and have your spake!
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect". Mark Twain 1904
That is pretty much what they’ve had in the UK. Labour lost massive numbers of seats, the Tories appear to be solidly short of a majority and the LibDems simply failed to convert support in votes.
It is possible, even more than probable, that another election would lead to an even more balanced parliament. If there is another election held in a short while when a minority Tory administration has had to impose significant cuts and do many, many unpopular things without being able to do anything that has an upside they are likely to lose as many seats as they might gain. While it is hard to see Labour gaining the 70/80 seats they would need to command a majority. It’s not a rerun of a British election in 1983, it is more like Ireland in 82/83.
Jason notes the fear factor being raised by the Daily Mail against PR. One does have to wonder if the poor dears writing for the Daily Mail in the UK know how PR works. Someone should get Richard Waghorne to help them out with it.
Fact is that the Tories would start life under a new PR system with a much better set up than anyone else. True all 3 of the major UK parties would fracture to some degree in the 1st election under what the form of PR-STV they might adopt, there are the Tories who would vote UKIP as 1st preference but they would come back to the Tories in later counts, the same for the LibDems as the more sandal orientated went for a walk in the meadows with the Greens. But it is the Labour movement which would split the most, producing a jamboree of leftish and far leftish parties that would emerge with so much antipathy between them that transfers would not be forthcoming. The 80s militant era would be a cake walk in comparison. It’s no coincidence that the right has tended to get people elected President in France despite the supposed left leaning nature of their voters.
So come on for the big win Conservatives and support PR. You’ve nothing to lose.
Many people will think at this point that David Cameron was quite mad to agree to the debates especially with the participation of the LibDems Nick Clegg but I suspect he knew that (a) the Tory support was soft and likely to fracture at some point and (b) there are many people who might still desert Labour but couldn’t bring themselves to vote for the Conservatives – they are still for many people who in their 40s now Thatcher’s children. So his logic in agreeing might have been that he was good at this sort of thing – considerably more so than Gordon Brown – so why not play to his strengths and also that those who could not bring themselves to vote Conservative and were staying with the Labour party for that reason alone might desert if the LibDem leader did ok.
And then Nick Clegg went and did a lot better than ok.
Now it has happened and a lot of Labour and Tory support has shifted over to the LibDems, having the effect of removing the last of Labour’s floating voter support. I think it is very much harder for Labour to win that support back while for the Tories it should be a more straight forward task to win back most of the few % lost so far. The issue of Europe and other little Englander angles in the press will serve them well in doing so. Yes it might leave them getting only 36/37% on polling day which could be short of an overall majority but that is how it has looked for a long while now anyway with the Tories unable to consistently break the 40% barrier. Plus, the LibDems will find it hard to retain all their new support in the face of the media backlash that will come as we approach the 2nd last weekend before polling. Yet a result of say, Tories on 37%, Labour on 29% and LibDems on 26% would be a very real win for the Tories. They will be reasonably able to square away a deal with the DUP and SNP to secure a majority for a couple of years.
So what would be the most important thing Cameron would have gained from the debate? The space that would be provided by a Labour party that might tear itself apart over the next year in a messy leadership contest as it faces up to a real contest for the role of opposition. Had there been no debate and the Tories won a small majority on the back of 38% against Labour on 32%, he would have faced a new Labour leader who didn’t have to worry about a challenge from the LibDems and indeed could count on them to guard a flank as they prepared to face another election within 2/3 years. Instead, they will view as they did in the 1980s the LibDems as rivals and it is that contest which will hurt their ability to bounce back quickly. Just as it did in the 80s when it was the divided opposition which give the Tories such large majorities in parliament despite only getting barely over 40% of the vote.
With the first of the series of the Uk’s three PM debates on UTV tonight it appears not to have occurred to anyone here that if the polls in Ireland were to remain remotely like they are now that we would have to host a 3-way style debate too. If Labour were over 20% and FF on about 25% with FG over 30% and were all 3 parties were running enough candidates to get an overall majority then it would be almost impossible for RTe or anyone else to refuse the right of the Labour party’s leader to participate. Hell, it could even be that FF would be in third place and we’d be treated to a head to head with just Eamonn and Enda.
At least it would see an end to the desk, and perhaps podium or high stool based delivery.