Cameron to govern alone

In a stunning UK election result, David Cameron and the Conservatives will have the numbers to govern alone:

    With only one result to go, the BBC forecasts that the Conservatives will end up with 331 seats in the House of Commons, 24 more than in 2010. Labour will end up with 232, the Lib Dems 8, the SNP 56, Plaid Cymru 3, UKIP 1, the Greens 1 and others 19.
    Mr Cameron’s rivals Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have all resigned after election disappointment.

Prior to the election Seumas Milne spelt out what this will mean for voters:

    we know what to expect. With or without Nick Clegg, it will mean even deeper austerity, harsher cuts to social security, accelerating NHS privatisation, more attacks on workers’ rights, new handouts to the wealthy, more poverty and job insecurity, and perhaps another downturn in the slowest economic recovery on record.

Advised by the vile Australian alchemist, Lynton Crosby, the Tories ran a late scare campaign on two counts. First, they suggested that there would be some kind of “legitimacy crisis” if Labour attempted to form a minority government with fewer seats than the Tories. That was assuming, as seemed likely from the polls, that neither major party would have a majority. This, of course, was nonsense.

Secondly, they stoked English fears that the Scots would have undue influence over Labour and too much English taxpayer dosh would disappear north of the border.

Ironically the Scots could disappear altogether. Winning 56 of the 59 seats, but lacking any influence at all, separatist moves could reappear.

The Lib Dems have been decimated, going from 57 seats to 8. They could struggle to survive as a significant force. Many of the 45 seats they lost went to the Tories, but the Tories only gained 25 seats, so Labour must have picked up quite a few.

Labour lost 26 seats overall, but retained only one in Scotland. I think this means they actually gained seats in the rest of the country.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) fizzled, gaining only one seat after polling up to 25% a year ago.

The Green Party also only got one seat with 3.8% of the vote. Minor parties find it hard to gain any momentum in the antiquated and undemocratic first past the post system.

Now the interest will be in who Labour elects as leader (it will take some months), when Cameron will resign (he said he would during the term), and whether the UK or what’s left of it will stay in the EU, come the referendum in 2017.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (“Boris”) waits.

Tom Quinn offers this analysis of labours performance:

    The roots of Labour’s defeat can be traced back to 2010, when the party chose Ed Miliband as its leader. Forgoing his slicker, better-known brother David, it apparently bought into the younger Miliband’s soft-left strategy of opposing the coalition’s austerity policies, on the assumption it would fail and become wildly unpopular among voters.

    Ultimately, Miliband’s Labour party failed to offer a convincing narrative of its economic mistakes in government before 2010. Instead, Labour activists and trade unionists wanted a return to core Labour values and left-leaning policies after the centrism of the 1990s and 2000s. It turned out that the electorate did not.

Quinn points out that if Labour had retained all its Scottish seats it still would have lost the election. Yes, but only because a goodly number of Lib Dem voters decided to vote for real Tories rather than fake ones. Outside Scotland the voters did buy Miliband’s Labour to some degree.

The Scots switched from Labour to the SNP, the Lib Dems were decimated, those were the two big moves.

Jonny Dymond points out that Labour is squeezed geographically. The north has gone SNP, the south, bar London, is solidly Tory.

Finally, the pollsters will now examine the entrails to see where they went so wrong. Not one of them was even close.

14 thoughts on “Cameron to govern alone”

  1. A couple of extra points.

    Firstly, UKIP got 12.8% of the vote, so the electoral system did them no favours.

    Secondly, on the Beeb last night they were saying that the EU issue is likely to tear the Tories apart. Should be fun to watch!

  2. It appears to me the Lib Dems didn’t learn from the example of the Australian Democrats – i.e. compromising your ethical stance when getting into bed with one of the majors will leave you facing electoral annihilation.

  3. zoot, I don’t follow UK politics closely, but I think there was an issue about university fees where the Lib Dems did a very obvious 180 degrees.

  4. That’s right Brian. A similar situation (not identical) to the Democrats changing their opposition to the GST.
    That the public can wreak such vengeance on parties that promise one thing and deliver the opposite should make our next federal election very interesting.
    It’s a pity we can only really choose between the Mad Monk and Zinger Bill for PM.

  5. Zoot: My recollection is that the Democrats went into the election supporting the GST on the grounds that the tax was needed to support the things the Democrats believed governments should be doing. Despite this people decided the Democrats had failed to keep the bastards honest.

  6. John D, I stand corrected. From Wikipedia on Meg Lees:

    In an election fought on tax, the Democrats publicly stated that they liked neither the Liberal (GST) tax package or the Labor package, but pledged to work with whichever party was elected to make their tax package better. They campaigned with the slogan “No GST on food”. A majority of the senators in the party room agreed to pass the bill if some amendments were made, mostly to exclude fresh food and essential items such as basic medicines. Stott Despoja stated that she was unhappy with the outcome, particularly the GST on books. Both Stott Despoja and Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett would ultimately cross the floor to vote against the GST package.

    Your memory is obviously better than mine.

  7. Lynton Crosby and his campaign of negativity and hate is the deathblow for the ancient Conservative Party. It was just starting to recover from all senseless damage that puppet of American business interests, Margaret Thatcher, had inflicted on (formerly) Great Britain. John Major faced an impossible task in trying help his country and his party recover from all that craziness but it was his efforts that made it possible for David Cameron to become Prime Minister. Helped by Tony Blair’s mistakes, David Cameron did become Prime Minister – and quite a good one at that. I was surprised when he announced that he would not seek a further term – but now I have heard more details about Lynton Crosby’s activities, I suggest David Cameron saw the writing on the wall and made his dignified decision. What will replace the Conservative Party? I haven’t a clue but they might be able to share a telephone box with UKIP after the next election.

    The Tories will have a powerful political organization – they always will – but it certainly will not be the doomed Conservative Party.

  8. Fascinating, thanks jumpy.

    Graham, in a sense everyone lost except David Cameron personally and the SNP. The Conservative Party may well become ungovernable and Cameron, if he has any sense, will go while he’s in front.

    I believe Labour easily out-gunned the Conservatives on the ground, but in the end it didn’t help, though as far as I can make out, apart from Scotland, Labour gained about 14 seats. Sadly now Labour is decapitated and will struggle to form a new identity.

    Here’s some analysis:

  9. Indeed Brian. Ed Milliband’s desperate grab for votes at any cost had some bizarre twists and it certainly alienated any former Conservative voters who had sought refuge in Labour under Blair and Brown. Sometimes grasping for one vote can cost you a hundred votes. I feel, on no evidence at all, that Labour will recover fairly quickly from this aberration.

    Who would have thunk it? Real drama in British – or English – politics.

  10. Brian: After every landslide in Aus the pundits rabbit on about how it will take decades for the losers to recover if ever, etc. etc. In Aus the only significant party to fail in this way has been the Democrats.
    So I guess I am a little sceptical about the UK analysis.

  11. GB: I follwed up on your comments re Lynton Crosby. Interesting reading.
    Lynton may be effective but I guess that most successful parties depend on this sort of tactical thinking. not sure how to avoid it.

  12. LOL, just found out McTernan, Gillards political advisor, was advisor to the Scottish Labour leader going in to the UK election.
    Anyone know if Bruce Hawker was involved ?

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