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By TheophileEscargot (Sat May 08, 2010 at 08:17:04 AM EST) Politics (all tags)
Just UK 2010 election content. If you want something else, don't read this diary.

Overall, reasonably happy with the election results, considering the situation.

I think a Conservative government with a small majority could have been dangerous. It would have been hostage to its own right wing, with rebel backbenchers demanding hardline actions for their support on major bills.

A minority or coalition Conservative government is hostage to different interests: those in other parties. It will be forced to be more moderate.

As a PR opponent, I'm reasonably happy: the threat of it has receded, though it's not eliminated. The Tories actually get fewer seats for their votes and could benefit slightly from it, but they fear the spectre of a perpetual Lib Dem / Labour alliance.

Also great to see the BNP get nowhere.

The markets don't exactly like it, but with their boy in the lead, and few safe harbours elsewhere, they haven't melted down completely so far.

My results
My new parliamentary constituency would have been theoretically tied on the 2005 results. I got a bit conned by the Lib Dem bubble, and voted for them thinking they'd have the best chance of defeating the Tories. In fact the final results were Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem. But with a solid 3,716 majority, one extra Labour vote wouldn't have made much difference.

Better news on Ealing Council: voted Labour there and they retook it, all 3 of my candidates got in.

Not very good. On shares of the vote, was one point low for both Labour and the Tories, three points too high for the Lib Dems.

My Lib Dem came from the current average Lib Dem final poll score (28 when I posted), which I reduced by 2 since I thought their vote would be soft. Hopelessly underestimated that: was actually 5 lower.

That made my seat projections very wrong: I had Con 279, Lab 262, Lib Dem 79. Actually Con 306, Lab 258, Lb Dem 57 as I write. The Labour value is OK, but the Lib Dims got absolutely nowhere against the Tories.

Not sure yet where the Lib Dem bubble came from. Some bloggers are claiming it was the Kill Klegg tabloid campaign kicking in. That seems a bit unlikely to me: if so, the numbers should have dropped gradually rather than overnight at the last minute. It's notable that the exit poll was pretty accurate, so I think it's not a "shy voter" issue where some voters don't talk to the pollsters or lie to them. Instead I think it's a turnout issue: the people who told pollster they were going to vote Lib Dem never actually showed up. UK polling report has an early post-mortem, which stresses that they won't know what happened until they re-interview the voters. Might be that the youth vote didn't turn out.

I think in some ways the Lib Dems have some things in common with the BNP: they have a huge online presence, dominating the messageboards they post on, but they only appear weakly in the real world. Perhaps because on the ideology-pragmatism spectrum they're pretty ideological, they have small but highly vocal groups of supporters. Plus when the chips are down, they tend to end up propping up the Tories.

The future
Looks like a Libertory coalition government is the most likely option at the moment.

On personalities: Nick Clegg and David Cameron are pretty much peas in a pod: public school, Oxbridge, full members of Oborne's political class.

On policies: ConHome has some detail, but they seem pretty compatible. I don't think the economic policies differ much. In reality, their decisions will be largely constrained by the markets and real-world friction.

The chief obstacles are probably their own parties. It has yet to be seen if the Lib Dems whips can keep their backbenchers in line, and apparently 86% of grassroots Tories would prefer a minority government. The Tory right have never liked Cameron, and aren't happy at the lack of a majority. Hannan though is endorsing a coalition, so I think they'll give Cameron a break for now.

I don't think PR will be a major obstacle. It'll be fairly easy to find some kind of fudge. Clegg would have to fold very easily to accept a mere inquiry, but there are plenty of other options. Maybe a free vote in Parliament. Or maybe a three-option referendum: status quo, Tory fixed terms and redistricting, Lib Dem full PR. Psychologically the voters would then pick the middle option: the Tories want that, the Lib Dems are OK with that, and their grassroots would have been bought off.

I do find it hilarious that after campaigning so long for a system where political-class elites make secret backroom deals after every election, some Lib Dems are getting quite irate at the idea that Nick Clegg will sell them out over PR in exchange for first class tickets on the ministerial gravy train. Guys, this is what you wanted.

I don't think it's possible to predict how successful the Libertory government will be: we're breaking new ground. Here's a couple of scenarios, but I don't know which is more likely.

Optimistic scenario
UK coalitions have worked before, in WW2 and the great depression. They did badly in the Seventies, but now there are fewer ideological and class-background differences between the parties. So, the difficulties for the whips of keeping the Libertories in line may be no greater than keeping the different wings on one party in line.

There are relatively harsh spending cuts to come. But if the economy grows that can take some of the strain. The cuts still only amount to a few percent per year: most organizations can cut that much without causing absolute havoc. With the US also heavily in debt, and the Eurozone wobbling, the markets won't be punishing the UK particularly heavily.

So, we could see a stable Libertory government for a couple of years, effectively managing our way out of the economic crisis.

Pessimistic scenario
Neither the new Tory MPs, nor the left-of-Clegg Lib Dem MPs, can be kept in line. Unable to pacify them both, the Libertory government is initially unable to reduce public spending, and the markets punish it with high interest rates on debt.

The economy doesn't grow, and the eventual emergency spending cuts must be correspondingly savage. Inefficient managers either fail to cut spending, or the services they deliver collapse. Insistence on blanket pay restrictions mean that the public sector job losses are the best people leaving for elsewhere, while the worst people stay on, destroying efficiency.

The Libertories lurch from crisis to crisis. Another election is held within a year. Which may not produce any better result.

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Post election diary | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)
Great diary, +1FP by nebbish (4.00 / 2) #1 Sat May 08, 2010 at 08:32:06 AM EST
I'm pretty positive as well, though mainly because I was convinced there'd be a Tory majority in the end.

Some have been scathing of Clegg for going in with the Tories, but I don't see how he could have legitimately joined up with the smaller party. Stubborn bastard Gordon Brown not resigning immediately has also probably helped keep his party out of power thougha s well.

Clegg bubble - I'm of the opinion the leaders' debates were pretty meaningless. In the end people voted with their gut instinct, which isn't usually Lib Dem.

BNP - hate to bring this up again but I think being in the media exposed them as extremists. They started to implode towards the election as well, mainly because I think they're populated by lazy weirdos who aren't used to hard work. Whatever the reason, it's good news.

Very interested to see if the Greens can build on their first MP. Political legitimacy seems to be leading to them dropping the alternative medicines crap which was my only problem with them.

It's political correctness gone mad!

(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 2) #3 Sat May 08, 2010 at 08:45:05 AM EST

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In fact by Breaker (2.50 / 2) #11 Sun May 09, 2010 at 05:20:31 AM EST
You have UKIP to thank for keeping the Tories away from a majority.

[ Parent ]
That's crap by jump the ladder (4.00 / 3) #13 Sun May 09, 2010 at 05:47:15 AM EST
To keep UKIP voters on board, the Conservative Party would have lost a lot of votes.

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I think we'll agree by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun May 09, 2010 at 04:57:46 AM EST
GTLSB is not my favourite person, but I think he has done the right thing in this instance.

The markets are already uncertain, so actually having a functional government right now is in all our interests.

Without a proper LibTory alliance announced, GTLSB resigning would be really bad for the country right now.

However, if CMD and Clegg announce on Monday morning that they've cut a deal and together have a majority, if GTLSB tries to take it to a no vote in the Queen's Speech, he'll put Labour back another 10% in the polls.

Then again, he's got nothing to lose so I think he'll try and take it right to the wire.  Moral compass bedamned.

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I think by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #12 Sun May 09, 2010 at 05:41:24 AM EST
If the Lib-Dems and the Tories have a written agreement on the Queen's Speech vote by Monday or Tuesday, he'll go.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 2) #2 Sat May 08, 2010 at 08:35:28 AM EST

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I'm pretty happy with the result by jump the ladder (4.00 / 4) #4 Sat May 08, 2010 at 08:46:57 AM EST
I think the Tories have a much better front bench than Labour (although not a fan of Osbourne): Cameron, Hague, Gove and Ken Clarke. If you add in Clegg, Huhne and Cable, you have a cabinet of real depth if there is a formal coalition.

Don't like the hang-em and flog-em wing of the party nor the hardcore Eurosceptics so I'm glad that a deal with the Lib-Dems would neutralise them.

From the noises in the media it sounds like some sort of deal will happen

Also by jump the ladder (4.00 / 3) #5 Sat May 08, 2010 at 09:56:41 AM EST
Working with Tories would help the Lib-Dems sell PR to them as it would show that they wouldn't be permanently excluded from power as the Tories are quite fearful of permanent Lib-Dem-Labour govt under that system.

(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 3) #6 Sat May 08, 2010 at 01:37:01 PM EST

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Cabinet posts by Vulch (4.00 / 2) #7 Sat May 08, 2010 at 02:18:37 PM EST
Telegraph reckons the LibDems will be offered Home Secretary, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Transport Secretary by Cameron, so that's Nick, Vince and someone else sorted...

They also think G(TLS)B lost it during a phone call...

Is this a first? by Breaker (4.00 / 3) #10 Sun May 09, 2010 at 05:15:48 AM EST
TE posts a political dairy, and I pretty much agrees with all of the main points?  I think the only bit I have contention with is the voting for Labour councillors in Ealing, but hey, that affects only you and not me.

Truly strange times indeed!

You link to Hannan; even Carswell's onside at this point.  If you haven't read The Plan I thoroughly recommend it.  I disagree with their planned reformed of the NHS, and likely you will disagree with a few things, but the book is written without reference to party politics.  It is a pragmatic study in what other governments have done; what failed and what worked.  Also what is likely to work with our setup here.

Tories have a small deficit in their front bench talent; push in a couple of LD's and we might, at last, have a proper government of all the talents, not a government of patronage and favour.

The inclusion of Cable in the Treasury (if that's what happens) will really make a difference I think.  No one really trusts Osborne; but he does have a grasp on the finance, he just had to back off when it was electorally unsound to go on about the cuts we face. 

St Cable will be able to sell it to the public; despite my misgivings on him, by and large he has public trust.  And with luck he'll be able to bring some semblance of actually thinking things through, which will be a welcome change.

Unless there is a clear "for the good of the country" argument for action, the Tories are going to have trouble pushing things through. 

If they can make that argument, Labour now risk being seen as the party of total opposition if they are whipped to try and bring down the government for partisan reasons; I don't think that'll play well if CMD & Clegg keep the "for the good of the country" meme alive.  Being seen to vote in Parliament "against the evil baby eating Tories" might play well to the Labour faithful,  but I think your average man on the street has done it with politicing and wants the government to actually, govern for the people not party advantage.

This is probably the best outcome I could have hoped for; Labour out, incoming government hobbled and the coalition they put forward, if they get it right, might be just the kind of steady-as-she-goes kind of state that'll keep the public on side, keep the markets on side.

Three things I want from the LibTory alliance: get the economy back on track by reducing spending to manageable levels, Gove's[1] education reform and transparent government spending. 

If they can manage that in the first couple of years I'll be a happy camper.

What three things do you lot want from the first 2 years?

The above of course, is predicated on a) a working LibTory alliance being formed, and b) GTLSB "doing the right thing" for once, and resigning.  Or indeed c) as Nick Robinson points out.

I bet a pint for any taker that GTLSB will take it right down to the wire, to the Queens Speech, and wait for a Parliamentary vote of no confidence before he's finally dragged, kicking and screaming, out of #10.

Gosh by TheophileEscargot (2.50 / 2) #14 Sun May 09, 2010 at 08:34:53 AM EST
Maybe the PR fans are right and our primitive Anglo-Saxon style of combative, adversarial politics is being replaced by smooth, Continental consensus-building...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
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(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #15 Sun May 09, 2010 at 09:15:45 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
The markets don't exactly like it by duxup (4.00 / 2) #16 Sun May 09, 2010 at 05:19:23 PM EST
The market's wouldn't know what is good for them over the long term if it stared them in the face.

Post election diary | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)