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By TheophileEscargot (Sun May 17, 2015 at 12:33:53 AM EST) Reading, Politics, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Affair". Politics: UK Election post-mortem. Links.

What I'm Reading
The Affair by Lee Child. Another flashback Jack Reacher novel, going back to his time in the army. Also another good one: sets up the mystery well, atmospheric, and filling in some gaps in the story.

Election: Results
So, there was an election, polls predicted a hung parliament, actually got a slim Conservative majority. I did post a couple of things on the problems of polls, though I was hoping for an upset the other way.

Bit dejected at the result, but trying to look at whatever bright side there is. On the plus side: there's no chaos. I'm not a fan of coalitions especially after reading accounts of the casual and cynical way pledges were abandoned last time, so at least we have a majority government which has to be accountable to its promises (no VAT rise, massive increase in NHS spending, etc. I was in favour of Scottish independence and this seems to make it more likely, though most plausibly in a de facto sense where the Union remains technically intact but almost all power is devolved.

On the other hand there are definite risks. It's hard to evaluate them without knowing the unanswerable question of whether the politicians are really as dumb as their statements profess.technically intact but almost all power is devolved.

As Paul Krugman has documented the economic story of the coalition is that they had far too much austerity initially which was catastrophic for growth from 2010 to 2013. They then eased off austerity leading to blip of growth in 2014 which was their electoral selling point. So the big question is whether George Osborne has learned from his mistake, or with the election over is he going to go back to his disastrous initial strategy.

Civil liberties are definitely at risk with the revived Snoopers Charter and plans to criminalise vaguely defined "extremism": hopefully there are some new David Davis's waiting on the Tory back bench to oppose them. And while I don't mind Scottish independence, an ugly secession crisis could cause problems all round if Cameron blunders into it.

We just have to wait and see. I might try writing to my newly elected Tory MP to see if I can get her to do anything when there are concrete proposals.

Election: polls
Regarding why the polls failed, nobody knows yet. To find out, the pollsters will have to do more research, following up on previous results, looking at demographics in detail. However, there are some early hints at an answer, which the media and columnists have completely ignored so they can jump to conclusions instead.

Here are YouGov, ICM, ComRes and Ashcroft early articles.

This time round it does not seem to be "Shy Tories" (Conservative voters who would not admit it to the pollsters) who are the problem. Instead it may be "Keen Labour": people who told the pollsters they would vote Labour, but never actually showed up. There seem to be demographic problems in weighting the samples correctly.

The actual voters were older, richer and more likely to be homeowners than the pollsters thought. Turnout issues seem to be important. Also the behaviour in the marginals was difficult to predict. There was little exchange between Labour and the Conservatives, but the Cons were much more successful at harvesting Liberal votes in the marginals. As some predicted, UKIP seem to have hurt Labour more than the Conservatives because they took away votes in the marginals. More UKIP voters overall come from the Conservatives, but that seems to have come in safe seats where it had little impact.

Election: Labour response
The Labour party is in a difficult situation, squeezed from all sides. In Scotland they've been defeated by an SNP that rhetorically claims to be to their left. In England they've lost support to UKIP in key marginals. They gained a big chunk of the collapsed Lib Dem vote, but the Conservatives got a smaller chunk where it counted. They've lost millions of potential voters who preferred them when contacted by pollsters, but didn't show up at the polling booths. While Labour has held on to its middle class vote, it's working class vote has fallen with C1,C2,DE voters abandoning them in droves. They didn't lose many votes to the Conservatives, but didn't make gains against them either.

Normally when a party loses, a cry goes up from the activists that this is a clear sign they need to stop chasing the centre, start Standing Up For What They Believe in, and veer sharply to the left/right. Usually this is idiotic: the centre is where the votes are. In this case though, it's not necessarily wrong: the big problem for Labour is the working class votes they've lost, not their share of the Blair-attracted middle class who stayed with them.

Labour definitely needs some kind of powerful motivator to get people who are weakly inclined to them to actually vote. However, it's going to be difficult to do that without losing the middle class.

I think the useful thing that can be learned from Lynton Crosby is that for literally years he had Conservative ministers repeating the same simple formulas. Most people don't pay much attention to politics, and it's very hard to get through. I think Nick Cleggs appeal to Generation Rent was a good idea, but far too late, announced only a few weeks before the election. This kind of thing needs to be hammered home for a long time. I think Labour didn't quite get the new reality of interminably long election campaigns created by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act: you can't do all your campaigning in a few weeks.

Another problem is the media which is more relentlessly Tory than eve. With the press mostly owned by non-doms and ex-pats (Sun, Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent, Evening Standard etc) any party that wants reasonable tax fairness is going to hit a wall of hostility.

Finally, the electoral system seems to have flipped against Labour: "On an equal amount of votes – 34.5% a piece – the Conservatives would have almost fifty seats more than Labour, Labour would need to have a lead of about four points over the Conservatives just to get the most seats in a hung Parliament."

Overall, I find it hard to see how Labour can fight back effectively, unless there are collapses in the other parties which are possible.

Random. What would your name be if you had the equivalent popularity rank today? Slow TV Seymour Skinner’s Finest Moments. Daily Mail somehow manages to be snide without a word.

Articles. Playground purgatory. The Grand Old Duke of York. Easier to die, via.

Politics. What Do French Muslims Think About the PEN/'Charlie Hebdo' Controversy? Human Rights Act abolition will be no 'quick win' for the Tories . Who came second in the election? Why the Right loves privilege politics.

Pics. Young Marilyn Monroe on war work in 1944.

< Space. | New Samsung S6 = >
Affairs of State | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
Tories might be looking hegemonic by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun May 17, 2015 at 02:00:23 AM EST
But the Labour was in that position from 1997-2010 until the global financial crisis.

Events, dear boy, events. But I suspect to win, a Labour party leader will have to do a deal with Murdoch like Blair did as he's the only one of these media tycoons that has in the past supported Labour.

Bojo by priestess (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun May 17, 2015 at 07:02:16 AM EST
Cameron said he wouldn't do another election didn't he? Which means the Conservative parlimentary party will pick our next prime minster in the last year or two of this term.

Bookies reckon they'll pick Bojo.

And he'll quite possibly win too, being popular and presumably having a year or so to dish out some pre-election tax-breaks or whatever so everyone thinks he's lovely.

Depressing really.
Chat to the virtual me...

Not sure Boris is such a shoo-in by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon May 18, 2015 at 05:57:35 AM EST
George Osbourne and Theresa May have quite a lot of supporters among Tory MPs. And being leader/PM is much more difficult  than being mayor and he has a lot of skeletons in and out of the closet.

[ Parent ]
Your analysis of what happened... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun May 17, 2015 at 08:19:36 AM EST
in the election lines up with what I've heard from the market research community. Basically, younger voters did not turn out the way they did in 2010 and it made a big difference to the outcome.

We'll have to wait for more data, but from preliminaries this seems to be even more significant than the UKIP effect.

I'd guess... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun May 17, 2015 at 08:29:25 AM EST
that one of the keys for Labour could be in doubling down on mobilising the youth vote. If they gave up on the newspapers and sought to build a real following in other channels where the young are more present, they could find an alternate base.

On the events front, I think the EU referendum will put quite a bit of strain on the Tories. After all, at least half of the non-doms, city firms etc. that bankroll them find Britain's membership in the EU very convenient for business and money purposes. It appears that Cameron did enough to satisfy a lot of potential UKIP voters, but with a relatively small majority, there could be rebellions on the horizon, whichever way he decides to campaign on the issue.

However, the SNP dominance of Scotland does look like it cements the Tories as the largest party. You'd need a LibDem revival, Labour to get half it's Scottish seats back before a typical swing to Labour would unseat the Tories.

[ Parent ]
My big fear... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun May 17, 2015 at 08:31:31 AM EST
is summed up by George Osbourne calling an emergency July budget.

It suggests to me that a lot of promises are going to be broken, so they want to get it in as early as possible.

Not sure by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun May 17, 2015 at 08:49:38 AM EST
Their accumulated promises are basically impossible and are going to be broken. But they've got five years with the Fixed Term Parliaments Act: don't think it particularly matters whether they break them now or after the next routine budget.

Growth forecasts are down and inflationary pressures are rising, which isn't going to make things easier.
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?

[ Parent ]
Hmm by Herring (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:57:22 AM EST
I take issue with the promise of "massive NHS spending increase". They really haven't promised much at all. The large increase in the elderly population and cuts to social care mean much more pressure on the NHS. The typical A&E patient isn't, as some would have us believe, a drunked lout who's had a fight, it's an frail person in their 80s who has fallen and there's nobody at the care home to treat them.

Also the majority of the benefits budget goes on the retired. As people live longer, keeping the elderly going costs more. Successive governments have known this was happening for decades, but nobody ever addresses it directly.

Anyway, now there's some stability, I might be able to get some company to commit to giving me a job.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Better get in quick by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #9 Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:02:23 PM EST
Before the EU Referendum then...

[ Parent ]
Affairs of State | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)