08 May 2015

2015 Election Analysis

I'm currently running on fumes, as I stayed up much of the night to watch the events of this election unfold. But now the results are in, and this has turned out to be the most unpredictable UK general election in generations, full of highs and lows. 

A major high point is that the Labour Party lost 26 seats, a shock result that did not come anywhere near expectations. This translated to 232 seats, and less than 31% of the vote, much less than the 33% in the poll of polls. This led to the resignation of Ed Miliband, another high point of this general election. The electorate has sent a very clear message in this regard; they don’t want politics that flirt with the far left, and Red Ed certainly did that, with his rhetoric and policies involving rent and price controls, or nationalisation of the railways, to name a few examples.

At this juncture, unless the party changes course, the chances are that Labour will suffer similar losses well into the future, as they did in the eighties and early nineties, when the party refused to move away from hard left politics. Given how stubborn leftists can be, I don’t expect any dramatic changes in direction from the party any time soon, and this can only be good for the growth of individualism in Britain, because without a Blairesque con man fronting the party, I seriously doubt that Labour can win a general election again.

The Conservative Party, meanwhile, had a night that also shocked everyone, but for different reasons. They passed the post by winning 331 seats, thus acquiring an overall majority at almost 37% of the national vote, and winning many marginal seats that hadn't been predicted by pundits and pollsters. I had a gut feeling that they might pull off a majority – it just didn't add up in my mind that people would want the hard left politics of the current Labour outfit, and the prospect of them getting into bed with the SNP was probably the final tipping point for the country.

The parallel to the 1992 shock election win for the Tories is plain to see, with the pollsters and pundits being way off the mark with their predictions. It seems that the shy Tory effect is still as strong as ever in today’s political culture, but it shouldn't surprise anyone that so many wouldn't publicly pronounce their support for the Tories – few have the determination or the guts to stand up to the alienation and bullying that comes from the left. I can speak from personal experience when I say that this can be very challenging.

On a personal level I'm glad that if anyone won an overall majority (other than UKIP) that it was the Tories. I take issue with some of their manifesto policies (HS2 and attempts to reform an unreformable EU being two), but the Tories have some good policies too, such as tackling the deficit and debt as a proportion of GDP, lowering taxes, and of course that elusive EU referendum. What’s more, without the Lid Dem monkey on their backs, the Tories will probably make far more progress than they did in the last parliament.

The Green Party, Like Labour, had a night that didn't live up to the hype of the left-wing media bias from the Guardian et al. They managed to hold onto their seat in Brighton Pavilion, but still only received 3.8% share of the vote, much lower than the 5% in the poll of polls. Again, the electorate has sent a very clear message to the political establishment; far left politics are not welcome in Britain as a whole, and that is an encouraging conclusion to take away from this election. Yes, leftists are often the most brazen and outspoken, but when push comes to shove x marks the spot, which doesn't translate into votes for far left politics in Britain, and hasn't for decades.

Of all the parties the Liberal Democrats had arguably the worst night. At just 8 seats, less than 8% of vote share, and over 15% decline in the national vote, the party has been reduced to cinders. As a result Nick Clegg resigned as party leader, with an unrepentant message about the virtues of English liberalism. With so many parties jockeying for a prime place in modern British politics, I can’t see any way for them to claw back support from the electorate.

Then we have the nationalists. While the Welsh nationalists, Plaid Cymru, failed to beat their record of 3 seats (even with Leanne Wood making regular TV appearances), the Scottish National Party picked up a massive 56 seats, just 3 seats off the total number of Scottish constituencies. They received a disproportionate number of seats compared to their measly 4.8% of national vote share, posing questions about the viability of the first past the post system and constituency borders. The primary revelation to take away from the rise of the SNP is that, unlike the rest of Britain, far left politics is stronger than ever in Scotland, and this is something that should worry people. That being said, even all the left-wing parties combined do not have enough seats to stop the Tories pushing their agenda through the House of Commons.

Leaving more questions about the viability of the present electoral system is the performance of UKIP. Despite gaining almost 13% of the national vote (and over 4 times the votes of 2010) they only managed to get 1 MP, Douglas Carswell, leaving not only the likes of Tim Aker and Mark Reckless without a seat, but (tragically) Nigel Farage as well. This led to Nigel's resignation among the sea of other party leaders, and arguably the lowest point of this election campaign.

It was clearly a mistake for Farage to say that losing in South Thanet would result in his resignation, and he paid for it with the combined effort of the Tories and the entire left-wing establishment working against his election, just to see the back of him. Fortunately, Nigel has already said he would put himself up for a vote to decide the leader of UKIP at the back end of the year, and I seriously doubt that there is anyone that would beat him in such a contest.

Due to this election there is now a wider question regarding political reform in British politics. Though UKIP policy endorses moving to proportional representation I'm undecided on how practical this would be. For one, it might make MPs being linked to constituencies impractical. Sure UKIP have suffered a great injustice by having so little to show for their success, but the present system also seems to be doing a good job at keeping parties like Labour and the Greens out of power, and this can only be good for Britain.

What UKIP need now is patience – I sincerely believe that with every election UKIP’s popularity will continue to grow, and the blow dealt to Nigel Farage in South Thanet will make the party stronger in the future. Experience leads to wisdom, and there is no doubt that UKIP is now the third largest party in British politics, even with the lack of MPS to show for it. They have proven that they can win seats in the first past the post system though, and when you combine this with a plethora of constituencies where the party has risen to second and third place, significantly improving on previous performance, UKIP is still going from strength to strength.

11 comments:

  1. Excellent analysis. Thank you

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  2. Appreciate the report. I'm not familiar with British politics, but I was excited about UKIP's prospects. Hope they continue to grow.

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    1. They should do. All the momentum is still there.

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  3. This was the last chance the British people had to take back their country. They failed, It's over baby it's over.

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    1. It's not over; we still have an EU referendum that will probably be brought forward to 2016. Plus the Tories are a far better alternative to the hard left politics of the other parties.

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  4. The Tories are the Left or at least as Soviet Leaders was declared the controlled opposition. The Tories are for EU membership and they are for limitless immigration, they are also for all the same social issues the other parties are for. Also, if you are under the impression that David Cameron is going to present the British people with an EU referendum in 2017 you are mistaken. I cannot believe the British people were so stupid as to believe that the Tories would govern things any differently than Labor. I have more respect for the other parties than for the Tories because at least the other parties are clear about what they believe in and not as cowardly as the so called conservatives

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    1. The Tories have certainly lost their way when it comes to surrendering powers to international bodies, but I do think there will be an EU referendum. All the signs are there that this promise will be kept. Whether it will be a fair and balanced referendum is another matter, and that's where UKIP can certainly apply political pressure.

      Saying that, if you think the Tories have a worse track record than Labour then I beg to differ. Labour are like the Tories on steroids, combined with a Marxian perspective on many issues.

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  5. My take for what its worth - I'm clear what the role of UKIP should be nationally , which is to lead the campaign of 'Out' of the EU, which will be starting soon. We need to present a detailed vision of how we can be better out than in; and who better than UKIP to do that? - its what the party was set up to do. Also there is no-one else apart from a few Tory back benchers. We dont really have a voice in parliament but this will be a PR and information campaign; and hopefully the leader of UKIP will be the lead person in that campaign.
    Although the country is fairly evenly split at the moment , this will be a uphill battle to win the argument- we will have the usual suspects against us, Cameron + most politicians, BBC and media, all papers except for the Express, Big business forecasting doom and gloom etc. against us. As it nears the vote, people tend to vote for the safe option so we will need to convince an awful lot of people - many more than at present.
    If we win the argument and vote to leave, then UKIP will be a major player without a doubt ; if we lose then i forecast the party will fold completely and its game over.

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    1. The UKIP Party is already over since they did not win any seats expect for one. I also think that UKIP is disgusted because even though they won the arguments in terms of Europe and national identity the British people still choice the safe choice, a cowardly Tory party that believes in nothing. Face it the British people love the EU and polls indicate if any vote was given today they would vote overwhelming to stay in.

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    2. Ukip is far from dead ttmobale, and there is no evidence for that. Even Nigel has had his resignation rejected by the national executive. We also got over 4 times more votes than 2010. There is a lot to build on.

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