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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Election stuff
delirium happy
So, what about that election thing then? The one thing that strikes me about it is that all three of the big parties are claiming to have had a good election, but in reality it's been fairly poor for all of them. More than anything else, the message that I'm picking up from the electorate is "a plague on all your house".

Take Labour. They're saying that they've won an unprecedented third term, that historically a majority of around 60 or 70 is high, and that they have a whole lot to be happy for. This is nonsense. They've gone into the election with an absolutely huge majority, a hate lame-duck opposition party which was never going to form a government, and they've been mauled. They've been haemorrhaging votes all over the country, in every direction. I can't see how they can possibly see this as a success.

Then there's the Conservatives. They managed to pick up something like 40 seats and are jubilant about this. If they continue to pick up seats at that rate, then they'll be able to form a government some time around 2020. And what's more, these extra seats that they've picked up are very little to do with them; their share of the popular vote is pretty much unchanged. Their extra seats are only down to the abysmal performance of the Labour party. This is not a success.

And finally, the Lib Dems. Of the big three, I think that they (or possibly I should say "we" since I'm actually a member; more on that below) have the most to be happy about, but I think that they had the least worst performance rather than the best one. They seem to be crowing about the extra seats they've picked up, and how Britain is entering an era of true three party politics, and to an extent, this is true. But they managed to pick up only about 10 extra seats, despite both Labour and the Tories being incredibly weak. It's hardly a ringing endorsement.

So Labour have lost a whole lot of votes and the Lib Dems and the Tories have both picked up seats from them? So what? That's hardly unexpected or excited. There are a few things that do interest me about the election though. The first is the relative success of independent and small party candidates. There are going to be three (essentially) independent MPs in this upcoming parliament, which is high. I could also tell just from watching the declarations that the Greens and the BNP were getting good results. The picture this paints for me is of people not really wanting to vote Labour but not really having any proper alternative they would want to vote for either. The vote gets fragmented amongst lots of parties, and where these credible independent alternatives show up, they were seized upon.

The thing that absolutely fascinates me is the results from Lib Dem / Tory marginals. Not a whole lot of movement there, but it does seem clear to me that the Tories were the overall winners in those battlegrounds, which is quite striking since nationally the Lib Dems improved their vote by several percent while the Tories remained stagnant. This would seem to suggest to me that people are finally starting to wake up and realise that the Lib Dems are actually a leftish party rather than a centrish party, and about time too.

I just hope to God that the Lib Dems will try to present themselves more honestly from now on. The British electorate are, generally, not stupid, and if you try to pull the wool over their eyes then you'll get found out in the end. One of their main selling points at the moment is honour ad integrity, but if they continue to get larger then they'll come under constant scrutiny, and they'll have to stop presenting as one thing to one group and another to another, or they'll lose that, which would seriously dent their chances of becoming a serious force in British politics. I support their policies, but I'm sceptical of supporting them wholeheartedly unless that changes. I hope it will.

Of seats that I care about personally, things went pretty much as expected.

In Lancaster and Wyre, where I live, the Conservative won the seat from Labour by quite a way. Given that this was in the top ten marginals from last time around, that's hardly surprising, even if it was the only Tory gain in the North West. I was happy that the Lib Dems and the Greens both increased their share of the vote. What disturbed me was some of the comments I heard people making today about how they weren't surprised that Anne Sacks, the Labour candidate, had lost, because of her appearance, and how they wouldn't vote for someone who looked like that (I don't actually know what she looks like).

Somewhat more surprisingly, just up the road in Westmorland and Lonsdale, the Lib Dems unseated the Tories' former shadow education minister, Tim Collins. Even if this was the only success in the Lib Dems' attempted decapitation of the Tories, it really goes to show just how much of an effect targeted campaigning and tactical voting can have. In theory, Westmorland and Lonsdale should be a much safer Tory seat than Lancaster and Wyre, as it's very rural (the pictures I posted a couple or so weeks ago were taken in Westmorland).

contrast this with Ruth Kelly, the actual education secretary, in Bolton West, which is the constituency which contains my old high school. That's not nearly as securely Labour, and she could have had a fairly rough time there, but she ended up holding fairly comfortably, as there wasn't the concerted attack against her.

Chorley, which is where I lived the first 18 years of my life and where my parents still reside, is one of those marginals that typically goes whichever way the government goes, as it has a fairly good mix of working class central areas and middle class suburbia. The Conservatives held it through the Thatcher years, and Labour have had it through the Blair years. Needless to say, Labour held it this time.

No surprises in either of the other two places I've lived during my life. The Lib Dems held Oxford West and Abingdon, and the Conservatives held Canterbury. Much as I would have loved Julian Brazier to get kicked out, that was never likely to happen, more's the pity.

And while I have no personal investment in Cambridge, I was happy to see the Lib Dems take it, since I seem to know a fair few people in or connected to Cambridge, and I suspect that many of them are Lib Dems.

And absolutely nothing to do with me, but i could hardly write about the election without mentioning Bethnal Green and Bow or Upper Bann. In the former, I have mixed feelings. While I have seen very little to suggest to me that George Galloway is anything other than a bigot, fraud, charlatan and egotist (though I'll confess I've not seen enough to know for certain that he is), he is also an excellent orator, and the sort of person who will be a thorn in the side of the government. And for the latter, while I must confess that I don't know a whole lot about the politics of Northern Ireland, I'm sorrowed to see the downfall of David Trimble and the Ulster Unionists. The lack of success for the moderate parties doesn't seem to bode too well for the peace process.

Overall, I'm fairly happy with this election result. I'm now hoping for a year or so of Blair, followed by a term and a half of a nice socialist, Brownite government, by which time the Lib Dems will be in a position to win the next election. I feel I may be being a little optimistic here though.

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I do have a lot of respect for Trimble. I never thought I'd say it, but seeing the UUP take those hits was very disappointing. Any time Paisley gets a win in any way, it's time to be terrified.

I must say that following the elections over here has been fascinating. For all the talk of Americans not caring about what goes on in the rest of the world, the coverage is inescapable, and I like that. I've been watching a lot of C-SPAN and BBC America, and it's really amazing to see everything that's been going on.

Oh, and I also wanted to say that the infamous Galloway clip is being played over and over again, but without any context. They're just calling him an "anti-Blair politician" and leaving it at that. He really is as bad as I've read, right? I can't find anything to like about him.

Randomly, I want to steal your style.

Well, the thing with Galloway is that he has an infuriating habiit of winning libel cases against people who try to make out that he's a duplicitous slimeball. There are two possible ways to look at this: the first is to assume that all these people are actualy lying about him and that he isn't that bad after all. The secoond is to assume that he realy is that bad and worse, but is very good at winning libel cases to try to suppress the truth. The truth tends to be somewhat nebulous around this man.

Personally, I tend to believe that he's an evil little shit, but I have very little in the way of direct evidence for this. livredor has an entry where she discusses him (see also the comments) and she seems to have more knowledge, so you might want to go and look at what she has to say.

(and my style is the one that phoenixdreaming entered in the styles contest; if you want to steal it, ask her)

I never thought I'd say it, but seeing the UUP take those hits was very disappointing.

And I'm curious: why did you never think you'd say that?

And there's just been a piece on the news here about your news coverage of our election, and they showed a clip from the ABC: "Tony Blair has been re-elected as prime minister of England!" Wince. I'm so thankful for the BBC.

(And I'll stop comment-spamming you now. Probably.)

Good points all.
I think the thing for me was this morning, with every party sprouting weapons-grade bullonium.. And "Gorgeous" George had the nerve to suggest he was more than a "Single issue candidate".
Which is a tad wrong considering his tirade that constituted his speech upon election.
We got Tory here in Huntingdon & St Neots, but the Lib Dems were up on last time, which is quite funky.

We did our bit to keep our country Free! So now that's all done with, can we start talking about The Future?

No-one's mentioned we're going into recession, the pensions fubar, the power generation problem facing the UK...

More than anything else, the message that I'm picking up from the electorate is "a plague on all your house".

Funnily enough, one of the spoilt ballots here in Cambridge had just that written on it. The quotation was lost on some of the agents, though, apparently.

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