Wednesday 10 July 2024

Final Thoughts on the Election and Political System


Now that the election is over, this blog is going back into cold storage. However, before I get back to enjoying my retirement, I want to make some comments about political parties in general and the future of ours in particular.

Parties serve a variety of purposes, with one of the main ones being that they allow people to participate in the political process without having to be political anoraks. Voters can choose a party that they by and large identify with and then leave the intricacies of policy to that party. Every five years or so, these voters will turn out to vote for one party or the other, and for the rest of the time they will just get on with their lives.

The problem occurs when the parties no longer represent the views of their voters, a situation we are in with both Labour and the Tories at the moment. When that happens, we can expect to see turnout at elections fall alarmingly, as many people just give up participating in a process that they no longer indentify with. Others will start to vote for small, insurgent parties, such as the Greens or Reform. We also have in the British context the Islamic independents who managed to win a clutch of seats last week. 

The Tories are split between the liberal, upper-middle-class types who tend to live in the leafy southern counties and the aspirational arsewipe element with their petty grievances and small town mentality. The former group switched to the Lib-Dems last week and gave that party 72 seats in the Commons: a message that the Tory leadership would do well to heed. It is possible that the Tories may manage to repair their split by becoming sounder on immigration and this time actually meaning it. If they did then they should be able to take back the anti-immigrant element in their old voting core that switched to Reform.

Labour's problems are more pronounced. In the first place because the party at local level is pretty much dominated by the local government nomenklatura, with their unproductive non-jobs that are paid for out of the taxes of those in productive employment. For many people when they meet a Labour activist must be reminded of the people who intefere in their lives and make those lives difficult. The somewhat overweight woman with her frizzy hair and weird glasses who reminds them of the social worker who gave their cousin grief. The small man who looks as if he has never had a girlfriend is the spitting image of the teacher who has it in for their sons and the gaggle of white-collar wallahs could very well be the same wallahs who fail to sort out their problems with the council.

To make matters worse, those core Labour people were ignored for many years by a Labour Party that wanted the votes of ethnic minorities and the middle-class progressives. The Pakistani element was pandered to even to the extent of ignoring the abuse of young British girls by Pakistani men in the mill towns. Now, those Pakistani voters are jumping ship to Islamic based elements, leaving the British voters to smile coldly at their former party's misfortunes.

The progressive element is moving behind the Greens and Jeremy Corbyn in London. If Corbyn sets up a Progressive Party it could do well in the big cities, or he could throw in his lot behind the Greens who already seem to be making common cause with the Islamists. A Progressive-Islamic front may very well be on the cards and if that happens it would tear a massive hole in the Labour line.

However, the main threat to Labour comes from Reform. Nigel Farage has already realised that Labour provides his party with a better hunting ground than the Tories since almost 100 of the seats were Reform came second last week are held by Labour. Immigration is Labour's weak spot, since the party wants more of it and the voters want a lot less. The party seems to be in favour of an amnesty for illegal migrants and the voters want who them slung out of the country. 

Labour's massive majority is based on a level of support that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Being in government should hold the party together but the divisions are enormous and it will only take a couple of by-election losses to widen those divisions. If the Tories can get their act together and unite around agreed policies which must include a sound immigration one, then they could return to government sooner than anyone expects.

As for me, thanks to the pledge from both parties to respect the pension triple-lock, I plan to enjoy the evening of my life by growing potatoes in my garden pots and watching Netflix from the seriously comfortable chair that I bought yesterday.

Goodbye for now and good luck.

Friday 5 July 2024

WTF Happened Yesterday?

Robbie Moore was the sitting Tory MP for Keighley & Ilkley who sent out just one campaign leaflet which my contact in the constituency got on polling day. As you can see, whoever proofread the work before it went to the printers messed it up so some poor sods had to sit there with felt-tipped pens to correct the thing by hand before it could be sent to the punters.

Had there been any justice in the world, the Tories would have been rejected by an electorate that could not bring themselves to vote for such an amateur hour performance. Luckily for Mr Moore there is no justice in the world and he held his seat as all about him were losing theirs.

What a weird election it was. People in England and Wales voted to get rid of the Tories and they didn't much care who they voted for so long as the Tories lost. In Scotland, they voted against both the Tories and the SNP, so across Great Britain, this was an election in which people voted against those parties, rather than for a particular party.

The end result of this was that Labour has a massive majority, that is broadly based and very shallow. The new government could come under threat very soon from  three different quarters.

The first is Reform who talked away with five MPs. Nigel Farage is their leader and I expect him to make Labour's life a misery. Secondly we have Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader who scored more votes in 2017 and 2019 than Starmer did in 2024. I expect that he will rally support from within Labour and cause trouble for Starmer from his own MPs. Finally, we have a clutch of Islamic independents who now represent seats that were formerly solid Labour. Starmer will need to mollify those voters and not alienate his secular, middle-class base.

If he can defend his government from Reform that will eat into what is left of his working class base, Corbyn who will chip away at the urban progressives and the Muslims who will try to tear down Labour's remaining Pakistani vote he should survive, but that is a tall order for him.

It is also a lot of fun for us!

Thursday 4 July 2024

Who Will Win Today?


Labour will win today, that much is obvious. What is impossible to guess is their majority and the number of seats that the other parties will snaffle. There are just too many variables to allow the pollsters to make an accurate forecast, and I have a feeling that even the exit poll will be out by enough seats to ensure that tonight will be a long night for the political anoraks.

The first variable is turnout, which looks as if it may be below 60%. Tony Blair ensured that turnout fell from the post-war average of over 70% to the low-mid 60s and no election this century has seen turnout hit 70%. Many Tory voters seem to want to sit this one out, and Sir Keir Starmer hardly inspires the urban working class to give up a good evening's TV viewing, so we could see a turnout of around 55%. Thus, quite small swings could see large gains made by one party or another. 

The small parties are another variable that might play a big role in thos election. How well will Reform do in Eastern England? Will it replicate UKIP's success in South Wales? The assumption is that Reform takes votes from the Tories, but many of those voters were solid Labour people until Brexit and the 2019 election came along. Reform does galvanise its supporters, so a moderate shift to that party in the East coupled with indifference to the result amongst supporters of the old Con/Lab duopoly could lead to some interesting results.

Then we have the Pakistani defection from Labour in the mill towns. Labour are reported to be dragooning what activists they have and begging them to go to Rochdale and Oldham East. Rochdale is held by George Galloway and his Workers' Party and it is understandable that Labour wants his scalp, but Oldham East? The constituency is 20% Pakistani, which is not enough for a victory, unless the British 80% are indifferent to the result and Labour's generals are terrified that the Workers' Party may grab the seat.

In Scotland, the SNP is the dominant party and does look set to lose some seats. Labour should be the net gainer, but such is the indifference to the election in the Central Belt where most of us live, that making predictions is next to impossible. The SNP has an almost cult following and attempts to set up a Unionist Front that would see Labour people in Aberdeenshire vote Tory and Tories voting Labour in the Central Belt seem to have failed.

It is going to be a long night, but we are men of men for our fathers were men before us, so we can see it through.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Looking Ahead to Tory Stuffing Day


If some of the polls are even halfway correct, tomorrow will be the Day of the Great Stuffing for the Tories. Much as I would like to see the Labour that I belonged to and identified with striding to victory, I will take the victory that I can get and settle for a party that has already said that it wants to work with capitalism instead of managing it firmly.

Let's just get the Tories out and hope that Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage and George Galloway are all in the Commons to make Sir Keir Starmer's life difficult when he arsecrawls the EU or the USA. Although, in the case of the latter, when Donald Trump is returned to the White House next January, people like me may find that we have a man who believes in many of the protectionist policies that give us a chubby as well.

All good fun!

Tuesday 2 July 2024

The Worst Election Ever Takes a Downturn


Georgia David is a second Reform candidate who has jumped ship to the Tories, having spent the past six weeks campaigning against that party. I know that we are all consenting adults, but does anybody seriously believe that these defections are anything other than a final, desperate throw of the dice by the Tories who are now in a Berlin bunker, April 1945, situation?

What the deal is I have no idea. Richard Tice reckons that many Reform candidates have been offered jobs and money by the Tories, but even if these two are motivated by the purest of desires, it has to be admitted that it all looks very dodgy.

As I look back over the past six weeks I can feel my desire to continue to live ebbing away. If any Tory wants me to throw the might of this blog behind any candidate then a brown envelope stuffed with used fivers and tenners is my price.

Monday 1 July 2024

The Worst Election Ever Slouches Along


Yesterday, a Reform UK candidate named Liam Booth-Isherwood decided to defect to the Tories in the constituency of Erewash, and no, I don't know where it is, either. He claimed that Reform is a wickedly waycist party or something, but just three days earlier he appeared in a videoed hustings in which he sang Reform's praises. God knows what induced him to go from enthusiastic colour bearer for Reform to defector who now tells people to vote Tory and I suspect that we will never know, because the story seems to have already died a death.

I delayed writing this post as I expected that the defection was part of some Tory plan to take the fight to Reform, but if it is then it is then I can't see anything in the media that is anything other than the mixture as before.

This election seems to have run out of steam, not that it had very much to begin with. Nigel Farage popped up and set the process alight, but even he cannot alter the fact that Labour is going to win and the Tories are going to lose. Yes, we can debate about Corbyn, Galloway and Farage, but their results are not going to alter the fact that the result of the election is fixed-in.

Even the fact that it is quite likely that Labour will win the election with fewer than 40% of the votes cast and that turnout could be down to local election levels is not enough to awaken interest in the election. The lack of legitimacy of a government elected on those figures is a problem that starts next week. Right now, all we are doing is marking time until the count is over sometime on Friday morning.

Friday 28 June 2024

Attempt to Smear Farage by Channel 4 Fails


Just when I thought that I could take it easy for the weekend, up pops what has all the makings of a political scandal that could keep those of us who have a fridge full of beer and pizza entertained for weeks. Let's hear it for Andrew Parker, the man who Channel 4 "secretly" recorded mouthing off in best Essex man style as he supposedly campaigned in Clacton for Nigel Farage.

The short story is that the channel ran a "secret" recording of Parker and used it to vilify Reform as a party of wicked waycists. The problem is that Andrew Parker is a character actor who specialises in rough, diamond geezer accents, so why did he use that accent on the video? It is not his natural speaking voice, which you can hear if you go to this link. You can also hear his diamond geezer accent as well.

Now, I am prepared to accept that Andrew Parker is a Reform supporter, even though nobody in the party had ever heard of him until he turned up to volunteer in Clacton. What I cannot understand is why he turned up in character, complete with the accent? If he was a genuine volunteer, who happened to be a jobbing actor, why would he speak in character? 

The suspicion must be that he was either hired to play his standard role, or that he is an activist who decided to play it to discredit Reform and Nigel Farage. Thus, Channel 4 is in the frame as either co-conspiritors in this wheeze or as gullible dupes of a scam.

That will form the basis of the coming week's campaign: the way in which the media establishment from a major television channel sought to undermine a political campaign, by accident or design.

In the meantime, I expect that the votes for Farage and Reform will start to rise.

Views Themes -->