Tag Archives: Labour

Five Questions for the pollsters

If the pollsters want to get back into everyone’s good books, here are some questions which every political party should want to know the answer to.

(1) Where did the core Lib Dem vote go and why?

The transfer of seats during the 2015 General Election.
The transfer of seats during the 2015 General Election.

This diagram from @pickardJE shows very little movement from Labour to the Conservatives and vice versa. However it appears to show a large movement from the Libdems to the Conservatives. However, if individual seats are looked at (particularly in the south west, the so-called Libdem heartlands) then in some cases there is hardly any gain for the Conservatives at all, but rather a complete scattering of the Libdem vote.

Libdems and other parties need to understand whether their voters really did turn to the Conservatives for being “better” liberals or whether their core vote in some areas came from being the main alternative party to the Conservatives, which obviously was undermined by entering into coalition. These are two completely different explanations for the same end result.

2) Why the rise in UKIP in second place in many Labour constituencies?

This doesn’t show on this diagram because the diagram shows seats, not votes.

Can it just be explained by anti-immigration sentiment in poor areas? Or is it a more general rejection of the Westminster oligarchy? Voters in these seats are probably the most neglected in the country; their votes still taken as given by the Labour party because “they’ve got nowhere else to go”. Connected to this;

3) Why didn’t Farage win in Thanet South?

I have Googled this every day since the election but the coverage is still on the reaction and the moment rather than any analysis on why he lost. Did the anti-UKIP activism work? Can it be repeated on a much larger scale in dozens more consituencies?

4) Why did the SNP grab the Labour vote?

Labour commentators backing a move leftwards are keen to highlight the SNP’s anti-austerity message, but is that why the SNP swept to power or was it much more about a rejection of Westminster / England particularly following the referendum?

5) What on earth is going in Wales?

Looking at the “Best Welsh Tory election for years”, again this looks like Libdem vote scattering rather than decisive Conservative win. Conservative vote share is up in some of their held constituencies but down in others.

I don’t know the answers to any of these but I really hope someone spends some time finding out.

Everything is wrong, long live everything

I started this blog because I wanted to make loads of comments that were a fraction as eloquent and incisive as those made in Dougald Hine’s post “The only way is down; 18 Notes on the UK election”

The one cold comfort that Labour – and perhaps even the Lib Dems – could take from last night’s results is that events have forced them into a confrontation with reality, while the Tories will continue to govern on the basis of delusions, with ugly results, for a while longer, before gravity catches up with them. This could give the defeated parties a head start, but only if they are prepared to enter into a kind of soul-searching deeper than anything we have seen in British politics in a very long time.

For that to have a chance of happening, it will have to start somewhere else, somewhere beyond the party machines and the earnest, highly-educated, decent people at the centre of them, who are almost entirely unequipped for the journey to the political underworld which is now called for.

Before I read this I’d pondering on just how old-fashioned both the “Blairite” and “Old Labour” calls were sounding in 2015. There’s not a lot in either stereotype for the zero-hour worker, for the those attempting to balance multiple jobs to make ends meet, for the exploited Lithuanian immigrant, or for the bloke in the pub who feels that maybe things would be better if there weren’t so many foreigners around. (These could all be the same person, by the way – such is the diverse and complicated nature of the 2015 labour market)

The strength of Blairism was recognising that the landscape had moved on since the 1970s; the next progressive leader(s) will only triumph if they recognise that 2015 is as distant from 1997 as 1997 was to the 1970s. I’m not quite sure what the new politics will look like yet, but in a funny way, I’m looking forward to finding out.