Tag Archives: UKIP

Three clever bits of politicking?

Not even a week has passed since the election and the Tories are already manoeuvring for the next one with three expert bits of politicking.

(1) Suggest vote on foxhunting ban

Sends out the right message to the rural heartlands and winds up the metropolitan elite, who will be guaranteed to “over-react”. As David Cameron himself wrote in the Countryside Alliance;

“There is definitely a rural way of life which a born and bred Londoner might struggle to understand”

And sure enough, an outpouring of emotion on Twitter just seems to emphasis his point. This move is not about freedom, nor is it an outpouring of bloodlust (he’s not saying they will do it, merely that they will allow a vote on it) but it is excellent divisive politics.

(2) Make like you’re going to push ahead on the Human Rights Act repeal

There are many excellent and learned pieces on how complicated this is going to be in practice. David Allen Green is an excellent commentator on this and has summarised some reading here and Michael Gove’s former SpAD has some interesting views too.

Does any of this complexity really matter? If the Tories make great gestures about going for this and are thwarted by mandarins, devious lawyers or “Europe”, all of this plays into the narrative that the great nation of England is being pushed around by illegitimate powers. They may lose the battle but will win the (electoral) war.

(3) Be tough on extremism

Cameron’s wording about “passive tolerance” is, again, political genius. “Tolerance” is one of those words (like “human rights”) that is sadly undergoing metamorphosis from a great British value to some dirty activity that we should be ashamed of.

As with the Human Rights Act, what really seems to be going here is dog whistle politics at its most depressing. Cameron’s aides are borrowing heavily from the UKIP book of tricks. And why not, as that’s the share of the vote that’s grown most rapidly?


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.