Jul 112024

A combination of Tory incompetence, mismanagement, the austerity fetish, and probably outright corruption has allowed us the electorate to drive a knife into the heart of the Tory beast. But the job is not over yet; the beast still lives if wounded.

The Tories may well thrust the knife in themselves with a variety of different groups moving the party to the right with the impression that the country is moving in the direction of ReformUK. Ignoring their traditional supporters.

But in case sanity returns by the time of the next election, we should be planning on finishing off the Tory beast. That doesn’t mean the right shouldn’t have a party – there is still a bunch who would vote for a centre-right party.

But the current Tory party itself is guilty of such atrocious mis-management that it deserves to die.

We need to demand electoral reform – getting rid of a government so miserable in performance and fractured in nature shouldn’t require tactical voting. People should be free to vote with their conscience and belief and to find the result reflects their vote in proportion to everyone else.

It is worth pointing out that the 2019 election result gave the Tories an 80 seat majority on 44% of the popular vote whereas the combination of Labour, Greens, and Liberals got 46% of the popular vote. How is giving the right-wing the government when a left-wing ‘coalition’ had a majority of the popular vote supposed to be fair?

And that was quite possibly the poorest result for the left of centre parties in recent times.

If we do not get electoral reform, we need to push tactical voting twice as hard – and drag old old stories of just how bad the Tories in government really were.

A long road to the gatehouse
Dover Castle Gateway
Jul 062024

So various places are now filling up with articles whining about how if MPs were selected by the share of the vote, Labour would have gotten far fewer MPs and the minority parties (such as ReformUK whose voters seem particularly dumb) would have gotten more.

For example, Labour got 412 MPs with just 34% of the vote; if they had 34% of the MPs, they would have just 221 MPs which would require a coalition to obtain a majority. On the opposite side of the equation, ReformUK got 5 MPs (far too many!) with 14.3% of the vote which would have gotten them

But there’s two aspects to the unfairness of the results :-

  1. We don’t have proportional representation. Labour doesn’t put that much effort into constituencies that are their safest seats or those they’ll never win. A win in a seat with a 20,000 majority is worth no more than a seat with a majority of 1. To a very great extent, sensible political parties have been practicing “tactical campaigning” for a very long time.
  2. This election has probably seen more tactical voting than has ever been seen before – backed by a massive campaign, this has probably seen quite a few Labour voters (for example) voting for Liberal Democrats in constituencies where that makes the most sense to get rid of the Tories (and visa versa). So the share of the Labour vote is suppressed; probably a surprising amount.

That’s glossing over the fact that many supporters of smaller parties (such as the Greens) have been voting tactically for decades – I’ve often voted Labour when I’d rather vote Green.

You will see pretty pictures of what parliament would look like if MPs were allocated according to voter share – they’re all completely fictional. Voting would be quite different if we really allocated MPs according to the proportion of votes. So that kind of speculation is rather pointless.

But it does highlight the need for proportional representation.

Tunnel of Arches
Jul 022024

The Tories (and occasionally others) are currently banging on about the dangers of a Labour “supermajority” without defining what it is.

Of course there is no such thing as a “supermajority” in the House of Commons – a vote passes (or fails) when it gets more votes in favour. Whether that vote gets a majority of one or 100 is irrelevant.

There is a danger with a huge majority though; a lesser danger than allowing the Tories to remain in government or even opposition. But a danger never the less.

A huge majority allows a government to pass laws with less risk than would otherwise be the case. Every so often we head of MP “rebellions” when MPs of the government’s party vote against that government’s wishes.

When a government wishes to pass a law that is on the extremes, they are more likely to encounter a rebellion. And a rebellion was more likely to succeed if the majority is slim.

Thus with an overwhelming majority, the government has a better chance of getting more extremist legislation through and into law.

Filthy Roaring Beasts Rushing Along The Scar
Jun 302024

… is excessively exaggerated.

Sure, it looks likely that the Tories will lose the election and quite possibly at a scale even worse than the 1906 election. Much as I like the idea, the likelihood of them being forced into third place is perhaps rather remote.

The key to the Tories’ failure is their Brexit-induced lurch to the right – both in terms of economic policy and in terms of “cultural” policy. They’re not only lurched to the right, but looking at their lack of popularity have doubled-down and gone further right.

The problem (without regard to the stupid viciousness of right-wing policies) is that not every Tory voter is happy with the far right lurch. The Tory supporters always used to be a collection of folk varying from those just right of centre all the way through to goose-stepping full on fascists. The ones closer to the centre than fitting in with the crew with the smart uniform fetish, are currently homeless.

This can best be seen amongst the young where support amongst the 18-24 aged folk is as low as 1%.

The funny thing is that the worse their defeat, the more likely they are to start fixing things. They actually need to be forced into third place. Anything less and they will likely carry on the same path they’re currently on. Which in the end may very well result in them being placed third at the next election; or worse (especially if proportional representation is brought in).

And even if the result is bad enough to spend a long time reconsidering and rebuilding, if they let the extreme right-wingers (of whatever kind) and corrupt spivs retain control, then they won’t get anywhere near power ever again.

No, they need to return to the centre. Rebuild support amongst traditional conservatives who amongst other things respect honesty and probity. Those conservatives (lower case “c”) will go somewhere – either a reconstituted Tory party or a new party.

But death? Well it is possible, but there have been previous incidents of parties being reduced to what the Tories will likely be reduced to – the Liberal party for example. Whilst the modern Liberal Democrats isn’t the same party as the old Liberals, the later did last into the modern era (well, the 1980s).

So if anything being beaten into third place next week, may actually be the best outcome for the Tory party. At least if they mend their ways.

Old Metal 3
May 262024

Way back when the Tories got into power (2010), they had a bit of a cheer-a-thon when austerity measures were announced. I said at the time that even if austerity was necessary (and it probably wasn’t), it wasn’t the sort of thing to cheer about.

We’ve since seen the effect of their austerity fetish taking effect on our public services – NHS waiting lists grown out of all proportion, trouble filling public-sector vacancies, pot-holes in the roads, libraries closed left, right, and centre.

Even if it were necessary, the initial cheering tells us everything we need to know about Tories. They don’t give a damn about most of us – they would rather cut taxes for their rich pals.

So remember when you vote – the Tories aren’t on your side.

A long road to the gatehouse
Dover Castle Gateway