The multi-party continental fantasyland that was never to be

Posted May 12, 2015 in politics  |  1 Comment so far

Lots of people have written about the election last Thursday and the decisive Conservative victory, which came as a surprise to everyone.

I was going to write something too but decided against it. Instead here are some other things that might be worth reading.

First, at Public Policy And The Past, the enigmatic “historian” has a good piece titled “So What Did Happen Last Thursday?” which offers five reasons for the surprisingly easy Tory victory and the mistaken assumption so many of us had that two-party politics was a thing of the past. Labour and Conservative actually both increased their share of the vote, so it’s very much politics as usual:

All of this has come as some shock to your average cafe-dwelling leftist. They thought that a new world was coming into being: a multi-party continental fantasyland, in which parties would have to work together, in which voters would choose based on a buffet of different policy options, in which a ‘left alliance’ of all anti-Conservative parties could seize power, enact voting reform and generally make the world a softer, greener, more pluralistic place.

It wasn’t.

As a café-dwelling leftist myself I should admit to being quite excited about Borgen-style coalition politics. Not so much because I thought it would deliver the sorts of policies that I lean towards, though: more because it would liven things up a bit.

Here’s another piece by Chris Cook on BBC News. It quotes extensively from Labour strategist James Morris, who I think I might have met once in real life. It’s an insightful look at what was going on behind the scenes during the campaign within a Labour party whose private polling was far less favourable to them than the (as it turned out, shockingly inaccurate) polls that appeared in the press.

“The campaign strongly toughened our stance on the SNP before the final Question Time [TV appearance for Mr Miliband], but it was not enough. The Tories successfully used the fear of Scottish influence as a way of catalyzing pre-existing doubts about Labour in a way that had not been possible earlier in the campaign. Labour’s unexpected post-referendum collapse in Scotland transformed the election across the whole of Great Britain.”

At some point in the future I’d like to learn more about this election campaign. Behind the tabloid mud-slinging and one-note anti-Scottish fearmongering there was obviously some brutal yet intricate thinking going on. Lynton Crosby is clearly someone to be reckoned with.

1 comment so far.  Post a comment

  1. Mark
    May 23, 2015 at 9:24 am [ Permalink

    worth a look wrt polling and the 2 main parties –

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