Saturday, 5 May 2012

Another Mid-Term Kicking - Why the Fuss?

This is nothing new. Those of the general population that could be bothered to vote decided to give the coalition a bit of a kicking on Thursday. Red Ed, easily the Tories' biggest and most productive weapon come the real thing in 2015, seemed to be of the view that a moderately successful night in the cirumstances represented the first step towards a triumphant, sweeping return to government.

Maybe he felt it necessary to make such claims and/or that the circumstances permitted it? Alternatively, Red Ed is wrong, as he is on just about every other major political issue. For whatever reason, people are quite fond of expressing their frustations about national policy when mid-term locals come up. In an age where politicians across all of the mainstream parties are, well, just not very good, then the scale to which voters 'lash out' is bound to increase. By definition, it's the official opposing party that stands to benefit most in that situation.

As if to emphasise the validity of that point, even William Hague had one night where he gave Blair a bloody nose (I remember staying up until silly o'clock in the morning to watch it). Come the 2001 election, only a handful of seats switched hands from the wipeout of four years earlier and Hague, a man with a great deal more natural aptitude than Red Ed (not that it's saying especially much) had to go. Are there really enough people stupid enough to trust Labour again? Does anyone really believe their unique take on history, namely that the solution to maxing out one credit card is to take out another - and hey, if we run out of money, we can always print some more?

But here's the other side of the problem - the coalition are but a fraction better than what's in the opposing corner. I've heard many explanations as to why the Conservative Party has become something of a joke in the Uk. Is it too Conservative or not Conservative enough? Has it lost touch with what is, apparently, a 'naturally conservative country?' (not that I believe that for a second). Its membership is quite literally dying out and at least Labour has the advantage of still appealing to youth and misplaced idealism.

Something Dave focussed on rather heavily when he became leader was the 'decontamination' of 'the Tory brand'. It showed an impressive level of awareness to realise that the Conservative Party are possibly the most hated institution in Britain. Quite why this is, I'm unsure. Have myths about the Thatcher years been passed down the next two generations, meaning that entire working class towns and middle class, Islington types will never vote Conservative again? I used to think that was the most rational explanation, but then it's easy to over-analyse and complicate these things.

The truth is that since the late 1980s, the Tories have been pretty useless at just about everything, be it the economy, law and order, education, whatever. In terms of getting taxpayer value, they have been and remain but a fraction less worse than the other side. People will tolerate 'nastiness' as long as there's a degree of competence underpinning it. I sometimes like to express this stuff in the form of a mathematical equation so:-

Niceness - Competence = Dud Party that a few people like (Labour)
Nastiness - Competence = Dud Party that nobody likes (Tories)

One of them will die inside a generation, and the smart money would be on the uesless Tories croaking first.

A natural consequence of disaffection with the two dud parties is that the 'others' share of the vote increased, largely at the expense of the LibDems. Their problem seems to be that they became a whole lot bigger than was ever envisaged. It's immensely difficult to go from being an obscure indie band that remain a secret amongst their followers, then rocking up at Wembley, banging out a couple of new, shiny hit singles and not pissing off the hardcore element who remember when "it used to be about the music man". We already had two dud parties passing the parcel of government between themselves and didn't need a third.

Surely the whole point of the LibDems was that THEY WERE NEVER GOING TO BE THE GOVERNMENT!!, so voting for them (or being a LibDem MP) represented a distant declaration of smug superiority. The same issue applies to UKIP, who started as a single issue pressure group gatecrashing Euro elections and have now reached a level where becoming the third party in British politics has to be their next aim. I've voted UKIP at the last two Euro elections, but wonder what direction they are going in. The very name is that of a pressure group, not a party with solutions to a range of national issues. However, the same  name has accrued a level of positive brand recognition that required more than a decade to establish.

Disaffected Tory MEPs and their biggest ever donor have come on board, but then is 'party for old ex-Tories who got a bit pissed off' really something you can sell to people on the doorstep? They're far too big to start again, but are probably at the zenith of what they'll ever achieve in their current guise. Anyone who wants us out of the EU (myself included) can only regard this as a bad thing.

I'm gonna try and get something else done later on - thanks for reading and take care.


  1. Correct Daz. One of the things that finished me off with UKIP, and there were a few, was having to withdraw an invitation to speak at a regional meeting to Sean Gabb. Farage thought he was too libertarian!! Too many UKIP members fall out with each other about any policy other than the EU for them to ever achieve anything in local or national elections and, in my experience, most of their members are old style Tory/Labour authoritarian types. Mention legalising drugs at a UKIP meeting and you'll cause a riot.

  2. Good post Daz, much food for thought. Nice to see your posting again.

  3. Thanks both - the political scene in Britain is quite a desparate place!!

  4. The Chav Hunter7 May 2012 at 23:13

    Good post Daz but I think you are failing to see the seriousness of the situation. As libertarians the dear old Tories are the only thing we really have to protect us from big government and liberal socialism. Dave just isn't right wing enough for most Tories who are becoming more and more pro UKIP. Nearly every national newspaper is now against the Tories. Obviously they have no friends in Guardian and Mirror readers but they are not living up to the expectations of the average Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Express reader either. A move towards proper Margaret Thatcher territory is what's needed and fast. But this cannot happen in the coalition. I don't see a way out.