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David Cameron And Britain’s Conservative Party Score A Surprising Win

David Cameron

Heading into yesterday’s General Election in the United Kingdom, the consensus from political observers and analysts on both sides of the Atlantic was that we were likely headed for either a political stalemate in the form of a Hung Parliament in which neither party was able to sustain a majority, or a situation where the Labour Party would be able to form a government by making concessions to the Scottish National Party that could lead to a serious constitutional crisis for the United Kingdom. Heading down to the wire, polling from British sources and from Americans who have spent time paying attention to British politics suggested that we would end up with a situation where both David Cameron’s Conservative Party and Ed Milliband’s Labour Party would end the night with insufficient support to form a majority on their own. When the polls closed, though, the initial Exit Polls suggested that the Tories were headed for a surprisingly strong showing that would still require cooperation from other parties. As the votes came in, though, it became clear that the Tories were headed for a victory even more impressive than the one they scored in 2010:

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party won a surprisingly solid victory in the British general election on Thursday, with projections and partial results Friday morning showing that the party will at a minimum come close to winning an overall majority in Parliament.

Even if the Conservatives fall short of a majority, Mr. Cameron now appears all but certain to remain prime minister, with the choice of working with at least two smaller parties or trying to run a minority government.

The vote was a significant disappointment for the Labour Party and its leader, Ed Miliband, who saw his hopes of ejecting Mr. Cameron from Downing Street dissipate overnight.

Labour was nearly wiped out in Scotland by thesurging Scottish National Party and did poorer than pre-election polls had suggested it would in the rest of Britain.

“Now the results are still coming in, but this has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party,” Mr. Miliband said in a quasi concession speech after being re-elected to his seat in the House of Commons.

We haven’t made the gains that we wanted in England and Wales,” he said, “and in Scotland we have seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party.”

The results were also a disaster for Nick Clegg and his centrist Liberal Democrats, who have been the junior partner in a coalition with the Conservatives. The results raised questions about whether Mr. Miliband and Mr. Clegg might have to resign as leaders of their parties.

“It is now painfully clear that this has been a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats,” said Mr. Clegg, who served as deputy prime minister and who held his Sheffield Hallam seat with a reduced majority.

The latest projections by the BBC, based on incomplete results and a national exit poll, put the Conservatives at 329 seats, three more than an absolute majority in the 650-member House of Commons. Should the Conservatives win 329 seats when all the votes are tallied later on Friday, it would be a gain of 22 seats from the last election, in 2010.

Speaking in his electoral district after his re-election, Mr. Cameron said it was “clearly a very strong night for the Conservative Party,” though he added that it was too soon to say exactly what sort of result there will be when all the results are declared.

The projections put the Labour total at 233 seats, a decline of 25 seats from the 2010 results. In another humiliating blow for Labour, Ed Balls, who speaks for the party on economic issues and is one of its most influential figures, lost his seat of Morley and Outwood to the Conservatives.

“Any personal disappointment I have at this result is as nothing as compared to the sense of sorrow I have at the result that Labour has achieved across the United Kingdom,” Mr. Balls said after the result was announced.

The Scottish National Party won 56 of 59 seats in Scotland, rolling over Labour. In 2010, the Scottish nationalists won only six seats.

The success for the Scottish party, which favors independence for Scotland, was met Thursday night on Glasgow’s streets with the intermittent cheering and jeering reminiscent of soccer fans celebrating their favorite club.

Many in Glasgow seemed to think that another independence referendum appeared inevitable, despite the defeat of the pro-independence camp in a referendum last year.

For Mr. Cameron, the results appeared to be a vindication after a campaign in which opinion polls consistently showed Labour running even with the Conservatives. But even if the final results give him the ability to govern without a coalition partner, he will face immense challenges, not least in holding off calls from Scotland for independence and in managing pressure from within his own party for Britain to leave the European Union.

Mr. Cameron has promised to try to renegotiate terms of Britain’s membership in the 28-nation European Union and to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether Britain should remain in the bloc.

The results are also likely to fuel calls for a change to Britain’s electoral system to better represent national voting patterns.

The extent of what happened yesterday in the United Kingdom really cannot be understated, and it can be explained most easily by looking at the winners and the losers. On the winning side, the Tories look to increase the majority they won in the 2010 elections by at least twenty seats, which, if it holds up, means that they do not need to worry about renewing the coalition agreement that they entered into with the Liberal Democrats in the wake of the 2010 elections. At the most, Conservatives could secure their majority on their own along with the added support of smaller parties from Wales and Northern Ireland that are generally more inclined to support Tory policies in any case, Given the fact that all of the polling leading up to the election suggested that Cameron’s Party would fall far short of a majority, and well below the level they were at five years ago, this can only be characterized as a clear victory for the Conservatives.

The other winning party from yesterday’s election, of course, is the Scottish National Party. In the initial Exit Poll, it was estimated that the SNP would win 58 of the 59 seats being contested in Scotland yesterday, which was fairly close to some of the polls that we had seen last week. In the end, Nicola Sturgeon and her party fell short of that mark, but only by a far small margin. Of the 9 seats that the Scottish National Party contested, they won 56 of them This included victories over several prominent Labour Party politicians, along with the decimation of much of the Liberal Democratic Party’s positions in Scotland, On the Labour side, last night’s results saw losses by several prominent party leaders, as well as the loss of the seat that had once been held by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. On the Liberal Democratic side, the losses in Scotland included more than one of the L-D members of David Cameron’s Cabinet. In the end, while the SNP fell short of the sweep of Scotland’s constituencies that many had predicted, it became the predominant political power in the region, and knife in the back of Labour’s hopes to have any chance of  taking control of the House of Commons.

On the losing side, the biggest loser, of course, is the Labour Party. After give years in the opposition, Ed Milliband and his compatriots has placed much hope on the idea of being able to take back Downing Street in 2015. When the pre-election polling made it clear that it was unlikely that Labour to do it on its own, speculation immediately turned to the possibility that the party would seek support from the SNP to form a government. In many respects, it was the threat of this possibility that seems to have had a profound impact on the course of the election. The Conservatives, for example, cited the threat of a Labour-SNP alliance and the threat that would pose both to  the U.K. economy and the future of the union in many of the closing arguments made during the course of the past several weeks. In response, both Milliband and Sturgeon seemed to equivocate on the entire idea of a Labour-SNP deal and what the terms of that deal might be. While the polls didn’t seem to reflect it, it seems at least possible that voters reacted to this rhetoric by backing the party that has expressed the most loyalty for a United Kingdom. This was felt more directly in the loss of several members of Labour’s shadow cabinet in elections in Scotland, and in the loss of Ed Balls in a narrow election in his own constituency.

In addition to Labour, the other big loser from the British General Elections is the Liberal Democrats. After a performance in 2010 that gave them a voice in the government and more power than the party or its predecessors had had in more than a generation, the Liberal Democrats have gone from a party that held more than 40 seats in the House of Commons over the past five years to one that will be lucky to hold ten seats when the final votes are counted in this election. These losses came at the hands of members of the Scottish National Party, Labour, and the Conservative Party, so it’s difficult to say that it was due to any one cause, but perhaos the biggest reason seems to be that it was unclear what, if anything, the Liberal Democrats actually stood for.

In any case, with these losses both Labour’s Ed Milliband and Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg are clearly in danger of losing power in the coming days. In the meantime, the future course of British politics will be very interesting to watch, especially given the fact that the SNP’s new found popularity at home will be matched by almost no power in Parliament. How David Cameron handles that, and the issues likely to arise from it, will shape the United Kingdom for decades to come.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I wonder why the polls were so wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. stonetools says:

    My takeaways from this:

    1. This is a victory from a Conservative party that is not very conservative. The Tories are pro gun control, pro universal health insurance, pro gay rights, and believe tthat global warming is a thing.. Their political programme looks a lot like our Democratic Party political programme than it does the Republican one. It is a sane, right of center programme and it proved quite popular.

    2. Unity counts. The right wing in the the UK was united behind the Tories ( a few voted UKIP). The left vote was divided among Labour, the Lib Dems, the Scots Nationalists, and the Greens. the result? Even though more leftists cast votes than conservatives, the Conservatives won power (US 2000 elections, anyone?).
    Looking forward to the 2016 Presidential elections, liberals may draw the conclusion that adopting a centrist programme that all liberals can sign off on and uniting quickly behind one tested candidate is the way to go. This is of course what they are doing. It may be boring, but its the way to win.

    Guardian coverage here. I favor this analysis:

    Even the most Panglossian, hyper-optimistic Tories I spoke to in the last 48 hours of the campaign thought that 290 was the upper limit they could reasonably expect. Planning a second interparty alliance, they were fixated instead on the likely Lib Dem outcome, and, specifically, Nick Clegg’s fate in Sheffield Hallam.

    So now they are wondering, unexpectedly, exactly what went right. How did the party that failed to reach its own fiscal targets, that slashed 9% from departmental budgets, that allegedly presided over a “cost of living crisis”, that lost its hard-won credibility over the NHS with a disastrous plan, that has never quite shaken the image of the “nasty party”, hold on to power?

    This is a vindication of Lynton Crosby’s insistence, long before the campaign proper, that the party identify a clear palette of issues and stick to it. In the determinedly straightforward formula devised by the Australian electoral consultant, Cameron offered “competence” versus supposed Labour chaos, and stress-tested leadership versus a man who could not handle a bacon sandwich, let alone HM government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  3. CS says:

    Final call is a Conservative majority government- thin majority, but enough, especially as they can probably count on a bit more from several relatively compatible small parties on most issues (the unionists in Northern Ireland, UKIP, etc). They have the advantage of a divided opposition, however- the next biggest party is Labour, who are hovering around 240 seats (of 650), with the Scottish Nationalists in third with about 60 seats. They would need to lose a lot of by-elections (where someone resigns/dies in office, etc) for them to be in serious danger of losing control of anything but the most divisive issues.

    As for why the polls are wrong, polling in the UK is pretty tricky- too many small fiddly little constituencies. It actually has been better this year, as the approximate equivalent to the Koch brothers, Lord Ashcroft (Who was the biggest Conservative donor for much of the last decade or so) has been privately funding polls and releasing the data. However, please keep in mind the UK has very tight financing laws – Ashcrofts donations would struggle to fund a decent campaign for the Senate in a small state like North Dakota. He is mostly doing this because he’s genuinely interested in the results and it has provided a lot of fodder for analysts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. trumwill says:

    @stonetools: While “divided left vote” applies to most elections, it doesn’t apply to this one. Tory plus UKIP plus DUP gets you over 50% of the popular vote even if we count LDP as liberal (which, in this cycle at least, I would argue that we shouldn’t).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    After weeks of polls predicting a political stalemate or worse, British voters delivered a strong win for David Cameron and the Tories.

    Strong win? I don’t think the Tories will do a coalition this time, which makes this the weakest government since 1974.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  6. george says:

    Conservatives in Europe and Canada are to the left (often far to the left) of the Democrats in America on most issues.

    The term doesn’t mean internationally what it means in the USA.

    It is very interesting how often polls are coming out wrong now, all over the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  7. DrDaveT says:

    The extent of what happened yesterday in the United Kingdom really cannot be understated, and it can be explained most easily by looking at the winners and the losers.

    Oh. You’re talking about the outcome.

    I had assumed you were talking about the insane degree of difference between the predicted outcome and the actual outcome. That simply should not be possible, given even remotely competent polling, unless something important happened right before the election. It’s all very well to talk about “fiddly little constituencies”, but competent polling accounts for that.

    If I were a political analyst, I’d feel more urgency to understand what went wrong with the polling than to understand the implications of the new Tory government for the UK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    Even when I do get a call from a pollster I either don’t answer it because I don’t recognize the number or I hang up. Cell phones are also a factor. I am probably going to kill my land line because I only get calls on it from people or organizations I really don’t want to talk to. Even in the 55+ community I live in many only have cell phones now. And don’t forget people lie to pollsters.
    Poor Nate had his day in the sun but now he needs to go back to baseball.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  9. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    That reminds me of an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin fills out a gum chewing survey, saying that he’s 40 years old, spends more than $100 per week on gum, and his favorite chewing gum flavors are “Garlic” and “Curry.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @george:

    Indeed. The takeaway for me from this election is how resoundingly UKIP, which is a much closer analogue to what conservatism has come to imply here in the U.S., was rejected. They picked up exactly 1 seat. In political terms, they’re nonexistent, which is a good thing.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 8

  11. trumwill says:

    @HarvardLaw92: They did get over 10% of the vote, which could be significant in and of itself because I’m sure the Tories noticed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The takeaway for me from this election is how resoundingly UKIP, which is a much closer analogue to what conservatism has come to imply here in the U.S., was rejected. They picked up exactly 1 seat. In political terms, they’re nonexistent, which is a good thing.

    They weren’t rejected, they got 12.6% of the votes cast which makes them the third largest party in votes received. With that amount of votes, if they were a regional party they would have gotten a lot more MPs, the SNP got 56 MPs with only 4.7% of the votes. But UKIP voters are spread all over the UK, so they only got one MP.

    This will lead to further calls for election reform, even though proponents lost the referendum in 2011.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Dave Schuler says:

    @trumwill:

    With the preamble that left-right dichotomies don’t translate well, SNP is a left-leaning party in British terms. Their strength took votes away from Labour. Doesn’t explain the Tories’ better-than-expected showing, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Mu says:

    To illustrate the difference between political position in Europe and in the US”: Demanding that the social safety net pay what’s minimally needed to keep a roof over a families head and doesn’t make anyone starve is extreme right wing in Europe, and socialist in the US. Ditto for basic healthcare with limits on maximum spending, low cost tuition for university education etc. Bernie Sanders would be a Tory in the UK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  15. trumwill says:

    @Dave Schuler: I count SNP as a liberal party. The third mentioned party is a conservative party in Northern Ireland.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Goudy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    In political terms, they’re nonexistent, which is a good thing.

    Weird, would have thought that UKIP would be your party considering what you said about how little you care for people of, ah, what’d you call them, shiftless lazy native hordes?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 24

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    Which in my mind equates them, from a political power perspective, with Libertarians in the U.S. They garner a decent sized slice of the cumulative vote if we add up the fraction they receive in each individual congressional race, but we utterly ignore them because they hold no seats. If you can’t convert votes into seats, you’re meaningless from a political perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Goudy:

    Cue the sockpuppets. Nothing if not predictable …

    No joy, sorry.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

  19. Trumwill says:

    @PJ:

    This will lead to further calls for election reform

    I think shutting UKIP is likely to be seen as a feature rather than a bug of the current system. Moreso than most third parties, I think there is actually a desire for them not to be able to participate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  20. Trumwill says:

    @Mu:

    Bernie Sanders would be a Tory in the UK.

    In a way, maybe, but not really. Politics is more orientational than fixed. Both here and over at Ordinary Times I posted a “Which party should you support” quiz, and almost no liberals came up with anything but Labour or LDP. Our current positions on what we do and do not support are based significantly on our surroundings. If you put a liberal in a more liberal environment, or a conservative in a more conservative one, they’ll ideological positioning is less likely to change than their positions on specific issues.

    To the point, Sanders’s brother ran as a Green in the UK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools:

    This is a victory from a Conservative party that is not very conservative. The Tories are pro gun control, pro universal health insurance, pro gay rights, and believe tthat global warming is a thing.. Their political programme looks a lot like our Democratic Party political programme than it does the Republican one. It is a sane, right of center programme and it proved quite popular.

    All true, but I tend toward a rather simplistic assessment of politicians, I focus on GDP growth and casualties. AGW will have a huge economic impact, and it’s good that the Tories somewhat get it, along with almost everyone except the U. S. Republican Party. But their management of their economy has not been good. They have followed the “Very Serious People” policies and seem to be as much in the pocket of the banks as we are. The results are before them. But they got re-elected anyway, which reinforces the errors.

    On the other hand, I pay little attention to British politics, but my impression is Labour’s not significantly better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  22. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Which in my mind equates them, from a political power perspective, with Libertarians in the U.S. They garner a decent sized slice of the cumulative vote if we add up the fraction they receive in each individual congressional race, but we utterly ignore them because they hold no seats. If you can’t convert votes into seats, you’re meaningless from a political perspective.

    From a political power perspective it would equate them with every other party in the US other than the Republicans and the Democrats.

    The reality is that the Libertarians only got 1-1.2% in the last election. UKIP got ten times that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  23. PJ says:

    Of 649 constituencies (one is yet to be declared), UKIP won one, was the second largest in 120, and third largest in 364.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    And yet they hold zero political power, so in the larger analysis does their vote percentage really mean much of anything beyond “there are far right wingers sprinkled across the UK”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    What was their actual vote percentage in those constituencies? In other words, how many of them are they ever likely to carry in the future?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

  26. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    And yet they hold zero political power, so in the larger analysis does their vote percentage really mean much of anything beyond “there are far right wingers sprinkled across the UK”?

    The Tories hold a razor thin majority and there will be by-elections and unreliable backbenchers, so yes, it does.
    Among other things, Cameron has promised a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  27. C. Clavin says:

    Bam…a couple hundred thousand new jobs.
    The economic recovery continues…in spite of Republican efforts to the contrary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    Same question as before – in which, of any constituencies, did UKIP come anywhere close to matching the prevailing party’s vote-get in that constituency?

    Simply saying “they got the second highest vote count in Grover’s Corners” doesn’t mean much if that second highest showing was, say, 20% vs 80% for the winner.

    Just an example: the Democrats were the second highest vote recipient in the Alabama 2nd, but they only got 36% of the vote in that district in the most recent election, so it’s likely that Dems will never pickup that seat in the foreseeable future.

    Politicians worry about other parties when they are a viable threat to their own power, not before.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    From a political power perspective it would equate them with every other party in the US other than the Republicans and the Democrats.

    My point exactly – they’re also-rans which nobody really takes seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

  30. Gustopher says:

    In another humiliating blow for Labour, Ed Balls, who speaks for the party on economic issues and is one of its most influential figures, lost his seat of Morley and Outwood to the Conservatives.

    Balls probably got licked by the British version of a teabagger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Groan. But up vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Jenkyns seems pretty tame, at least from what I can find published about her policy positions. It’s worth noting that Balls lost by a 1.1% margin, or 422 votes out of 37,130 cast, so maybe not as resounding a defeat as it’s seemingly being presented to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  33. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    My point exactly – they’re also-rans which nobody really takes seriously.

    Republicans don’t take Libertarians seriously, because 1/ they won’t win any districts, and 2/ their vote share is so small that they really aren’t going to act as spoiler candidate either.

    UKIP is siphoning euro-sceptic,anti-immgration voters, etc, so while they only won one constituency, they are in a position to act as a spoiler, for both parties.

    I don’t think UK constituencies are quite as gerrymandered as US districts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  34. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92: But the Torries, and even Labor, to a point, both moved to counter UKIP: the Torries promised a EU referendum , and both parties promised immigration restrictions. In that sense, the UKIP got what it wanted, even without winning parliamentary seats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. trumwill says:

    @humanoid.panda: Quite. UKIP doesn’t have to win or come close to winning to be important. They just have to threaten to spoil individual elections.

    What would the Conservative government look like with another 6-6-12% of the vote?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    I don’t think UK constituencies are quite as gerrymandered as US districts.

    Nor do I, which is why I asked for the actual vote percentages. Simply telling me “second highest” doesn’t tell me much which is of any use to me from an analytical standpoint.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Granted, but politicians promise many things when they are trying to get elected. We’ll have to sit back and watch to see how many of them actually happen. In particular, I don’t think Cameron truly wants the UK out of the EU, and I don’t think he’d ever support such a referendum unless he expected to win it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  38. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Nor do I, which is why I asked for the actual vote percentages. Simply telling me “second highest” doesn’t tell me much which is of any use to me from an analytical standpoint.

    UKIP’s highest percentage, in the constituency they won, was 44.4%.
    In seven constituencies they got between 30 and 34%.
    In nine between 25 and 30%.
    In 52 between 20 and 25%.
    In 185 between 15 and 20%.
    In 200 between 10 and 15%.

    Compare that to what Libertarians get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  39. Andre Kenji says:

    Ed Miliband was a horrible leader and a horrible politician. He was an easy target for comedians(“Mock the Week” compared him to Wallace, of the Wallace and Gromit). His rejection level was much higher than Cameron´s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    So, absolute best case analysis, they have a somewhat legitimate chance of potentially picking up 16 seats in the foreseeable future. I’m underwhelmed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  41. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    So, absolute best case analysis, they have a somewhat legitimate chance of potentially picking up 16 seats in the foreseeable future. I’m underwhelmed.

    The Torries won 331 of 650 seats.

    As have been pointed out, it’s not just the threat of them winning, it’s the threat of them acting as a spoiler.

    But please let me know how many districts where the Libertarian candidate get more than 10% of the votes…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    And Labour won 232. UKIP is going to act as a spoiler precisely how? You think Cameron is going to take advice from Nigel Farage now, or realistically even take his calls? Why would he?

    I absolutely accept that Nicola Sturgeon is going to be able to push him to and fro as she likes now, for obvious reasons, but UKIP is a joke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I’ll note that one of the primary effects of UKIP’s move towards being more outspoken about their true nature has been a pointed RISE in the number of people expressing support for Britain remaining in the EU.

    The observations of the guy who founded UKIP also seem pertinent to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  44. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Curious, why would you think that Nicola Sturgeon would be able to push him around? I can see reasons why, but those would be more local to Scotland. Scotland will have more leverage than Wales do when it comes to further devolution, but Scotland isn’t going to be turning blue anytime soon, so I don’t see SNP having any leverage on UK politics as a whole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    She’s obviously the person in a position to deliver votes to him to counteract the backbenchers, if any, who aren’t inclined to play ball with him. She has power to the degree that she has seats. She has something to bring to the negotiating table which is useful for him, and he has the power to help her in return. UKIP doesn’t have the power to give him anything in Parliament and he’s pretty clearly not going to back most of their policy proposals. If anything, I see them as foils which the Tories can use to solidify their own support in the constituencies.

    That makes them useful idiots, but it doesn’t give them a seat at the table.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  46. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    She’s obviously the person in a position to deliver votes to him to counteract the backbenchers, if any, who aren’t inclined to play ball with him. She has power to the degree that she has seats. She has something to bring to the negotiating table which is useful for him, and he has the power to help her in return.

    Clearly, you don’t have a clue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    So, your position is that, having overwhelmingly taken Scotland’s parliamentary seats, she is now going to absolutely squander that power by refusing to cut deals with Cameron in order to advance her own party’s positions?

    That seems like a reasonable thing to do … :roll:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  48. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Scotland isn’t going to turn blue, neither is the SNP going to advance much further than the result yesterday (ok, there are three constiuencies that SNP didn’t win), the Scots are going to advance over the wall…

    The only leverage that the SNP would have on a Tory government is Scotland leaving the UK, and the SNP lost the referendum last year.

    Let’s say that there’s a socialist wave in New England thanks to Bernie Sanders, and the Republicans having a slim majority in the House and Senate. Do you seem the cutting a lot of the deals with the New England socialists? No, while the NE Socialist Party may end being able to cut deals with the Democrats, they wouldn’t get a lot from the Republicans. Instead the Republicans would warn the voters that a Democratic led majority would have to rely on the NE Socialists. Which is exactly what happpened in the UK.

    If the Tories end up cutting deals, it will be with DUP, LD, or LAB way before the SNP.

    You really don’t see to have a clue.

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  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    it will be with DUP, LD, or LAB way before the SNP.

    Because all of those you cited have something to bring to the table – seats. UKIP has 1, down from 2. UKIP actually lost a seat last night. You still haven’t told me why Cameron should care about UKIP.

    If their ostensible power stems from their ability to act as spoilers, it doesn’t seem to have been effective with respect to the Tories losing seats. I can certainly see why Labour or the Lib Dems might be concerned about that phenomenon, but I see no reason for Cameron to care about it – beyond the fact that it seems to have delivered seats to the Tories and SNP at the expense of Labour and the Lib Dems.

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  50. C Wagner says:

    Not only did Miliband resign after this fiasco, but the Labour Party has lost its Balls.

    You know this will be a newspaper headline somewhere.

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  51. Trumwill says:

    So I went and looked at previous elections to find out when the last time it was that conservative parties collectively took a majority of the popular vote.

    I’m still not sure of the answer because it’s hard to draw context from the 1950’s, which is how far back you have to go for it to become even ambiguous (ie neither liberal parties nor conservative ones have a clear majority).

    That’s pretty remarkable.

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  52. Goudy says:

    @PJ:

    You really don’t see to have a clue.

    Haven’t you noticed him before? Being loudly and proudly wrong about stuff he doesn’t have a clue about is his signature style.

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  53. PD Shaw says:

    @Trumwill:

    1931?

    It was the last election where one party (the Conservatives) received an absolute majority of the votes cast and the last UK general election not to take place on a Thursday.

    The Election Who Was Not Thursday

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  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Goudy:

    You really are a passive-aggressive piece of work. Hell of a way to live, but whatever gets you through the day, I suppose.

    Sheesh :roll:

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  55. george says:

    @Trumwill:

    In a way, maybe, but not really. Politics is more orientational than fixed. Both here and over at Ordinary Times I posted a “Which party should you support” quiz, and almost no liberals came up with anything but Labour or LDP. Our current positions on what we do and do not support are based significantly on our surroundings. If you put a liberal in a more liberal environment, or a conservative in a more conservative one, they’ll ideological positioning is less likely to change than their positions on specific issues.

    I wonder if that’s true in practice. From what I’ve seen, among Americans who immigrate to Canada (I run across this a fair amount, being one myself), most Democrat voters end up voting for the centrist (and arguably center-right in Canadian terms) Liberal Party, rather than the leftish NDP. Republicans do end up voting for the Conservatives all right.

    Maybe its just because the gap is so big in absolute terms. Even the Canadian Conservative Party is to the left of the Democrats on most issues, so going Democrat to NDP is perhaps too big an absolute jump.

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  56. Pinky says:

    Kind of puts Doug’s year-early horse race articles in perspective, when we can’t guess what the UK will do a week beforehand.

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  57. Andre Kenji says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The three major parties were talking about limiting immigration precisely because of the UKIP. They are a joke, but a serious one.

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  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Understood. I’m just saying I’ll believe it when they actually do it. I’m not sure how much of it is serious and how much of it is campaign BS.

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  59. PJ says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Understood. I’m just saying I’ll believe it when they actually do it. I’m not sure how much of it is serious and how much of it is campaign BS.

    On the subject of the UK limiting immigration.
    Croatia joined the EU in 2013 but its citizens will not, despite all the talk about freedom of movement for workers in the union, be able to freely move to and work in the UK until 2018. 14 member states allowed them to do this directly in 2013, another 12 didn’t let let them until this year, but the UK is the only EU member imposing a five year waiting period.

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  60. Ben Wolf says:

    WASPs are pretty consistent when it comes to their politics. They won’t move left until conservatives have gotten the train up to full speed and smashed it into the wall, so this outcome isn’t a surprise.

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