Election Blogs 1: setting the scene

 

 

 

 

 

There’s an election coming! yes of course you know. But this could be the most interesting and bizarre election in decades. The old tribal boundaries between Left and Right are really breaking down, and it’s difficult to see how they will be reconstructed after 2019.

Staunch Labour heartland constituencies that voted strongly to leave the EU are unlikely to be persuaded by Corbyn’s ambiguous Brexit position. But will they really be able to vote Tory, or perhaps more likely for the Brexit Party. At the other end of the country (well England, anyway), are strongly pro-Remain Tory heartlands, such as those constituencies John Harris talks about in this article. Local Council and Euro election results show clearly  that the historic bonds to the Tory party are loosening. Will they break completely this time, with a wholesale shift to the LibDems, alongside former Tory now independent MPs? Will the Remain Alliance achieve anything in our creaking, no failing, First Past The Post system, other than larger opposition votes.

Added to this extra dimension of Remain/Leave, is the continuing rejection of the old Westminster parties in Scotland, and perhaps also in Wales, especially South Wales.  This is another former Labour heartland now looking like it may finally lose that old bond.

To add to the electoral strata of old tribal loyalties, the Remain/Leave split; and burgeoning nationalism (especially in Scotland), there is a profound distrust in politicians in general. While there has always been a healthy scepticism around politics at all levels, there’s no question that the voting public now view Westminster politics in an extremely poor light.

The Brexit Party in particular has exploited and fanned the flames of this distrust, making best use of the Betrayal Narrative, which I wrote about earlier. It remains to be seen whether Farage will pull back from his threat to field candidates in constituences where they could split the Leave vote. That peerage offer may be simply too tempting for the politician who has failed on seven previous occasions, to make it into Westminster via the electoral route.

It’s no wonder the Betrayal Narrative is working so well as a political strategy, when MPs are generally viewed as self-serving, money-grubbing and completely uninterested in the views or needs of their electorate. I don’t agree with this view  – many MPs serve the public – both their constituents and wider civil society, work very hard, sacrifice their home life; and now have to work under a constant barrage of abuse, even physical threats of violence. And it’s not just from the far right, but extremists on all sides.  Who would want to be an MP in these circumstances? This, among other factors, is creating a feedback loop, where MPs are selected from within the existing political parties, from within the very small Westminster bubble, and become ever less representative of the wider public.

I am not going to say much more now, other than that I am waiting for the party manifestos and when they are published I will write more blogs, with a particular focus on the various party’s commitments (or aspirations anyway) on the environment, farming, food and housing.

If you’re looking for predictions, forget it. And certainly don’t trust the polls, unless they are at or near constituency level.

And watch the weather, it could play a very significant role in this, the first December election in nearly a century.

 

 

photo by:  The joy of all things [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
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9 Responses to Election Blogs 1: setting the scene

  1. Thomas says:

    Very interesting post. I reckon that this will be the last general election to be held using FPTP, which is now utterly unfit for purpose. I also reckon one way or another that Scotland will become an independent country before long. Whichever smaller parties can be persuaded to allow a major one to form a government electoral reform will be one of their demands, and in the likely event that SNP acquiescence being required Indyref 2 will be their non-negotiable price.

    • Miles King says:

      Thanks Thomas. I hope you are right and this is the end of FPTP. You will remember the Tories’ successful election campaign claiming that a vote for Labour would lead to Scottish independence. Somehow it seems less likely to be effective this time around, but I expect they will deploy it anyway.

  2. I fear FPTP will be with us for some time yet, since it was confirmed in the disastrously bungle Referendum that was Nick Clegg’s price for going into coalition with Cameron.

    Given this, attention among those who do not support Johnson must turn to tactical voting. Here I commend https://dontsplittheremainvote.com/

    I would also draw attention to the fact that students, and presumably others with two addresses, can register at both addresses and decide, nearer the time, which one to use to greater effect, by postal vote if necessary.

    • Thomas says:

      The alternative on offer then was (deliberately) unappealing, although I still voted against FPTP. The argument that “we had a referendum on the subject and FPTP won” is even less valid than in the cases of the Scottish Indyref and the EU ref – and it is absolutely NOT valid in those cases – folks have the right to change their minds, especially if circumstances change, as in all cases mentioned they have. I agree with you re tactical voting where applicable – have just put up a post of my own: aspi.blog/2019/11/11/election-news/

  3. Pingback: Election News – aspiblog

  4. David Dunlop says:

    “Added to this extra dimension of Remain/Leave, is the continuing rejection of the old Westminster parties in Scotland, and perhaps also in Wales, especially South Wales.”

    so “only” taking about 100 years to catch up with effective local rejection of the UK Conservative & Liberal parties in Ireland/Northern Ireland on a somewhat different remain/leave question; and UK Labour’s unilateral withdrawal from Ireland (effectively NI-to-be, as it was, I think, only organised in Belfast) in 1913, having had its first formal party conference in Belfast in 1907; but then NI was semi-compulsorily devolved about 100 years ago: perhaps there may be some element of cause-and-effect as the UK Parliament’s activities become effectively that of an English parliament on many day-to-day issues?

  5. meditationsonmentalhealth says:

    Miles, you are a prophet! Did you tip Farage over the edge into dumping his candidates in the Tory strongholds!?
    He made a healthy profit there in getting his 600+ candidates to sign up, and then dump most of them…. less their non-returnable deposit, of course!

  6. Mick Canning says:

    Whatever happens, I fear we are stuck with FPTP for some time yet. I cannot imagine either of the main parties daring to change it, as they would be dooming themselves to probably never gaining an outright majority again.

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