qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

A Song of Patriotic Prejudice

I went to vote on Thursday on the way home from work, and was pleased to see that the polling station was doing reasonably brisk trade. Other than that I wasn't too bothered about things; it's a safe seat here and arguably I was wasting my time in voting (the local elections were possibly a different matter, though conceivably wasting my time in another sense), and nothing in the news had suggested a disagreeable outcome nationally.

Like almost everyone else, I was quite surprised by the exit poll - I thought the experts had learned how to correct for things after the 1992 debacle. The only possible outcomes that bothered me were the Conservative party governing on its own, or being propped up by another right-wing party (i.e. effectively, the DUP). And a projection of 316 seemed enough for this to happen. I saw the first result in - gosh, UKIP coming second in Sunderland South and the Lib Dems fifth - and went to bed at about 11:30 and, surprisingly, slept reasonably.

Of course, in the end, from that perspective, it's a far worse outcome. Someone - I don't remember who - summed it up thus: the Conservatives have won in England, the SNP have won in Scotland, Labour have won in Wales, and the DUP have won in Northern Ireland. A slim majority means the government will be held to ransom by its own backbenchers (such as my own glorious representative).

The nightmare scenario is that there is an in/out EU referendum in 2017 which for now I see as un-winnable. An "out" result would justify another Scottish Independence referendum, which would surely be in favour. So then by 2020 there would be only Little Britain left, and one-party rule in perpetuity. Already I see the Human Rights Act is being torn up (quite what good that will do I don't know, as it ought to just result in decisions being passed to Strasbourg - at increased cost to the UK); farewell employment rights as well, no doubt. And presumably we will definitely be "cutting the green crap".

The alternative, if this is a re-run of 1992, is that we somehow get a re-run of 1997 in five years' time. For now I can't quite see how that comes about, but it's a hope to hang on to.

In my constituency the Lib Dems were beaten into third place by Labour - another surprise. Locally, West Berks council was split down the middle between Conservatives and Lib Dems a few years ago, but is now 48-4; another wasted vote there, although not by a huge margin.

The Lib Dems would have to come up with some pretty good reasons for them not to select Tim Farron as their next leader; for Labour, the idea that Andy Burnham is the front-runner is quite disturbing, I just don't think he comes over as a leader. Chuka Umunna is a credible candidate; he's probably not the only one.

I've seen charts showing how seats would have been distributed if the election had been run under PR; but I haven't seem anything indicating the likely result under AV (of course it's impossible to really know second and third preferences, but you might be able to make aggregate guesses) - of academic interest for comparison, had the 2011 referendum been won. Whilst I don't agree with them, I nevertheless find it unacceptable that UKIP get 1 MP for 4 million votes, and the SNP get 1 MP for something around every 35,000 votes. Unfortunately I see no incentive for this government to introduce any form of PR.
Tags: europe, news, politics
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