UK election May 6th (?) : more Labour or back to Tories?

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UK election May 6th (?) : more Labour or back to Tories?

normally, after 10 years or so, a west European party wears out its welcome, and left majority shifts right, or vice versa

but Gordon Brown has had a modest bounce since the recent budget and bookies hedging bets:


Old Labour / New Labour split a lively debate:

For Labour, unfortunately, the biggest problem remains the party's dysfunctional relationship with its past. Today, Gordon Brown will reveal the five pledges intended to define Labour's campaign, but given his ingrained fear of anything that might be construed as a return to a lurch back to the left, they look likely to be devoid of both a coherent narrative, and any convincing political oomph. Meanwhile, Alistair Darling agrees with the idea that spending cuts will have to exceed even the pain of the Thatcher years - so in the absence of much primary-coloured policy, why anyone should enthusiastically go out and vote Labour on 6 May is once again clouded in mystery.

In and around the party, there is a surprisingly lively conversation about how - even in the midst of such crushing fiscal arithmetic - Labour might just about rediscover its sense of purpose. But for fear of somehow reviving the ghoulish menace known as "Old Labour", too few people want to listen.


Lord Palmerston

[url=]Election Prediction Project for UK 2010 Election[/url]

aka Mycroft

EPP is so 1997.


Cute ad. Too bad it has to make people wonder what Labour were up to all this time - and then they'll remember.


surprise: Brown came off as human in 3-man debate

WinkHow did that happen ??


but Liberal Clegg looks to be image-award winner;


Nick Clegg broke the duopoly in British politics with a strong performance in last night's historic first televised election debate between the three main party leaders.


The Liberal Democrat leader seized the moment by matching Gordon Brown and David Cameron blow for blow during 90 minutes of lively exchanges which confounded expectations that the 76 strict rules of engagement would produce a sterile discussion.



Let's hope someone in Jack Layton's office has taken notes. This is a great line worth stealing:


The three men played to their perceived political strengths during the debate. At the end of one exchange between Brown and Cameron, Clegg countered in one of the night's more telling hits by saying: "The more they attack each other the more they sound like one another."


It'll be interesting to see what impact this has in polling. Given that it's a new thing for the UK more people may have been paying attention than here.


Doug wrote:

Let's hope someone in Jack Layton's office has taken notes. This is a great line worth stealing:

Not that similar lines/approaches haven't been used before (BC Liberals 1991; Manitoba Liberals 1988)


That said, I've long felt that the key to any "potential minority parliament" situation here: the Lib Dems already went into this in a far stronger position, seatwise, than in any previous election which wasn't a simple Labour landslide--we're not talking about a 20-seat party anymore.  (Perhaps that's a little like the NDP now vs Audrey/Alexa era...)


Panic stations in the British right-wing press:

Completely predictable, and highly amusing.

aka Mycroft

edmundoconnor wrote:

Panic stations in the British right-wing press:

Completely predictable, and highly amusing.


Indeed. It was just assumed that the Conservatives would win easily this time, for the good reason that things are not well with the UK at the moment and Labour is going to wear that. 


Gee, I wonder why the Tories never promoted this idea when they made John Major their leader.


Unelected PMs must call poll within 6 months - Cameron


Tory claims that hung parliament would cause meltdown are dismissed



Credit rating agency rejects warning that Britain would be plunged into financial crisis if election result is inconclusive



Analysis by The Independent suggests that of the 16 countries worldwide who currently have the top triple-A financial stability rating, 10 are run by coalition governments. The majority of nations that have taken the toughest action in recent decades to tackle their debts were also governed at the time by coalitions.


Liberal-Tory coalition the talk of the Sunday papers:

It seems to me that, distilled to their essentials, the polls in aggregate reveal four basic truths about the mood of the British public in late April 2010. First, disgusted by the expenses scandal and the financial crisis, the voters are hungry for change. Second, as a consequence, they no longer want Gordon Brown to be Prime Minister. Third, they lean towards David Cameron PM but have reservations about him, and the prospect of an undilutedly Tory government. Fourth, they have found in Nick Clegg a telegenic tribune, who articulates the nation's grievances better than anyone else and incarnates the dynamism and freshness they yearn for.


Exactly - are you listening Canada?
Election 2010: Nick Clegg warns Labour over third-place finish

Liberal Democrat leader says Gordon Brown will not be PM if Labour get fewer votes than his party and Conservatives, and insists electoral reform unavoidable whatever the result

Clegg said voting reform would be a price of any deal with either party.

"It is just preposterous the idea that if a party comes third in the number of votes, it still has somehow the right to carry on squatting in No 10," he said. "I think a party which has come third - and so millions of people have decided to abandon them - has lost the election spectacularly [and] cannot then lay claim to providing the prime minister of this country."

The latest opinions polls show the Lib Dems are holding on to increased support after two televised leaders' debates, and could deprive the Tories of an outright majority.


The Lib-Dems have been very clear and consistant on that point and it's helped them earn a loyal and growing base to whom it's obvious that British democracy is broken.  That kind of clarity and consistancy from a Canadian political party would have paid off here as well but unfortunately cynicism and apathy seem to be growing instead.


On the Sceptred Isle, Immigration Is an Issue Fit for Whispers

LONDON - In a general election where the unexpected surge of the Liberal Democrats has put all the usual calculations about the contest between Labour and the Conservatives in flux, there has been a morbid familiarity to the campaign of one party that cannot hope to be part of the jockeying for power many pundits foresee after the ballots are cast on May 6.

The British National Party, inheritor of the ideological mantle of Oswald Mosley's Union of Fascists in the 1930s, can realistically hope to win only one London-area constituency among the 650 House of Commons seats - if even that. But opinion polls suggest that the party will attract significantly more of the popular vote than the seven-tenths of 1 percent it won in 2005.

The party's rise, such as it may be, can be traced to the same issue - the rapid increase in nonwhite immigration, particularly from the Muslim world - that has recently empowered far-right parties across Europe, notably in France. Britain's counterpart to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the demagogic French politician who reached a runoff for the presidency in 2002, is Nick Griffin, a soberly suited, 51-year-old Cambridge-educated graduate in history and law.

Mr. Griffin is a fringe politician. But in this election, more than in any other in memory, popular anxiety about the rapid rise in immigration in the 13 years of Labour rule is the ghost at the banquet. It is a political reality strong enough, according to opinion polls, to influence votes in dozens of constituencies, but one that the major parties can afford to address only in the most modulated of keys, and then, usually, only when others raise it on the campaign trail.

To understand that, it is enough to recall Enoch Powell. Forty-two years ago, Mr. Powell, a prominent Conservative, made a speech saying Britain "had to be mad" to admit 50,000 immigrants a year, mostly then from British islands in the Caribbean. He likened the consequences to the "tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic," the 1968 race riots in America. A classicist, he indulged his passion for ancient history. "I am filled with foreboding," he said. "Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.' "

Mr. Powell was promptly sacked from the Conservatives' shadow cabinet; he left the party and wandered in the political shadows until his death in 1998. His "rivers of blood" speech has stood ever since as a warning to mainstream politicians of the fate of those who raise the immigration issue with overwrought language, particularly with a racist tinge. In 2005, many people thought Michael Howard, then the Conservative leader, crossed the line with his tough language on immigration, further dooming his party to its third straight loss to Labour.

Small wonder, then, that the prime ministerial contenders trod warily when a nonwhite woman in the audience raised the issue at the second of three televised election debates on Thursday.

To nobody's surprise, each of the three emphasized the need to curb migrant inflows. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat, urged an amnesty for the million or so illegal immigrants estimated to have lived in Britain for 10 years or more, to "get them out of the hands of criminal gangs," balanced by stricter border controls; Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for Labour, said new identity cards for foreign residents and a points system for immigration applicants had begun to cut the numbers; David Cameron, the Conservative, advocated a cap on entrants from outside the European Union, "to get it down radically."

But their competing policies were less notable than the care the three took to avoid any shade of prejudice. "The first thing to say," Mr. Cameron said, "is that we have benefited from immigration; and people who come here and live legally, we should be incredibly warm and welcoming and hospitable and build a strong and integrated country. I think it's really important to say that, first up."

One party leader not invited to the debates was Mr. Griffin, though he wrenched the debate back down to street level on Friday when he unveiled the B.N.P.'s election manifesto. It called for "absolutely no further immigration from any Muslim countries, as it presents one of the most deadly threats to the survival of our nation." Mr. Griffin said Britain was "full up," and it was time to "close the doors."

What has given the issue new political weight is the scale of immigration during Labour rule. Extrapolations from government figures suggest that looser regulations adopted in Tony Blair's early years as prime minister have led to a net inward migration of about two million people since 1997, with a peak of 330,000 in 2007. Many new arrivals have come legally from East European nations in the European Union, notably Poland. But by far the most non-Europeans have been Muslims, who historically have been slower to assimilate than other immigrants.

The numbers may seem modest to Americans, who saw Congress struggle during the George W. Bush years - and fail - to agree on a plan to deal with a backlog of 12 million undocumented immigrants. But by the measure of available space, Britain's two million new immigrants pose a challenge of at least comparable scale. Britain, with 62 million people, is already one of the most heavily populated countries in the developed world; new settlers put pressure on schools, hospitals, public housing and a welfare system that are bending under the strain.

Drawn by Europe's most generous welfare system, and by the status of English as the global lingua franca, illegal immigrants have shown inexhaustible resourcefulness in breaching the border controls of an island nation that Shakespeare vaunted as an oceanbound redoubt - "This sceptred isle ...This other Eden ...This fortress built by nature for herself ...This happy breed of men, this little world,/ This precious stone, set in the silver sea."

One of the country's most powerful newspapers, The Daily Mail, has made a staple of the system's failures - of Afghans and Albanians and Iraqis and others stowing away in trucks and astride the wheel assemblies of freight trains shuttling through the Channel tunnel; of tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers who evade deportation for years; of illegal migrants who murder and rape, then emerge from prison and win court orders that let them stay in Britain because their wives and children live here.

All this has left advocates of keeping Britain's doors open with a hard sell. The official estimate of the foreign-born population - 11 percent - contrasts with the 1 percent historians give as the average for 1,000 years before major immigration from the Caribbean began in the 1950s.

To people like Mr. Griffin, all this is grist to the mill. As he presented his election manifesto, his aides warned that the failure to curb Muslim immigration would lead, perhaps as early as midcentury, to a Britain that is an Islamic republic.

While only a small minority appear to believe that, many think the country has begun a historic transformation that will make the Britain of the future profoundly different than it has been up to now. If that, too, was a specter raised by Mr. Powell back in 1968, he must be given some responsibility for making it a prospect too thorny, at least in this election, for the mainstream politicians of our age to engage.



It's looking more and more likely that David Cameron will be going to Buckingham Palace to kiss hands on May 7:

Nick Clegg goes public on coalition - and looks to Conservatives

[quote] Nick Clegg today signalled that he would speak to the Conservatives first about the formation of a minority government if Labour came third by share of the vote on 6 May, rejecting the constitutional convention that the prime minister should be allowed to try to form a government first.

The Liberal Democrat leader also made it explicit for the first time thatelectoral reform would be an unavoidable precondition of any coalition government as he insisted that Labour will have forfeited the right to govern if it comes third.


Electoral reform has become the #1 issue in the election. Some Conservatives are even saying that they should oppose electoral reform even if it prevents them from taking power. That alone shows how important electoral reform is.


Nick Clegg: I could work with Labour, just not Gordon Brown Laughing


  • Nick Clegg changes stance on talking to last place party

• Liberal Democrat surge has not faltered, ICM poll finds



Three days before the final TV debate, today's polls showed there had been no crumbling of Lib Dem support, which surged after the first broadcast. A Guardian/ICM poll put the Tories on 33%, the Lib Dems on 30% and Labour on 28% - the same as a week ago. A ComRes poll for ITN showed the Tories on 32%, down two, the Lib Dems on 31, up two, and Labour on 28, unchanged. Both polls suggest Labour could end up with more seats than either of the other two parties.


Tories switch target to attack Nick Clegg


Labour turned its guns on Mr Clegg as a poll showed the three parties separated by only four points. The ComRes poll for The Independent put the Tories on 32 per cent, with the Lib Dems on 31 per cent and Labour on 28 per cent.



I wonder how much of this is discontent with the UK warring in Iraq & Afghanistan.


Guardian/ICM poll: Labour support could fall below 20%

Gordon Brown's party could end up in third place as the latest poll suggests support has not yet hit bedrock


Oh my God, shades of Canada!
The end of the world is coming - a hung Parliament.Wink
As Clegg's popularity grows, so his demands begin to spook rivals



At the start of the campaign, the Liberal Democrat leader was treated with deference. Not any more


Labour and Conservative attacks on the Liberal Democrats have failed to burst Nick Clegg's bubble and his party is now just one point behind the Tories in a remarkably close three-way race.



The latest ComRes survey for The Independent and ITV News puts the Tories on 32 per cent (down two points since the weekend), the Liberal Democrats on 31 per cent (up two), Labour on 28 per cent (unchanged) and others on nine per cent (unchanged). It is the Liberal Democrats' highest rating since ComRes began polling in 2004.

The figures would make Labour the largest party in a hung parliament with 268 MPs even though it is third in the share of the vote. The Tories would win 238 seats and the Liberal Democrats 112, leaving Labour 58 seats short of an overall majority.


Labour to warn rivals' spending cuts will hit children


Who will lead the opposition?

A hung parliament doesn't just change the nature of government - it changes almost everything about the workings of parliament



Just suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the Conservatives come first in both votes and seats next week, the Liberal Democrats come second in votes but third in seats, and Labour comes last in votes but second in seats. David Cameron duly forms a minority government with some sort of parliamentary understanding about the government's programme - though not a full-blown coalition - with the Lib Dems. Right now, indeed, this looks quite a likely outcome. It's the way a number of polls are pointing.

In this scenario, though, which party gets to be the main opposition? Both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour party would have claims - the one based on votes, the other based on seats. Convention - and the law in the shape of the Ministers of the Crown Act 1937, as amended by the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 - assumes that the Labour claim is superior. Since party power in the Commons is based on the number of seats each party has, there is not much doubt that Gordon Brown or his successor would lay claim to be leader of the opposition.

But there's a problem - and it's the same very important problem that is currently being vigourously debated in relation to other aspects of power in a hung parliament. If more people voted for the Lib Dems than for Labour, why should Nick Clegg not claim the leader's title instead?


David Cameron accused over school policies by father of disabled boy



David Cameron was accused today of seeking to segregate disabled children in the education system by the father of a boy with spina bifida who tackled him as he left a General Election campaign speech.


Jonathan Bartley, who confronted the Conservative leader with his wheelchair-bound son as he left the event in south London, voiced his concern about Tory plans to "end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools".


Flirt with Clegg, get Pickles, says Mandelson


I wsih they would stop referring to the likely outcome of the UK election as a "hung parliament". It has such a negative connotation and either makes me think of a hung jury of of someone being led to the gallows. Why can't they just call it a "minority parliament".


Because a 'hung parliament' sounds more dramatic and allows for photo ops, such as Big Ben in a noose.


It must be quite a job keeping a muzzle on all these Tory yahoos. This one got loose!


Conservatives suspend Scottish candidate over homophobic remarks

Philip Lardner, candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, said homosexuality was 'not normal behaviour'

Ken Burch


"Conservatives suspend Scottish candidate over homophobic remarks

Philip Lardner, candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, said homosexuality was 'not normal behaviour'"


Neither is voting Tory in Scotland.


Stockholm wrote:

I wsih they would stop referring to the likely outcome of the UK election as a "hung parliament". It has such a negative connotation and either makes me think of a hung jury of of someone being led to the gallows. Why can't they just call it a "minority parliament".


I try to think of it as meaning the other sort of hung. Laughing


Why don't they just raise taxes on the rich, raise corporate taxes, and bring in a 10% inheritance tax on everyone if they don't already have one.



Nick Clegg: I want to be Prime Minister


Doug wrote:

It's interesting that so little time has been spent by the UK parties discussing the big black cloud hanging over the election - that is, the desperate condition of public finances.

Which may add a potential unfortunate new dimension to any drawn parallels btw/the rise of Clegg and Ontario's 1990 NDP victory...


If Clegg then jumps ship to Labour a few years later, then Dippers and LibDems can down a few drinks in solidarity.


strikeout for Labour? 300 seats for Tories?

The baseball nerd who used his genius for statistics to make startlingly accurate predictions in the 2008 US presidential race has weighed into the British election - and his conclusions make chilling reading for Labour.

Nate Silver, who correctly predicted the result between Barack Obama and John McCain in 49 out of America's 50 states, argues that the most popular method for translating opinion poll results into numbers of seats in parliament greatly overstates how well Labour will perform, giving the false impression that the party "has a fairly large buffer zone before facing total Armageddon".

The concept of uniform swing assumes that the projected national swing to or away from any given party will be manifested in identical vote swings in every constituency. If an opinion poll suggests that the Conservatives are up six points on 2005, for example, the assumption is that they will do six points better in each constituency. The method has long been criticised as flawed, especially in elections with strong third parties. But on his blog, Silver goes one step further, presenting his own alternative methodology that suggests a disastrous 6 May performance for Labour.

Silver's method breaks up the monolithic uniform swing and instead assigns specific percentages of the parties' votes in 2005 to other parties in 2010. Using a recent polling average of the three main parties - with the Conservatives on 34%, the Lib Dems on 29.1%, and Labour on 26.9% - the differences between the two methods become stark. Using uniform swing, those percentages translate into 253 Labour MPs, 271 Conservatives, and 93 Lib Dems.

Using Silver's method, Labour ends up with just 214, with the Conservatives surging to 304, and the Lib Dems on 101.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Gordon Brown has said he is "mortified" after being caught on microphone describing a voter he had just spoken to in Rochdale as a "bigoted woman".

Gillian Duffy, 65, had challenged him on issues including immigration.

As he got into his car, he was still wearing a broadcast microphone and was heard to say "that was a disaster".

Mr Brown later spent more than half an hour at Mrs Duffy's house, apologising to her before telling waiting reporters he had misunderstood what she had said.


This is why I wouldn't be good at being a politician either. I'd probably do the same thing at some point.


It's obvious it's over for Labour, and they could well end up in 3rd place.


Good gosh but Mrs. Duffy looks like me mum, and has the same brass.  Must be something in the Greater Manchester air.


I'm not exactly sure what Duffy was getting at with her remark about Eastern Europeans, whether it was in fact a remark based in bigotry, or something relating to the whole E.U. arrangement.    But it's interesting that Brown siezed upon that and ran with it, so he could dismiss her as a bigot.

A woman that is more labour than Mr. Brown ever was or will be.






The "is this the face of a prime minister?" moment of the election?  Though given the structure of British politics, Labour's still more likely to have 200 than 2 seats--then again, who knows if the Lib Dems'll beat them in seat totals at this rate...

Ken Burch

If they don't, it will likely create, for the first time, a mass base of support for electoral reform.

In a perfect world, Brown's blunder would also create space for the small, left-of-Labour parties to make some gains.  Don't see THAT happening, but it should.


In the end the "bigot" flap will have little impact - there has already been an instant poll that shows that only 9% of all voters say that the incident made them "less likely to vote Labour" and virtually all of those people were already hardcore Tory or LibDem voters. Tonight is the final leaders debate and that will supersede this story. In any case, there have already been all kinds of stories about Bfrown being a bit of an asshole and being abusive to people around him. Labour is already down to its core vote (i.e. the equivalent of the 26% of Canadians who voted Liberal last time despite the horror of Dion). There is also starting to be an assumption that no matter what Brown will be gone after the election - unless he gets a majority - which will not happen. The speculation is that if there were to be a post-election deal between Labour and the LibDems - part of the deal will involve Brown being replaced by someone else from the Labour party.


oops, into overtime;

immigration suddenly the topic.... "let's bring immigration down to a more reasonable level": David Cameron


UK debate live right now:

no knockouts, the usual party lines, everyone wants tax cuts, credits, economic regeneration, manufacturing jobs, cuts in bank bonuses, more lending, etc etc

pretty much a draw, middle of the 2nd period

compared to Habs-Caps game 7, fewer shots on goal, a defensive game, waiting for breakout and/or  a memorable highlight-reel game-winner ...


The 'bigot' comment reopened the Pandora's box of immigration. There is a serious gulf between what the political elites think about immigration and what ordinary citizens think.

People in Britain are angry over the very large intake of immigration, under Labour. Labour, much like Canada's NDP, tossed aside its union/working-class base, in favor of business and ethnic donors/voters. Yet, whenever someone raises concerns over this taboo topic, they get dismissed as 'bigots'. Brown's 'oopsie' merely confirmed people's suspicions that politicians have nothing but utter contempt for their voters. This is dangerous, as it is pushing frustrated British voters--the majority of whom do think there are too many immigrants--into BNP protest votes.

The situation in Arizona closely mirrors what's going on in Britain. 70% of Arizona's residents support 1070, over the objections of the political class. Even most Republicans (e.g., McCain) weren't in favor of the bill, but ended up supporting it out of fears of a massive voter backlash. Even in Canada, which took in nearly half a million people during the last recession, politicians aren't listening to the majority of citizens on the immigration issue.


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