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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
Number of posts: 5,451

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A return to two-party politics? Dont believe it

This unexpected outcome of the General Election has led some commentators to claim breezily that the United Kingdom has returned to two-party politics. But it masks some big shifts. While it is true that it has been several decades since the two major parties achieved a combined vote share of over 80% as they did on Thursday, it is far from clear that this is the “new normal” of British politics.

This time, voters ‘learnt’ from the 2015 result – they decided to try and game the system. In 2015, 9% of voters said they’d be voting tactically. This time, the figure was double that – 20%, according to BMG polling for the Electoral Reform Society. A common result of this second guessing – with one in five voters ‘holding their nose’ at the ballot box – is that the contest becomes reduced to a decision as to which of the major parties is likely to defeat the other major party. This in turn supports and increases the dominance of the two biggest political parties, polarising around one or two divides.

What lies behind all this is our antiquated voting system – literally designed for two parties. Yet even as more voters coalesced around the Conservatives and Labour than they have for years, still neither of them could win the election and form a majority government.

The fact that the two of them were taking their largest vote share in many years and we have still ended up with a hung parliament is not evidence of going back to “two party politics”, but of how the system is fundamentally bust when you have 21st century voting patterns and a broken 19th century voting system.



Not much more to this article at the link, but this chimes with what I've been saying about Scotland's "one-party state" in the current political climate - tactical voting is key, parties assume that voters are "theirs" at their peril, and if we have another election this year, the results may be even harder to call.

Another Message for Donald Trump from Former Mexican President Vicente Fox (NSFW)

Anatomy of a doomed campaign: Lessons from one marginal constituency on how not to run an election

ON THE Tory battleplan, the seat of Brentford and Isleworth, on the western fringes of inner London, was definitely supposed to turn blue on June 8th.

Like other seats in west London, it was a close win for Labour in 2015, and the Tories were confident of winning it back by a good margin. Mary Macleod, who held the seat from 2010-15, was picked to fight it again; she had to overturn a Labour majority of just over 400 votes. At the beginning of the campaign, in late April, Ruth Cadbury, the Labour MP, was clearly nervous as to whether she could hang on.

In the event, Mrs Macleod was humiliated. The election last Thursday ended with a massive 13.6% swing to Labour. Ms Cadbury romped home by 12,182 votes. It was much the same story in other west London marginals: even the Tory bastion of Kensington fell to Labour.

Tories involved in the Brentford and Isleworth campaign have spoken to The Economist to describe how it went so badly wrong. They are mainly angry and frustrated with their party's central office. As they see it, the most serious problem for local campaigners was that Conservative Central Headquarters (CCHQ) insisted on taking almost total control. In particular, staff at central office insisted that there should be no campaigning on local issues, and then tried to micro-manage local canvassing. A list of 10,000 voters was produced from CCHQ data-crunchers; these were the people whom central office had identified as the swing voters who would bring the seat back to the Tories. Local canvassers were supposed to have “10,000 conversations” with these voters, and these voters alone.


Tim Farron resigns as Liberal Democrat leader

That's all I've got at the moment:

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, has announced his resignation


Well, except for this:

Lib Dem peer resigns over Farron's views on homosexuality

The Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesman, Brian Paddick, has resigned from his post, citing concerns about the party leader’s views.

Paddick said he was concerned about the leader’s views on various issues that were highlighted during the campaign. Throughout the election campaign, Tim Farron was dogged by questions over his attitude to homosexuality and abortion, though he has insisted he does not believe gay sex is a sin and has said he is pro-choice.

The Lib Dem peer, formerly the Metropolitan police’s deputy assistant commissioner and the UK’s most senior gay police officer, has stood as the party’s mayoral candidate in past elections.


Britain: The End of a Fantasy

To understand the sensational outcome of the British election, one must ask a basic question. What happens when phony populism collides with the real thing?

Last year’s triumph for Brexit has often been paired with the rise of Donald Trump as evidence of a populist surge. But most of those joining in with the ecstasies of English nationalist self-assertion were imposters. Brexit is an elite project dressed up in rough attire. When its Oxbridge-educated champions coined the appealing slogan “Take back control,” they cleverly neglected to add that they really meant control by and for the elite. The problem is that, as the elections showed, too many voters thought the control should belong to themselves.

Theresa May is a classic phony Brexiter. She didn’t support it in last year’s referendum and there is no reason to think that, in private, she has ever changed her mind. But she saw that the path to power led toward the cliff edge, from which Britain will take its leap into an unknown future entirely outside the European Union. Her strategy was one of appeasement—of the nationalist zealots in her own party, of the voters who had backed the hard-right UK Independence Party (UKIP), and of the hysterically jingoistic Tory press, especially The Daily Mail.

The actual result of the referendum last year was narrow and ambiguous. Fifty-two percent of voters backed Brexit but we know that many of them did so because they were reassured by Boris Johnson’s promise that, when it came to Europe, Britain could “have its cake and eat it.” It could both leave the EU and continue to enjoy all the benefits of membership. Britons could still trade freely with the EU and would be free to live, work, and study in any EU country just as before. This is, of course, a childish fantasy, and it is unlikely that Johnson himself really believed a word of it. It was just part of the game, a smart line that might win a debate at the Oxford Union.


Theresa May was 'in tears' and Tory staffer was physically sick on disastrous election night

A Tory staffer was physically sick and Theresa May burst into tears as the Conservatives’ election night horror unfolded, it has emerged.

The humiliated Prime Minister cried before visiting the Queen having earlier welled up while addressing party activists, it was revealed.

One campaign insider told the Mirror it was like "musical statues" when the shocking exit poll was announced - with no one in the silent Tory HQ wanting to make first move.

When shellshocked Mrs May arrived at 4.30am she told incredulous staff "the party lives to fight another day", the source added.



I'm sorry, Mrs May, there is no magic sympathy tree.

Revealed: neo-Nazi terrorists are behind Scotland's newest far right group

A neo-Nazi organisation involved in terrorism and banned by the UK Government is behind a new far right group in Scotland, we can reveal.

During an undercover investigation we secretly filmed the extreme far right group Scottish Dawn revealing its links to National Action.

A Scottish Dawn activist we filmed also revealed he’s a former member of UKIP and claimed that he got drunk with David Coburn, the party’s leader in Scotland.

Scotland’s newest far right group also has links to violent Polish neo-Nazis who are active in the UK.


Thomas Frank: "From rust belt to mill towns: a tale of two voter revolts"

The Red Shed is a simple, one-storey wooden building in Wakefield that houses a meeting place and a bar. A sign on the front wall informs the world that it has been the meeting place of the Wakefield Labour Club since 1966: “50 Years a Socialist Shed”.

I happened across this unlikely outbuilding in the course of an effort to understand the politics of modern Britain as it hurtles toward the momentous decision it will make on 8 June. Theresa May presents herself as a strong leader who can go toe-to-toe with the big boys in Brussels; if her mandate is big enough, she will be free to seek the most extreme form of Brexit. If her victory is less convincing, she will have to moderate her stance. Either way, the actual details of the deal that will determine the future of this island are anyone’s guess.

And so I have come to this city of 76,000 in West Yorkshire to see how this country on the brink compares to my own. Hanging around in the affluent and cosmopolitan areas of London wouldn’t do. To come to grips with what has been going on here required a visit to the Britannia that is not cool; the regions where people largely exist outside the lustful gaze of the world.

The history of this part of England traces the history of industrialisation, its rise and its fall. With coal and steel and textiles, Yorkshire witnessed the beginning of the industrial revolution 200 years ago. With politics and organising, it is a place where the English working class came into its own. Then, with Margaret Thatcher and the big free-market beatdown of the 1980s, this was the first corner of the western world to see how it would all come crashing down. Last year’s referendum on the European Union was a hint of what comes next, and this time the hindmost were in the forefront. Like much of the rest of northern England, Wakefield voted leave, and its residents did so by 66%.


May's Ministers Plot Softer Brexit to Keep U.K. in Single Market

Some of Theresa May’s most senior ministers are working to moderate her plans for a hard Brexit, even suggesting the U.K. could remain in Europe’s single market and customs union, as the prime minister fights to stay in power.

After her election gamble backfired, May is now so weak and reliant on the support of political rivals inside and outside her Conservative Party that she’ll be unable to force through her vision of a clean break with the European Union, according to three senior government officials. While she left her cabinet largely intact on Sunday, she brought back a pro-Brexit challenger for the party leadership, Michael Gove, and kept as her foreign minister Boris Johnson, another leader of the Brexit campaign whose first task was to reject reports he planned to make a bid for May’s job.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is said to be positioning himself as the chief advocate of a softer Brexit. He told May he would only agree to serve in her cabinet if she gave him more influence over the withdrawal negotiations, according to one person familiar with the matter who declined to be named citing confidential discussions.

A senior minister said the fact May intends to rely on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party means she could be forced to keep Britain in the EU’s customs union, as well as the single market. Another minister said pro-European Tories would be emboldened to make the case for a softer deal with the EU that prioritizes the interests of businesses.



I said this on another thread, but speaking as a committed and unapologetic Bremoaner/Saboteur, I think now would be a good time for the likes of Labour's John McDonnell to hold his wheesht on withdrawal from the single market.

Sky sources: Downing Street's statement on DUP made in error

Source: Sky News

Downing Street made an error when it issued a statement saying the DUP had agreed the principles of a deal to back the Conservatives, according to Sky sources.

The DUP confirmed to Sky News that it has not yet agreed to back the Tories on a "confidence and supply basis" - but talks are continuing.

The party said: "The DUP today (Saturday) held discussions with representatives of the Conservative Party in line with Arlene Foster's commitment to explore how we might bring stability to the nation at this time of great challenge. The talks so far have been positive.

"Discussions will continue next week to work on the details and to reach agreement on arrangements for the new Parliament."

Read more: http://news.sky.com/story/dup-agrees-to-principles-of-confidence-and-supply-deal-with-tories-10911387


David Blevins ✔ @skydavidblevins

BREAK: The DUP says talks with the Tories are continuing. The party has NOT yet agreed to back the Tories on a confidence and supply basis.



David Blevins ✔ @skydavidblevins

BREAK: DUP has NOT yet reached any agreement with the Tories. Sky sources: Downing Street issued the wrong statement in error.


I'm not sure how much more of Theresa May's strength and stability I can take!
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