The UK elections have come and gone, and the story is now quickly fading into the twilight. So, what happened? What did we actually learn?
UNFAIR ELECTORAL SYSTEM – BOO HOO, SOB!
A lot of people learned that the UK electoral system is extremely undemocratic. UKIP got well over twice the votes of the Scottish Nationalist Party (3,881,129 to 1,454,436) but only ended up with a measly single Member of Parliament to the SNP’s astounding 56. But the anomalies of the UK electoral system have not exactly been a secret.
Similar things have been happening since at least the 1980s. The benefits the SNP are now reaping from the system are simply karmic payback for their own votes being discounted for decades.
UKIP supporters – used to romping home in the EU elections, run under a system of proportional representation – had clearly pushed the undemocratic nature of the FPTP Westminster system to the back of their minds. It was only with their massive disappointment in terms of MPs that they suddenly seemed to remember it again.
CAMERAS WIN ELECTIONS
This may have helped him to get elected as leader of his own party (along with his Brownist and trade union links), but taken to the wider country, Ed’s ungainly and distinctly foreign and non-Christian appearance obviously counted against him – even with the foreign and non-Christian voters!
But, here again, none of this was new. Since women were allowed to vote and men became more gay, the looks of the leader count. Next time Labour will presumably try to run with someone who would perform better without an actual paper bag over his head.
OPINION POLLS POLL OPINIONS, NOT ACTUAL VOTES
The biggest thing we learned that wasn’t quite so old was the unreliability of opinion polls. In the past opinion polls have been relatively reliable Up until polling day, all the polls had put the Labour Party and the Conservative Party neck and neck. It was only with the exit poll – where people leaving the polling booths are asked which way they voted – that the strength of the Conservative vote was revealed. In the event the Tories won almost 37% of the vote to Labour’s 30.4%, a massive gap that appeared from nowhere.
The best sensible explanation of this is that there was a very late swing to the Tories from some UKIP and Labour supporters, but he lateness of the swing suggests that it was mainly made up of Don’t Knows.
Another factor may have been the comparative softness of Labour support. When they realized that Labour were not about to make a breakthrough, a lot of that support may simply have flaked off. One imagines young, “idealistic” leftist students looking at the prospect of an indecisive vote instead of a new socialist dawn with despair and simply staying in bed to have another wank – along with Russell Brand – while the older Tory voters grimly trundled to the polls come hell or hung parliament.
|'Milibrand' energizing the youth vote.|
THE FIRST ETHNNO-ELECTION?
Another important factor in prompting the Conservative vote, according to many analysts, was the fear of a Scottish tail wagging a Labour dog.
When the polls pointed to hung parliament with a large SNP presence, there was much talk in the media of Labour doing a deal with the SNP. In the weeks prior to the election, this actually seemed the most likely outcome. As this sunk in, it apparently galvanized English voters to vote in an ethno-conscious way for the only Party that could realistically prevent it, which happened to be the Conservative Party. If true, this means that this was the first general election decided by ethno-political factors. It is difficult to see how this trend can do anything but grow stronger.
A NEW THIRD PARTY POLITICS
One of the supposed lessons to be learned was that smaller parties suffer from being in coalition with larger parties. According to a lot of pundits, this explained the stunning collapse of the Lib Dems (from 6,836,198 votes in 2010 to 2,415,888 – with most of their seats wiped out). But this is an obvious overgeneralization.
If the Conservatives had been in coalition with, for example, the Democratic Unionists (a Northern Ireland Party that appeals to Protestant voters from the Ulster Scots and Presbyterian side of the province), then there would have been no comparative collapse because the DUP has a clear base. The real issue in the collapse of the Lib Dems is the nature of the Lib Dems.
Like any other smaller party, they are enormously disadvantaged by the UK electoral system that favours national parties with their support slanted in one end of the country. The Lib Dems have bravely managed to eke out a political existence by appealing to an odd coalition of interests.
|Nick Clegg – reasons to be tearful.|
Their ex-leader Nick Clegg represents a Northern urban constituency (Sheffield Hallam), an area where a Tory victory would be extremely unlikely. They also did well in rural Western constituencies where Labour had no hope of being elected. They also skilfully supplemented their vote in some urban constituencies by appealing to ethnic voters whose traditionalism and petty capitalist leanings occasionally made them unhappy with supporting the Labour Party.
The main problem all this causes is it creates a party that is located in the middle of the road and which lacks a clear identity. Such a party does well when the Labour and Conservative parties are more polarized, as they were during the Thatcher years and to a lesser extent the period of New Labour. But in this election, both Labour and the Tories were able to hack into the Lib Dems’ bland, middle-of-the road signal with their own bland, middle-of-the road signals and squash them.
It is now increasingly hard to see them ever coming back from this, with the two main parties parking their tanks on its lawn and the rise of more distinctive alternative third parties like UKIP and the Greens.
THE SCOTTISH QUESTION
|It's all 'tartan' to make sense.|
In short, the Scottish voter bloc, whether consciously or unconsciously, senses that the threat of breaking up the UK is worth something. By voting SNP, they maximize that threat and put pressure on the Westminster government to conciliate them. It remains to be seen whether Cameron understands this equation and acts accordingly.
The main macro trend is the increasingly ethnic nature of politics in the UK. Labour is in danger of becoming seen as an ethnic party. Losing Scotland only heightens this trend, as does the collapse of the Lib Dems, another major repository of the ethnic vote.
One of the most important “unimportant” results of the night was the defeat of George Galloway’s Respect Party in the heavily "enriched" Bradford West constituency. Although essentially a Trotskyist entryist party, Respect was the first effort at a party that sought to appeal specifically to the theorectical Neo-Marxist revolutionary vanguard of the Third Word immigrant. The defeat of Respect throws this demographic back into the Labour Party, which it never really left.
|George Galloway – back on the street.|
In this election, the nationalist torch was effectively carried by UKIP, with all its shortcomings as a true nationalist party. After the disappointment of 3,881,129 wasted UKIP votes, as well as the earlier tragic history of the BNP, many nationalists are of course hoping that the electoral system will be changed to one of proportional representation.
There would be an obvious benefit for small parties, some of which might one day grow into big parties, but, it should be remembered that any such reform might also stop any nationalist party making a decisive breakthrough.
Cameron with only 11,334,920 votes out of a total electorate 46,425,386 (24%) has secured a majority. The SNP with only 1,454,436 votes out of a total electorate of 4,094,784 in Scotland (35%), won almost every single seat in Scotland. Such mathematical anomalies could prove very beneficial to the future ethno-nationalist party that is sure to be arise one day out of the multicultural mess that Britain now is.