Dire day for Tories – so why were the pundits hammering Labour?

Mike argues here that it was the Tories, rather than Labour, who lost most heavily to the Tories despite the comments of the various pundits around the man Private Eye calls ‘Dimblebore’. Some of this may well have been wishful thinking by the Right-wingers on the Beeb, as well as a desire to avoid allegations from the bug-eyed Tory media-monitors of ‘Left-wing bias’. It might just even be possible that they’re refusing to recognise the inroads UKIP have made into the Tory vote in the bizarre belief that the Tories may hoover up xenophobic voters intent on limiting immigration away from them, in the same way that Thatcher’s anti-immigration stance took voters away from the BNP. But I really don’t think the last is very likely. Most probably I think it reflects an acute discomfort with the Right-wing political identity forged by New Labour. For members of the traditional Left, myself included, New Labour has partly abandoned the very people it was set up to serve and represent. For the Tories, New Labour is un welcome competitor, who has taken votes away from them, and whom they cannot easily criticise as so much New Labour policy was taken from them, complete with Blair’s adulation of Thatcher. Hence the desire to concentrate on the losses by Labour to them, rather than the greater losses by the Tories.

Mike is correct in casting doubt on how reliable these results are, as the turn-out for these elections is much lower than for general elections. If this is translated to Westminster, however, it may well lead to UKIP forming an alliance with the Tories. This is, after all, what Tory Rightists like Daniel ‘Privatise the NHS’ Hannan want. If this occurs, then it may well break British democracy, UKIP and split the Tories. UKIP are attractive to many voters simply because they are unencumbered with actually having been in power. It’s been remarked on before by various bloggers, but is also mentioned by Ford and Goodwin in their book on UKIP, ‘Revolt on the Right’. UKIP voters largely have socially conservative attitudes – pro-smoking, anti-gay, anti-immigration, but are economically very socialist – about 70 per cent want the electricity companies and the railways returned to state ownership. If UKIP did get into government, the highly Libertarian policies of the party’s leadership would leave many UKIP voters extremely alienated. Support could well drop away radically. And then there’s the corrosive effect of yet another government taking power, which the majority of British citizens did not vote for and which is only there because of another squalid backroom deal. As for the Tories, while Cameron, Osborne and the rest of the butchers obviously have absolutely no qualms with entering into a partnership with a party, whose leadership is, if anything, even more viciously hostile towards the poor, the unemployed and the disabled than they are, Cameron has based his electoral image on being rather more socially liberal than his predecessors: he loudly cut links with the Monday Club, and, against the considerably hostility within his party, support gay marriage and the selection of openly gay candidates. How genuinely anti-racist the Tories actually were, was shown by the way the vans encouraging illegal immigrants to go home went only to Black areas. Nevertheless, if the Tories went into partnership with UKIP, it would mean that Cameron’s more liberal image of the Tories has finally been shown up as the sham it is, and discarded.

Mike Sivier's blog

[Image: BBC] [Image: BBC] Own up: How many of you stayed up into the wee hours to watch TV coverage of the local council elections?

If you did, you would have witnessed a curious phenomenon. As the Conservative Party lost seat after seat (at the time of writing they have lost 113 seats altogether) and Labour won seat after seat (currently 125 seats better-off), the pundits sitting around David Dimbleby on BBC1 started telling us this put Labour in the poor position!

This, we were told, was because UKIP’s performance heralded the arrival of “four-party politics” – but does anybody believe that? UKIP won protest votes against the UK Coalition government’s policies at a time when elections to the European Parliament were also taking place. Anti-immigration feelings have been stirred up and people have been led to believe – wrongly – that a vote for UKIP will cut off the flow.


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