2015 UK election & aftermath

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby HungryHobo » Mon May 11, 2015 12:04 am UTC

The same thing happened to the greens in Ireland.

they got into a coalition with the main conservative party and despite having a tiny number of seats did a very good job preventing some of the worst polices. (though not good enough given the disasters during those years)

Unfortunately that scenario never ends well for the small party: they finally get into power and their base is ecstatic believing that they'll finally be able to push through their policies but in reality what happens is that the minor party ends up moderating the major one so it looks like they've done nothing at all even if in reality they've done a good job shaping the policies for a few years.

Minor parties almost always see a drop in support after actually getting into government.

The big party gets the credit for anything good/popular while the small party gets the blame for failing to prevent anything unpopular.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Mon May 11, 2015 12:34 am UTC

Jumble wrote:I believe that is down to the fact that when they were in position to moderate or influence the Tories it turned out they never ran the risk on anything that actually mattered to the electorate. Student fees, top-down privatisation of NHS, bedroom tax, exploiting disabled workers through ATOS reviews, "free" schools, destruction of local services and collapse of public service in the name of "austerity", libdems sat by. Proportional representation and an elected, party political House of Lords - suddenly they grow some balls.


As HH says, the problem is you only know what they didn't prevent - you will never know what madness they did. They may well have shot down proposals far worse than the ones enacted - and may well have moderated what did get passed - and, indeed, that's what they claim.

They only had about a seventh of the total government seats; The Tories had about six-sevenths. They did not have a mandate from the British people to be the tail wagging the dog and hold the government to ransom over every single policy they disagreed with. Indeed, had they done so, that would equally have been suicide for them in that no political party would willing go into coalition with them again. Indeed, I think that Labour would have been genuinely worried about going into partnership with the SNP for that very reason.

Did the Libdems make mistakes within government? Sure. But they could have learnt from those mistakes. Now the only lesson they'll learn is that playing nice and putting economic stability ahead of party politics is a political death sentence.

---

This opinion piece puts it pretty well for me:

As the results rolled in, Lib Dem heads started to roll with them: the party has been firmly dismissed to the naughty step of British politics.

As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a seasoned professional at coalition politics, has wisely warned, it is always the smaller parties which get smashed by coalitions.

After five years as the junior party of the Coalition Government, the British people have chosen, in their infinite wisdom, to punish the Liberal Democrats.

But what exactly are they being punished for?

Nick Clegg survived the night but other big beasts from the party's front bench, including Vince Clegg, the Business Secretary, and Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, were ousted.

But what did they do that was so wrong?

If a majority of the British electorate (or the English electorate anyway) has decided that actually, after all things are considered, they were quite happy with what the Coalition government has done over the past five years (or at the very least, it was the least worst option when it came down to a choice between Labour and the Tories) then why would they punish one half of that coalition?

It's tuition fees, stupid! Yes, yes, that's what everyone will claim.

Because everyone cares so much about tuition fees, don't they? But last time I looked it was Tony Blair's Labour government which first brought in tuition fees – without any mandate to do so. And they weren't punished. And it was Tony Blair who, with no mandate, raised tuition fees. Again, without being punished in the polls. And it was the Tories who proposed raising tuition fees yet again after 2010 and once again they have not been punished by the electorate.

So why are so many voters so angry with the Liberal Democrats?

Are they being punished simply for joining the Tories in government? That seems rather unfair given that there was no other coalition possibility. The maths for a deal with Labour (which would have been far more popular in Lib Dem circles) simply did not add up in 2010, whatever disgruntled Left-wing Liberal Democrat voters might like to think.

More importantly, what on earth is the point of being a political party with a manifesto if you have no intention of ever seeking the power to enact that manifesto? That's just the posturing of student politics, not the grown up politics of running an actual country.

Which brings us back to tuition fees. Yes, Clegg, Cable et al could have refused to back the tuition fee rise but they claim to have been persuaded by the Tory justification for the policy, and anyway, they were never going to get everything in their manifesto through the coalition agreement negotiations.

Better, surely – as Nick Clegg claimed after his infamous "sorry" for the debacle – for the Lib Dems to get some of their policies into action than none of them at all.

Forget all the pompous nonsense about them "putting the country first". That's not what Nick Clegg and his team did in May 2010. They put their party first by putting it into power. Either the Liberal Democrats were a political party with the desire to govern or they were an insignificant pressure group. It was time to choose.

If Clegg had chosen to decline the Tory offer of a coalition, they wouldn't now be raking in extra votes as the key party of principle. Quite the opposite. They would have been dismissed then, and now, quite rightly, as a pointless collection of protest votes and they would have imploded into a black hole of bearded men in slogan T-shirts and socks with sandals.

I can understand Labour voters punishing the Lib Dems. Why wouldn't they? And I can understand SNP supporters who say "a plague on all your houses".
And I can even understand Tory voters grateful for Lib Dem support but desperate to keep out Labour this time round withholding the tactical votes they might previously have given the Lib Dems. But what makes no sense at all is the millions of Lib Dem voters who have deserted their party because they finally got into government.

As every new party of government quickly finds out to their cost, to govern is to choose, and in making those decisions, you please some people and you annoy others. That is the nature of government, regardless of which party or parties is in power.

The Liberal Democrat leadership grew up and entered government in 2010 for the first time in decades of Liberal history. Yesterday they were punished for this sin.

After their allotted time on the naughty step, perhaps it will be time for Lib Dem voters to grow up too.


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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Mon May 11, 2015 8:54 am UTC

I don't agree with that article, really at all. Being that I voted LibDem in the previous election and didn't this go round. I was a first time voter when I voted Lib Dem. For LibDems, they attract a lot of young, idealistic support from students. They promised that they wouldn't raise tuition fees, something that matters to a lot of their core demographic. When I was at the student protests (I missed the riot because we went to the National Portrait Gallery afterwards and then had to get on the bus back to Lancaster) there was a lot of anger towards Nick Clegg for 'turning blue'. It wasn't that he 'compromised' on the thing, it's that he made a promise and broke it quite badly. It wasn't as though I believed that free university education was going to happen as soon as he got into power, or that it would go down. It was that it tripled.

He did say that he would attempt to form a government with the party that got the most votes first but I think it would have been better for the LibDems had they formed a coalition with the Labour party instead of the Conservatives. The Labour and LibDems had much more in common than the Conservatives. I dislike the idea that we're just not grown up enough to understand politics. I just don't see why I should reward a party that broke all of its promises with my vote again. Seems very counter intuitive.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Mon May 11, 2015 9:14 am UTC

I disagree Its pretty much spot on

the party released it could negotiate a couple of manifesto items into government policy and had to abandon the rest. The electorate however clearly didn't. The lib dems chose the tax threshold and the AV referendum - arguably both horrible choices in hindsight (they get zero credit for the first & the latter was always doomed)

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Mon May 11, 2015 10:31 am UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:He did say that he would attempt to form a government with the party that got the most votes first but I think it would have been better for the LibDems had they formed a coalition with the Labour party instead of the Conservatives. The Labour and LibDems had much more in common than the Conservatives. I dislike the idea that we're just not grown up enough to understand politics. I just don't see why I should reward a party that broke all of its promises with my vote again. Seems very counter intuitive.

2010 UK Election results:
Conservatives: 306 (up from 210)
Labour: 258 (down from 349)
Lib Dem: 57 (down from 62).

Majority is 326. With the speaker's and Sinn Fein's seats discounted, a working majority is 323.
Note that Labour + Lib Dem only reached 316, 7 short of a working majority (and 10 of real majority). More importantly, they would only be 10 votes ahead of the Conservatives, and with public support for Labour falling, it would have been a very weak position.

The Lib Dem's move to form a coalition with the Tories was really the only way to get a working government with a strong majority.

It's unfortunate that LD frontbenchers supported a rise in tuition fees, but I do feel they've been disproportionately punished. When you enter coalition, you simply cannot maintain all of your manifesto commitments, or other pre-election pledges.
(If you're interested, you can see a list of rebels in that particular division here - http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.p ... number=151 - the motion to raise the upper limit to £9k was the same division).

Also, remember that it was a Labour government that introduced fees in the first place, and then raised the cap to £3000 5 years later (from £1k).
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby jseah » Mon May 11, 2015 11:15 am UTC

leady wrote:The lib dems chose the tax threshold and the AV referendum - arguably both horrible choices in hindsight (they get zero credit for the first & the latter was always doomed)

Do the students value the tax threshold and AV more than tuition fees? (I suspect not)

Then it would make a lot of sense that the LDs lose support among students for favouring an issue the students care less about over one they prefer.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Mon May 11, 2015 1:41 pm UTC

jseah wrote:Do the students value the tax threshold and AV more than tuition fees? (I suspect not)

Then it would make a lot of sense that the LDs lose support among students for favouring an issue the students care less about over one they prefer.


If LD voters then stayed at home that might make sense, but the majority seemed to switch allegiance to Tory/Labour - which, as said, makes no sense given that both the major parties are more in favour of raising tuition fees than the LDs were...

It'd be like Tory voters switching to Labour in protest at the Tories failing to carry out their pledge to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands...

It also makes no sense for LD voters to desert those MPs that actually voted against the tuition fees rise! They got culled along with all the others...

All political parties fail to carry out some of their manifesto pledges - sometimes cynically, but sometimes for reasons beyond their control. This is doubly true in a coalition when it would be totally unreasonable for the junior partner to get all their own way.

The LD government didn't throw a hissy fit and, in anti-democratic fashion, try to force the party that had the largest mandate to bend to its will. I think their tuition fee pledge was made with sincerity, and their failure to follow through on it was not cynical but pragmatic. Again, somewhat like the Tories failing to reduce immigration (except I think that pledge was made less honestly and more cynically).

If the British public had wanted the LDs to fulfil their manifesto in full, they should have given the LDs a majority in parliament.

They didn't, so they shouldn't be surprised that the LDs had to compromise, and it's simply cutting off their nose to spite their face for LD voters to abandon their party in that way. And I say that as someone who has never voted for the LDs in my life! I'm half-inclined to switch allegiance to them in sympathy though! (In fact I heard that the LD party has never in its history had so many people join up as on the day after the election...)

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Mon May 11, 2015 2:03 pm UTC

You have to realise that the lib dems are a weird amalgam of folks, being a merger of the liberals (what was the old school liberal party - i.e. individual freedom biased) and the SDP (social democrats) in the 80s and that ideological divide somewhat persists today.

For example in the West, South west and East, the Lib dems have (oops I mean had :) ) a set of personal freedom and green advocating MPs as the opposition to pure conservatives. These were almost wiped off the map because in practice their time in government showed that they did little more than the tories (and with the Tories taking Gay marriage off the table too...) so they all went blue again. Then you have the urban lib dem seats that I suspect really did have a mix of student and idealistic young vote behind them which are really natural SDP folks and thus switched to labour after the tuition fees debacle.

If it was a deliberate long term tory strategy to eat the lib dem seats by neutralising the remaining socially liberal elements, whilst generating mass fear of a labour-snp in those very seats then it was genius :)

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Mon May 11, 2015 2:27 pm UTC

leady wrote:If it was a deliberate long term tory strategy to eat the lib dem seats by neutralising the remaining socially liberal elements, whilst generating mass fear of a labour-snp in those very seats then it was genius :)

I think that would be giving the system far too much credit.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 11, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
jseah wrote:Do the students value the tax threshold and AV more than tuition fees? (I suspect not)

Then it would make a lot of sense that the LDs lose support among students for favouring an issue the students care less about over one they prefer.


If LD voters then stayed at home that might make sense, but the majority seemed to switch allegiance to Tory/Labour - which, as said, makes no sense given that both the major parties are more in favour of raising tuition fees than the LDs were...

If the LDs can't or won't stop tuition increases (and similar platform highlights), then you might as well base your vote based on other issues. Which might turn out to favour another party.

I imagine that this would have turned out different if the LibDems had looked like they were fighting in the coalition for their goals, especially the party leadership. But they lost that image from day 1, and never got it back. Might be purely image, might be a reality of people who enjoyed their position too much to risk it.

Or from another light: it's not just a failure to protect key party goals. It's also a failure to show something else in return.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Mon May 11, 2015 3:21 pm UTC

leady wrote:Then you have the urban lib dem seats that I suspect really did have a mix of student and idealistic young vote behind them which are really natural SDP folks and thus switched to labour after the tuition fees debacle

Which makes no sense as tuition fees are a Labour invention...

Yeah. I do realise that the LDs are a weird mixture of soft-right, left-wing and protest voters. It's just sad that they've apparently managed to p*ss off all those groupings simultaneously...

The answer to the LDs not managing to get all their policies past the coalition last time around is to have more MPs, not less - and it's just a hissy fit to see it otherwise...

Zamfir wrote:I imagine that this would have turned out different if the LibDems had looked like they were fighting in the coalition for their goals, especially the party leadership. But they lost that image from day 1, and never got it back. Might be purely image, might be a reality of people who enjoyed their position too much to risk it.


Part of the reason the economy rebounded and interest rates on government debt remained so low was because we had a united coalition that did not squabble in public. That probably saved us many many billions of pounds of borrowing repayments, and probably caused far more long-term, inward investment from businesses than would otherwise have occurred.

Do they get any credit for that? Fat chance. The voters can't see past 'you didn't vote against tuition fees - nee ner nee ner!' (even though half of them did).

Or from another light: it's not just a failure to protect key party goals. It's also a failure to show something else in return.

You honestly think personal tax allowance would have jumped to £10k under the Tories or Labour?

They had one-seventh of the government MPs. How did they have a mandate to achieve more than one-seventh of their manifesto vs. the Tories getting six-sevenths of theirs?

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 11, 2015 3:49 pm UTC

But individual LibDem voters have no method available to get more Libdem MPs elected. They already voted libdem the previous time, it was not enough.

Every third party in the UK system faces an uphill battle. A vote for them might be a lost vote. In return for that risk, you have to offer something special, something the major parties are not offering.

The lib dems don't do so well on that specialness, compared to other non major parties. They're mostly the in-between party, with a few highlights. Their strength is the lower risk: votes for them actually have a shot at electing an MP. And for years and years, there was even achance that those MPs might matter, in case of a hung parliament. So a vote for the lib dems is/was not purely symbolic protest. If the stars were just right, your vote for the libdems might elect the kingmaker.

Then the stars were right, after decades of waiting. And the magic didn't happen. Turns out that is is not enough to have districts where the libdem vote has a chance. It's not enough to have a hung parliament. Turns out you also need a much larger block of seats to make difference. So their now back with the greens and UKIP as a symbolic protest vote, except without anything left that they symbolize.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Mon May 11, 2015 3:50 pm UTC

I would never suggest that voting patterns are particularly logical :) I'm just suggesting a tipping point

I actually feel bad for the lib dems to be honest, they did the responsible thing and got shafted by the electorate, which shouldn't be right. But that's politics folks!

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Mon May 11, 2015 4:02 pm UTC

It looks like Farage has un-resigned; guess that means my hopes of the party collapsing like a snake with its head chopped off are gone.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Mon May 11, 2015 4:03 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:It looks like Farage has un-resigned; guess that means my hopes of the party collapsing like a snake with its head chopped off are gone.

Excuse me while I be sick.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon May 11, 2015 7:18 pm UTC

Predictable.

As for the Lib Dem vote collapsing, I've been expecting it since day 1 of the coalition. Because they picked up loads of votes during the 2010 campaign, it's not like those people were Lib Dem VotersTM. They liked what they heard from Clegg in the debates, and (from my experience) included a lot of anti-Tory voters who felt unrepresented by labour, and truly excited by the thought of this third party that they liked having a real chance.

The day the coalition was formed, they felt completely betrayed. Tuition fees just reinforced that. Losing the AV referendum killed off the last of their enthusiasm.

As for the argument that a coalition with Cameron was their only choice, that's not true mathematically. Saying that labour "lost" when no one won is ceding the very argument they felt energised by when they heard Clegg talking about voting reform. The whole point is that getting 34% of the vote is not a "mandate", and seeing their anti-Tory vote prop up Cameron was unacceptable.

Now, they may not have had an actual choice, as by all accounts labour didn't take coalition talks particularly seriously. But in that in-between time, all the lib dem voters I knew were desperate to see the Tories kept out.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Xenomortis » Mon May 11, 2015 7:23 pm UTC

The percentage of voters voting LD did not change much between the 2005 and 2010 election.
They had fewer seats after the 2010 election.

And if the vote was "to keep the Tories out", why have most of their seats turned blue*?
Are you saying they're more afraid of Labour+SNP?

*
Edit: Losses to the SNP notwithstanding.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon May 11, 2015 7:38 pm UTC

I don't think they switched support to the Tories. Is there any evidence for this? I think it's much more likely that the Lib Dem vote stayed home or went elsewhere, while the casual Tories came out in higher numbers, as they wouldn't want to see the Lib Dems prop up labour.

I'm saying that voting Lib Dem put the Tories in, so what would be the point of an anti-Tory Lib Dem vote this time around? So yes, I would expect those seats to turn blue, especially in the south where Labour didn't have much of a base.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Mon May 11, 2015 9:52 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:It looks like Farage has un-resigned; guess that means my hopes of the party collapsing like a snake with its head chopped off are gone.

And Gorgeous George Galloway has decided to appeal his result as it must have been a result of fraud, and not because we all think he's a preening, self promoting, supercicilious amoral twat.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Mon May 11, 2015 9:56 pm UTC

Btw, what's wrong with George Galloway?
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Mon May 11, 2015 10:04 pm UTC

Really? Oh, dear. Sorry to be a coward but do you mind if I do this tomorrow when I have time to come up with a properly researched answer? (One physicist against another so I know what I'm up against). We've just had a new government, I've done a 14 hour day on 5 hours sleep and if I start this now I won't make coherent sense. Suffice to say I stand by my position on GG (and I've met him several times), but you are right to call me out. later?
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Mon May 11, 2015 10:06 pm UTC

Jumble wrote:Really? Oh, dear. Sorry to be a coward but do you mind if I do this tomorrow when I have time to come up with a properly researched answer? (One physicist against another so I know what I'm up against). We've just had a new government, I've done a 14 hour day on 5 hours sleep and if I start this now I won't make coherent sense. Suffice to say I stand by my position on GG (and I've met him several times), but you are right to call me out. later?

This is coming from a place of never having heard of him before really & having looked a little bit at the party manifesto and thinking that it was alright for a leftie. Honestly, I've seen a lot of people who don't really like him & I'm just curious as I don't have any real understanding of who he is.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 11, 2015 10:06 pm UTC

Sorry to interject, it's just...delightfully interesting/bewildering to view this from an outside perspective, and wonder if it's at all similar to how ya'll view US elections.

Things like "unresigning" just seem...strange.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Mon May 11, 2015 10:12 pm UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:
Jumble wrote:Really? Oh, dear. Sorry to be a coward but do you mind if I do this tomorrow when I have time to come up with a properly researched answer? (One physicist against another so I know what I'm up against). We've just had a new government, I've done a 14 hour day on 5 hours sleep and if I start this now I won't make coherent sense. Suffice to say I stand by my position on GG (and I've met him several times), but you are right to call me out. later?

This is coming from a place of never having heard of him before really & having looked a little bit at the party manifesto and thinking that it was alright for a leftie. Honestly, I've seen a lot of people who don't really like him & I'm just curious as I don't have any real understanding of who he is.

Thanks F_T. I will respond when I get a chance.

Tyndmyr wrote:Sorry to interject, it's just...delightfully interesting/bewildering to view this from an outside perspective, and wonder if it's at all similar to how ya'll view US elections.

Things like "unresigning" just seem...strange.


Agreed. In normal society if you resign you go. Funnily I've only heard of resignations rejected in UK politics. What, to you, was the wierdest part of this process?
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 11, 2015 10:16 pm UTC

The idea that resignations can be rejected, really. That's not really a part of US politics. You resign, you're out.

Granted, it might be because you screwed the pooch politically, and were asked to resign quietly, but still.

Also, the idea that ya'll have a group known as Tories has always struck me as slightly unusual. In the US, the term mostly only comes up in the context of the revolutionary war era history, and Uk elections are typically brushed overly lightly if covered at all in our news. So, it has a quaint air about the word. But that's a minor aside, really. The degree of tactical voting, etc also seems fascinating from an electoral system pov. Not that we don't have it, it's just kinda different.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Mon May 11, 2015 11:49 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, the idea that ya'll have a group known as Tories has always struck me as slightly unusual. In the US, the term mostly only comes up in the context of the revolutionary war era history, and Uk elections are typically brushed overly lightly if covered at all in our news. So, it has a quaint air about the word. But that's a minor aside, really.


"The Tories" and "the Tory party" are slang terms, just like the GOP is for you. Their proper title is, as I'm sure you know, the Conservative party.

I for one use it cos it's quicker to write is all :)

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Thesh » Tue May 12, 2015 12:13 am UTC

I wouldn't really call GOP a slang term; it may have originally been, but now it's a pretty official name. They even have it trademarked. Hell, their official website is gop.com.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Alexius » Tue May 12, 2015 12:24 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Also, the idea that ya'll have a group known as Tories has always struck me as slightly unusual. In the US, the term mostly only comes up in the context of the revolutionary war era history, and Uk elections are typically brushed overly lightly if covered at all in our news. So, it has a quaint air about the word. But that's a minor aside, really.


"The Tories" and "the Tory party" are slang terms, just like the GOP is for you. Their proper title is, as I'm sure you know, the Conservative party.

I for one use it cos it's quicker to write is all :)


The old opposite of Tory was Whig. They started out as the insulting nicknames for the two main factions in English and later British politics after the Civil War- IIRC a Tory is an Irish bandit and a Whig is a Scottish thief.

The Tories (the conservative/monarchist faction) became the Conservative Party in the early 19th century, at the same time as the Whigs (the reformist/constitutionalist faction) were merging with various other groups to become the Liberal Party. Before then, though, at the time of the American Revolution the Tory/Whig distinction was used to refer to Loyalists and Patriots- which resulted in there later being four Whig Presidents of the United States.

Thesh wrote:I wouldn't really call GOP a slang term; it may have originally been, but now it's a pretty official name. They even have it trademarked. Hell, their official website is gop.com.

tories.org.uk redirects to the official website of the Conservative Party.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Derek » Tue May 12, 2015 2:03 am UTC

Alexius wrote:The old opposite of Tory was Whig. They started out as the insulting nicknames for the two main factions in English and later British politics after the Civil War- IIRC a Tory is an Irish bandit and a Whig is a Scottish thief.

The Tories (the conservative/monarchist faction) became the Conservative Party in the early 19th century, at the same time as the Whigs (the reformist/constitutionalist faction) were merging with various other groups to become the Liberal Party. Before then, though, at the time of the American Revolution the Tory/Whig distinction was used to refer to Loyalists and Patriots- which resulted in there later being four Whig Presidents of the United States.

Yes, I believe "Tory" became associated with loyalists during the American Revolution due to it's association with monarchism. While British Whigs, who were more democratically minded, were more likely to be sympathetic to the revolutionary cause.

It's also interesting that, while in the UK the Liberal Party became the left wing (until they were replaced by Labor), in Australia the Liberal Party became the right wing

Alexius wrote:tories.org.uk redirects to the official website of the Conservative Party.

And grauniad.co.uk redirects to The Guardian, which I have always found amusing :p

I think "Tory" has about the same status in the UK as "GOP" does in the US.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Tue May 12, 2015 6:23 am UTC

Jumble wrote:Thanks F_T. I will respond when I get a chance.

Ok, sorry F_T, really was running on fumes last night. Right, Mr Galloway.

My problem with Galloway is not that I find myself ideologically opposed to him, or that he is not a clever or nuanced debater. He's a socialist, stands by his principles and has the intelligence not just to wipe the floor with Katy Hopkins but to give the U.S. Senate a run for its money. The problem is, much as with Dawkins and his evangelistic atheism, he takes a cause of tolerance and anti-violence and pushes it so far it becomes a mirror image of the thing he opposes.

I first lost touch with Galloway when, as a young student and marching against the war in Iraq, we found that George had taken it to another level and was in Iraq singing the praises of Saddam Hussein. Many of us were opposed to the war in Iraq but that does not mean that we didn't recognise Hussein as a brutal and murderous dictator who deployed gas, torture and large-scale murder against his own people. To find Galloway out there shaking his hand and delivering speeches in his honour left our cause, in my mind, feeling slightly grubbier.

He is pro-palestine, which is fine by me - so am I. However, he takes it to a level where if he is not actually anti-semitic himself (and he seems careful never to quite cross that line) he seems comfortable in the company of antisemites. I’m not very good at being Jewish, I don’t take offence at Jewish jokes and I do not support the actions of the Israeli government in Palestine. However, when Galloway walked out of an Oxford student debate because he found his opponent had a jewish surname, announcing “I don’t debate with Israelis” he committed exactly the xenophobia he opposes in others.

He is pro-freedom of speech, which is another no-brainer. However, Julian Assange is a complicated case and everyone is entitled to their view on whether he should face trial in Sweden for the rape charges raised against him. The allegation of rape is a serious matter and separate to the morality and legality of Wikileaks, but be Assange guilty or innocent of rape (and until he agrees to defend himself in Sweden we won’t know) for Galloway to dismiss it as ‘poor sexual etiquette’ is demeaning of rape victims.

I think at the end of the day I dislike Galloway for taking causes with which I can sympathise and then turning them, through his undeniable wit and intelligence, into an opportunity to promote himself rather than the cause. Through his relentless egotism and apparent lack of self-doubt or balance he seems able to take the best, most obviously just ideology on the planet and make it feel somehow diminished. Still, he was good value against Katie Hopkins.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Tue May 12, 2015 10:39 am UTC

Oh man, that's uh, quite enlightening.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Alexius » Tue May 12, 2015 10:53 am UTC

Jumble wrote:He is pro-palestine, which is fine by me - so am I. However, he takes it to a level where if he is not actually anti-semitic himself (and he seems careful never to quite cross that line) he seems comfortable in the company of antisemites. I’m not very good at being Jewish, I don’t take offence at Jewish jokes and I do not support the actions of the Israeli government in Palestine. However, when Galloway walked out of an Oxford student debate because he found his opponent had a jewish surname, announcing “I don’t debate with Israelis” he committed exactly the xenophobia he opposes in others.


Slight correction on this- Galloway was aware of the name of his opponent before the debate started. He walked out when his opponent (Eylon Aslan-Levy, who was a third-year politics student at the time) admitted to being an Israeli citizen. He then claimed to have been "misled".

Here's a contemporary article about it from an Oxford student newspaper.

I found Galloway's actions reprehensible, but they come from (IMO bigoted) hatred of Israelis not anti-semitism- he presumably would have debated with a non-Israeli Jew...

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue May 12, 2015 6:02 pm UTC

Yeah, Galloway is probably the most frustrating figure in British politics, because he's actually charismatic, apparently genuine, and obviously clever, but also so completely in love with himself that he can't stop being an ass.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Tue May 12, 2015 6:16 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Yeah, Galloway is probably the most frustrating figure in British politics, because he's actually charismatic, apparently genuine, and obviously clever, but also so completely in love with himself that he can't stop being an ass.


+1

Parliamentary democracy is at its finest when filled with people of principle - and far more fun when filled with charisma! Say what you like about characters like Galloway or Farage: They are not boring!

Blair's first cabinet was filled with intelligence and principle (Cook, Field, Short etc.) - most of which just went to waste as Blair became increasingly dictatorial.

Parliamentary democracy is at its weakest when filled with slavishly on-message yes-men...

(But, yes, Galloway does totally spoil it by being an egotistical, pompous and self-important asshole...)

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby sardia » Tue May 12, 2015 7:07 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:Yeah, Galloway is probably the most frustrating figure in British politics, because he's actually charismatic, apparently genuine, and obviously clever, but also so completely in love with himself that he can't stop being an ass.


+1

Parliamentary democracy is at its finest when filled with people of principle - and far more fun when filled with charisma! Say what you like about characters like Galloway or Farage: They are not boring!

Blair's first cabinet was filled with intelligence and principle (Cook, Field, Short etc.) - most of which just went to waste as Blair became increasingly dictatorial.

Parliamentary democracy is at its weakest when filled with slavishly on-message yes-men...

(But, yes, Galloway does totally spoil it by being an egotistical, pompous and self-important asshole...)

I never quite understood the fascination with charismatic leaders. Why would you want these people to have an ego? They're here to serve the public, not entertain us.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Tue May 12, 2015 7:19 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I never quite understood the fascination with charismatic leaders. Why would you want these people to have an ego? They're here to serve the public, not entertain us.


Charisma does not equal ego. Obama doesn't strike me as someone with a particularly huge ego for example. I mean, you have to have some level of ego to put yourself forward for leadership to begin with - you're not likely to end up leader of the free world with a huge inferiority complex - but no superiority complex need be inferred. Charismatic people can still be humble. Maybe the present-day pope would be a good example of that.

Charismatic leaders can only be of benefit during an internal or foreign policy crisis also. Would a man with less charisma than Nelson Mandela have brokered the end of apartheid in South Africa?

There's no hope in hell of fixing the Israel-Palestine problem until both sides elect leaders who decide to pursue a path of peace and have the personal charisma to drag their populations kicking and screaming behind them; Quite possibly Irish politics post-Good-Friday-agreement would not have gone so smoothly had Gerry Adams not had the charisma he obviously does.

Charismatic politicians also inspire ordinary people to engage with politics - both to fight for their cause and to fight against them. Look at the high turnout for the Scottish Independence vote for example - which was partly because of how charismatic Salmond is.

We need ordinary people engaged with politics to keep our politicians accountable. Charismatic politicians are an important part of achieving that.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Tue May 12, 2015 9:22 pm UTC

I think UKIP is a really good example of just what happens if you get a charismatic leader. Last election, I don't really remember many people talking about UKIP in my area, people were talking about the BNP. In the 2010 elections, Lord Pearson (I don't know who he is) was leader of UKIP and got 3.1% of the votes. Now UKIP has 12.6% of the votes. Nigel Farage has been able to transform what people think of UKIP by being charismatic and being able to portray himself as a man of the people.

Personally, I would rather that UKIP were not doing as well as they are. However, seeing as how UKIP have rejected Nige's resignation, it seems that we're stuck with the him. I think he's a prime example of how the leader of a party can change a lot of people's perceptions on said party.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Derek » Tue May 12, 2015 10:04 pm UTC

Didn't UKIP win the last European elections? They seem to do much better in those than in national elections.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue May 12, 2015 11:00 pm UTC

Those elections aren't fptp, and they're lower turnout so favour the parties with the more energised base.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Wed May 13, 2015 1:44 am UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:I think UKIP is a really good example of just what happens if you get a charismatic leader. Last election, I don't really remember many people talking about UKIP in my area, people were talking about the BNP. In the 2010 elections, Lord Pearson (I don't know who he is) was leader of UKIP and got 3.1% of the votes. Now UKIP has 12.6% of the votes. Nigel Farage has been able to transform what people think of UKIP by being charismatic and being able to portray himself as a man of the people.


Yeah. Charismatic leaders are obviously of benefit to individual political parties. Labour did badly in part because of Miliband's 'geekiness', and UKIP obviously benefitted from Farage's charms.

Sardia seemed to be questioning the value to the electorate as a whole of a leader being charismatic though - ie. even one they didn't themselves vote for. Hopefully I've made a good case for why it's still a useful attribute even then.


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