Saturday, 9 May 2015

Pessimism Justified

Well, I was right to be pessimistic but there was hope in the pessimism now utterly dashed. We were all misled by the polls, even if the polls were right, if they were, but couldn't have been all of the time. For 'undecided', next time, read 'Tories'...

Everyone has lost. The poorest have lost and will first. The electoral cycle means cuts savage for two years, and then easing off, ending with goodies sprayed all over the place. Some may not survive two years intact.

Politically all the parties - yes all of them - have lost. The SNP lost because, being too successful, they frightened too many English horses, especially helped by Tory cries, and thus, with Labour's weakness, lost the ability to 'lock out David Cameron from Number 10'.

UKIP lost because although the working class prejudice strategy worked the Tory element went back to the Tories. UKIP thus failed to turn votes into seats. If there is a vote to stay in or come out of Europe, they loss. They will only attract the disgruntled if we stay in, and if out the job is done and they are finished. That or they morph into the Alf Garnett Party. If Douglas Carswell leads them, they might moderate.

Why do party leaders resign after they have led their party with arrogance to destruction? Why not realise the toxicity of the leadership and let someone else have a go a year out or more before the election? The Liberal Democrats built a left of centre identity, even left of Blair, and then betrayed their main voters. Then of course the remaining more 'Orange' voters realised they may as well vote for the real thing, and voted Tory. The Tories were so grateful for their coalition allies propping them up that they went around the constituencies beating them up. They thought they were easier pickings than Labour, but it turned out that Labour were weak enough as well. Nick Clegg destroyed the Liberal Democrats and it is a pity that he didn't lose his seat and perhaps another keep his or hers. Charles Kennedy obviously didn't do enough to remind electors that he abstained over going into the coalition.

Labour lost because it had a few populist redistribution policies but no vision, no rationale other than people didn't feel yet the fruits of a statistical recovery. What Labour didn't do, in the election or earlier, was expose the economy for what it is: debt ridden private and public, with no rebalance towards industry, and a property boom manipulation that failed to sustain the construction industry (it has been lousy), and a cheap labour economy that traded against capital investment and therefore no productivity growth. The analysis was so lousy because they were startled by supposed independent statistics reports, all of which said there was recovery and lots of people in underemployment. Ed Miliband had to prove he was leadership material: he had a good early campaign to prove himself but ran out of steam, and then put up a gravestone. The vision should have been a high capital investment economy with a beefed up industry department and all policies geared towards investment. That's how to do Scotland and England together. Expose the Tories as casino economics traders, all money and no substance, all for the wealthy few.

The Conservatives lost too. The economy will soon expose itself as useless. They will also reduce monetary and fiscal demand by savage cuts, as well as create social strife (should they do as promised). They will also be diverted by first the bullshit of renegotiation over Europe and either deceive that something has been achieved in repatriated powers, to therefore recommend staying in, or they will be neutered in their own comment. A head of steam to come out isn't necessarily the result when people think about the consequences, and imagine a vote to stay in among the Tory nutjobs on the back benches. And there may be just enough pro-European Tories (who once enjoyed Liberal Democrat support) who have to play with that tiny majority their way. Plus we cannot leave the EU and leave Scotland as part of the Union: membership of the EU is not part of devolution.

The Tories will also find that although they can pick off victims (those who are not "working people"), a majority does not mean unconstrained government. A lot of what they promised won't happen, and they will start to tie themselves in knots. And Major won, hit the ERM crisis that Labour might have hit then, and was done for by again voter memory. It was the tiredness of the Major government and its contradictions as a governing party plus incompetence that gave Labour its opportunity, so long as Labour has an economic narrative and a better proposal.

Plus the Greens did no better and neither did Plaid Cymru. So, the Tories won, by beating up their one-time colleagues, regarding the Scots as other, with a referendum that could divide their party. They've sown the seeds of their own destruction. This government may not get past the referendum intact.

And the fixed term parliament act? It demands a huge majority to have an early election, but a simple majority to repeal it. I bet it goes, with the slender majority probably meaning the Prime Minister doesn't get back the right to call an election, but say a simple majority confidence vote to call an election just as one is taken to defend a government. This is how, if this government cripples itself early, it may not last.

This is the only hope there is at the moment. But it is because all the parties lost the election. It takes a lot for the opposition to unite to get near to defeating a government, but it takes little for the nutjobs and disgruntled to start making serious demands.

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