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The Fracturing of British Politics

hollandia

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An interesting article here from the Economist from 2015, presaging the current shambles that is British Politics.


But with three months to go until a general election, the mechanism is broken. In 1951 the Conservative and Labour parties together scooped 97% of the vote; in May, opinion polls suggest, they will each win barely a third. Membership of the Tory party has fallen from 3m in the 1950s to about 150,000. Labour, which used to rule Scotland, could be reduced to a handful of seats there. Support for the Liberal Democrats, tarnished by coalition government, has collapsed. Almost all the running has been made by three insurgents: the Scottish National Party (SNP), which wants Scotland out of Britain; the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which wants Britain out of Europe; and the Green Party, which wants “hyper-capitalism” out of both Britain and Europe. It is the biggest shake-up since the early 20th century, when Labour displaced the Liberals.
Given that on current polling, The conservatives are on 38%, Labour on 26%, Lib Dems on 10% and TIG (the independent group) on 14% the fracturing has continued despite UKIP falling backwards. It will be interesting to see if the defection of three tories to the TIG will draw support from that base. On current numbers Labour look set to lose a lot of the seats they retook from the SNP.

The Tories are under severe internal pressures from the ERG on side and the remainers on the other, whilst Labour is riven with in fighting and poor management. As for the 2015 article - UKIP have fallen away, the Lib Dems have failed to capitalise on their remain stance, the SNP, whilst suffering some losses in 2017, remain steady.

The confidence and supply agreement between the Tories and the DUP has also raised questions both internally and externally about the Tories being in hock to far right elements, and soem are questioning their ability to act as an honest broker in NI. This has not been helped by what many see as a £1bn bribe to the DUP. Old style "one nation" Tories, such as Ken Clarke are increasingly dismayed by the lurch to the right.

The question is, how far further will British Politics splinter?
 

earwicker

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Dec 5, 2018
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This is all happening against a broader canvas. Identity politics, which swooped into the vacuum left by the demise of the old left, is fundamentally tribalistic and feeds into the worst parts of human nature. Spiralling distrust in the traditional-turned-activist media, universities turning on the notions of reality, truth and competence, corporations hiding behind identity politics as they become more and more entangled in our lives and Dunning-Kruger millennials on social media keep fanning the flames. Hard to say where it'll all stop.
 

midlander12

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Dec 4, 2018
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One can only hope that it fractures/splinters further, or better still undergoes a complete reconfiguration. The problem since 2015 has not been the splintering. It's the fact that both the Tories and Lab, who by the way won about 85% of the vote between them in 2017, are in hock to extremist, nay absurdist, factions who seem determined to take Britain economically (and in the case of some Tory Brexiteers, socially as well) back to the 1950's.

I don't know what the effect of any of the IG will be. The omens aren't good if you look at the fate of the SDP. What many people tend to forget about the SDP is that while they did indeed help create a third force in UK politics, they did so by breathing life into the old Liberals who unlike now had a young energetic leader in David Steel who was able to seize the moment. The SDP itself virtually disappeared after the 1983 election and the subsequent Lib Dems were essentially the old Libs revived.

Apart from the lack of a Steel figure, the other main difference between now and the 1980's is that both main parties are in dire straits, whereas in 1983, having steadied their ship over the previous year, the Tories were virtually unchallenged while Lab was in chaos. The fact that the Alliance and its LD successor party kept sucking up 20% or so of the vote kept Lab out of power until the Tories finally collapsed, and Lab simultaneaously regained its mojo under Blair, in the mid-90's. What we don't know yet is whether the Tories will ultimately rebrand under a new leader and some watered-down form of Brexit, or just dissolve into chaos as Lab is already doing. Frankly, neither of them would be any loss.

One of the most striking comments I heard during the week was (I think it was Umunna) that politics and policies should be based on 'evidence'. The May/Corbyn era will surely be viewed by future historians as the nadir of political leadership in post-war Europe, a textbook example of what happens when emotion trumps 'evidence'. I fear we have not seen the end of it yet.
 

Statsman

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The FPTP system that means a party with 40% of the vote can win a ‘landslide’ is a significant part of the problem as over 60% of the electorate are left without a voice either in government or locally.
It has also perpetuated an effective two party system in England and Wales and a marginalised set of ‘local issue’ voters in the rest of the country. Because there is no tradition of coalition government the Lib Dems suffered for breaking the pattern and the DUP learned the lesson and avoided a formal arrangement.
The only way to fix this is a move to PR and permanent coalition. Let their politicians learn the art of compromise and their voters the art of strategic voting. It’s that or the end of the UK.
 

ivnryn

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Dec 5, 2018
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The FPTP system that means a party with 40% of the vote can win a ‘landslide’ is a significant part of the problem as over 60% of the electorate are left without a voice either in government or locally.
FPTP also means that the Independent Group's national polling results are mostly meaningless. It doesn't matter what their national support level is. In terms of a GE, all that matters is their support level in the constituencies that their MPs are standing in.

If they can't get the most votes there, then they won't get elected. The Liberal Democrats have concentrated support in specific constituencies that allows them to win seats.

Reasonable levels of national support might encourage some MPs to switch, but they are still only really going to care about local support, at least if they want to be reelected.

The only way to fix this is a move to PR and permanent coalition.
They weren't even willing to go to single seat STV. It is unlikely that they will accept PR.
 

hollandia

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FPTP also means that the Independent Group's national polling results are mostly meaningless. It doesn't matter what their national support level is. In terms of a GE, all that matters is their support level in the constituencies that their MPs are standing in.

If they can't get the most votes there, then they won't get elected. The Liberal Democrats have concentrated support in specific constituencies that allows them to win seats.

Reasonable levels of national support might encourage some MPs to switch, but they are still only really going to care about local support, at least if they want to be reelected.



They weren't even willing to go to single seat STV. It is unlikely that they will accept PR.
A poor Brexit may make their mind up for them. Of course the risk with PR is that one of the big two might get into bed with one of the More extreme minor parties - Tory/UKIP for example.
 

Sidewinder

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Dec 1, 2018
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The only way to fix this is a move to PR and permanent coalition. Let their politicians learn the art of compromise and their voters the art of strategic voting. It’s that or the end of the UK.
Well indeed. But FPTP has an almost mystical and mythical hold on the English psyche. It's up there with Dunkirk and Agincourt and drinking warm beer at the cricket and all the rest of that nonsense. PR is a dirty foreign effete euro-conspiracy to strip the British of their political robustness, and erode the vitality of the Mother of Parliaments, yegads.

They'll go down with the ship and sink below the waves forever rather than give up FPTP.
 

Statsman

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Well indeed. But FPTP has an almost mystical and mythical hold on the English psyche. It's up there with Dunkirk and Agincourt and drinking warm beer at the cricket and all the rest of that nonsense. PR is a dirty foreign effete euro-conspiracy to strip the British of their political robustness, and erode the vitality of the Mother of Parliaments, yegads.

They'll go down with the ship and sink below the waves forever rather than give up FPTP.
The end of the UK it is, so. Not my problem.
 

hollandia

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The FPTP system that means a party with 40% of the vote can win a ‘landslide’ is a significant part of the problem as over 60% of the electorate are left without a voice either in government or locally.
It has also perpetuated an effective two party system in England and Wales and a marginalised set of ‘local issue’ voters in the rest of the country. Because there is no tradition of coalition government the Lib Dems suffered for breaking the pattern and the DUP learned the lesson and avoided a formal arrangement.
The only way to fix this is a move to PR and permanent coalition. Let their politicians learn the art of compromise and their voters the art of strategic voting. It’s that or the end of the UK.
Quite. 1997 was the biggest postwar "Landslide". The difference between PR and FPTP is illustrated below:

LabourConservativeLib Dem
Vote Share
43.2%​
30.7%​
16.8%​
Actual Seats
418​
166​
46​
Seat Share
64.3%​
25.5%​
7.1%​
Notional PR Seat Share
281​
200​
109​
FPTP "Bonus" Seats
137​
-34
-63
 

NMunsterman

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Feb 18, 2019
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Quite. 1997 was the biggest postwar "Landslide". The difference between PR and FPTP is illustrated below:

LabourConservativeLib Dem
Vote Share
43.2%​
30.7%​
16.8%​
Actual Seats
418​
166​
46​
Seat Share
64.3%​
25.5%​
7.1%​
Notional PR Seat Share
281​
200​
109​
FPTP "Bonus" Seats
137​
-34
-63
That is truly an insane system returning equally insane results.
 

ivnryn

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Dec 5, 2018
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304
The thing with FPTP is that it works reasonably well if there is just one dimension in politics. If all voters can be arranged in a line, then the two parties will end up with policies around the middle of the line.

The problem is that it doesn't work if there is more than 1 issue. Labour and the Conservatives are arranged along the left/right line but the Brexit question is at 90 degrees.

If they had PR, they could have 4 parties so that voters could pick between pro/anti-brexit and left/right economics.

Part of the reason that they can't converge on a majority is that many conservatives who are pro-remain have to decide if the Brexit question is more important than the left/right question (and similarly for Labour).
 

Dasayev

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Feb 20, 2019
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British politics has entered into a period of "constitutional eddies". Wider political issues are irrelevant as one topic, that is irreconcilable, will dominate.

Ireland was stuck in one from the mid 1800s and the The North inherited it after partition - Unionist v Nationalist.

Scotland has more recently entered an eddy. Once again it's Unionist v Nationalist.

And politics in England has, and will continue to be, distorted by Brexit. It's European Unionists v British Nationalists there.

Obviously something will have to give at some point.. The established political order cannot hold. We saw that here during our own revolutionary period from 1912 - 1923.

Whether it be peaceful or violent, a terrible beauty will be born in Britain in the next decade.
 

curio

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Feb 26, 2019
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Don't want to start another new thread when this one pretty much is on topic.
The member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) sub-committee on behaviour said mass job losses and rising unemployment due to coronavirus, as well as concerns about racial and economic inequality, may all be factors which could fuel "confrontations" in the coming months.
A possible divide between poorer and more affluent areas brought on by local lockdowns - if brought into force - could also have an effect, the professor of social psychology at Keele University, who has advised the Home Office on public order strategy, warned.

Public Order Strategy could mean Stormont Special powers like arrest without warrant and detention without trial.
Circumstances in the UK will change "quite considerably" in the coming months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Prof Stott said, adding: "There are important issues about inequality that could, if not dealt with properly, feed into a situation in the future over the summer months where confrontations develop."
Asked whether the allegations over the Prime Minister's chief adviser Dominic Cummings breaching lockdown could contribute to unrest, Prof Stott said: "We are at a really, really pivotal time and the loss of trust and confidence that has been brought about by the Cummings affair has not assisted in maintaining that adherence, I think that's quite clear."
I have a hunch that all the previous Brexit concerns like trade with Britain may soon end up taking a back seat to wide scale civil disturbance across the Irish Sea.
 
D

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Without the virus, the focused after the trade deal will need to be establish a committee on a written constitution for the UK. It may require a federal constitution with a regional constitution for Ni, Wales, and Scotland. England will need one, but England out numbers the rest of the UK, so regions were once considered, but not interest.

The problem is, removing the power of the UK government, so tax powers would need to be given to the South east and or London, and then the south west, with a capital for each, with an Assembly, so regional Assembly, federal assembly.

But few countries have establish a constitution as complicated for the UK, with having a country built by monarchy for centuries.
 

Seosamh

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Nov 29, 2018
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Oooops...
 

curio

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Feb 26, 2019
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Glasgow National Defence League Cenotaph defenders clashed with police in George's Square last night.

The Scottish media call them Loyalists.
 

curio

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Feb 26, 2019
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An excellent musing on the remainder of the Tory term in office.

As time moves on and Boris's promises continue to be vaporised by reality I won't be surprised if even the ethnic members of the Tory party feel the heat of the racist pot they've helped stir.
 

MOTS

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Dec 24, 2019
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Glasgow National Defence League Cenotaph defenders clashed with police in George's Square last night.

The Scottish media call them Loyalists.
Pure, poisonous, vomit-induciing hatred being spewed up by British Nationalists.
 

Statsman

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Well, the report is in.


• Labour “went into the 2019 election without a clear strategy of which voters we needed to persuade or how”, and failed to settle on a coherent message with the power of 2017’s “For the many, not the few”.
• “It was unclear who was in charge” of the election campaign, and relationships were soured by years of infighting which had created a “toxic culture” and “significant strategic and operational dysfunction”.
• Labour was outgunned by the Tories in the digital war, with messages poorly coordinated and most of them failing to reach beyond the party’s base.
• Helped by their clear “Get Brexit done” message, the Conservatives succeeded in turning out 2 million previous non-voters, accounting for two thirds of the increase in their vote share.
• Labour’s seat targeting was “unrealistic” and “not evidence-based”, and many candidates felt they did not receive enough support from the national party.
Worse still:

It shows that 2017’s better-than-expected performance masked the fact that Labour’s vote share had continued to decline in a string of heartland seats – many of which the party went on to lose to the Conservatives two years later.
And it points out that another 58 seats could be lost, with a further swing of 6% to Boris Johnson’s party.
“Despite now representing fewer constituencies than at any time since 1935, Labour cannot afford to be complacent about the seats it currently holds,” the report says.
In order to win the 124 additional seats it needs to form a majority government in 2024, Labour would have to increase the number of MPs it has by 60% - something that has never been achieved by any party.


Looks like one-party government for a while, no matter how insane the Tories are. Fuck!
 

ruserious

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Dec 4, 2018
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Well, the report is in.




Worse still:



Looks like one-party government for a while, no matter how insane the Tories are. Fuck!
Once Labour ‘lost’ Scotland it was always ever going to be thus. There’s not enough realistic seats in England for them to challenge the Tories.
The only way around this, is a Labour-SNP coalition, the price of which will be a second Indy Ref; which if it succeeds will ironically further damage Labour’s prospects of getting power in rUK post independence.
It is an extremely disUnited Kingdom and in that gap, chaos will reign.
 

Statsman

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I know it's only a headline - and in the Mirror at that - but there may be a grain of truth (remember truth?)

They already tried exploiting it, They ended up with the Cumming’s alleged quote about not caring about pensioners dying. What makes them think that they’d be any better at exploiting the pandemic and panic a second time around?

The biggest problem this iteration of the Tories have is not that they’re dishonest, self-serving and opportunistic, it’s that they’re obscenely incompetent when they try to be dishonest, self-serving and opportunistic. This incompetency meant they ballsed up anything to do with Brexit, and they’re doing the same with the pandemic. They can’t even manage mitigating the effects of COVID, there’s no way they’ve the skill to exploit those effects.
 
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Cruimh

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BBC report on the weasel words

In a statement posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn - who led the party for almost five years - said he had given a statement to Labour to "clear up any confusion" about what he had meant after the Equality and Human Rights Commission's report was published.

He said the report's release "should have been a moment for the Labour Party to come together in a determination to address the shortcomings of the past and work as one to root out anti-Semitism in our own ranks and wider society".

Mr Corbyn, who is still an MP despite his suspension from the party, said it was "not his intention" to say anti-Jewish racism should be tolerated, and he "regrets the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community".

His statement added: "To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither 'exaggerated' nor 'overstated'.

"The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to anti-Semitism."

Asked about the statement, a Labour Party spokesman said they would not "give a running commentary on an individual case".

Corbyn should work for Trump
 
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