Tag Archives: Lord Ashdown

The day after the election before

It is nice to see the fallout reign over papers and TV shows alike. How some Tories see the demise of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage entertaining, I myself have mixed feelings on such an act! The right party won as I see it, yet that is no grounds to see the others kicked when they are down. It also seems a little silly to replace one leader for the next wannabe because the previous one lost. That is a loser’s mentality! You see, in my view there is no better Labour consideration, who will fill his seat? Liz Kendall? I took her apart in that tech article she added her name to in the Guardian, if she takes control, great! That means the next two administrations are extremely likely to be Tory too, works for me! Andy Burnham? Seems like a decent labour man. I do not know too much about him other that he seems to be devoted to his wife, his children and the labour party (in that order). He does not seem to be a strong leader, but his last true test was when he turned 40, so he might have risen to the occasion, if he wins time will tell!

If Miliband is not an option, it seems to me that Angela Eagle, Rachel Reeves and Chris Leslie are worthy options here. I consider the two ladies because no matter what rises to leader in any party, it is best that this person comes with a few awesome economic degrees. Chris Leslie is not that but still has a decent view on matters, in addition to whatever he brings, he was able to overturn Keighley from Tory to Labour and did so with a decent margin. That makes him a tough opponent and a possible political price fighter. The fact that he was a former private secretary to Lord Falconer would work in his favour too (footnote: not the same Falconer as in R v Falconer (1990) 171 CLR 30).

I have a limited view on who should lead Labour. Even though Ed Miliband made his share of errors, especially as he went into the final lap, there is no guarantee that the replacement politician will not make the same mistakes (or worse).

When we look at the Liberal Democrats, there seems to be only confusion. That is to be expected, the Liberal Democrat fighter goes into the ring, got his fists ready and gets clobbered with a spiked bat. That is what losing 49 seats is likely to feel like. I always thought of Nick Clegg as a decent fellow, yet how wrong was his message to lose THAT many seats? Of course Scotland costed him a bundle (except for Shetland, them pony’s be faithful). The only way to restore the party is by finding a true visionary. It seems that Lord Ashdown has one massive fight on his hand finding that person. To be honest, I reckon that as we see the current choice is Norman Lamb and Tim Farron, Tim Farron would be the favourite here as I see it. The main reason is that Tim is a little left leaning. He can rally the ‘deserters’ on the right and sway several labour players on the left. This would give him the tactical move to restore the party to power, but that is not done overnight, it will likely take more than one election, so if He can sway enough people before the next general election, the Liberal Democrats would regain party fame as well as visibility.

Now we get to UKIP. I will not bore you with too many details, the issue here is who would be good. Here I take the current achievements in consideration. Steven Woolfe falls off the map then. He is bright, but consider that he has Stockport and he trailed both Conservative and Labour by a lot, being 50% below conservatives and almost 75% below Labour is not a good place, if you have your constituency at 13% you are not doing too well and the same can be said for Patrick O’ Flynn, who is trailing the four bigger ones by an uncomfortable margin, which is the only reason why I do not see them as UKIP party leader successors. Even though, according to the BBC article Douglass Carswell took himself out of the race, I am not convinced that this would be in the interest of UKIP. He won his place from the conservatives with a comfortable margin and squatted Labour ‘choice’ Tim Young like nothing you saw (likely with support from Giles Watling). My only concern here is that I personally feel that any party leader needs to have a decent degree in economics, because the next 5 administrations will all be about the economy and finding new ways to boost it to better heights, no matter who gets to be in charge. Although, the reasoning Carswell is the right one, Nigel Farage might have lost his constituency, the rise in votes is almost astronomical. If we go by the numbers of the last election we can see that there are at least 5 constituencies where winning is a realistic option for the next time around. They can give serious worry to at least 6 additional constituencies. That makes for 11 constituencies that obtainable if the right paths are walked, before Farage that was never even an option. If UKIP keeps its heads together and do not waste energy on futile public exclamations that only confuse the voters they could win a lot more, they basically got 5% of the votes. If they can rise to 11%-13% several locations will fall in favour of UKIP, which is not an outlandish goal or even an unrealistic one.

Now to the Conservatives, my own side!

There is a comfortable margin for the Tories, but as stated above, UKIP has the power to grow. Tactically speaking the best thing conservatives can hope for is that UKIP takes over a few more LD constituencies and try to have a go at the labour won areas. That tactic will work fine form UKIP for now, yet, to some extent it will work favourably for the conservatives too. Yet, there are areas, especially around Manchester where UKIP is a close third to the Tories with Labour on top, getting those people active in a decent and thought out way could pave for a strong third administration in 2020. As UKIP needs to focus on the attack and swaying, the Tories can for now rely on building a strong foundations within their constituencies, that strength could be the path for administration 3 and 4. It is not a given, but it is a realistic view.

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full)

 

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The after election party

I have had a few words in the past in several ways. I for one thought the UKIP would become a much larger player, this did not happen, but is that fact totally true?

You see, when we look at the very nice full election map the Guardian made available (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full), we are shown an interesting option, not when we look at the winner, but when we select ‘vote share UKIP‘. Now we see the view I had, which is to be honest a minority view. The purple map show one true dark spot (the one area they got), but we also see a fair bit of purple all over Britain. Hartlepool, Haywood & Middleton, Rotherham, Boston & Skegness, East of London and North-West of Birmingham. All areas that have clear UKIP representation, and even though not a winner, the European events as they are unfurling could make these new powerbases. But that is not for the immediate at present. The Conservatives could diffuse the situation and see how the minds of these areas can change, because Nigel Farage is down, but he is in no way out at present. You see, in all these areas UKIP came second and in some cases only by a small minority that this loss became fact. This means that in those areas trouble will brew for whomever held that constituency.

There is another side for the Guardian, that map they produced (which would not work during the elections for me), is still an amazing source of information, so I hope that they will release it as an app for mobile tablets as the information will be useful to many people who keep an eye out on British politics.

So how wrong was I? That is the question I ask myself. I felt comfortable with my predictions and the map (as well as the numbers) show that UKIP could have been much more powerful, but why that did not happen is less easily answered. You see, as we focus on Nigel Farage, we need to consider how well and how well supported Jane Collins was for Rotherham. The same question counts for John Bickley in Heywood & Middleton as well as Philip Broughton in Hartlepool. Three politicians who got close to make Nigel cry out loudly. UKIP seems very happy with the amount of votes they got, so as the Liberal Democrats move into the basement office space, UKIP is on the way up. This is not me poking fun of the Liberal Democrats, I tend not to kick a man when he is down. If that person is a militant extremist, I might shoot that person in the head, but this is politics, not a warzone (even though the difference in a week before elections is really hard to tell).

You see, when you look at the vote share map, but now, when we look a Liberal Democrats, an odd situation occurs. I am not talking about the massive losses they led, but wherever the Liberal Democrats have a decent footholds, UKIP tends to have near zero influence. This is exactly what I mean when I said ‘the Conservatives could diffuse the situation’. It is almost like the Liberal Democrats are a conservative buffer, keeping UKIP even further from any chance of being a contender. Perhaps there is the difference, but also the danger. If we accept that those moving away from the Conservative, or not entirely ready to be conservatives are Liberal Democrats (or UKIP), then it stands to reason that the Liberal Democrats could be the new power base for UKIP if they can get their acts right. If too many of the LD goes towards UKIP, the initial prediction I made would be exceeded by a lot, which also means that the Conservatives will have to start wooing the LD in a few ways from day 2.

Now that Nick Clegg has resigned (not sure if that was a good idea), we need to consider two parts.

The first part is that the data seems to imply that the Liberal Democrats had a two sided battle, one not moving to either Conservatives or UKIP (remember that UKIP had a massive addition of votes, but not victories), second to move the party forward. In this I actually like the headline the Telegraph offered (who would have thunk that!), which read ‘History will judge Nick Clegg more kindly than the voters have‘, I think I can second that to some degree. In my view Nick Clegg was not a true leader as I saw it, more of a follower of the Conservatives for as far as it benefitted the Liberal Democrats. It is not much of a standpoint, but it is a valid one. The pilot fish does not traverse the oceans on his own power and as long as the conservative and Liberal Democrat path are in the same direction it is not a biggie.

Yet, I must state that I never saw Nick Clegg as a leader, but was he a decent leader of the Liberal Democrats? That part remains, because who can take over? The four names that usually follow are Danny Alexander, David Laws, Lord Ashdown and Tim Farron. We can leave Lord Ashdown aside, he is the man who gave serious life to the Liberal Democrats, a youthful youngling, born slightly before 1950, originally from New Delhi. Former diplomat, intelligence officer and long-time MP for Yeovil, in the county of Somerset. My initial thought? I do not think he will return as the leader of the LD, but he will be there, as a man behind the curtains, the party orchestrator holding the strings and pulling those (read: advising) that will lead the Liberal Democrats back to strength.

Danny Alexander has a new ghost to fight, as former MP to Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, he faces other demons (one named SNP), no matter how LD minded he is, the link that would be drawn between the LD and the SNP are too dangerous to allow them to be voiced too often. There is also every chance that the SNP will woe this capable politician down the road, that is not a given, just a possibility. David Laws is another matter, so I will skip him for a moment, which leaves us with Tim Farron. My vote would go towards him for one wrong reason, which is the fact that David Laws and Lords Ashdown are both Yovillians. David pretty much took over from his lordship leaving us with a student mentor relationship, whether true or false, this is how it looks ant that can be deadly in politics. There is no doubt that David Laws will remain the power player in the LD, but I fear not that of leader. There are other members that could rise to the occasion, people like Gerald Vernon-Jackson that could rise to it all if the right push and mentor for higher office comes around, but for now my focus remains Tim Farron. The fact that in the past he was able to sway Tories to vote his way only gives weight to his ‘fighting’ spirit. Will my view pan out to be the correct one? I dare not say, but I do know that the Liberal Democrats have less than a week to make a decision, because the members of a party without a leader tend to go shopping as soon as possible for the ‘leader’ that will represent their issues the best and there is absolutely no chance that they are all considering the Conservative party.

For now, the UK remains conservative and I hope that they will get the deficit and the total debt down, because the reality that Greece is about to bring to the table is not a nice one and the UK better be prepared for what follows, because the Guardian had one article that smouldered sarcasm called ‘nine reasons to be cheerful’, in it there is mention on how Farage lost his constituency, which is unfortunate for Nigel, but the one that does truly matter is the one quoting “Someone at the Treasury gets to write a hilarious ‘I’m afraid there is no money’ note to themselves this morning“, yes, that is true, but let’s not forget that this is mostly due to the failings of Labour, which got the Conservatives re-elected. The nation and nations at large are facing the consequences of previous governments overspending by so much that European Austerity is here to stay for at least two administrations that are to come, this one not included. So, when you consider the ‘no money left‘ issue, then also realise that above all that Greece will need an additional 30 billion (perhaps even more), an amount of which the UK gets to pay a share, the economy has been misrepresented on a European level and the economists at the Guardian have no clue as to why the predictions are so far off. Here we see the exact same as the wrongful ‘hung parliament‘ prediction, the people are no longer believing the unrealistic promises that came from Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, with the added part that they were almost on the side of Nigel Farage, but found him a little too extreme and above all, the press is no longer trusted with the ‘predictions’ they make, especially economic ones.

So as I feel that UKIP is down but not out, there is a real danger that many places will consider UKIP to be the choice next time, many did, but not enough to sway electorates, the fact that they got in second in too many places is downplayed for now and will become an issue down the road, because the upcoming decade of Austerity is not a nice one. The Greek issue should have been slammed down hard, but those relying to survive on Status Quo are too powerful for now, that is until the next European general elections that will impact the UK, which will be France in 2017. They will very much consider the EU referendum and the tantrums of Greece are not helping. On the other hand extremism has an advantage, the fact that the not so ‘clued in’ father of Marine Le Pen (Jean-Marie Le Pen) is sinking her advantage by opening his mouth is good for the National Front opposition, but it is in no way a guarantee that National Front will not sweep the nation. Should they do so than Europe will face a Euro without France, at which point the UK will not be left with any options but to enforce ‘Brexit’ any way possible. So the tactical choice of holding the referendum AFTER the French elections makes perfect sense, but that reality is now completely depending on the actions and success of National Front, which means that there is no half way option left.

Again, I could just be totally wrong!

 

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