Friday, May 07, 2010

The election: initial thoughts

Britain on course for a hung Parliament, but the opinion polls fucked up spectacularly.

I always knew there was no chance I was going to make it til all seats were announced. Came 4, I had to turn in and now I've just discovered the counting is nowhere near done anyway.

1- Opinion polls got it wrong. Big time. Labour lost loads of votes but still did less bad than expected. This may partly explain the missed LibDem surge.

The LibDem vote that was so optimistically going to tally between 80 and 100 MPs was obviously a load of pap. Like I said, there's still about 30 seats to be declared, but if it carries on like this, the LibDems did better under Charlie Kennedy in 2005. Most frustratingly, their national percentage is slightly on the rise, and almost 6.5m people voted for them. It's shocking that they're not even going to make it to 60MPs.

2- Massive disappointment for the LibDems. No question. A national 23% is way short than even the most pessimistic expectations. Yes, they won Eastbourne and also took Norwich South from the obnoxious Charles Clarke. But they also got a slap in the face in various places, especially Montgomeryshire where Cheeky Chappie Lempit Opik lost his seat.

3- A hung parliament. Fewer MPs than 2005, yet this could be Nick Clegg's moment nonetheless. With the Tories not gaining anywhere near enough as a main opposition party should after 13 years (plus all the right circumstances for victory: big downturn, positive press, uncharismatic PM, etc), we'll have to wait and see what happens.

4- Pathetic BNP showing. Like reader asquith correctly points out this morning, where the fuck is the so-called "BNP surge" that the tabloids and right-wing commentators were so sure of? Where's the "white working class lost to the BNP"? Really, though. Margaret Hodge literally triumphed in Barking and Dagenham. With a stunning 54.3%, she even gained 4.7%, which is astonishing on a night when Labour lost so much ground nationally. And what about Nick Griffin? The one-eyed fascist LOST 1.7% compared to his party's showing five years ago. A humiliating defeat. Pathetic.

5- "The white working class vote". A similar picture in Stoke Central, which was bigged up as the other potential BNP target. There too, their candidate lost votes and came forth with a rickety 7.7%. Labour held their seat. Yet for the last two years we were told relentlessly that the white working class en-masse wanted the BNP. Ha ha.

6- The Green Party in Brighton. Caroline Lucas made it and the Green Party won its historical first MP ever in Brighton Pavillion. The good news, however, is offset by the neighbouring Brighton Kemp, which is a lesson on how the progressive vote can be used suicidally. Labour, the LibDem and the Greens together make 60% of the vote. Except that it's split into three chunks, which means the seat is nicely handed to the Tory candidate.

7- Birmingham. No change anywhere. Again, the far-right's performance was a joke. Look at Erdington. Together the BNP and the NF (yes, this seat has got both) tallied a ridiculous 5.7% and actually lost votes compared to 2005. Quite clearly, the British people simply despise fascist parties. Griffin & co should just get the message, give up and fuck off to a small island somewhere.

8- Salma Yaqoob failed to win Birmingham Hall Green. I was convinced she was going to. A swing of over 11% from Labour wasn't enough. The progressive anti-Labour vote was crucially split in half between Respect and the LibDems.

9- This blog's own constituency, Ladywood, stays Labour. Without Clare Short running for the first time in 27 years, it was unknown quantity to begin with. But Labour have actually gained from 2005 and mopped the floor with both the LibDems and the Tories (in third place). The new MP is called Shabana Mahmood.

10- Scotland remains stubbornly Labour. They held spectacularly well throughout the country, winning 41 out of 58 seats and crucially denying both the Tories and the SNP in several places. Overall, no change from 2005. But this could cost David Cameron an overall majority.

11- Still waiting for John Bercow's seat (Buckingham) which was contested by UKIP loudmouth Nigel Farage (who almost lost is life in a plane crash yesterday) and Respect's George Galloway in Poplar and Limehouse.


asquith said...

Yes, Stoke as a whole proved to be fairly boring. It came as no surprise to see Hunt get in (I predicted he'd "win" with well below 50% of the vote), & I had to laugh at Walker & Elsby getting hammered.

It wasn't really staggering that Labour fell below 50% but I was a bit surprised to see the Tories doing so well (by the standards they've set around here), especially in my seat, which recently lost an affluent suburban area to Staffordshire Moorlands (now, unsurprisingly, gone blue) & gained a working-class district.

But I suppose this just reflects the widely held view that Brown is a cunt, which I'd echo myself!

Nationwide, I don't really carry a torch for Caroline Lucas so you'll have to excuse me for not celebrating her victory. I would have liked the move away from Labour to be more decisive & I really wonder who these people are who still troop out & vote for them time after time. Fuck knows what happens next.

roym said...

theyre the people who might not mind dave, but cannot abide the retired majors and blue rinse brigade in the background.

bercow made it easily, but am i missing something? why do people hate him so much?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The only joy I ca muster from this dire showing is that the BNP did fuck all and I await the daft, ignorant racists to show up here and make their excuses.

A small victory but one I'm liking a greta deal.