The next election is a race that both main parties seem anxious to lose

By any standards the Tories must be odds-on to lose the next election.   They have not won an election with an overall majority for 22 years, and if they couldn’t win an overall majority in 2010 in the aftermath of the crash and against one of the most unpopular prime ministers in modern times, they won’t win one now when their position is much worse.   Ashcroft’s polling finds that one-third of the people who voted Conservative in 2010 are not planning to do so now, and clearly Tory votes are haemorrhaging badly to UKIP.   In particular Ashcroft has found that Labour’s position is significantly stronger in the marginals and overall he believes that “the number of Conservative losses could extend to the point where Labour have a confortable working majority”.   Even Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader in Scotland, admitted during the Scottish referendum campaign that she didn’t believe the Tories could win in 2015.   And given the latest evidence of UKIP defections (with likely more to come) plus sleaze again rearing its ugly head plus deep Tory divisions over Europe and an ungovernable Tory Right in full-scale rebellion against Cameron, the Tory party today lacks unity, vision and discipline.

Yet with an election to lose, Labour seem intent on doing just that.   Despite being ahead of the Tories on every policy area bar one- the economy, where the Tories now lead by a full 25% – Labour now seems transfixed by trying to outdo them in promises of austerity, a bigger turn-off for voters than it’s possible to imagine.   Labour has allowed itself to be outflanked by Tory claims that it was responsible for the financial crash (as though the bankers had nothing to do with it), that Osborne’s recovery has repaired the damage (as though the ‘recovery’ isn’t fragile and unsustainable, with no demand to promote growth), and that austerity is the only way forward (when it has failed on every count, including the crucial one of rapidly reducing the deficit, which is now actually rising).  Why should disillusioned electors vote for Labour when it insists it’s going to be at least as tough as Osborne in enforcing austerity for another 5 years?   Voters need hope: why doesn’t Labour get behind a policy of public investment to expand the economy, create jobs, raise incomes and government revenues, and thus pay down the deficit far more quickly and effectively than endless spending cuts?

The Tories are no better.   At least they have a vision which is to drag Britain back to the Downton Abbey years of the 1930s.   But they seem determined to throw the election away, not only by Eurosceptic fanaticism which registers as a priority with only about 3% of the population, but above all by their ideological zeal to defenestrate the State and the public sector, and impoverish a third of the electorate on the way as collateral damage, under the triumphal auspices that only they can take tough decisions on the economy.   The ‘effing Tories seem to want their own comeuppance.


5 thoughts on “The next election is a race that both main parties seem anxious to lose

  1. “Although it may go too far to say that the politician-as-celebrity has, by itself, made political parties irrelevant, there is certainly a conspicuous correlation between the rise of the former and the decline of the latter.”

    “As a young man, I balked one November at voting for a Democratic mayoralty candidate who, it seemed to me, was both unintelligent and corrupt.

    “What has that to do with it?” my father protested. “All Democratic candidates are unintelligent and corrupt. Do you want the Republicans to win?”

    “He meant to say that intelligent voters favored the party that best represented their economic interests and sociological perspective. To vote for the “best man” seemed to him an astounding and naive irrelevance. He never doubted that there were good men among Republicans. He merely understood that they did not speak for his class…

    “I will not argue here the wisdom of this point of view.

    “There may be a case for choosing the best man over party (although I know of none).”

    Neil Portman, Amusing ourselves to death

    So the question is exactly, who (the post Blair Labour party,) do people like Milliband, Balls, Shaun Wright, David Nicholson and all their shabby, lying and sticky fingered ilk really imagine they actually represent, because it sure as hell isn’t me or anyone that I know, quite opposite in fact, and if not what right do they really have to expect to be elected?

  2. For example:

    South Yorkshire Labour candidate Shaun Wright elected police chief

    The turnout was 14.53% of the electorate. More than 4,000 voting papers were found to be spoilt in the counts.

    One ballot box in Doncaster contained just five votes.

    BBC News: 16 November 2012

  3. This is the very reason I’m voting for the Green Party; I have every respect for you Mr Meacher, but I cannot in good conscience support a party that favours slashing public spending, squeezing benefits and being the Conservative Party in all but name. However, if the Labour Party starts to listen more to men like you then you will have my full support.

  4. Both parties do seem intent on losing the election which is not going to do the people any good. Labour have a chance of leaving behind austerity and diving in head first and spending money and creating jobs, building homes for housing associations, upping wages and benefits, and getting the economy on the rise.
    What people also forget is that the SNP have also become the third largest political party and will be there in Westminster with a bigger voice. Do Labour not realise that they have lost thousands of supporters in Scotland? Do they not realise that they won’t get 41 seats back again?
    Personally, I wish that the SNP could create a coalition with Labour should there no clear winner – at least they would show them how to balance the books, create jobs etc. They would also show them that being passionate about the people means that they build confidence and give that hope to them.

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