Posts Tagged ‘election result’

We must learn to make hard choices, or fail

12/05/2011, 05:42:56 PM

by Rob Marchant

There are four types of election result. Ones that are undeniably good. Ones that are undeniably bad. Ones that are on balance good, but look otherwise. And those that are on balance bad, but look otherwise.

The most dangerous, obviously, are the last. There is a risk that, like an alcoholic, you don’t notice, or don’t accept, that there’s a problem.

And, excluding Scotland, we had a night that looked good. We won back a bunch of seats in the English local elections and scraped home in Wales. A mixed bag, perhaps, but respectable.

Now, Scotland was clearly a disaster and deserves a separate post all to itself (let’s be fair, it seems a problem all its own, unconnected to Labour’s national strategy). Wales, again, is a separate case. As for the positive results in England, three possible explanations come to mind.

One: a vindication of Labour policies. It’s not. This one’s straightforward: we don’t yet, by common consent, have defined policies. Ergo, it can’t be a vindication of them.

Two: the first electoral vindication of Ed Miliband as leader. It’s not. That’s not because he’s not a popular leader: it’s just too early to say. And that’s for the simple reason that most of the population, outside the Westminster and party bubbles, will still have no idea who he is and what he stands for. That’s the reality of having a relatively unknown figure suddenly come to prominence. Therefore, this cannot be reasonably seen as a vindication of his leadership.

Three: discontent with the Coalition. The only reasonable explanation: discontent was manifested with the Lib Dems in particular, Nick Clegg reprising his now-familiar role of lightning conductor for the Tories.

However, we also need to be aware of the difference between, on the one hand, giving the Coalition a bloody nose; and, on the other, giving it its marching orders. (more…)

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