Posts Tagged ‘switchers’

Switchers are required to form a majority government and the Tories need a lot fewer than Labour

23/06/2017, 10:42:54 PM

by John Wall

“May you live in interesting times” is supposedly a Chinese curse and is certainly appropriate – even without the inadvertent pun!

When Theresa May called a general election few expected a hung parliament. She’s not expected to lead the Conservatives into another election and it’s really only a question of how and when she’s replaced.

Ironically she achieved the same vote share as Margaret Thatcher in 1987 but squeezing the minor parties meant that Labour were only about 3% behind, as Paul Goodman notes,

“Such is the outcome when opposition to the Conservatives coalesces around a single party. It didn’t in 1987, and Margaret Thatcher won a majority of 102. It did this year.”

Even without an agreement with the DUP the Conservatives could probably survive. Sinn Fein (7 seats) stay away and the total of Labour (262), SNP (35), LD (12), PC (4) and Green (1) is 314. There is an independent from Northern Ireland which might take this up to 315 – still three less than the Conservatives. The DUP’s hatred of Corbyn means that they would probably think very carefully before bringing down the Conservatives.

It’s not that simple, party discipline becomes paramount, there is continual uncertainty regarding votes and a need to stay within earshot of the division bell – much better to be able to count on another ten votes. By-elections are an occupational hazard and the Conservatives will be hoping that there are no deaths or resignations from their ranks.

So, where do we go from here?

It looks like UKIP is now a dead duck. Since the referendum their vote has collapsed and they’ve lost representation at all levels, they could be wiped out by the early 2020s.

One surprise from the general election was how poorly the LDs did, although they gained seats they lost votes and share. Since the referendum they’ve done well in by-elections but would appear to still have a way to go.

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Has Corbyn’s elastic stretched as far as it can?

10/06/2017, 04:43:03 PM

by John Wall

Although the dust from the general election is yet to settle and there is much ink still to be spilt it’s clear that, despite the claims of the Corbynistas, Project Corbyn has reached its limit.

Go back a couple of years and Corbyn’s path to Downing Street was essentially predicated on two principles. The first was non-voters, in the hope that they’d support Labour, and the second was attracting fellow travellers on the left, effectively a so-called progressive alliance.

The naysayers countered with analyses contending that these wouldn’t provide sufficient extra support and that a majority could only be secured by attracting Conservative voters.

If we look at the headline figures the two main parties together secured approaching 85% of the vote, a significant increase since the about 67% in 2015 and a massive consequential squeeze on the smaller parties.

Then there was the large increase in turnout by the key, for Corbyn, 18-24 age group.

Notwithstanding the above, and despite a poor campaign, the Conservative vote and percentage share increased, and Labour are still more than sixty seats short of a majority.

It’s clear that, overall, few Conservatives were attracted to Labour and, considering Corbyn’s extremely unsavoury baggage and economic incontinence, this isn’t particularly surprising.

It may, of course, be possible to squeeze the minor parties a little more, but the share of the two main parties is at its highest since about 1970, and perhaps some more 18-24 year olds can be enticed by giveaways, but Lord Ashcroft reckons that two thirds voted for Labour, so these avenues must now be subject to the law of diminishing returns.

Whenever the next election is the Conservatives will have learned the lessons of 2017, simple things like a few devil’s advocates involved in writing the manifesto. There might even be a new leader, it’s a party that is only interested in winning and winners, with no place for sentiment.

Everything went Corbyn’s way but he still fell a long way short. His position is secure, and Labour will now probably be refashioned in his likeness, but that will not attract Conservative voters and will keep them as far from power as ever.

John Wall is a former member of the Conservatives

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Labour’s kidding itself about this campaign. The Tories are winning the strategic battles

22/04/2015, 07:00:10 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Labour chiefs are happy with progress in the campaign so far. Most activists are upbeat. Even PLP pessimists have been given to moments of optimism.

But for all the pleasant mood music – from the poll averages which suggest Ed Miliband is within touching distance of victory to the parliamentary number-crunching which seems to offer manifold routes into Number 10 – Labour’s campaign strategists have misread their three biggest strategic challenges: how to deal with the Tories’ SNP scare, which voters to target with the ground operation and what retail offer to make.

Over the next fortnight, the impact of these mistakes will become clearer.

Most immediately, Labour has utterly failed to understand the Tories’ intent with their scaremongering over SNP support for a Labour government.

The view of Labour staffers has been that the Tories are principally trying to frighten Ukip voters back into the Tory fold. But that for every vote the Tories get back on their right flank the more they accentuate their negatives as the nasty party with wavering voters.

The Labour analysis is correct about appealing to kippers but wrong about the impact on swing voters, specifically English swing voters.

Labour’s more frantic recent statements, denouncing the Tory attacks as “smears” – a sure sign that a political party is becoming panicked and does not have a line to take – suggest that the impact of what’s happening has started to dawn on party strategists.

The Tories’ objective is to fuse the SNP and Labour in English voters’ minds.

This vision of McLabour as an unabashed, economically left-wing party that will prioritize Scotland’s interests over England not only scares ex-Tory Ukip voters into switching back, it resonates with right leaning and centrist Lib Dems not to mention the quarter of 2010 Labour voters who have since abandoned the party.

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