Election Panic – The Tories Have Only Themselves to Blame

by Charlie_East_West on April 22, 2015

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Panic in Whitehall. Panic in the Shires. Panic on Fleet Street. Panic at Tory HQ. Panic in The City.

The election campaign is not going according to plan, and all those creatures and institutions connected together in Toryland are in danger of losing the plot. The last throw of the dice is to hurl more abuse at the enemies within.

The Tories and right wing media have a long tradition in rustling up fear and loathing against anything or anyone that dares to threaten their established access to more power. But what is happening right now is perhaps the beginning of the end of this Tory-led generation of Government. Right now the Tories, along with their media lickspittles are completely losing it.

The British establishment is in a complete state of panic. What they had hoped would happen would be to typically hurl more propaganda to scare the living daylights out of Middle England about Labour and just watch the polls slide back towards the Tories. But, this hasn’t worked, and there are only 15 days left until the election.

Each new opinion poll and each unsuccessful smear campaign has brought the unthinkable closer for Tories – A Labour Government supported by the SNP. This raises the prospect of a Tory defeat, a potential constitutional shift in the UK, no in/out EU Referendum, a potential end to certain antiquated institutions like the House of Lords, the prospect of no Tory overall majority for an entire generation and a potential post-election split in the Tories as more party members and MPs drift towards UKIP.

The Tories only have themselves to blame for this looming set of unpalatable scenarios. Things could have been very different. In 2012, the Tories blocked reforminwg the House of Lords towards a predominantly elected system. Unwilling to let go of their power to give their chums a few Peerages, the Tories prevented any reform of the House of Lords. In return, Lib Dems punished the Tories by blocking Tory plans for reforming the constituency boundaries. In doing so, this secured an ongoing constituency boundary advantage for Labour, as they can get more seats even with fewer votes than the Conservatives. By blocking House of Lords reform towards an elected second chamber – and therefore causing a Lib Dem block on constituency boundary reform, the Tories provided their own circular firing squad and shot themselves in the foot.

Short term tactics with long term negative implications for the Tories also occurred over voting reform. In 2011, the Conservatives ruled out a referendum on genuine voting reform – a system of proportional representation, as the Lib Dems have long advocated and campaigned for. A watered down voting reform version of AV was then beaten in a Referendum. Paradoxically, by not supporting genuine voting reform, the Tories made life very difficult for themselves in the long term. As the polls stand now, the Tories have 35 percent, UKIP 13 percent and the Lib Dems 9 percent, a combined share of the vote of 57 percent. In a proportional voting system, this block would have around 57 percent of the seats – a working coalition majority for the Tories.

Even without the Lib Dems, recent polls indicate that a Tory/UKIP majority coalition would only be a couple of percentage points away under a proportional vote. Under proportional representation, UKIP would receive a rather scary representation of 99 MPs.

So, if the Tories were not so hell-bent in protecting outdated political mechanisms like the House of Lords and First-Past-The-Post, they would have been in a much stronger political position. The thing they love the most – power, has become much more difficult to obtain because of their stubborn refusal to be less protective of old systems of politics and more progressive towards political reform. Their old defence of First-Past-The-Post providing strong government is now a busted flush. We are facing yet another coalition government in 2015.

So instead of blaming themselves for getting themselves for getting themselves into a bit of a mess, the Tories and right-wing press are now going a bit mental against the duopoly threat of Miliband and Sturgeon. They have had five years to think long and hard about how to reform the political landscapes in a way that would have been more progressive, and politically advantageous towards securing their own power base. Instead, the Tories have hoisted themselves by their own petard.

Panic has therefore set in. As George East, wrote earlier this week, the Tories and media supporters are now lining up their own artillery to present the casebook for Tories to remain in power if they win the most seats. Part of this slash and burn strategy is to peddle a narrative that a Labour minority propped up by the SNP is effectively undemocratic and holding Britain to ransom – as put forward with a heavy dose of hypocrisy by John Major, who has completely forgotten that his own Tory government was propped up by Ulster Unionists.

Labour therefore, need to stand firm and remind everyone that it is not as simple as that. The constitutional rulebook states that the Government is formed by a party that can provide the majority of MPs in the House of Commons, even if that means making a coalition with another party.

There is a tragic irony in all of this. The Tories and their right wing media friends have ensured that the undemocratic First-Past-The-Post electoral system survives, yet, it is that system of voting that is causing coalitions, a lack of balance between votes received and seats won. In previous elections prior to 2010, this system benefited the Tories, but not any more. The current system is beating them and they beat themselves by refusing to reform it.

The Tories, big business and the right-wing press push their own nastiness to cling to power. Sticks of dynamite might not be enough to get Cameron out of Downing Street. This also applies to the Lib Dems. They love to sanctimoniously hang onto the shirttails of power. Even Nick Clegg is now wrapped up in his own hypocrisy. Nick Clegg has recently described the SNP’s participation in government as “illegitimate”. Pot kettle. Kettle pot – based on his own methodology of “do as I say, but not as I do.”

The seeds of a looming constitutional and democratic crisis from May 8th onwards were sown by the Tories at a much earlier date. Enjoy the
Tory panic. They created it all by themselves.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ben Cruickshank October 16, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Boy does this article seem silly now…

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