Friday, 30 May 2014

John Bull's Peoples Army

Do you remember those days, not so long ago, when we were told by the Liberal Party that if only we had proportional representation, then they would be the third force and hold the whip hand in any government forming. And that like in Germany, the Liberals would then prevent the worse excesses of one of the big parties running a country on its own. Oh and incidentally the Liberals would always be in power themselves .... not that they had ever apparently noticed this fact.

Well for decades, the two main parties ignored this demand for PR, and then circumstance gave the Liberal Party its chance to show the UK what they had been banging on about. The 2010 election threw up a hung result, with the Conservatives just failing to get enough seats to rule without a coalition, an event that had only occurred in recent times in the mid 1970's. On that occasion the Liberals had resisted a coalition with Thatchers Conservatives in 1977, but opted for what was then called the 'Lib/Lab Pact' with Jim Callaghan's Labour Party. It was however not a coalition, and only amounted to not voting the minority Labour Party out of governance.

On this latest opportunity, the Liberals, pushed on by their leader Nick Clegg, opted to join a coalition government of some sort, and after lifting their skirts and flirting a little with both parties (most Liberal voters are left leaning, so preferred the idea of getting into bed with the Labour Party, and not the 'nasty party' aka Tories), the maths favoured Cameron's Conservatives, and eventually they agreed the terms of a coalition. Happy Days of government cars, junior and full Cabinet positions .... now we would all see the benefits of what a permanent third party deciding who rules would be able to do.

We would then be so pleased with the results, that proportional representation would be a undeniable demand of the next Liberal partnership with either of the major parties. Or so they thought .....

Well here we are in 2014 and we have just had some national council and European elections, just a year short of the next General Election. A chance for a grateful electoral to reward the Liberal Party for governing in the national interest (not their own, heaven forbid no!), and return them a bumper crop of councils and MEP's (or at least leave them with the same number as before).  

So the results came in. The people had spoken. The Liberals were annihilated .....

Council Results Were Poor:

The Liberals Did Badly In Council Elections in 2014

But the European Results Were A Disaster:

They Were Wiped Out In The European Elections

So how have they reacted to this stunning rejection of their part in the first Coalition Government since the 1940's? .... well one of their MEP's ... sorry Ex MEP's, Sir Graham Watson, who had been in the European Parliament for 20 years before losing his seat to UKIP, was interviewed on the radio. His dismissal of the British voters was symptomatic of all the major parties initial reaction ...

He said that the British public had voted in an election where Euroscepticism and “Anti-European feeling in this country, has not been as strong since the Napoleonic wars", and added that Britain is "seeing the return of John Bull".  He then went on to say that the Liberals wanted to continue to argue for the return of a Britain that "Should be an open and international country".

John Bull's UKIP Army

In other words the voters were dismissed as being 'John Bulls' from the late Georgian period of 1812, who were 'Anti-European', and that 'immigration', an issue that had done a lot of damage to the Liberals on the doorstep, was to be allowed to continue unchecked in an 'international country'.

This was much the same line that the Labour party was throwing out .... where the Harman said that "UKIP had tapped into people's disaffection with politics" .... then the Labour party's favourite mantra 'We must listen to their concerns' ... that will be the same 'listen' that they promised after the last general election then? Where they then dismiss everything the electors are concerned with, and carry on as before with no policy changes. But of course they can huddle around the London results, which showed just much its now really a different country by running results that bucked all the national trends. Its a capital of many countries these days, but probably not of England.

The Tories are promising to react in some unspecified way, but can still huddle around their promise of a 'referendum', if they win the next election and 'if they can't renegotiate the terms' of the UK's membership. However principally they are relying on the fact that with UKIP not being able to win an election, many UKIP voters will likely turn back to the Conservatives .... or so they hope.  

So what has this election actually shown us?

  • Well the Liberals are likely to suffer very badly in the 2015 General Elections - they seem to have been blamed for all the 'bad' policies by their lefty membership who will now vote Labour.
  • The Labour Party could be the biggest party after the next election, but will need another party to form a government, but the Liberals may have been wiped out, and UKIP are likely to be the third party .... not a natural alliance.
  • The Conservatives may also be denied victory by the UKIP vote, and not be able to deliver any renegotiated EU terms either (the Germans are not in favour while Merkel is untouched in her domestic elections).
  • UKIP - well they may get a couple of seats in a general election, but could easily act merely to let the Labour Party in to many marginal seats, and thus stop any referendum.

All the parties have to make some very tough decisions in the next 12 months .... but the hardest will be for the Liberals who may be plunged back to the dark days when they had just 14 seats. 

They have had a taste of honey but the after taste could be very bitter.

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