liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
So, can anyone explain to me why people are acting as if a Conservative majority at the upcoming election would be tantamount to the apocalypse? Misogynist ravings about Thatcher don't count as an argument for me, especially given that she hasn't had significant political power for twenty years.

In my opinion, Labour have made a lot of things worse since 1997. Not least causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq, which I really wish were a bigger issue in this election. And somehow, we have a discourse where any time someone criticizes Labour, they add the disclaimer "but of course, the Tories would have been far worse". To me this means that educated, engaged people who might otherwise be swing voters are essentially handing Labour a perpetual mandate, and that worries me.

I'm generally economically right wing and socially liberal, if that helps.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 08:24 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
To summarize stuff I know I've said to you already so that other people can pick at it:

While I trust the Conservatives to stay economically right wing (this is less good in my eyes than in yours, but anyway), I don't trust them to stay socially liberal. Looking at their voting records, they got a lot better on civil liberties once they kicked Michael Howard out, but they stay relatively anti-EU, they had a pretty poor record on gay rights, they're quite anti-immigration (honourable exception of Boris Johnson's proposed amnesty).
I get the idea that the Tories have sorting out climate change as quite a low priority and some reject the idea of doing anything about it at all. All of this isn't really a problem so long as David Cameron is in charge, doing what he's doing now, and holding influence, but another Howard, Hague, or Duncan Smith could be very bad for liberalism, EU integration, and the environment.

The Tories also oppose electoral reform quite strongly.

Most of this isn't a reason to prefer Labour, but it is a reason, as a liberal, to prefer the Liberal Democrats, who don't really have an illiberal wing in the same way as the Conservatives don't have much of a socialist wing.
Edited Date: 2010-04-21 08:59 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 10:04 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (eyebrow)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I see that you're specifically comparing with Labour - of the things I've listed above, I think Labour is by inclination less anti-EU, less homophobic, and maybe a little less anti-electoral reform. On the other hand, their last ten years in particular has shown them to have an unpleasant authoritarian streak, so it's not an easy choice, particularly if you tend towards the right economically.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 10:03 am (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I'm not sure that the political climate *is* moving away from that. Certainly the more right-wing bits of the press aren't moving too far from that, and there would seem to be a certain amount of support to be gained in being a less repulsive euroskeptic alternative to UKIP.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 09:21 pm (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Labservative)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
One of the things which concerns me most is the Conservatives' economics/tax and spending policies. They've made clear that they want to cut the budget deficit very quickly and so far their tax policy seems mainly to be tax cuts for the rich. One of the things the Labour party has done in the last thirteen years is to make the tax system more redistributive. The Conservative party policies look like they would turn that back, which would be likely to increase income disparities. On top of that (this comes with the caveat that I'm a bit of a Keynesian) cutting public spending and reducing taxes on the rich is likely to have a negative effect upon economic growth because rich people have a higher propensity to save.

I mean, Brown wasn't that good a chancellor, mainly because he hid a structural deficit by fiddling around with when he claimed the business cycle began and finished and used more expensive off the books spending through PFIs. Now they're talking about dealing with the budget deficit by selling off state assets, which doesn't actually improve the long term government financial position at all. The worrying thing is that I think the Conservatives would be worse.

To be fair though, I don't think that the Conservatives would be worse than Labour enough for me to vote Labour, even if I were in a Lab/Con marginal.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 11:12 am (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
Um, yeah, that's why I define myself as right-wing economically.

I think this is the nub of the issue. I think most people your talk to (including me) instinctively feel they are (or should be) on the left, but the reasons for this are sufficiently economically complex or tribal that the question "what SHOULD you feel" isn't raised directly, and the whole thing is absorbed by the question of "how much does party X represent our views" because the quesiton of "are our views actually the same" is too intimidating.

And because "how much does party X represent our views" is very but less controversial because of how annoyed many people are at at least some issues of the major two/three parties, so people can happily bash labour/tories together and only later realise they were partly bashing for different reasons when they suddenly find a weird disagreement.

This is partly what I meant when I said I had some idea of what I preferred on issue policies (digital economy, gay rights, war in iraq, etc) but that economic questions were at least as important but much more difficult because they're partly "what should you do" and partly "how should you do it", and so while I have instinctive views, I don't know enough to have a really informed decision.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 02:13 pm (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Labservative)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
I'm quite economically left-wing, but you're right that we're disagreeing over who is slightly less awful. If I had to rank parties I'd vote 1) Lib Dem 2) Green and then it's a bit of a toss up between Labour and Conservatives for third and fourth. Until the election I was favouring Conservatives over Labour but I don't like their taxation plans. Alec still prefers the Conservatives to Labour, he even voted Conservative once when there wasn't a Lib Dem candidate. I can see why you'd go Conservative if you were economically to the right.

On who is rich, the IFS have a little dooberry which tells you which decile of the income distribution you fall into, taking into account your number of dependents. http://www.ifs.org.uk/wheredoyoufitin/ I often find it easy to forget what the income distribution in the UK is really like.

I don't think that my brother, whose a lone parent, would be able to get by if he didn't receive tax credits on top of the money he earns.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-23 06:05 am (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Labservative)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
I' a bit confused about what we're disagreeing over. I mean we talk about tax credits being paid for "by the community as a whole, not targeting a particular demographic" but it makes sense that richer members of the community should pay more toward alleviating poverty because they can afford to pay more. There's not much point funding tax credits through taxes on people who are only slightly better off, because the tax would put their post tax income below that of the people receiving tax credits.

I don't support redistributive taxation out of some kind of class war against the rich, I support it because I don't think people should live in poverty and people with higher incomes should contribute more to that because the higher someone's income (taking into account dependants etc.) the more they can afford to pay tax.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 10:37 pm (UTC)
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Political: Liberal Democrats)
From: [personal profile] tajasel
The Tories are socially too right-wing for me.

They opposed the equality bill/act, and would probably repeal it. They supported the digital economy bill/act, which removes our right to a fair trial when accused, right up until the last minute. They want to cut benefits for those who refuse to work, regardless of the reason. Cameron and his Conservatives know nothing about real people on the streets like me. I fear for what the NHS would be like under a Tory government; it's been hard enough to get the care I need as it is. They're still homophobic (tax break for married couples of men/women variety only, anyone?) and ... for these and countless more reasons, I plan to vote Liberal Democrat. In my mind, both blue and red have a terrible record and someone else needs a chance.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 10:51 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (bull)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I'm pretty sure they've said that civil partnerships are equivalent to marriage for tax break purposes (I still think it's an crap piece of attempted social engineering). On the other hand their defence spokesman has just compared gay sex to frontline combat in danger and wants to increase the age of consent for gay sex to 18, so I don't doubt that they still have the homophobia thing going. Especially given the mealy-mouthed "entitled to his views" way the party responded to this.

Oh, and the Human Rights Act they want to scrap.
Edited (fix ambiguities) Date: 2010-04-21 10:52 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 10:17 am (UTC)
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tajasel
Actually, the Lib Dems actively opposed the DEB in the end; not a single LD voted in favour.

The problem with not voting Lib Dem because we're scared of them not winning is that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was going to tactically vote Labour tg avoid the Tories, and then I realised that if I joined the bands of people saying "I won't do it because they won't win" then they'll never win.

They may still lose. I'm okay with that. But I want to say I tried.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 10:59 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
The other thing is that there's increasingly good scientific evidence that the right wing positions on the economy are outright wrong. Right wing positions on social stratification, concentration of wealth, the relative importance of hard work versus luck, and the results of capitalism all turn out to be indefensible on the facts.

There's very little evidence that the UK conservative party has noticed this. Labour has (plainly) noticed and is (obviously) gibberingly terrified. So in a number of respects the choice, restricted to those two parties, is a choice between obliviousness, interacting with something other than material reality as the basis for decision making, and very bad, frightened responses to material reality being viewed as darkly as possible.
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I would not, in any sense, suggest that voting for Labour in the UK is a good idea.

I will suggest that voting for the Conservatives is similarly not a good idea, because they haven't noticed things like the falsification of the efficient markets hypothesis or the guard-economy expenses associated with a high degree of inequality. (Labour certainly has noticed; they've noticed the inevitability of significant social change due to a combination of improved communications, structural change to economies, and the whole post-industrial thing, and have freaked out in authoritarian ways in an attempt to enforce the existing power structure; this does not recommend them in any way other than however "are paying attention to what's actually going on" might manage to do.)

Infrastructure, well, which infrastructure? Petrol dependent roads? Bad idea. Re-nationalizing (because it's clear privatization was "grant me a monopoly" scam), universally electrifying, and building non-fossil-carbon power plants to supply power for, the rail network? Better idea. It matters a lot if "infrastructure" is a customary reflex or a way to get money to traditional supporters or a "oh shit, post-industrial economy, industrial or early industrial infrastructure, need to fix that!" response. (In the case of the NHS, it's not clear from the UK computer trade press that there's anybody available to the NHS who could set up a computer system for them that would actually be a help; such people exist, but it doesn't appear possible for the NHS to hire them to do the work. "Investing in the NHS" has to be evaluated in a context that includes "what's the fix for that peculiar incapacity?", for instance.)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-21 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rho
I'm still not certain how I'm going to be voting this time, but one thing that I'm absolutely certain of is that I won't be voting for either Labour or the Conservatives. Labour have mismanaged the country horribly, increased bureaucracy, micromanaged meddlesomely, and I want them out.

At the same time, I can't make myself vote for the Conservatives because I absolutely do not trust them on social issues. I see their shadow home secretary stating that he thinks people should feel free to break a law (the he helped vote in) and discriminate against gays, the message I receive is "we don't want people like you in our country". I worry too about things like their obsession on cutting expenditure on benefits, because I worry that my invisible disability isn't going to be sufficient for them.

In short, I worry that the Conservatives would do a very nice job for straight, white, able-bodied, middle class men, and not care about anyone else. They say that they've changed and that they're now all caring and sharing and progressive, but quite frankly, I don't believe them.

I'm contemplating lib dem, on the grounds that they have the best chance of anyone else of mounting any sort of a challenge to Labour or the Conservatives, but in truth, I don't much care for them either. I find them to be disingenuous, think that their "we're the party of no spin" facade is very heavily spun,and dislike how they are two-faced and try to be all things to all people (their successful campaign in Westmorland and Lonsdale last election was close enough to me for me to see some of this ugly side).

I think that one of the problems of this election will be that whoever wins it won't have any sort of a real mandate. The general impression that I get is that an awful lot of people are going to be voting for what they see as the least worst option. I've had numerous conversations with quite different people who have expressed the sentiment that they don't want Labour, but they don't really want Tories either.

I'm starting to feel that I'd really like to see quite sweeping constitutional and electoral reforms. I have some reservations, due to the problems inherent in coalition governments, but I'd like to see a system of proportional representation. The danger of not doing so is that you maintain your perpetual mandate, only instead of giving it to one party, you split it between two of them, which is not much better.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-23 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rho
Westmorland and Lonsdale was one of the Lib Dem target seats in their unfortunately-named "decapitation" strategy of the last general election, where they specifically targeted the seats of Conservative shadow cabinet members, hoping that if they threw enough resources at it they'd be able to unseat them. If memory serves, Westmorland and Lonsdale was the only seat where this actually worked.

The thing was, the message they were selling locally, in the rural and traditionally-conservative-voting constituency, was very different to the message they were selling nationally. And to a degree, I can accept that. Party ideologies are complicated, and it's right to try to promote the parts of your beliefs that are most likely to be appealing to your potential voters.

At the time, though, I was a member of the Lib Dems, as I'd been a strong supporter of them previously and figured I could do worse than putting my money where my mouth was. This meant I got a lot of the internal party literature through the post, encouraging me to travel up to Westmorland and be involved in the campaigning. And the message I got very strongly from this was "let's say whatever it takes and do whatever it takes, so long as we win".

The face of the lib dems is all very much about how they're about honesty and openness and anti-spin and all sorts of other things that are important issues to me. I'd be more inclined to vote for someone who said they were going to do something I disliked a little who I actually believed than someone who said they were going to do something I liked but who I didn't trust at all and worried they might do something I disliked a lot. The problem is that I don't believe that that face of the lib dems is in any way real.

Which is the big problem with this election, really. I don't believe and don't trust any of the three main parties, and that means that everything they're saying and everything that they're putting in their manifestos is essentially meaningless to me.

I think that what I'd really like to see would be some way for manifestos to be made binding. Not that I don't accept that unexpected events come up that makes it necessary to change plans, but that I would like to see the number of promises that politicians make reduced. I'd be much more comfortable with "we intend to do this, but only if that happens, and contingent on the other" than an outright promise of "we will definitely do this". I think that when promises are made, there should be accountability.

I suspect that our concerns about Labour are similar, but coming from different directions. The root cause of the problem that I have is that I see the current government as wanting to control everything. On the one hand, this leads to the erosion of civil liberties and personal rights, as they try to control individuals' lives. On the other hand, it leads to targets and quotas and league tables and doctors and teachers and police spending half their time filling out paperwork. I see the two as very closely related and both extremely undesirable. I want the government to get their noses out of everyone else's business and let people just get on with things.

In both cases, the end result is people obeying the letter of the law and ignoring the spirit. If you treat people like children, they start acting like children. If you treat people like criminals, they start acting like criminals. And that's what I think this government has done.

Of all the remotely plausible results of this election, the one I'm hoping for is a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, with a focus on little government and generally getting the government out of places where it doesn't belong. I think that both parties generally have the right instinct on that sort of thing, and I hope that a Lib Dem influence would help prevent any outright bigotry and prejudice from the Tories.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 12:04 am (UTC)
john: Various candles, in multicoloured jars, under trees in the evening (Bristol)
From: [personal profile] john
For me?

Civil Partnerships good. Section 28 bad. Same people, just 13 years older.

Vote Lib Dem, but not in Bermondsey.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 06:11 am (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Labservative)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
Simon Hughes is one of my favourite MPs. He cares so passionately about justice, particularly for refugees. He was central to the efforts to save Mehdi Kazemi. Kazemi wrote in a letter to his supporters:
"I would like to say thank you to my local MP, Mr Simon Hughes, and his team who gave me the chance to live and made a miracle happen when he heard that my life was in serious danger and asked the Home Office to suspend my deportation in December 2006. I would not be here if it hadn’t been for his intervention. He was here for me then and he was here for me again when I was eventually sent back to the UK in April this year. I do not know if I would have been granted my refugee status without him."

He inspired a friend of mine to become a human rights lawyer so that she could fight to save people from deportation to their deaths. He is such a wonderful person.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 07:58 am (UTC)
john: Various candles, in multicoloured jars, under trees in the evening (Defend Equality)
From: [personal profile] john
I still haven't forgotten his virulent gaybaiting campaign -- and refusal to apologise for it -- against Peter Tatchell in 1983. That contributed to over a decade of fear and hatred of LGBT people, and I cannot (in 2005 I lived in Bermondsey and would have voted Lib Dem, but voted for another party) and will not vote for the man or encourage anybody else to do so.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 09:01 am (UTC)
john: The door to Number 10 Downing Street. Caption: Perfect. (::perfect)
From: [personal profile] john
Congratulations on your ability to provide links to articles from a Wikipedia page. I'm sure there couldn't possibly be a political bias to the links provided from an article on a politician in any way!

It's a shame that it took Simon Hughes 23 years to apologise for the dirtiest Lib Dem trick since Jeremy Thorpe tried to have his ex-lover shot, and that it only happened because the NOTW was about to out him.

The apology quoted in the Pink News is a total cop out: "Mr Hughes told the BBC's Newsnight programme: "I hope that there will never be that sort of campaign again. I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign, as Peter knows, and I said that to him in the past . . . Where there were things that were inappropriate or wrong, I apologise for that."

Obviously it was all the campaign's fault! He probably didn't even know about any of it!

The Mirror article is no more wide-ranging: Yesterday Mr Hughes said: "I apologise for any part I wittingly or unwittingly played. Nothing should require people to suffer the sort of abuse and indignity that he did."

Hardly a resounding "I'm sorry, and let me make it up to the community that I helped to stigmatise for more than 20 years".

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 09:25 am (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Labservative)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
Actually I used my ability to use Google, which I'm sure is also being manipulated by the international pro-Simon Hughes conspiracy.

I just don't see the point in refusing to vote for an MP who has spent his parliamentary career campaigning for the rights of LGBT people, particularly queer asylum seekers, because of a homophobic campaign which happened before I was born and before they was a single openly gay MP at Westminster.

The 1980s were nasty. A lot of queer people attacked each other to protect themselves and get ahead. I don't think it's very productive to still hold it against each other.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 02:24 pm (UTC)
lavendersparkle: (Labservative)
From: [personal profile] lavendersparkle
Simon Hughes is not homophobic. He is openly bisexual and I am very good friends with his very openly gay constituency organiser. He was elected in a by-election in 1983 against Peter Tatchell and there was a lot of nasty homophobic dirty campaigning, although it's never even been shown that Simon Hughes himself was involved in it. Since then he has condemned any homophobia in the campaign and Peter Tatchell himself endorsed his bid to be Lib Dem leader in 2006 stating "Since his election, Simon has redeemed himself by voting for gay equality."

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 12:43 am (UTC)
aphenine: Teresa and Claire (Default)
From: [personal profile] aphenine
I talked about how Conservative economic policy could literally be apocalyptic in this post. Short story, there were four(ish) causes of the Credit Crunch: food, fuel/energy, financial/business and housing. Conservative policy only really deals with one or two of them and potentially undermines dealing with the rest through cuts. Any recovery will destroy itself, as increased business activity stimulates food and energy usage and causes food/energy inflation, wiping out the gain. Also, food/fuel inflation do have serious consequences for peace and stability in the world. It was only in 2007/8 that Africans nearly starved.

My impression of the state of the country under Labour is that they have been economically liberal but have centralised everything else. In doing so, they have also demanded (of the sections they do control) that they be financially efficient. This lead to services not geared towards what they should have been doing (for example, repairing a road properly is transportationally efficient and costs less in the long term, but patching it so it's ok is financially more efficient as it costs less now) and huge bureaucracy.

My impression of what the Conservatives are promoting is to decentralise everything. This would have the benefit of solving the bureaucracy issue. However, they haven't indicated how they would solve the problems of the institutions being financially efficient and therefore not geared towards purpose and propose to increase the drive to financial efficiency even further. The most probable outcome is therefore that services will continue to not function or will get worse, but at least they'll be a lot cheaper.

Finally, Thatcher is still very much relevant. Reagan and Thatcher are both attributed with the birth and fostering of neoliberal economic policies (such as those followed by the current government). These are the policies that caused the financial system to melt down and the Credit Crunch is commonly regarded as the final death knell of Thatcher/Reagan and the Washington Consensus model of economics. There are segments of the Conservatives who are still loyal to neoliberal ideas and who think they would still work, as if the Credit Crunch had never happened. I understand that Cameron's rise to power was a direct result of the anti-Thatcher faction gaining control of the Conservatives. Unfortunately, he's probably still having to appeal to the Thatcherites for support, much like McCain appealed to the Reaganites in his party during the United States election by embracing most of W. Bush's policies (even though he was selected because he was a reforming Republican candidate).

I hope that still manages to be clear. I sacrificed clarity for brevity. I can prove the first part semi-mathematically if you would like.

* note: I assume certain externalities. For example, the current price of oil is low and undermines all environmental and climate change initiatives. If the economy recovers, oil shoots up and the recovery falters because it uses oil. But, the price of oil crossing a certain threshold changes the externality, making the free market pro-climate change (as oil becomes too expensive and business adjusts to other sources of energy). At this point, the Conservative policy of decentralisation becomes environmentally friendly and viable as a longer term environmental strategy and will not cause the recovery to falter.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-23 12:02 am (UTC)
aphenine: Teresa and Claire (Default)
From: [personal profile] aphenine
Yey, I'm glad you found my comments useful!

Before going further, I need to declare an interest as I am involved in campaigning for the Liberal Democrats (well, ok, I deliver leaflets for my father who is a ward councillor). My economic summary was apolitical and it was not aimed at swaying your vote. However, since you brought it up that I may have contributed to this, I would feel very uncomfortable if I did not mention it at this point.

Regarding voting, I suggest that you should look up the previous results in your constituency from last time. How far behind the party you wish to vote for is compared to the incumbent party represents (to a very shaky first approximation) the level of risk your vote has of not counting towards a result. Also be aware that your MP may have a large personal vote that is immune to local and national tides. As a personal plea I'd ask that if you have local elections as well, don't use the national election as an excuse to decide who to vote for in the local: every party is organised to a greater or lesser extent in each local authority, and every party (yes, every party, including the Lib Dems) has their complete incompetents. Don't let the incompetents run your council.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 09:38 am (UTC)
syllopsium: Carwash, from Willo the Wisp (Default)
From: [personal profile] syllopsium
Personally I don't quite agree with the ravings about Thatcher, although I think that sometimes the misogyny is a symptom rather than a cause - an awful lot of people are still upset by what she did to the miners and other industry. It probably needed to be done, but the methods remain contentious.

The blame for many things can be laid at the feet of the Labour party (I think they did ok in their first term, and should have been kicked out after their second), but the Iraq war is not, imo, one of them. It is not conceivable that the Tories would not have gone to war, and whilst we might wish that Labour made different decisions, you also have to be realistic about what could have happened.

Of course, what has happened subsequent to the invasion in both Iraq and Afghanistan is an awful mess. I remain sceptical that the Tories would be much better, but your mileage may vary.

Still, my position on this is pragmatic : pick the least worst choice, then decide whether to vote tactically or idealistically to achive your aim.

Reading the manifesto of each party is fundamentally only ammunition to choose which party to trust. It is not, by itself, the deciding factor. All three parties have broken manifesto commitments, and the manifesto contains no weight in law.

I will be voting Lib Dem. Not because I love them as a party - I actually think they have lost some of their cohesion they used to have - but because they are the least worst choice. There is absolutely no way I will give Labour a mandate to continue some of their scary policies. I do not trust the Tories - they're promising anything they can simply to get into power and are (fairly effectively) hiding ingrained attitudes in their party members that I disagree with (the one compliment I will provide to Cameron is that he and his party have managed to keep most of the rank and file 'on message' - this is impressive, even if it is a lie)).

None of the smaller parties deserve encouraging with a vote, in my view.

It is too much to hope that the Lib Dems will get in. An idealised situation is probably a Tory/Lib Dem hung parliament. In this 'ideal' scenario, some of Labour's nastier policies (ID Cards) are killed off, the LDs smooth the edges off some Tory policies, put forward their own, and electoral reform arrives at last.

(the flip side is there is lots of arguing and nothing gets done. Let's hope that doesn't happen).

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-23 09:40 am (UTC)
syllopsium: Carwash, from Willo the Wisp (Default)
From: [personal profile] syllopsium
You won't get a sensible answer from any party about coalition plans for at least two reasons I can think of, off the top of my head.

First, it could be spun as an admission that the party is not going to win.

Second, and vastly more important, it depends entirely on the result. A situation where party X is only just able to form a minority government and requires strong support from another party, or where a coalition is the only realistic option (perhaps because no-one can form a minority government), is entirely different from a party that is only just a minority and can squeak by with support from the extreme minority parties.

The current seat total of MPs who aren't from 'the big three' is 38 across 9 parties compared to 63 for the Lib Dems - who will grow their support in the election. The Tories, when John Major was PM and they dropped to a minority government, had to court parties like the Ulster Unionists to push through legislation. Labour has had to do similar with specifically contentious legislation when not all their party voted with them.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-23 06:47 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
eg of other parties besides LDs being evasive about coalitions.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 12:47 pm (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
My parents are strongly Tory in outlook (and active members of the party). From what I can see from their views, and the views of their friends, the Tory party may have put a thin veneer of social liberalism over their policies but the party faithful really don't want it there at all and it doesn't go any deeper than lip service.

I would be unhappy with a (more) right-wing economy, but I don't think it would be the end of the world. On the other hand I think that a Tory government would halt social progress and possibly even reverse it. They have already said that they are going to chuck people off benefits who refuse work (with apparently little regard to illness, especially mental illness) for instance.

Not that I think Labour are grrrrrreat, far from it. But I just don't think the Tory "change" is going to be for the better.

parliamentary reform

Date: 2010-04-22 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
hello rachel,

you say you're not really interested in electoral reform and then agonise about whether or not to vote lib dem and risk getting a labour government returned. surely, the glaring problem in uk politics is the ludicrously undemocratic electoral system that forces us all to play this game. if you want to see a liberal democracy we need serious constitutional reform. this means not only some form of electoral reform but also a separation of the executive from the parliament. at the very least we need to remove the prime minister's power of patronage by restricting the size of cabinet and giving more power to the parliament so there is some point in not being in the executive.


Love,
Jacob

Re: parliamentary reform

Date: 2010-04-22 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
governments make laws and set policy. The executive, in this case the Cabinet, get to set the policy. In this country they also get to decide on which bills are presented to Parliament. This means non-cabinet members are pretty pointless. To make it worse the PM can indefinitely expand cabinet so she can use the possibility of a cabinet post as a way of keeping the backbenchers in line. Me, I would like to see an executive elected separately from parliament, like in the states. That way the member for your area has to keep you happy and gains nothing by keeping the PM happy.

The point is without serious reform we have little chance of gaining and keeping liberty and justice. Plus, the present system is unjust and undemocratic and that neither Tories or Labour want to change it is because they are both, whatever they try and say, anti-democratic.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-22 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Also, I see no evidence for this claim
I agree that the Conservatives tend to attract people who are, well, conservative. Which is to say homophobic and xenophobic and anti-poor and sometimes sexist. But my view is that it's more important to have a party that believes in proper legal protections and not giving any individual too much power, than it is to have good spin-doctoring to make sure nobody gets away with saying anything openly homophobic. Under Labour, the police have almost unlimited powers, and the government holds far too much digital and biological data on everyone, and all those things could far too easily be used against gay (or other marginalized) people. So although the Tories have, to say the least, a mixed track record on progressive issues, I think it's a lot safer to restore the right to a fair trial and keep the politicians from meddling in the judicial process.
You have a short memory. It was Howard who brought in the 94 criminal justice act which strikes me as the start of the gradual erosion of civil liberties and the hand over of power from the judiciary to the police.

It strikes me that you have confused the conservative party with neo-liberal political thought. Nozick might be all for individual liberty but the tory party certainly aren't and never have been. Even dear old Maggie T had Tebbit in her government and I think it's plausable that she took on the unions not because of any liberal economic stuff but because of good old fashioned british class warfare. Between the end of the second world war and Thatcher the working class interest dominated British politics and Thatcher smashed that power base. I'm sure its more complicated than that but Thatcher is not so obviously a Thatcherite.
Love, Jacob

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