The 2017 General Election : The Rudrum Ramblings Verdict

In possibly the biggest bottlejob in political history, Theresa May has managed to scrape back into number 10 with no authority over her own party, let alone of the rest of the country. From a poll lead of 25 points, the Conservative Party have ended up losing seats, and have to govern with Democratic Unionist Party, who like Sinn Fein used to back terrorists but are also racist, homophobic, catholic hating climate change deniers. Basically the DUP are UKIP with terrorist links.

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I bet you miss the idea of the 2010 coalition now don’t you?

Before discussing the two main parties, a quick word on the more minor parties. For my own party, last night saw a rise in seats but a loss in vote share. I think the Liberal Democrats will keep Farron on the basis that there is an acknowledgement as like the Greens, we were the victim of the surge of Labour support (like in Nick Clegg’s seat) and a rise of seats isn’t the end of the world. The move towards two party politics will be a worry though.

The Greens, as touched on, were a victim of a Labour surge, and with Labour shifting leftwards, and both Labour and Lib Dems being very environmentally minded in outlook, you have to question if there is any place for The Green Party in British politics now – all their voters in 2015 who I know voted Labour this time around. It is delightful to see that UKIP is dead, the Party has done enormous damage to Britain already and their demise couldn’t have came too soon. In a few years Paul Nuttall’s name will only be brought up as a pointless answer on a certain BBC game show. Those who think this vote spells the end for SNP and Scottish Independence may be disappointed. The SNP’s vote share only dropped by 2% altogether and the losses can only be explained more heavily by tactical voting rather than a grand demise of the Scottish Nationalists. This election also makes the current voting system in the UK unfit for purpose, as for the 2nd time in three elections First Past the Post has failed to fit its one brief of delivering stable majority governments, but this issue will be covered in a separate blog next week.

Leading up to the election I was predicting the seats in parliament to stay roughly the same, and after the personally crushing disappointment on 2015, where the youth vote did not turn out for Ed Miliband like I thought it would at the time, I was braced for another rough night as someone on the left. Obviously this pessimism was wrong, as for once, my generation came out to vote, and its result was great. I suspect if the youth vote was around 44%, as it was in 2015, the result would still have been an increased Conservative majority.

Starting with Labour, I have an apology to make to my many Corbynista friends and family members. I have called the Corbyn platform as unelectable since he became leader, and although they did not win, this election result suggests I was wrong. What this result does is make the Blairite faction of the Labour Party redundant, and means Labour must now embrace fully the anti-austerity platform, even if this year’s manifesto was overreaching a bit economically. It is also true that Labour may have had a greater vote share without the 2nd leadership contest in 2016. One word of warning for Labour though, I still talked to many people – work colleagues, friends, random acquaintances, who wanted to vote Labour but couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Corbyn. Maybe this election more than anything else, shows that Owen Smith’s analysis was correct when he ran for leader: that the policy agenda of the Corbyn leadership was correct, but the man at the helm was the problem.

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Apparently Jezza is the Saunders of the UK after all

In the future, especially if there is another election soon, I believe Labour and the Lib Dems must sign an alliance pact to maximise the chances for a future progressive government, as they did before the 1997 Election. In Norwich South, Norwich North and Norfolk North, we saw how the progressive alliance could work. Traditional Lib Dem and Green voters flocked to Labour in the Norwich seats to protect Clive Lewis and to almost oust Chloe Smith, who had a 12,000 majority previously, while in Norfolk North, the Greens stood aside to help Norman Lamb protect his seat for the Liberal Democrats. I think Labour will spend the next how many years until the next election as the government in waiting.

This election has been an absolute disaster for the Conservatives, both for present and future. Although they increased their vote share, the Conservatives had a disastrous campaign, their policies were deeply unpopular, Theresa May was found out as a poser, Tory heartlands such at Canterbury and Kensington voted against a vague, hard Brexit and the obsession of soundbites and dog whistle campaigning turned people ultimately off.  The 2015 – 2017 Conservative government found itself as completely dysfunctional with a majority of 6, so with only 2 seats majority if you include the DUP is a very daunting position to be in, especially with the likely infighting. Theresa May has always has critics on the long-time Brexiteers within the party, so it’s not a surprise that Johnson is already manoeuvring from the right to displace May. More worrying for May is that the left of the party, now led by Ruth Davidson is also moving against her, outraged by May’s position on Brexit and decision to ally with the DUP, this group would try and bring about a Cameron style leadership again, something much more tolerable. I personally don’t see May lasting 6 months, but see her attempting to hold on to power in the party like a dictator at the last days before the revolution.

The DUP coalition could spell further trouble for the Conservatives as allying with such an extreme party could alienate many in the centre-ground, the voters Cameron and Osborne worked so hard to gain back in 2010 and 2015. The irony will also not be lost on people that they harked on about Corbyn being a terrorist sympathiser to then finish the election by going into coalition with another group of terrorist sympathisers. And to top off Tory misery they still have to deal with Brexit on a weaker footing, and as I have said many times, Brexit will almost certainly be a disaster whoever is in power, let alone a disunited Conservative Party.

If the Conservative-DUP coalition does dissolve into a shambles, which I believe it will, we could be voting again next year, and providing the Tory leader in that election is not Ruth Davidson, they will probably lose. The Conservative Party love to elect the wrong leader, since the turn of the century the only good leader they have had is Cameron, and there is currently little talent on the Tory front bench. As for Labour, the same questions of Corbyn will be there, although the Sinn Fien animosity would be lower due to the Tory alliance with the DUP, and I suspect the seats between the Conservatives and Labour would be almost directly reversed. If there isn’t an election until 2022, I do not believe Corbyn will be leader, after all in 2022 Jeremy will be 73, and the next heir – probably likely to be either Clive Lewis, Keir Starmer or Emily Thornberry, who had a very good election campaign, will likely lead Labour to a healthy majority, providing Brexit is the disaster I suspect it will be. It would be for the good of the country if there is an earlier election, as Keir Starmer is far more equipped and talented to negotiate a good deal for the UK than David Davis, but it would probably be better for the Labour Party if there isn’t an election until 2022, as it will give them a real chance at a Blair sized majority.

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Norwich’s own Clive Lewis could be Labour party leader going into a 2022 election

Back to the present, it is clear that the clear winners of the election are Yougov (for correctly predicting a large youth turnout) and the future of the Labour party, while the real losers are the future of the Conservative Party, Theresa May and UKIP. And for the first time since I have been able to vote, I have not sat through a UK democratic event to be left depressed, even if my party only has 12 seats.

The Rudrum Rambling Election Endorsement: Ignore the leader, vote for a strong Liberal voice in a progressive coalition or opposition

4 Days to go. Unless, like me you have a postal vote, it is judgement day across the country. Before I get in to who to vote for, I would like to point out the state of leaderships in the current leadership of major UK Parties. When Theresa May was ‘elected’ leader of the Consevative Party, I commented that she was a safe pair of hands, I am sorry to say I have been wrong. The woman is certainly neither strong and stable, and as you probably already know, has made more U-turns than Rally Drivers. Jeremy Corbyn, who may have had a good campaign, still does not look or feel like a leader, and after watching his business in parliament extensively as a student, I doubt he will be able to be a competent prime minister. Tim Farron, has, apart from one great put down at the end of the BBC leadership debate, not convinced me of why the membership voted him in rather than the far more assured, credible Norman Lamb; while Paul Nuttall just looks, sounds and acts like the type of person you find at Wetherspoons each day at 11am in the morning. The only good leaders we have, are the two Green Party leaders, who unfortunately have had their vote share mainly eliminated by Labour’s shift to the left, and Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon is the only party leader who looks prime ministerial, and she is the only one who doesn’t want to be PM.

Now down to the business end. Rudrum Ramblings, from the start of this election, has championed the idea of a Progressive Alliance, and this does not stop here. Although I am not overly keen on seeing Jeremy Corbyn, and less keen to see John McDonnell and Diane Abbott in power, I would much prefer that to the poser that is Theresa May, the tax haven advocate Phillip Hammond, the worker rights opposer Liam Fox, the NHS privatiser Jeremy Hunt, the nutcase Boris Johnson, the economically illiterate David Davis, and the rest of the Tory cabinet. Back in the Cameron days, although I disagreed with most of their policies and the effect they had on people, at least they were to a degree economically sound, and that their manifestos made logical sense. Now, as commented on the last blog, we have a Conservative party which is not strong on any policy area, other than immigration, which it is economically and ethically repulsive over. To add, the last coalition government, whatever you make of it, has been far more competent at managing the country than either the Cameron or the May administration with a Tory majority.

Coalitions to me have always been a much fairer way of running the country. The 2010 – 2015 government was the first time a government represented over 50% of votes since the great wartime government of 1940 – 1945. Due to the atrocious performance of the Conservatives, there is now a small chance of the coalition government between Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats (and the Greens). For me this would be ideal, as there are parts of the Labour manifesto I prefer to the Lib Dems, and parts of the Lib Dem manifesto I prefer to Labour. The Brexit negotiating team, led by Keir Starmer, surely a potential future PM, is actually a lot more capable than the team led by David Davis as well.  However I do have an overarching concern that the Labour manifesto is ultimately unaffordable, and some (certainly not all) parts of it will need to be put aside if they were to lead a coalition.

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Keir Starmer – the Man I believe to be the potential next Centre-Left PM (Picture: The New European)

Ultimately, whatever the result between Labour and the Conservatives, we will need a strong Liberal movement for the future. Put your issues with Tim Farron aside, because firstly, he is not going to be Prime Minister, and secondly, whatever your stance on his flip-flopping over his moral thoughts on gay marriage, he has always voted, as a Liberal should, for the extension of their rights. The Liberal Democrats this time round, from the way they have attacking the Conservatives relentlessly over Labour, will not join the Tories this time round, and if they did, I would be the first to leave the party. The Liberal Democrats also are the only party who has a sound economic policy, yet at the same time has some radical progressive policies such as cannabis legalisation, the reversal of the snoopers charter, the expansion of community policing and the housing investment bank. Ultimately the Liberal Democrats are RIGHT on healthcare (the only way to fund is by a small rise in taxation), RIGHT on Brexit (that it is going to make us ultimately worse off and that there should be political representation to those who voted remain), RIGHT on Drugs, RIGHT  on constitutional issues, RIGHT on Policing and Terrorism, RIGHT (as are the Greens and Labour) on the Environment, RIGHT on Civil Liberties and have a lot of good to say as well on Education, Housing and the Economy.

If you live in a constituency in which either Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens or the SNP are in a direct competition with the Conservatives, please vote for whichever party is most likely to win and stop the reckless right getting a blank check. But if you are in a safe seat, or in a seat which is Labour vs Lib Dems or Lib Dems vs SNP for example, I implore you to vote Liberal Democrat and create a good presence for a Party which were the only major parliamentary opposition to the Iraq War (and the first to advocate action is Kosovo), always the first to come up with original popular policies such as bringing the lowest out of tax, a party which contrary to opinions in my circles did limit the damage of the austerity driven Tories between 2010 -2015 and have since 1997 have been the most forward thinking party in British Politics.

Why Theresa May is right to call an early election and who will be the winners and losers of it

At 11:15am on this cold, Tuesday morning, surprise and shock spread across the recruitment office I work in, as the news started to seep through. Yes, we had just found out that Harry Redknapp had been made manager of Birmingham City. But just before we could recover from the news that one man was going to make Deadline Day great again, we find out that Theresa May had called a new election. At this point, on my desk, group chats meant my phone was vibrating so much it could be used in adult films, twitter exploded which a mixture of attempts of wittiness and annoyance, and people at work stopped working (well only for 5 minutes, as even in the days like this you can always count on an office to produce political apathy).

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‘Arry Announcing that he is running for Prime Minister with the promise to build a statue of Nico Kranjcar outside Downing Street

One of my friends questioned where the logic of an election at this point was. Indeed, it is true that Mrs May could crush Labour more if Corbyn is still leader in 2020, and this is damage limitation, and that a sudden election when the Tory election machine wasn’t prepared for it could backfire. However, from where I see it, Mrs May has timed this decision perfectly.

Firstly, as unfortunately everything is at the minute, Brexit has a huge reason for throwing this election. Firstly, by 2020, The Conservatives, particularly with the incompetence of the hardcore Brexiteers, may have made a dogs meal of the negotiations and could leave the Conservatives vulnerable to a loss, even if Corbyn is still leader of Labour. May also wants a mandate to govern, which would hopefully allow her to put forward a more moderate position on Brexit and weaken the likes of Liam Fox and David Davis, who are currently dragging Britain into a downright silly position of denial that there is any danger within the next 2 years. Currently the extreme Brexiteers are getting away with this due to the Conservative’s tiny majority and that if May was to question them, due to the fact she voted Remain, they could easily turn on her quickly, or become as John Major would put it, “the Bastards” who will stab her in the back.  The news that those individuals power could be weakened has already led to the pound to climb since the announcement of a new General Election.

The current political climate also suits May’s party. With Labour and UKIP both competing on who are the most incompetent, the Conservatives can in theory clear up many of the votes from those two parties and grow its majorities, which, as mentioned earlier, would limit the amount of disruption on policy. Since 2015 this government have been the most incompetent in my lifetime, and more MP’s would help them actually to be able to do anything which is not to do with Brexit. On the same note, May needs a new manifesto to create a mandate to put her own agenda through. Currently, with in particular Grammar Schools and the u-turn on NIC’s, when the May administration wants to do something different to Cameron which could upset some in her own party, a back bencher yell “you’re breaking a manifesto pledge” and she drops it faster than Red Bull dropped Danil Kvyat last season. If she had her own manifesto, she could then put forward her own policies, rather than spending another 3 years treading water and failing to get anything done. I have seen some share the Vice article titled “look at all the awful things the government has done since Brexit”, but if you look down at it, compared what a government with an opposition in disarray should have achieved, the list of things they have done can be only described as a disappointment.

As noted, Labour will suffer, knowing they are literally losing votes left right and centre, and I predict if the Election goes ahead they will lose in the region of 50 seats. UKIP will also fail to get elected, and the hilarity of their situation will be the one ray of light in the gloomy outlook of British politics.  One thing that May has not taken into account is the rise of my party, the Liberal Democrats, who since Brexit have seen their membership grow by over 20,000, and a further 1000 in one hour after this election was announced. The Lib Dems have already showed that our pro-EU strategy has paid dividends in Local Elections and in particular by-elections, and are already predicted to get 200 extra Local council seats in May As well as taking 400,000 Labour votes since the last election, 40% of those who have joined the Lib Dems voted for the Conservatives last time out. Knowing that over 20 of the seats the Lib Dems lost in 2015 went to the Tories, and with the view of what happened in Richmond Park, Lynton Crosby, the Tory election strategists, has warned May that the Lib Dems could take up to 30 Conservative seats. Just if Labour had Keir Stammer or Clive Lewis, there could be an opportunity to beat the Tories right now with the Progressive Alliance with that level of Liberal Democrat threat.

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Picture: Liberal Democrats

Instead of Stammer or Lewis, Labour has Corbyn, so expect the Tories to end up with close to 400 seats, with Labour on around 150, the Lib Dems on around 45, the SNP to still dominate Scotland, and the rest of the minnows to stick in their own status quo. Of course, legally there shouldn’t be an election until 2020 so this conversation could and should simply be academic, funny how opportunity always seems to trump principle in Politics.

 

Coming up on Rudrum Ramblings:

Inevitable criticism of the incoming Conservative manifesto

The Comedy section (UKIP)

Probably a last minute plead to vote for Progressive Parties

The obligatory angry post following the election result

Welcome to 2017, the disappointing third movie nobody cares about

The last three years has been like a trilogy of films, and when I talk about a trilogy of films, I don’t mean like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, I actually mean the Hangover trilogy. 2015 was personally a blast but did have problems in it (see the 2015 general election and the Paris attacks), but overall was a solid year and was enjoyable. 2016 tried to be a darker year, and it, like the second Hangover film (and every sequel since the Empire Strikes Back was released), succeeded. However, like the Second hangover, 2016 was also monumentally shit for all involved. Within the first 10 days my dog and David Bowie died. we had to put up with the meltdown of the political left everywhere, the rise of the “alt right”, which contrary to popular opinion is not the genre of music which you put Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode under on iTunes; a Norwich city relegation and the fact the 1975 managed to win the NME album of the year.

If this admittedly rubbish analogy is correct, 2017 is the year that nobody will even bother paying attention as you have to deal with the aftermath of the previous year. For a start, we have the new £5 note which is a disgrace not because of the meat controversy, but just the fact it looks like it belongs in monopoly and it feels like an leaflet for a bar which is so terrible that its actually good.

You have the fact that Theresa May has decided to choose the Brexit which resorts to hitting and hoping, rather than the embarrassing but far nicer Brexit which would have just meant voting to pay more to effectively have the same relationship with the world than beforehand. and while the government are tripping over Brexit, they ironically have forgotten to run the NHS. But of course this will make no difference to the political landscape because Momentum continue to be in denial about the idea that Jeremy Corbyn has any popularity beyond its own bubble.

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The only good news for progressives in 2017 is the popularity of Justin Treudeau (Picture: Huffington Post)

To top this off, Norwich City are still rubbish, Chelsea are going to win the league, Donald Trump is still the president elect and I am as dry as a cactus. 2017 therefore does not offer much hope, but hey, Justin Treudeau is still about to show how to be left wing and popular in the 21st century. Also there’s going to be a new Arctic Monkeys album, Trainspotting 2 is coming out, Disney haven’t ruined Star Wars yet and Eminem is still alive, so maybe 2017 isn’t so gloomy after all?

 

Ok I’m clutching at straws…

Have a terrible year

 

 

Coming up on Rudrum Ramblings in 2017:

More Liberal Elitist Remoaning

More Norwich City related content

More poor Music commentary

More actually quite informative Formula One knowledge

and whatever else I decide to ramble about