The Winners and the Losers

Well, the first thing to say to loyal readers who have been with me for a while is that there were no great surprises from last night’s election results, were there?

After all, my New Year predictions relating to the election were not that far wide of the mark. In relation to the election, I said:

  • Those who voted YES in the Scottish Referendum will continue to behave as though they won. This may be unhelpful.
  • Those who voted NO in the Scottish Referendum will continue to behave as thought he referendum never happened. This may be unhelpful.
  • There will, I fear, be a Tory Prime Minister at the end of 2015.
  • The Liberal Democrats will retain 10 – 14 seats in the House of Commons.
  • Nick Clegg will lose his seat and be Lord Clegg by the end of the year.
  • The Labour Party will not be led by a Milliband by the end of the year.

I was a couple of seats out in my prediction of the Lib Dem collapse. However, just about every poll in the five months since I made those predictions has had the Lib Dems winning 30 or 40 seats so I’m claiming that as being as close to a success as makes no odds today.

I was wrong about Nick Clegg losing his seat but the truth is, he’s lost everything else.

I take no particular pleasure in getting these predictions right. As someone who has been a candidate for the Lib Dem party in the past I can’t help but be moved by the losses that they suffered. However, as someone who is no longer a party member I’m also one of those who think that the party has not been acting out of its core values for some time. No-one I know who remains in the party took seriously my prediction at New Year. That failure to listen to those looking for a party capable of articulating and acting on core liberal values rather than simply exercising power at any cost is part of what resulted in electoral disaster last night. I knew this was coming.

But today isn’t really about who got their predictions right.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the winners and the losers of election night.

Winner: John Curtice

Having just said that it isn’t all about who got their predictions right, it is important to focus on someone who did get it right. John’s a strong winner of last night for helping to devise the exit poll that predicted, to many people’s astonishment an election result that few (other than you and me) saw coming. It was a bad night for the polling companies in general whose predictions of the last few months look next to useless. I wonder when we will stop listening to them? Millions of pounds have been spent on generally fairly useless exercises.

Loser: First Past the Post
How long can First Past the Post survive? Surely now there must be some movement in the Labour Party in relation to electoral reform. They’ve been resonsible for much progressive change in the past and need new progressive policies like someone in the desert needs a cool glass of water. Step forward electoral reform.

Oh, I know it would have meant more UKIP MPs. Even though I’m pleased we don’t face a Conservative-UKIP coalition for the next five years (this is my one crumb of comfort today) the basic unfairness of people voting in large numbers for political parties and then find themselves unrepresented is true whether or not one likes the flavour of the unrepresented.

The SNP are on record as saying that they believe in electoral reform. It is to be hoped that they remain so even though they are the recipients of First Past the Post’s largesse.

Winner: Democracy
Whether one likes the results today or one doesn’t like the results, there’s a bigger picture. There’s always a bigger picture. We get to cast votes. If you don’t like the result, take comfort in the truth that we have elections so that things can be changed. Some people don’t.

I’m puzzled that the far reaches of nationalist opinion are not suggesting that MI5 stuffed the ballot boxes with SNP papers to get the Tories back in. (For those reading from furth of Scotland, there’s a persistent insane belief that MI5 operatives rigged the independence referendum).

There were one or two incidents last night of electoral fraud being suspected. These related to a handful, a tiny handful of ballot papers. In other parts of the world it relates to whole countries.

Loser: The Liberal Tradition

Oh, I know it will bounce back. However it will take years and there will be a lot of dog poo politics needed to regain the trust of the electorate. It isn’t that dog poo politics isn’t important – it is. It is just that it doesn’t really fulfil the ambitions of those with progressive hopes and dreams.

Winners: The SNP and the Conservative Party
Both these parties are to be congratulated on their substantial gains. Each MP elected has to represent all their constituents regardless of the way they voted. All people of goodwill need to hope that those elected will hold that trust well. People of faith pray for parliamentarians whichever party they represent. All of that goes on.

I’m full of bitter admiration for David Cameron’s success. You only had to be in London for five minutes last week (I was there for a few hours on my way back from holidays) to realise the genius of his campaign. Making the SNP the focus of everything boosted the Tory vote in England whilst decimating Labour chances in Scotland. It was brilliant, cynical and devastating. Effectively, Cameron invented a new SNP-Tory electoral alliance that the SNP never signed up for and would be horrified to be identified with. It remains to be seen how this will affect what happens in Scotland in the future. One cannot but expect the SNP to do well next year in the Scottish Parliamentary elections. However a reminder that only a few months ago they were mourning a bitter campaign (if not party) defeat, is a reminder that in politics things change. They always change.

Loser: Human Rights
One of the great fears of this result for me is what happens now to the Human Rights legislation that has been so important in establishing a modern Britain fit to live in. The Tory party are free to rewrite our freedoms. And that’s bad news for the weakest, the poorest and most vulnerable.

Winner: Kelvin’s New Year Election Predictions

Did I mention I got pretty close? Did I? Did I?

You’ll listen to what I say next time, right?


  1. You should be on BBC QT that I’m watching just now.

Speak Your Mind