Saturday, 8 May 2010

A Few Random Observations About the UK General Election

I deliberately avoid making this blog party political as, like most people, I associate the two main parties with petty point-scoring that ignores and/or obscures the real issues that face us all.

Having said that, there are a few things to learn from the recent general election, regardless of what you think of the outcome.

The most interesting thing to me was the way in which Labour`s traditional strongholds became their Achilles` heel. One striking thing about the run-up to election day was the way in which the Tories targetted traditional Labour voters with their "I`ve Never Voted Tory Before But..." posters. With many in post-industrial areas of the Midlands and the North having felt ignored by Labour (at leadership level) for so long, it would be interesting to know how effective this was. Personally, I suspect many normally safe Labour seats fell to the Conservatives because disaffected Labour voters took their votes to the Lib Dems.

Also interesting was the way in which the three main party leaders are now enthusiastic about manufacturing and engineering. An attempt to win votes in the Midlands and the North ? An acceptance that a `casino economy` over-dependant on revenue from the financial services sector is just not viable any more ?

Also educational was the way in which yesterday`s icon is today`s encumbrance. Labour wheeled out Tony Blair very early on in their campaign, and shunted him back to the US remarkably quickly, allegedly alarmed by negative feedback from the public. Mr Cameron appeared to distance himself from Mrs Thatcher`s legacy with his talk of a  Big Society and his claim that they don`t wish to be `The Nasty Party` (his phrase, I believe) any more.  Whether he can bring allies like Corus on board with this is another matter (- see ).

I am a believer that the best election result is a high turn-out from a motivated and well-informed electorate and the question of who wins is secondary, so in that way I`m quite happy, though in future they will have to ensure that all who want to vote, and are entitled to, can actually vote.

I would like to express some sympathy for those like Judy Mallaber who lost their seats through no fault of their own. Ms Mallaber represented my wife and myself over a constituency matter some years ago and showed herself to be a forceful and effective MP, and I know she has fought tirelessly for local industry. We need more like her and I`m sorry to see her go.

Lastly, there is still some fall-out as we all know. Personally I would welcome a hung Parliament if it makes politicians work together in the common good, but let`s see what works in practise.

In the meantime, here are some responses from the progressive community. I`d urge anyone reading this to consider these organisation`s arguments. If you disagree, or are unconvinced, fair enough - I don`t agree with everything they propose myself -  but I think they deserve our consideration ;

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