Why Labour lost

All political parties struggled in the election to convince people that they would keep their word. Mr Miliband came up with the most ludicrous response to this problem, with his Edstone. The idea that you need an inscribed stone in your garden to remind you of what you believe in and need to do struck most of us as absurd. The content of the promises was banal which compounded the problem. Labour’s refusal to tell us where the stone went, and their unwillingness to keep repeating the trite “pledges” from the stone reinforced the impression of absurdity.

The main promise, constantly repeated throughout Labour’s campaign, was he would save the NHS. This was a promise about NHS England, as people in Scotland and Wales knew the General Election was nothing to do with their NHS. This was a particularly dangerous risk to run, as we all realised Scotland was flirting with voting SNP. The whole Labour campaign ignored Scotland, as every time they talked about the NHS they were speaking just to England. It reinforced the idea that they took Scotland for granted, grated with many former Scottish Labour voters, and allowed the SNP to say Labour in Scotland was just a small subservient branch to England. The actual promise on the Edstone was ‘An NHS with time to care’. No numbers, no money, no meaning.

This central promise was based on a lie. Conservatives under Mr Cameron have no plans to introduce charges for the NHS, or to make people take out private health insurance, or to sell off hospitals. Both main parties agree the current settlement of the NHS, largely free at the point of need, with a mixture of private sector and public sector provision – public sector hospitals, private sector GP contractors. Neither party wishes to change this. Parties spent the election competing with each other over how much extra money to pledge to the existing NHS. Labour will discover this year there is no secret Tory plan to privatise or damage the NHS as we currently know it. Many electors had worked this out and were bemused by the Labour campaign.

Labour did not promise to end austerity, which many left wing voters took up as their mantra. I found this odd. I myself was happily saying I am against austerity. Surely the whole point of the election was to choose a government which can help the country fashion greater prosperity. The problem arose owing to the use of the word austerity. Austerity to the political classes means limiting the rate of growth in public spending below the level of previous plans, and below the level many politicians and officials would like. Austerity to most normal people means having less money to spend themselves.

Labour had no positive message for strivers, for private sector workers, for people who want to get on in the world. Their obvious enthusiasm to tax anything that comes from success and their wish to manage any market they did not like sent out the clear signal that they were anti enterprise, anti wealth creation, and therefore a threat to jobs and growth.

The Edstone offered us a “Strong economy foundation”, “Higher living standards for working families”, “The next generation can do better than the last” and “Homes to buy and action on rents”. It summed up the lack of ambition and the lack of a specific government plan on what to do. Every recent generation has been better off than the one that went before. Why were the higher living standards confined to working families and not also offered to single people and pensioners? There will always be homes available to buy. The issue is how many, where and at what prices?

It is true the Edstone was soon dropped and turned out not to be central to Labour’s campaign. The underlying banality was however central. What was Labour’s economic approach? How would they make us more prosperous more quickly than the Conservative plan? Their failure to answer that question left them in difficulty.

Their final pledge on the stone was “Control on immigration”. It was something many potential Labour voters wanted. There was no detail on how they would control immigration, and no numbers placed on what is at base an argument about how many people we can accommodate.

Their campaign by design had nothing to say to Scotland. It also failed to reassure possible Labour supporters in England that Labour did have answers on immigration, the economy and aspiration.

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147 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    The stone showed clearly the total immorality of the, politics of envy, left in proposing to thieve money of landlords in order to attempt to buy the votes of tenants. In fact such an immoral proposal would have helped neither, it would have killed supply and created lots of uncertainty & pointless parasitic jobs for lawyers. It also showed they are economically illiterate.

    Action of immigration – what action?

    An NHS with time to care – vacuous drivel the NHS as currently structured can never be efficient.

    A strong economic foundation and higher living standard for working families – with tax borrow and tip down the drain Labour yeah sure Ed.

    Labour lost because Miliband/SNP was a dreadful prospect for the English in particular. Cameron was rather less bad.

    How many more seats would Cameron have won with some real vision and a UKIP deal – or just with a more “real Tory” agenda. I have not done the sums but certainly far, far more.

    So are we going to get more Libdem drivel from Cameron or is he going to become a real Tory now? Will he find a dreadful new Ed Davey/C Huhne man or will he get Patterson or Lilly? Will he be serious about the EU renegotiation? Will he sore IHT now or in another five years time? Will he give some real financial inventive for workers over benefit claimants. Will he get rid of the idiotically high 12% stamp duty/turnover tax.

    He aim should be to kill the vast number of parasitic non jobs in the state, and indeed the private, sector. We need far fewer lawyers, HR experts, planning experts, greencrap experts and the likes and far more engineers, business people and doers. That and cheap energy are the way to go.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      The decimation of the Libdems should be a constant reminder to Cameron of just how unpopular his past Libdem, EUphile, high tax borrow & waste, endless over regulation, expensive greencrap, HS2, policies actually were.

      Why on earth did the Cameron “moderniser” ever take this hugely unpopular Libdim line? It is a line can never work and is not even politically popular.

      Some things he should do very quickly are:

      Abolish the fixed term parliament act
      Announce the building of a five runway hub Heathwick
      Cancel HS2
      Move to cheap energy and kill all the expensive, nonsense greencrap grants
      Repeal the climate change act
      Expand grammar schools hugely
      Abolish IHT
      Cut SDLT to 1%
      Cut state sector numbers and pay levels hugely
      Enable easy hire and fire
      Relax planning
      Simplify Taxes
      Get rid of gender neutral insurance and annuity drivel
      Let Theresa May not to ban proponent of free speech from coming to the UK
      Cut the top tax rates to 40% starting only at about £70K
      Get serous about the EU renegotiations
      Get a fair electoral deal for England in place.
      Sort out fair constituency boundaries.
      Stop funding the circa 60% of university degrees that are clearly a complete joke.
      Sort out the discredited GCSE and A level system.
      Give tax relief or credit vouchers to people who use private schools and/or health care.
      Abolish the workplace pension scheme it is absurdly structured, expensive to run and they can now cash it in at 55 anyway. Silly mixed messages from the Tories.

      Lots more to do too it should keep them busy. Or will Cameron just remain a sad & wrong wet Libdim? One who just got lucky due to the rise of the SNP.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

        Tell Theresa May not to ban proponents of free speech from coming to the UK – is what I intended to type.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Oh and yes, you said this:

          “Cameron was rather less bad.” Which was all he had to do. And did ! The threat of an SNP / Labour pact did the rest.

          But CMD has now been handed a poison chalice. He has to deliver on a referendum with ‘real’ powers being returned in all perpetuity. Snowballs in hells chance of that !

          • Jerry
            Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            @Mark B; “But CMD has now been handed a poison chalice. He has to deliver on a referendum [on our EU membership] with ‘real’ powers being returned in all perpetuity. Snowballs in hells chance of that !”

            Why is that a poison chalice, unless of course one wants to stay in, but then surely if any poison chalice has been handed out it has been to the eurocrats and other europhiles, as you say they now need to make a case as for why the UK should remain.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Some of which I hope they will do, some of which they can’t. ie EU competency / power.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–Agree with most of this but why not Boundaries first so that changes are bedded in by 2020 else Labour will be the more able to start squawking about what they will say is the Government playing with the system to their own advantage?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Agree that was a bid mistake Cameron made last time he trusted the Libdems to deliver their bargain. Clearly there are proper time consuming, constitutional procedures to be worked through though.

          Not that this cut much ice in his last minute panic offers to Scotland given without any English consent whatsoever!

      • BeeCee
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        And do not forget the criminalisation of those who cover up their faces when on a so-called peaceful demonstration.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        @LL; “The decimation of the Libdems should be a constant reminder to Cameron of just how unpopular his past Libdem, EUphile, high tax borrow & waste, endless over regulation, expensive greencrap, HS2, policies actually were.

        Trouble is LL, much of the LD vote went to parties perhaps even more wedded to those policies, the LD were punished because they were seen as a party who sold their sole to be in government, not because they did the right thing for the country in 2010, some seats were clearly lost by the LD due to a swath of their previous support moving directly to the Greens, as shown by the “change of vote” stats.

        A slim/working majority can be a dangerous thing if the victorious party assumes wide spread support, the electors have long memories…

        Abolish the fixed term parliament act

        As much as I hate the FTPA retaining it might just save the Tory party from themselves!

        “Announce the building of a five runway hub Heathwick

        Thus loose much support in Surrey, West Sussex and the western elements (if not the entire) Greater London area, and perhaps Berkshire and other counties under such flight-paths…

        Why not reopen and enlarge Manston Airport, whilst building suitable rail/road links, a better way to spend a fraction of the suggested (minimum) £17 billion for HS2? What we do need to do is fully link the ECML, WCML, West of England/South Wales and the central southern and south western rail lines to HS1 at suitable direct interchange stations.

        “Get rid of gender neutral insurance and annuity drivel”

        Why, perhaps you would like all gender neutral polices to be scrapped too? Otherwise please do explain why insurance risks and life expectancy etc. are automatically lower for one gender compared to the other. In motor insurance it has been show clearly the risks are the same for each and every age group. Perhaps it has something to do with family self interest, once again, just like you views on the housing rental sector are?

        “[Tell] Theresa May not to ban proponent of free speech from coming to the UK”

        I support free speech as much as most (in fact perhaps more so, I despise much censorship to), but there is a difference between free speech and “hate speech”, it’s a fine line for sure, but a line that the Home Office needs to be able to draw.

        “Get serous about the EU renegotiations”

        Indeed, and if the UK is intent on not opposing the EU’s TTIP agreement, why not just investigate joining NAFTA and leaving the EU?!…

        “Stop funding the circa 60% of university degrees that are clearly a complete joke.”

        In whose opinion, those with somewhat philistinism views or those who need to employ people with a minimum of a Degree level education. What I would say is that we need to scrap the idea that 50% of kids will be going to University, far more funding is being wasted on people who basically could achieve the same goal in life (or even better) from a higher education within the old style Further Education and/or apprenticeships framework than from achieving only a mediocre grade at Uni’ in now over subscribed subject that are now being devalued as “soft subjects”.

        “[The Tory party] who just got lucky due to the rise of the SNP.”

        Lifelogic, try looking at the election results before making wild and silly comments, had Labour won all of those 56 SNP seats in Scotland Cameron would still be sitting in Downing Street with his 12 seat majority, indeed it could be argued that had the Tory party not been so intent on some of their less popular policies (such as the “Bedroom Tax”), and perhaps more intent on others (such as the possibility of a Brexit) they might Cameron might have an even greater majority.

      • ChrisS
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Hear ! Hear

        Cameron now has a mandate for a true Conservative administration.

        I would implement all of these measures as quickly as possible starting with an end to benefit tourism, abolishment of the Human Rights Act and the implementation of boundary changes, EVEL and Grammar Schools.

        I know, I’m sounding like a UKIPer but these are all policies true blue real Conservatives want ! !

    • Paul
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      The stone didn’t show anything clearly other than their vacuousness. It is like going around repeatedly saying “we must try and cure cancer”. Nobody would disagree with that statement, but it provides no help whatosever in actually doing it.

      I actually thought the #edstone was a photoshop, a great joke by the Telegraph. It wasn’t until I saw it in several other sources a while later I realised it was real. Even the Guardian tore it to pieces.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      It seems the Conservatives won the election by beating the LibDems in c 25 seats, not by taking seats off Labour. A UKIP deal may or may not have enabled seats to be taken off Labour, but it would have lost those taken from the LibDems. Cameron’s strategy was therefore absolutely correct from a tactical point of view. I take heart also from actual actions as opposed to words. Eg Mr Cameron is now to stop subsidies for onshore wind farms. No need to engage the green blob in a great ideological battle, just quietly drop all the expensive green crap. I like it and I hope we will see this sort of thing in other areas. After all the majority of voters do not agree with the sentiments expressed by many of us here!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      “left in proposing to thieve money of landlords in order to attempt to buy the votes of tenants.”

      Not a bad idea as there are more tenants than landlords. More votes.

      As a conservative minded person even I am unhappy with the buy-to-let industry and the buying up of homes to make profit out of our kids – often via the welfare system.

      For the Tories to generate votes in future they must help tenants become home owners, that’s unless they want to be representative of a minority group of property owners.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Clarification: representative of a minority who are landlords.

      • Chris S
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        The Buy-To-Let sector has grown because most youngsters under 30 are no longer interested in “settling down” and taking on commitments. Relationships are also, shall we say, much more transitory.

        As a result they need flexibility and mobility.

        The cost of buying and selling a property is far too high and rightly in my view, as property prices outside London have been increasing at a relatively modest rate, young people see it as cheaper to rent than to buy especially if they are likely to want to sell again in a relatively short space of time.

        The only answer is to make it cheaper and easier to buy and sell :

        Is there really any need for such a complicated legal system to buy and sell freehold properties ? Should it really be any more complicated than buying a car on credit ?

        Then there is stamp duty which is no more than legalised misappropriation by the state.

        The only area in which transaction costs are going down is the one that is totally free of state interference : the growth of online estate agents is driving down selling costs to a more acceptable level. The work in selling a £750,000 property to a cash buyer is less than the work required to sell a flat to a first time buyer needing the maximum possible mortgage. So why should the seller pay a fee based on value ?

        Far from adding higher StampDuty bands, the Government should be reducing public expenditure so that they can lower stamp duty rates at all price points. That will free up the market. If my wife and I and any of my friends want to move the total bill to buy and sell is likely to top £40-£50,000. As a result we stay put. This is not good for the housing market generally.

        If I were the Cameron I would appoint a junior minister to look into every aspect of the market with the aim of coming up with proposals for simplifying and reducing transaction costs across the board.

        This will not be good news for solicitors, estate agents and mortgage companies but we have far too many of the first two anyway.

        Finally, let’s hope that George Osbourne is enlightened enough to do something about capital gains tax. Many BTL landlords like myself are holding onto properties and remortgaging them rather than selling because of the punative 28% rate of CGT. Under the current regime, if a property has a 50% BTL mortgage on it the tax take from IHT on the landlord’s death would be less than that payable if he or she sopld it !

        If he reintroduced taper relief to reward those who invest for the long term he would see a doubling of the take from CGT bringing it back to previous levels and as a bonus he would probably get a one off additional £2-3bn in year one and two, such is the pent-up demand. Can’t imagine why he wouldn’t do it !

    • petermartin2001
      Posted May 13, 2015 at 1:57 am | Permalink

      “NHS as currently structured can never be efficient.”

      I’m not sure if this is an unsubstantiated statement based on a dislike of the concept of the NHS or you have some factual evidence for this claim.

      The UK spends less on health in both money terms as a share of GDP.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_%28PPP%29_per_capita

      Reply There are important differences of definition. The NHS figures exclude the costs of raising the money, for example. Countries with insurance schemes include the money raising/admin costs

  2. alan jutson
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I believe some thinking Labour Politicians are already working out much of what you say John.

    That they need to engage more with (listen to) people from all walks of life, and not just talk amongst themselves.

    What did Labour actually offer the self employed, the small business owner and shopkeeper, those who wanted to work towards better living standards for themselves and their families, those who had saved a little for their future retirement, those who had to compete with immigrant labour on compressed wages, those who were suffering ill health and needed nursing home care, absolutely nothing, except more taxes, more State interference.

    The stone summed it all up in one spectacular failure.
    The pledges were weird, and a huge amount of money was wasted on its purchase, production and promotion, showing a typical disregard for fiscal control and Labour priorities on spending.

    Indeed it was an excellent example of how Labour would spend our money if given power.

    The Labour Party until they engage properly with the majority of the people, will continue on their slippery slope.

    There is a real warning here for the Tories as well, because their campaign was not that much better, they were just a little better than Labour, but only in the last week !

    The real lesson here is that UKIP, (despite all of the attacks on them) and to a very much smaller degree the Greens, managed nearly 5,000,000 votes between them.

    Cameron has been given one last chance by middle of the road centre right voters, get it wrong, and the two party system as we have known it will be gone, and the people will start getting angry about our voting system if it remains as it is for too much longer.

    The Conservatives now have to follow their plans, there is no excuse of the LibDems to hide behind, if they fail, then expect them to follow the Labour Party downhill next time.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      I could’nt agree more with your last sentence, Alan. As Ronald Reagan used to say ‘ The buck stops here’ . It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Indeed Alan. Unless Cameron becomes a true Tory and honours his pledges then expect more of the electorate to vote UKIP next time. If Farage makes a comeback and the party is still fighting fit then people will vote in their masses as they will be totally fed up with the promises the main parties make and then do not deliver.

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Nicely summed up Alan .

      Given the irrelevance of Labour’s message for ordinary people it is perhaps surprising that they polled as well as they did .

      It says it all that they did much better in London than elsewhere .

      I can’t help feeling that to some extent Miliband is paying for the toxicity of Blair and Mandelson in much the same way as the Conservative partner is still for Mrs Thatcher .

      The Labour Party needs a Conservative Party to rail against and hasn’t had one for a while . Whether it get’s one now the Lib Dem’s are out of the picture will be interesting to see .

      As a British Citizen I’m worried about consequences of the lack of quality opposition . We all saw the trouble that caused between 1997 and 2010 .

      Chuka Umunna is spread across the middle class press telling them where he thinks Labour went wrong .

      Suffice to say that in this case , those who are part of the problem cannot be part of the solution .

      They need to drag someone off the back benches to lead them .

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      UKIP voters have been the model of patience and good behaviour.

      The Left are already desecrating war memorials because they dislike the outcome of the general election.

      The Right didn’t do this once in 13 years of Labour misrule.

      Violence is what happens when the vote doesn’t go the Left’s way – and they have 200 odd representatives in Parliament ! We want them stood up to.

      Imagine how they’d be behaving if they had only achieved one representative in Parliament – and contrast this with the good behaviour of UKIP supporters who have been relentlesly maligned and insulted by the Tory press, and sometimes by the Tory party itself.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Great post.

      The State has to be reduced, not just in size but also cost. Labour placemen need to be purged and various Quango’s shut down. ‘Charities’ need to be looked at. How some so called ‘charities’ can campaign to help the poor, when their Executives are on massive salaries, pensions and benefits ?

      All this is going to have to be done. And one way or the other, this government is going to be very unpopular. A very rough tide ahead methinks.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Indeed many charities are, to say the least highly dubious.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Why labour lost?

    The rise of the SNP and usual damaging, lefty loon politics of spite, theft, trying to buy votes, envy and the magic money tree. Thank goodness the English voters at least saw through it.

    Cameron was (very slightly) a better prospect but he was very lucky to have both the SNP and the hapless Miliband.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I see that the BBC & Guardian favourite (the circa 13? year old, lefty) Owen Jones was talking the usual “BBC think” nonsense.

    I had to laugh when I recently saw on his book “Our generation’s Orwell – Russell Brand”.

    My thanks too to Russell Brand in doing his valuable bit to help save the country from Miliband/SNP.

  5. Gary
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    the party that got less than 25% of the eligible vote will get all the power.

    the party with the 3rd highest vote got 1 seat

    the party with the 5th highest votes got 56 seats

    welcome to a farce

    time for direct democracy. But they cannot allow that, can they? They might lose their god given right to their dictatorship dressed up as democracy.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      @Gary; Of course, when the message fails, blame the system…

      • libertarian
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        Sorry you’re wrong , I got the result I wanted, but I still agree with Gary our so called democracy is a farce. We don’t need rotten Boroughs we need 1 person 1 vote majority elects the government. If you want local representation then vote that in on a different basis. We need a English parliament and the ludicrous House of Lords needs scrapping. We can also lose one whole tier of local government too.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 11, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; Fine, let’s have PR/AV…..but the political right best not start crying into their empty, yet to be filled, champaign glasses on election night in May 2020 when the next government is made up of a coalition of Labour and other left-wing parties such as the Greens and any other number of other “bash the bankers” type rag-bag parties, perhaps ever the communists will get a seat or two…

          As for rotten Boroughs, try actually finding out what a rotten Borough was before making ludicrous comments about their return. Regarding the House of Lords, libertarian, thanks for also showing that you do not understand how the Lords work either and what they can and can’t actually do in relation to blocking the will of the Commons.

  6. Duyfken
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I am unaware of any method by which we can determine how many UKIP-leaning voters finally cast their vote for the Tories, but suspect it was a significant number and largely in response to Cameron’s plea “to keep Labour out”. Now that has been achieved and Labour has lost, how does Cameron intend to meet the wishes of these voters? He could of course start by giving you JR, a cabinet post.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      He is more likely to give one to Nick Clegg I suspect.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Dufyken

      There is no such thing as a tactical vote.

      Anyone who thought they were only lending their vote has made a mistake. They have made a full commitment to Mr Cameron’s politics and given mandate for the whole shebang.

      If you voted Tory but supported UKIP then you are now a Tory supporter for a term of 5 years. You can no longer call yourself a UKIP supporter and you will not be treated as one.

      • Duyfken
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. I voted UKIP (as I did in 2010 also).

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Mondeo man

        Agree with you, all provocative action has been taken by the extreme left so far.

        How Farage kept his cool under such attack, not just by screaming people, but with postings on the internet, as well as the media, was impressive.

        Had not been aware of the problems in London yesterday until after I posted this morning and then read the papers.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I would second that especially if it were the post of Energy minister. We might get somewhere on the renewables front then.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Astoundingly, in conversation with friends yesterday. I said exactly the same Re Labour and the (English)NHS. It’s easy to tell Labour are losing the arguement, when they fall back on scaremongering about the future of the (English)NHS.
    They also came across as disingenous Re. the economy. The last five years of ‘austerity’ came about because of the mess left by Labour. The Conservative led coalition has not had total success in all that was required. But it is clear that the countries’ (disUK) finances are better placed now. Unfortunately the adverserial nature of politics here, led Labour to pretend no improvement had been made. The public saw through that. There was also a genuine fear, should Labour get control, the countries’ finances would go back to where they were in no time at all.

    So now JR, back to work for you all. Number one on the agenda, the future of the (dis)UK.
    It’s obvious the Scots will be having a second referendum on independence. The SNP can justifiably claim a mandate with 56 seats. They are dedicated Europhiles and if Cameron does give us a fair and honest referendum on the EU (I’m not confident) this may well be the trigger. If so I hope this time they ‘get it right’ and leave. Whether they do or don’t, you and the Government need to prepare the ground for a new Federal UK with an English Parliament and a Welsh parliament in place of the Assembly. N.I may remain a thornier problem?

  8. Mark W
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Congratulations John. The grown ups won. Not only came first but won. A victory for the Tories but also the British people and their verdict on FPTP in its referendum.

    A few short weeks ago I wrote on your blog that I believed a majority was possible just on idly eavesdropping a conversation in a back street bar in a marginal. Well Mr Jackson did successfully hold Peterborough.

    Pollsters will need to do a better job of factoring in just how shy Tories are at admitting it. There is no part of the media that doesn’t convey a sense of contempt at the concept of centre right ideology that just happens to be an underlying instinct of most of us. The Blair era of new labour was successful as it knew this and booted the left away from influence.

    When will these absurd sixth form style lefties wake up to the fact that most of us in the privacy of the ballot booth will reject the spiteful nonsense of people like miliband every time.

    I feel content that labour will now go a generation before it comes back with a “storming the winter palace” offer. Or it will go a couple of generations of being thrown in the sea at general elections.

    For now. I’ll vote no in EU referendum come whatever and keep my fingers crossed that Scotland has its wish and we ours. It should join the Isle of Man. No MPs at Westminster and independent in most senses of the word.

    Well done people.

  9. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I await to see what happens on the matters that really count and that signature the failures of the last 10 years (at least).

    Run the country as a serious and successful business. Put an abrupt end to the ideologist and mischief makers. Tough talk and action, but we need long respite from the feckless fools that have damaged so much that is important. Never thought I would see it as it has become.

    A significant opportunity lies ahead…..

  10. alan jutson
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I see Frank Field as usual has been refreshingly honest in the Mail on Sunday this morning as to his views on why Labour failed.

    If only Labour had more people like him, they may just have pulled it off.

    I see Chuka is on the short list for next Labour leader.

    Elect him, and they can Chuck away the next election as well.

    Are they learning nothing from this latest disaster !!!!!!!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I can see how Chuka Ummuna would be a threat:

      – good looking
      – articulate
      – self made
      etc

      Who knows ? The Scots, fed up with Sturgeon reality, might come back and what of Labour then ?

      Without the 50 seats and with the gonk Miliband the Labour party was neck and neck with the Tory party.

      Right up until the night, I think. Up until the tactical voting advice and scaremongering of the Tory MSM.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man; I can see that the UKIP tactic to ‘cope’ with defeat -once again- is to blame first the voting system and second supposed tactical voting [1], thus they will remain unelectable in anything more than a small handful with a fair wind. On the other hand Labour’s reaction to loosing is to question not just their leadership style but also their core message, thus you are quite correct Mondeo Man, come 2020 Labour might be a threat given the correct new leadership team whilst UKIP will once again be an also-ran party assuming they survive being an irrelevance after 2017.

        [1] most people do not read political blogs, many do not even bother with newspapers -either printed or on-line (whilst the broadcast media is regulated as to what they can broadcast during an election), only those who subscribe will get social media message-feeds etc, in short the idea that so many people swung the election by following tactical voting advice is borderline self-delusion.

    • Mark W
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Chuka Ummuna, Liz Kendall or David Lammy would all make credible candidates that would undo the fear created by Miliband and his leftist agenda. The others would be a Neil Kinnock to the Foot that Miliband was.

      Obviously with the unions in control and the likes of Owen Jones and Harriet Harman clearly failing to understand this there is a good chance that the Tories will win again in 2020 and Labour will then have the sense to find candidates like Ummuna, Kendall or Lammy kicking their heels.

  11. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    OK so Labour misread the mood of the British people. However can you clarify that the Conservatives have not misled us instead? Is Dave going to bring all sorts of non manifesto items like gay marriage out of the hat? Can you clarify what the eventual destination is of the people HMS Bulwark is pulling out of the Med? The trouble is John from 2010 Dave has got form in speaking with a forked tongue.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      “what the eventual destination is of the people HMS Bulwark is pulling out of the Med?”

      Once they have been granted asylum – anywhere they like !

  12. John Richardson
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Hey John, how many elections have been rigged by MI5 other than 1992 and 2015? You are well connected you should be able to tell us.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    The Labour message was banal because there was a policy vacuum at its heart. The point has already been made by some Labour commentators that Miliband did nothing to develop a new policy framework after he was elected leader – apart, that is, that of anti-Blairism. According to Dan Hodges (Daily Telegraph Saurday 9 May on page 6) Miliband explicitly did not want to renew New Labour but “to bury it”. There followed what was reported to be a “void”.

    The elecorate was asked to believe that Miliband knew best. This arrogance lay behind his arrogant denial of any vote on an EU referendum because he did not agree with it, his belief that market prices can be controlled by freezes and government direction. Fortunately a clear majority of the electorate rejected this arrogance and the absence of any clear sense of direction.

  14. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I see that (left wing ed)’disappointed supporters’ were out on the streets yesterday. The single word I would have preferred to use would no doubt have been edited out! There will be more of this to come so we need to be ready, and it should be rebuffed, otherwise if weakness is detected it will get worse very quickly. And I don’t just mean by the police – their arguments must be robustly challenged. The Hard Left were expecting victory and power – they waited quietly for a long time, probably under orders – and failed. In their perverted way they now want revenge.

    Much is expected of Mr Cameron and hope and trust that he will have an ‘Action This Day’ determination to get on with things, and not be swayed by those who urge caution. There are too many people like that everywhere. I see Charles Moore of the Telegraph says that ‘English Votes….’ can be taken slowly – not so. There are many people who voted Tory as the only way of getting some justice for England. They must not be let down.

    And I see the propaganda campaign to cast doubt on the government’s programme and claim divisions in the party, with the help of the BBC, has already started. I’d like to hope that government and party members will be more robust in challenging the aggression of media interviewers too. They have recently become far too opinionated and sure of their own value.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Pranglewizard – As I’ve said before.

      The BBC must be pulled up for calling these rioters ‘anti austerity, anti government, anti Tory’ protesters.

      They are getting away with toxifying Tory policy with the subtle wordsmithery, when it is (left wing ed) children who are desecrating war memorials.

      You can guarantee that if these were people were rioting against a Labour government the BBC would be calling them pro Tory protestors or pro UKIP protesters.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man; Those protesters and common vandals are not toxifying Tory policy, nor are the BBC (or any other print or broadcast media outlet), they are toxifying the left once again – just as they do when ever such people riot.

  15. Martin
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The Edstone was amazing! After their Scottish division being called SLAB for years by the SNP, Labour turn it upright for England!

    To think Labour were once the kings of spin!

  16. Richard1
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I think a major factor was Labour’s continuing refusal to take any responsibility for the financial crash and recession. ‘Lehman Brothers didn’t go bust because Gordon Brown built too many schools/hospitals’ was the line promulgated eg by the irritating Chris Leslie. I hope they stick with it as they will then lose in 2020 as well, as the Country rightly doesn’t buy it. It is said that David Miliband had a speech drafted, had he won the Labour leadership, in which he was to acknowledge that Labour borrowed and spent too much. I wonder whether it will be allowed to enter the public domain? Conservatives must hammer home the message that the Labour borrow and spend frenzy meant the UK went into the crisis in a much weaker position than we should have been, that huge sums were wasted in unreformed public services, and that the explosion in the riskiness of banks was absolutely a function of Labour monetary and regulatory policy. Also that the bailout was a misconceived waste of public money. If Labour stick to their defensive line they will lose again. If they change and go down the David Miliband route, we will have rendered a lasting service to the country and lifted the threat of a statist-socialist Labour govt wrecking the economy again.

  17. A different Simon
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Losing badly is probably the best thing which could have happened to Labour .

    I will not get any pleasure from seeing them floundering around misdiagnosing the reasons for their defeat .

  18. Excalibur
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    A shrewd summation of Labour’s deficiencies. JR. The Edstone must be the most asinine example of political self-absorption ever.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Booker has it spot on today:-

    On the absurd and relentless BBC/Lord Stern catastrophic warming exaggeration drivel,
    On absurd and offensive court gagging orders for mothers.
    and on the bonkers Libdem Huhne/Davey/Cameron(?) energy agenda.

    Time for government to do something in order get some sanity into the BBC agendas on catastrophic warming, greencrap energy, lefty nonsense/magic money tree economics and above all their endless love in with EU.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    It was ridiculous for Miliband to literally carve his pledges in stone, and the media duly ridiculed that gimmick, but then it had been just as ridiculous for Cameron to promise that a Tory government would pass a law to stop a Tory Chancellor raising taxes.

    Personally I doubt that either of those minor follies had any significant impact on the public, beyond providing some much-needed amusement while confirming the already widespread view that most of our politicians are a bit daft; but there has to be the caveat that we don’t yet know when the opinion polls moved from their normal level of unreliability to an abnormal, materially higher, level, so we can’t know for sure whether they missed some real effects on voting intentions during the campaign.

    • stred
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      One reason for the discrepancy between opinion polls and voting may be worth researching. My bird and I were listening to the results on R4 when they read out the assessment by that naughty boy J.Clarkeson about the English never voting for a prime minister who was a (had some odd behavioural traits. Self Ed). Then she chucked and said ” Well he was only saying what a lot of people thought. That’s why I voted conservative”. Last time she voted for Clegg, as she thought he presented well in the debate, but then she realized he was another opportunist and ratter.

      She is very intelligent and an academic, so the university fees, as made worse by Dr.Cable did not go down well. The Labour policy of reducing fees should have been a winner. However, as with a proportion of the female population and males of probably a smaller proportion, they are sometimes obsessed with appearances and etiquette. She is always tucking my shirt in and pulling my fly up a bit further for example, or wiping food off my face when eating too quickly. These people could easily add up to 10% of voters.

      She had said before that she just could not face seeing Mr Milliband representing the country, especially abroad. I think she meant that he might be given something to eat, such as a big German wurst, and try to put it in sideways or, as he has done before, repeat the same phrase over and over when interviewed, or perhaps stare at a camera as though in a trance. These sort of things should not matter, but perhaps the parties are right to select leaders very carefully and weed out any that put fussy voters off.

  21. David Murfin
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    10 million voters voted Conservative. That is less than a quarter of the electorate, and not exactly a ringing endorsement.
    Around 13 million voted for basically socialist policies (however badly expressed) while nearly 4 million voted for a party generally regarded as more traditional right wing, but got only one seat for their pains.
    Alun Jutson said “the people will start getting angry about our voting system if it remains as it is for too much longer.” Some people are angry already. A UKIP seat was 10 times as costly in votes as a Tory one.

    I have a simple suggestion for voting reform.
    Double the size of constituencies. Elect 2 MPs F&SPTP except that if an MP has a majority greater than the votes for the second candidate, then another member of that party is appointed instead of the runner-up (such ‘deputies’ to be announced before the election.)

    • Edward2
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      So by your own figures 14 million voted for right of centre parties and 13 million voted for left of centre parties.
      Looks to me the rights have it by one million.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Not equitable in terms of seats, Edward.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          If you were to apportion a few seats to the parties who came 3rd 4th and 5th, who would decide who these candidates were?

          And to what voters would they serve and answer to?
          Would some constituencies end up with two MPs?

  22. They Work for Us?
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Well done again on winning your seat with an increased majority.
    What a govt does early on is often unpopular but quickly forgotten, so now is the time to quickly repeal the Climate Change Act and take a more considered view as to wether anything outside normal climate cycles is actually happening and how we may make energy cheaper for home and industry consumption. Similarly replace the Human Rights Act and restore supremacy to our own courts. On deportation of criminals -“just do it”.

    Mischievously consider a long term PR war against Socialism. Slipping into every interview “Socialism doesn’t work, it has never worked anywhere”, “Socialism runs out of your money” etc. a constant drip.

    The term Tory is used as a toxic term of abuse by your opponents, you need a similar term for lumping Labour, Greens and left wing Liberals together.
    How about “The Socs” – they always want to take your money and tell you what to do” etc

    • Mark W
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      You are spot on, Thatcher used the term “socialist” as a dirty word. Often about the USSR or any other grouping or person on the “socialist” scale. It’s as good today as it was when she was winning thumping majorities. It’s also true.

      Socialists only remain in power when they remove democracy from people. Hence these idiots protesting, what at, over 15 million people voting against the “left” or would be “progressive alliance”.

      What some of these dimwits can’t seem to understand is that socialism simply defies human nature. Most people have little interest in politics but know a nutter when they see one.

      FPTP leaves seats clustered to the movements that are sensible and formed by parties that are coalitions in themselves. Labour had a massive majority in 97 when the public swung that way a little. This time it has gone the other way. OK the majority would be bigger if the seats were the same size but that needs sorting.

      PR is dangerous as fringe parties start having a voice beyond their ground swell of support. This may seem unfair to harmless parties like UKIP or the Greens but there is a danger that extremes that can garner a few thousand people start emerging that would not be able to pass the test of coming first in a poll in any constituency. I’m quite sure many people were quite content that Nick Griffen wasn’t in parliament as he would have been in 2010 with PR.

      FPTP also ensures that mavericks get elected as opposed to party lists rewarding placemen.

      Those on the left ought to respect what Keir Hardie achieved before social media and bleeting in the street replaced hard work, blood and guts in forging electoral forces.

  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    JR: “Their campaign by design had nothing to say to Scotland”
    This was like manna from heaven for you as it played directly into your party’s strategy to build up the SNP and annihilate Labour in Scotland and then put the fear of God into England and Wales that the self-same SNP was part of the terrifying threat of giving Miliband the keys to Number 10.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      The break up of the Union.

      A terrible price to pay if it was to preserve the Tory party.

  24. Handbags
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    With luck all the southern socialists will now move north of the border – and all business minded people and entrepreneurs will move south.

    We English need to insist on Scottish independence sharpish – so they can all live happily in their socialist paradise.

    Enact the Boundary Commission’s recommendations and tighten up on postal voting fraud – and The Labour Party will be finished in England.

  25. Mike
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “There is a real warning here for the Tories as well, because their campaign was not that much better, they were just a little better than Labour, but only in the last week !”

    Both campaigns were utterly banal. The intense disinterest displayed by the electorate was the only thing of note.

    Labour lost the election with Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance in the debate, “The offer I make to you Ed…..”.

    40% of the electorate voted for right of centre parties in 2010, 50% in 2015. The ground has shifted and when it came to putting their X in the box they chose patriotism towards the Union whilst denying the SNP the same power the lib dems wielded. This was a gift from North of the border, which the tories didn’t make enough of. Laughing about the Edstone and wittering about the economy when they have a history grad and part time journalist as chancellor was laughable.

    My only question is who are the 2015 tory intake? Have the tory branches selected red meat candidates to head off UKIP or another bunch of wets?

    If the former you’d be as well thanking Cameron generously for the election whilst sticking a stilletto in the small of his back. I suspect the latter…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      “40% of the electorate voted for right of centre parties in 2010, 50% in 2015.”

      Disregarding “others” I make it 43% right of centre, 53% left of centre in 2015:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

      CON 36.9
      LAB 30.4
      UKIP 12.6
      LD 7.9
      SNP 4.7
      GRN 3.8

      splitting those who voted for UKIP equally between the two.

      • A different Simon
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Denis ,

        If one does not apportion the UKIP vote over left/right but rather discounts it , we end up with 36.9% Conservative vs 46.98% leftwing :-

        I find it worrying that after all which has happened the country appears to be lefty at it’s heart .

        Shows that the dumbing down of schooling and the other social engineering has been successful .

        We see the result with feral scum protesting against the elected Govt , desecrating war memorials .

        They seem to believe that it is necessary for them to give their permission to a govt , oil and gas drilling etc .

        The Conservative Govt must head off the lefties by making housing more affordable and improving peoples prospects which of course will require immigration to be reduced and the planning system to be given an enema .

      • Mike
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        “splitting those who voted for UKIP equally between the two.”

        ??

        That is simply an odd thing to do….

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          It’s not at all odd, given the evidence that getting on for half of UKIP supporters had previously voted Labour or LibDem.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted May 12, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Denis,

        According to political compass the only UK parties (with Westminster seats) that are “left of centre” are:

        SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens, Sinn Fein & SDLP

        All the rest are neolibs of one form or another. That includes the Labour Party.

  26. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Specifically how on earth could Miliband have decided to inveigh against Zero Hours Contracts which themselves are wonderful in every respect, not to mention that they are not compulsory and that in any event only 2% are on them and half of that small percentage like them? If he had decided to tilt against the fact that the residual 1 % would prefer full time, fine, but what has that to do with Zero Hours which on any basis are better than nothing. As for freezing Energy and Rents no consideration seems to have been given to the fact that to do so is ignorant and impossible. Heffer’s article on Balls is marvellous. It is amazing that Balls was allowed to front the Labour Economics effort–which many if not most must have seen through.

  27. a-tracy
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The people of Cheshire West and Chester gave the Conservative party a message that you need to heed, and it wasn’t about fracking! It’s about division, arrogance, self-serving, lack of demonstrative compassion, I could go on but I won’t because your overall victory was a massive defeat of lack of vision, ambition, negativity on growth creators.

    The problem for Nicola Sturgeon is worse than it is for your party, she has to deliver (with Alex Salmond thinking he’s the boss, lol) and the SNP must remember Scotland owes her share of the national debt, the Scottish people. She has promised much on the back of higher taxes for her constituents, they all think it’s someone else paying let her get on with it. If people in Scotland are happy to pay mansion taxes and 32% income taxes and not have a higher personal allowance lets see how it goes, if the living wage can work in Scotland and their businesses don’t fail and the economy grows then … But the message must be clear Scotland can’t turn it’s back on its share of the debts their banks were responsible too.

    The problem is we had to bail out a tiger growing wonderful Ireland when it all went t**s up! let’s get that money back too. I still don’t understand our obligation in that when they’re part of the wonderful EU and not the United Kingdom? Their companies were allowed to buy assets in England and then when they all failed we gave them the money without taking back our assets like shopping centres that are now falling down! Get this sorted, start taking back what’s ours if they can’t pay back our debts.

  28. brian
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives do not choose “austerity” as a policy. It is a result of trying to arrange for the country to live within its means, which is its policy.

  29. Tad Davison
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    ‘The main promise, constantly repeated throughout Labour’s campaign, was he (Miliband) would save the NHS.’

    The Labour campaign concentrated heavily on the ‘dangers’ the Tories pose to the NHS by privatisation, despite this being thoroughly debunked by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics Show. As Mr Neil rightly exposed, Labour have repeated that accusation at every election since 1992, but it hasn’t happened. I suggest overall, Labour lost because they are downright dishonest – perhaps even more so than the rest – and the people saw through them. I have often said one of my failings is profanity, and Labour do absolutely nothing for my rehabilitation!

    Labour won in Cambridge, and whilst I’m glad to see the back of one EU federalist, I’m not too happy about replacing like with like. They used the occasion to frighten people with their lies on the NHS, and I will keep the yellow ambulance-shaped card they sent out saying there was just 24 hours to save the NHS, for future reference. They also printed an absolutely scurrilous lie about another political party.

    The Cambridge anomaly was probably due to the transient student population who bring their naïve polarised views and political affiliations with them, and foist them upon the settled community, so perhaps that needs to be looked at by the new government.

    On austerity, all but the most feckless will understand that if you have over-spent and run up debts, one has to rein-in spending until those debts are cleared. It’s pretty stupid to think that once in debt, if you then get fed up with the belt-tightening, you just declare an end to it and re-embark upon another spending binge.

    On wealth-creators, Labour’s antithesis towards them needs no further expansion. I’m glad to see the end of Ed’s Barmy Army, but there’s clearly another one to contend with during this parliament.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Limit voting to people who have already paid say £50K in income taxes so far in their lifetime. To cut out the naïve lefty student vote perhaps!

      It is alas inherent in democracy that some large groups can gang up to legally help themselves to other people’s money.

      • Hefner
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        !!!!!

        I would think students (lefty or righty) have as much the right to vote to decide the policies to be applied to them as some rich oldies have.
        Specially in these days when a bunch of politicians who benefitted from a largely free university education have introduced fees then tripled them, all within 10 years.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    And yet for all that Labour increased its share of the votes cast across the UK by 1.5% while the Tories increased theirs by only 0.8%, and if you look at just England rather than the whole UK then the numbers were + 3.6% for Labour and only + 1.4% for the Tories, and Labour took 10 seats from the Tories while losing 8 seats to the Tories, a net gain of 2 seats.

    So it can hardly be said that the Tories achieved their victory by defeating Labour either across the UK as a whole or even just in England; in fact it was only in Wales that the Tories increased their share of the votes by more than Labour, 1.1% against 0.6%, and actually won 2 seats from Labour while losing none to Labour:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

    More to the point, earlier general elections had left twice as many seats in the hands of the LibDems but waiting to fall to the Tories than the number which became vulnerable to Labour after the catastrophic collapse of support for the LibDems, so the Tories made a net gain of 26 seats at the expense of the LibDems while Labour gained only 12.

    This should not have happened, because initially the lion’s share of the support lost by the LibDems had transferred to Labour and they should have won more seats from both the LibDems and the Tories; but that extra support Labour gained in the second half of 2010 hadn’t all stayed with Labour, with a good chunk later moving on to UKIP.

  31. Mark B
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    This election will be analyzed and picked over more and for longer than any one before it. An awful lot has changed and quite a few surprises. There are also many portents of things to come. Many real lessons on all sides will have to be learned and the Tory Party may at first be content with itself, but that I fear will be short lived. There were things about this election that are not quite right. Certainly not from a right-wing libertarian such as I.

  32. Graspingatstraws
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The problem with your idea of choosing a government which can help the country fashion greater prosperity is that governments never create wealth nor help the real economy. The very best any government has done is refrain from damaging the private sector as much as they could do. The enormous strides in wealth have been entirely due to business and have happened despite political interference not because of it. That is unless you really believe the popular idea that stealing money from the productive, laundering it through the incredibly inefficient state then dispensing it to anyone that the current leading Westminster gang thinks might vote for them creates wealth?

  33. Ian Hunter
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Another very personal reason, some may consider it trite.
    Every time Ed Milliband stands on a podium,he starts the finger wagging,and I for one am heartily sick of him wagging his finger telling me what I must do,all polticians do it,some less than others,but red ed takes the biscuit, who is he to harangue me and lecture me, with his all pervasive finger wagging away. Pease John, remind Mr.Cameron not to do it!, t really is very offensive and annoying.

  34. Bert Young
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Labour lost because Milliband led the attack ( no-one really liked him ) based on the old “socialist” mantra . Success and growth will always win over socialism because of the innate enterprise that exists in the spirit of this country .

    The SNP also torpedoed Labour and cost them many seats . The SNP will soon learn to their cost that , so called “wealth distribution ” ,will drive their economy down and lead to disillusionment .

    Cameron must stick to his pledge with the Scots but he must NOT give way any further ; if he does the Union is bust and the majority the Conservatives won will count for nothing .

  35. Martin Ryder
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I believe that Labour lost because they had very little of substance to offer the electorate; everything they proposed were aspirations rather than sensible and workable plans for the future. Also the SNP leadership’s hubristic statements about how they were going to rule England through the weak Labour leadership got English backs up. Mr Miliband being in hock to Trade Union war lords didn’t help either.

    However that is all in the past; it is the future that matters. The majority is small and the PM is weak (though thinks that he is strong). It is highly likely that he will miss-manage the negotiations with both the SNP and the EU Commission and that England will lose out, with English money paying for an SNP spending spree and there being no change to the vast sums of money that the English pay to our EU masters. Immigration levels from both the EU and the rest of the world will continue to rise and our green and pleasant land will become less green and less pleasant; but there will be lots of jobs for foreign labourers and their families.

    I could go on and on about EVEN, HS2, etc, etc but there is no point. I voted with my head, rather than with my heart, as I suspect did many others, and I am pleased that your party, Mr Redwood, won but I doubt that they will be in government, under the present leadership, for the full five years.

    However, come what may, I will continue to read your blog every morning.

  36. Max Dunbar
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    One of the main reasons for Labour’s failure must be the rough wooing of Miliband by Sturgeon during the election debates. This, more than anything, would have driven voters in England to seek safety with the Conservatives. Far worse than attacks by the opposition are expressions of support from people who are, for whatever reason, anathema to your own constituency.

    • stred
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Alex S said ” The Scottish Lion has roared”. More like the Capercaillie has skuawked, then run back into the forest. All you need is a PR vote and they will be finished.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        A PR vote in Scotland produced a UKIP MEP. The Scottish elections next year have an element of PR built in so I would expect UKIP to be in with a chance of maybe one MSP on the regional list and the Conservatives to do rather better. If you do not wring the capercaillie’s neck in Westminster first then the pleasure will be ours in Scotland.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately not an accurate analogy, as the capercaillie is in danger of extinction but the SNP is not, it is thriving.

    • stred
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Sorry about my spelling. The spell check changed the noise to a different bird- a yellow headed night heron which preys on fish.

  37. Bob
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    “Why Labour lost”

    I agree ideologically with what you say, but the main reason Labour didn’t win was the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon. The Tories won because of tactical voting due to media bias and the discredited FPTP system. Don’t try to kid yourself that the nation are in love with the modern Tories, the average votes per seat won tells a story, a story that your media pals will be swiftly brushing under the carpet no doubt.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      “Labour didn’t win was the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon.”

      The 56 seats the SNP took wouldn’t have compensated for the 99 seats Labour are behind the Tories .

      Labour did lose because of the SNP, but not just because of the seats the SNP took off them, but because they are losing their electoral support in England , for English people don’t want colonial rule from Scotland. The latter point the media chooses to ignore, which means Labour leadership runners aren’t having to recognise this short coming, and think if they talk about aspiration or the NHS everything will be alright. I don’t believe it will, for Labour having been the exponents of identity politics are unable to talk about or accommodate the one identity that matters, English identity.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Labour increased its share of the votes cast in England by more than the Tories increased theirs, by 3.6% against 1.4%.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      @Bob: The state show a entirely different story, Labour lost for the same reason UKIP got only the one MP, no one wanted their message, the SNP did not loose the election for Labour, as I’ve said to LL, look at the actual facts, Labour could have won all those 56 seats the SNP now have but Labour would still have lost the election.

      The English voting population didn’t want policies built on scapegoats, the Tories lost support due to their “Bedroom Tax”, Labour lost support due to trying to scapegoat bankers and the wealthy, UKIP lost support for trying to scapegoat economic migrants who come here and (more often than not) do work that many a British worker thinks below their station in life.

      • Bob
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        @Jerry

        “no one wanted their message”

        No, just 3.9 million people + those that actually supported ukip’s manifesto but were too spooked by the possibility of an SNP/Labour hook up.

        Your usual plethora of straw men arguments insufficiently substantiated to elicit any rebuttal, yawn.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          @Bob; The only people trying to use straw men arguments are people like you, when will you accept that the majority simply did not want UKIPs message – the arguments UKIPpers are using are those of the politically correct primary school sports day type, when everyone deserves to be winners, equal prizes to all, in the grown-up world of the Olympics there is only one Gold meddle pre event…

          • Bob
            Posted May 11, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

            @Jeery,
            You obviously don’t understand our electoral system.
            The Tories got the majority of seats, not votes.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; “You obviously don’t understand our electoral system.”

            I understand the UK electoral system better than you do, that is obvious. 🙁

            “The Tories got the majority of seats, not votes.”

            There are 650 constituency seats at Westminster, meaning 650 individual constituency contests, each seat is occupied by an MP who won the majority of the votes in that individual contests, it matter on one jot to what happened in the neighbouring constituency never mind what happened in a constituency 100 or more miles away.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        ‘…scapegoat economic migrants who come here and (more often than not) do work that many a British worker thinks below their station in life’.

        This is another myth of the Left who claim to speak for the working class on one hand and treat them with utter contempt with the other. One of the nastier lies that have been propagated by insufferable left-wing snobs for years.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          @Max Dunbar; No Max, it is the message coming from capitalist business owners who can’t get or keep employees from the indigenous population. If UKIP carry on scapegoating they will carry on loosing.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

            You can’t wriggle out of it Jerry. You said it, it’s your opinion. Trying to use ‘capitalist business owners’ as an excuse for your prejudices makes you look weak.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 11, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            @Max Dunbar; Yes, my opinion, after listening to what business owners/directors are saying rather than what want-to-be politicos, seeking a new job -so to speak- are telling anyone willing to listen. As for “prejudices”, sorry, I’m not the one finding scapegoats.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        UKIP didn’t try to scapegoat migrants and if they had I would not have voted for them.

        UKIP were annoyed with both main partys’ policy of mass immigration.

        The BBC allowed various debaters to insinuate that UKIP hated immigrants rather than the policy if un-pointed immigration.

        I’d hope that you’d desist from insinuating the same.

        We know at least 4 million voters turned to UKIP and there is one thing we can say for sure that doesn’t apply to the Tory party…

        … everyone who voted UKIP did so because they WANTED to.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          @Mondeo Man; “UKIP didn’t try to scapegoat migrants and if they had I would not have voted for them.”

          Then, I assume, you did not vote for them!

          “The BBC allowed various debaters to insinuate that UKIP hated immigrants rather than the policy if un-pointed immigration.”

          I assume you never bothered to actually read UKIP policy or their manifesto then, unlike many and the BBC etc;

          To meet demand [of immigration], we must build one home every seven minutes; we wait longer to see our GP or be treated in hospitals; our children are learning in schools with over-sized classes, or having lessons disrupted by building work as schools are forced to keep expanding.

          The above problems are not caused by migration, although they do cause troubling symptoms, the cause is past under investment, many areas of the UK have suffered from such problems for 30, 40 and even more years (just read past election manifestos from the big three parties if you don;’t believe me, pledges galore to sort out housing, school class sizes and health care), we always appear to be playing catch-up in this respect, it’s not something that started in 1997 as claimed by UKIP in their 2015 manifesto.

          “I’d hope that you’d desist from insinuating the same.”

          Then stop finding those scapegoats!

          one thing we can say for sure that doesn’t apply to the Tory party…… everyone who voted UKIP did so because they WANTED to.”

          Err, unless you are suggesting some people were coerced when filling out their ballot papers (be that in the polling booths or when filling out postal votes) then everyone voted for who they wanted to – as you’ve said yourself, “there is no such thing as a tactical vote”… Duh!

        • Mike
          Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:59 am | Permalink

          Yep,

          I suspect that at least half of those who voted tory did so holding their noses…

          • Jerry
            Posted May 12, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            @Mike; “I suspect that at least half of those who voted tory did so holding their noses…”

            Indeed, probably disaffected Blairite Labour voters!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      People should realise that there is no such thing as a tactical vote.

      You vote for a party – you become a supporter of it (in our country this is for five years)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed UKIP voters voting tactically for the stop Labour/Libdem candidate, the FPTP voting system and a strong desire (in England especially) not to be bossed around by an even more lefty SNP wagging the Miliband politics of envy and theft dog.

      Cameron was the lesser evil, of two rather poor options for the English.

      Thanks for the victory should go to Ed Miliband, for being so hopeless and left wing, to the SNP for being totally unacceptable to the English and Russell Brand for helping Miliband make a complete fool of himself – yet again. And to the state sector unions for electing very lefty Ed rather than lefty David.

    • David
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Labour got more votes and less seats than in 2010 – that is hardly democratic.
      We need a change in the voting system so new parties can start. We could just keep the same system but give MPs block votes like the unions used to have in Labour elections. E.g. every MPs have the number of votes their party got divided by the number of MPs they have e.g. Douglas Carswell would have 3 million votes.

      Although regional lists would be a lot better as it would stop the SNP saying we represent Scotland when they don’t represent a lot of Scots.

  38. turbo terrier
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Milliband

    Real policies that would impact on the self employed and the real tax payers.

    How the stock market bounced back when victory was assured.

    Just hope that the Scottish issues are settled very quickly. There has been too much unrest over the last few months and that is not good for new and existing business.

    Give the Scots all the fiscal powers they want, withdraw the boats out of Faslane, all subsidies in their dream of 100% renewable energy is their responsibility and especially make sure that when they have all these powers the English parliament will not be going guarantor should they get into real debt. History has a habit of repeating itself.

    The only reason the Scottish Parliament want to stay with Europe is in the event of their being a financial crash they can then do a Greece, Southern Ireland and Spain to name but a few when the eventually become independent.

  39. ralphmalph
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree with you Labours campaign was amateur to say the least, I would not say that the Conservative campaign was brilliant and inspiring to voters. It was not.

    The simple fact is that the main factors to the Conservative majority were – do not risk the economy. However the icing on the cake that made the majority was the English were not prepared to accept the SNP being in a coalition to extract more cash from us.

    Nicola did more to create the Conservative majority than anybody else.

    This is why EVEL is so important as well as scrapping the Barnet formula. If the SNP want to end “austerity” there way then the Scots should pay, not the English, the Welsh or N.I.

  40. ChrisS
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Even before the PM implements the overdue Boundary changes, Labour will find it all but impossible to win a GE again across the UK.

    Labour has to realise that it can only win a GE if it wins a large proportion of the seats in England AND Scotland. Cameron has an advantage in this respect : he has proved that, for the Conservatives, Scotland is peripheral to the outcome, such is the number of seats he can command in England.

    In addition, the rise of Scottish Nationalism and its anti-English rhetoric has led directly to English voters no longer being prepared to subsidise excessive spending in Scotland.
    Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland will be seen as essential by English voters as it will certainly wish to see an end to the hated Barnett formula.

    However there is a substantial problem for Labour :

    Even Miliband and his supporters must now see that they will never win over the Tory Shires because of England’s small C conservatism. As well as win back the seats in England that Blair took, Labour has to win back considerable support in Scotland to have a chance of governing the UK. This is the case even though Scotland has moved decisively to the left.

    At first sight it looks impossible for reconcile having both left wing and right wing policies as the same time. Labour’s only hope of effective governance will therefore rely on David Cameron implementing full and equal devolution and Fiscal Autonomy for the four nations within a Federal UK.

    A separate Labour party in Scotland can then be truly left wing to challenge the SNP at Holyrood and a Blairite English Labour party will have a chance of beating the Conservatives in England.

    Only a full and equal devolution settlement and separate parties will make these two extremes compatible. The two Labour parties could then conceivably come together to run a UK Government that is responsible for only foreign affairs and defense

    David Cameron and the Conservatives should not be frightened to implement such a change, after all they would then have a chance of rebuilding their base in Scotland : after the SNP and Labour have brought that country to its knees economically, the Conservatives will be seen as the party with the only sensible and responsible economic policy to rescue the country from the mire.

    One final point :

    As a result of the election we clearly no longer have a mandate to keep the Nuclear Deterrent in Scotland.

    Cameron should realise this and my first move would be to start planning the transfer of the submarines and all the supporting infrastructure to England. That would be money well spent : The revenue to run the deterrent, at least 85% of which is generated though English taxes, would then be 100% spent in England.

    The loss of revenue and jobs will teach the SNP and Sturgeon in particular that there are consequences for each and every policy they adopt.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      To which I would add the transfer to England of surface warship shipbuilding, the remainder of which in England he transferred to Scotland as an appeasement gesture only a few months before the Yes/No referendum. Cameron has to do many things to prove himself and many of us wrong about his character and beliefs.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      The Trident nuclear deterrent is based in Scotland, not to create jobs or to annoy the SNP, but to provide a weapon of last resort in defence of the Realm.
      Re-location of Trident to England would be extremely costly, impractical and would weaken us both militarily (especially during the transfer) and perhaps more importantly diplomatically.
      There are sound practical reasons for submarines to be based on the Clyde in Central Scotland. The Wikipedia entry reads “Faslane was chosen at the height of the Cold War because of its position on the deep and easily navigable Gareloch and Firth of Clyde. This position provides for rapid and stealthy access through the North Channel to the patrolling areas in the North Atlantic, through the GIUK gap to the Norwegian Sea.” Additionally, the mountainous terrain and deep water sea lochs provide unique storage and testing areas for submarine warfare.
      Re-location of Trident to England was always going to be highly unlikely but as the General Election has been won by the Conservative Party it would be inconceivable that this would even be considered as an option.

      • ChrisS
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        As I understand it, a recent proposal was to operate the subs out of Gibraltar while building and servicing would be done in England.

        That would have the additional benefit of seriously pissing off the Spanish !

        • Jerry
          Posted May 11, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          @ChrisS; Who knows?… Anyone who actually know anything much about this subject can’t actually say anything much beyond the obviously know facts, hence most of what we hear publicly is likely to be a lot of hot air and bluster, proposed by those who are free to hypothesise freely about those obviously know facts, if you get my drift.

  41. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Sturgeon is now saying that Cameron “has to go further”, surprise, surprise. Cameron should call her on this by immediately, with or without her approval, offering another Referendum in Scotland asking whether the Scots want another Referendum. I suspect the answer would be an emphatic No. If, however, it is Yes there should be another Referendum this time with the question (No need to repeat the question of last year–that has already been answered), Do you wish the United Kingdom to be broken up? I would eat my hat, as they say, if the answer to that were not an even more emphatic No. Even the heavy duty Nationalists would have to listen to that.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Mr Cameron could arrange a referendum pronto – he’s done it before.

      So why not the same promptitude with one on the EU ?

  42. Rods
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    IMO like in 1992, after they had told the pollsters how they intended to vote, when their hands were hovering over the ballot paper, economic self-preservation won as they crossed the blue box.

    According to the BBC it was Scotland that won the election with 25 stores over the last 2 days (Google: ‘BBC SNP’) for 8% of the population against 18 stories over the same period (Google: ‘BBC Conservatives’) for 100% of the population where the Conservatives won and their Government represents everybody. I hope when it comes to the next BBC settlement that a much more equitable system is introduced where the current TV tax (licence fee) is going to be unenforceable with the global Internet on demand model that is going to supersede the current (terrestrial, satellite and cable) transmission systems. A sensible solution would be an advertisement free subscription model, where the BBC has to work and appeal to the majority to get those subscriptions, not just those that fit their socialist ethos and agenda.

  43. bigneil
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    On a system where UKIP got 12.6% of the votes but only got 1 seat – -and your party got about treble% of UKIP, but got about 330 seats – -the system is clearly faulty.
    I now await DC’s pledges and promises for the next 5 years. His weasel words and broken promises as a leader will haunt us forever – whereas HE – like T Blair – will not give a damn about what he has done towards the destruction of this country.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      @bigneil; “the system is clearly faulty.”

      If the electoral system is faulty then expect far more europhile and/or left-wing MPs when it has been ‘fixed’, that will be the price of either PR or AV, why do you think the LDs and Greens were so intent on that referendum and their support for a Yes vote…

      “His weasel words and broken promises as a leader will haunt us forever”

      As for Weasel words, there can’t have been a party leaders resignation in history that contained so many such words than that of the UKIP leader on Friday morning – if he wanted a sabbatical why not just say so?!

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Jerry.

        I’m sure you would be first to claim that UKIP is a one-man-band. You seem to dislike them so I wouldn’t expect anything else.

        In which case – ought a man with 4,ooo,000 votes behind him be resigning from politics at all ?

        You don’t seem to like people having a different opinion to your own. I’ve already seen you accusing UKIP falsely in this thread (to which I’ve already replied.)

        Please conserve your contempt for those misbehaving (left wing ed) supporters who – despite being represented with (various ed) MPs – are smashing the place up and defacing war memorials.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          Mondeo Man; “I’m sure you would be first to claim that UKIP is a one-man-band. You seem to dislike them so I wouldn’t expect anything else.”

          Not true, although I do not like the style of their (old/new…!) leader nor their scapegoats, I do agree with many of their core messages, they could -and would likely- do a LOT better in elections if they changed the arguments they use to explain the need for their policies.

          “In which case – ought a man with 4,ooo,000 votes behind him be resigning from politics at all”

          Not sure what you are even getting at, I doubt there are even that number of people in South Thanet, never mind registered electorate! Although if you are talking about UKIPs collective national vote are you not just confirming that UKIP is indeed “a one man band”, all other candidates being election fodder to feed the Farage political machine. On the wider point of resigning, are you seriously suggesting that once a politico always a politico, never able to resign/leave such a ‘public life’?

          “You don’t seem to like people having a different opinion to your own. I’ve already seen you accusing UKIP falsely in this thread”

          Oh look, the filthy pots and pans are calling the kettle dusty again.

          “Please conserve your contempt for those misbehaving (left wing ed) [../etc./..]”

          What ever, your comment (with its need to be moderated) says far more about you than it does me, and you accuse me of ‘hating’ those who I prefer not to support. 🙁

  44. Ken Moore
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Luckily for the Conservatives, Labour sought to appeal only to public sector workers and poorer benefit claimants – in contrast Cameron looked almost electable.
    This was not an endorsment of Cameron’s modernising agenda – people were voting to stop Miliband not out of enthusiasm for Blue Labour.
    The Cons were also extremely fortunate to reap the benefits of low oil prices and inflation – just as Labours luck eventually ran out so will the Conservatives.

    A big mistake would be for real conservatives in the party to bow before Cameron out of a misplaced sense of loyalty – the battle for the next election starts now when you might have a better opponent. We will not forgive them for endorsing the same’ Osbrown economics’ that we have become accustomed to.

  45. Sir David Jones CBE
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The explanations of why the Tories won are far too complicated – the average voter cannot be bothered to read about or think about all the issues that dominate the minds of politicians.
    Kinnock lost in 1992 because:
    – Major impressed because he went out and talked to people on his soap box
    – Kinnock upset the average voter by the extraordinary rally at Sheffield
    – the front page of the SUN NEWSPAPER -“will the last one to leave the country please turn out the light.”

    David Cameron is a good speaker and no doubt impressed a lot of people, but the reasons why the Tories won are simple :
    – they were horrified that the SNP would control the Labour Party
    – David Cameron made great capital out of the “no cash left” letter
    – The Labour party’s strategy to make the NHS the key issue was unbelievably stupid – don’t they realise that the majority of the voters are satisfied with the NHS – don’t they realise that when it comes to a General Election the key issue in voters minds is “who is going to put the most money into my pocket” the subject that Ed forgot to mention in his conference speech.

    PS is our Nicola modelling herself on her more senior look-alike: Chancellor Merkel

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Major won because the voters thought he was Thatcherite but a bit softer. In fact he was a hopeless EUphile lefty ERM joining incompetent as they soon found out. Also because Kinnock was clearly dreadful. Worst still Cameron could not even apologise for the huge harm his idiotic ERM fiasco caused even now. He then buried the Tories until three days ago.

      It was nothing to do with his soap box at all.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        @LL; By 1992 being Thatcherite was a distinct disadvantage, John Major won for two reasons; 1. because he quite literally got on a soap box and showed that he wasn’t a Thatcherite, 2. because, as you say, he wasn’t Kinnock. For the vast majority of voters they knew nothing and would have understood nothing about the Euro, ECB and ERM etc. in 1992, so even had the election been about such policies it would have made little difference, even after the ERM fiasco most people still didn’t have a clue. You also seem to have forgotten why the Tories lost in 1997, and the part sleaze and (alleged) brown paper envelopes played, had Tony Blair not won for Labour then there would likely have been a landslide victory for Screaming Lord Sutch and his “Official Monster Raving Loony Party”…. or of course the LibDems!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed most in England were horrified that the SNP would control the Labour Party and Miliband was rather hopeless and too left wing/anti business – those were the main reasons.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Sir David

      The key issue for voters is

      “who is going to put the most money into my pocket”

      Ah. That explains the difference between me and them. I’d prefer autonomy from the EU and I can’t see either main party giving us it.

    • Mark W
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      The problem with banging in about the Tories being a threat to the NHS is that the Tories have been in power for 39 of its 67 years and it’s still there.

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:01 am | Permalink

      Yep the Merkel hair style lent her some faux credibility .

      The colour was at least unpredictable unlike the ubiquitous blonde/yellow which most female politicians and newsreaders seem to think is part of the required uniform for a career women .

  46. DaveM
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but topical:

    I’m sick of seeing and hearing Sturgeon already. She reminds me of an annoying little terrier who’s been treated too kindly and is now snapping at the PM’s ankles for more food and attention. He needs to do what you’d do to such a creature:

    a) give it a sharp kick and tell it to behave or it won’t get its dinner, or

    b) set it free and see how long it takes to come home and roll onto its back.

    She can’t have her cake and eat it. Someone tell her please?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I too find her most irritating and have never heard her say anything very sensible as yet, the sooner the BBC stops putting her on the news for hours every day the better for everyone.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      My wife admires her.

      I’ve had to point out that the BBC have been giving her a really easy ride. Contrast the Farage/Davis and Sturgeon/Davis interviews. The interview style is very different.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man; “I’ve had to point out that the BBC have been giving [Sturgeon] a really easy ride.”

        I know someone who is very much a Labour/Green type of person, it is their opinion that the BBC gave Farage a far to easy ride – I guess bias, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder, you’ll see what you want to see.

  47. petermartin2001
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    ” Austerity to the political classes means limiting the rate of growth in public spending below the level of previous plans, and below the level many politicians and officials would like. Austerity to most normal people means having less money to spend themselves.”

    I’d just add the word ‘taxes’ to what the political classes might mean too. So, lets just assume we can leave spending as it is, and regulate the economy using taxation levels. Keynes wasn’t of the opinion that everything had to be done by spending adjustments!

    So, let’s now say that austerity to the political classes means overtaxing the population. Austerity to most normal people means having less money to spend themselves. It doesn’t sound too different , now we put it that way, does it?

    PS “most normal people”?? Does that mean politicians aren’t “normal people”? 🙂

  48. petermartin2001
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Why Labour Lost?

    That’s a good question and we can all be wise after the event and come up with various reasons as to why that happened. Before the event I thought, like almost everyone else that the result would be a draw.

    But even before the event, I did warn that Labour’s 35% plan was foolish. The Labour party strategists had somehow managed to convince themselves that UKIP was more of a threat to the Conservatives than them. Not so long ago the thinking was that any UKIP level of support above about 9% would just about guarantee a Labour victory.

    That was a big mistake. There’s potential UKIP support everywhere. In a bye-election or EU election, almost all that support will go to UKIP. It doesn’t mean that much. But in the general election there was much more reason for Labour/UKIP supporters to defect to UKIP than Conservative/UKIP supporters.

    The Conservatives were offering an EU referendum. Labour wasn’t. That was another big mistake which was pointed out to the Lab leadership, before the event, but ignored.

    This looks to me the reason Ed Balls lost his seat. More Lab defections to UKIP than Tory defections.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I’m going to be ultra-cautious in what I say until we know WHEN the opinion polls started to go badly wrong. Obviously it’s important to find out HOW they went awry, but for anybody who thought that they had been tracking the broad shifts in public opinion over the past five years, as here:

      http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

      it’s more important to know WHEN the results from opinion polling started to become exceptionally unreliable.

      However I will venture that it was not the EU referendum question which was the decisive factor which belatedly swung a few per cent of the electors away from Labour, and also from UKIP, to the Tories, because the official positions of the different parties on that issue were settled long ago, long enough before the election for almost all the public who were interested to have picked it up.

      I’m guessing that the Tories finally carried the day by using the mass media to terrify voters with a figment of their own, the Tories’, imagination, that of a Labour government under the control of the SNP, a spectre which they have only been able to raise since last autumn.

      Miliband lacked the credibility to withstand the accusations that he was a liar and that whatever he said before the election he would be prepared to go in with the SNP in one way or another, and not only did the SNP support the Tories in that so did some senior members of his own party and the dreaded Len McCluskey.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted May 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Denis,

        Yes I think you’re right to be cautious. We all like all our pet theories! I’ve been quite miffed that the Labour Party has moved to being a staunchly pro-EU party in recent years. The arguments of the Old Labour Party , or the Old Left if you like, look even stronger now that they did at the time so it’s not easy to explain why that’s happened.

        Still, I do feel that UKIP harm to the Tories was less than expected and the harm to the Labour Party was more than expected. It only needs a few percentage points for both for a tie to turn into a 7% lead.

        You could be right about the SNP. But I don’t know anyone who didn’t vote Labour because of the possibility of a SNP / Labour coalition. Nicola Sturgeon is quite popular with Labour (and ex-Labour) voters, she did well in the debates, and there’s been plenty of comment along the lines that the Labour Party needs someone like her.

        But I know plenty who feel that the Labour Party have deserted them. They don’t identify with the modern party and they’d rather vote UKIP or even for the Tories. That’s largely on the EU issue. They do agree with UKIP on that. They don’t like Miliband, but maybe not quite so much as Blair and Mandelson.

        So we’ll see what the verdict is in the weeks to come on the polls. But, it is not just the polls, its also a question of why Labour has lost so much support. It should have managed at least 40% and even the polls weren’t forecasting that.

  49. Iain Gill
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s a lot more complex.
    You are partly correct. But also for a party representing the workers they had far too many people visible with posh accents, significant inherited wealth, who have never actually done a proper job. One of the good things about the SNP result is more MP’s with regional and working class accents (and many highly educated). People are also tired of some of the thickos Labour nominates as token working class accents, and some end up in parliament and are an embarrassment to the country. England also wants MP’s with a more representative balance of regional and class based accents and backgrounds, but didn’t really have a clear way ahead on that.
    They made high level promises like cutting immigration with even less idea than the Conservatives (I know it’s hard on this subject so brilliant is the Conservative message *cough*) how they were going to deliver.
    No vision for cutting the national debt, where the countries earning power comes from to do it. Nothing that justifies the premium price we need to charge for our goods and services on the world market, that ultimately stops us becoming a third world country.
    Ed did spot that many of the computer programmers working in this country now come from India, his one solution to that was more training for our own people. Not realising that the reason many Brits at the entry level don’t want to train in this is they can see the work visa floodgates open, he had cause and effect the wrong way around! Not spotting the fundamental problems of taxing imported workers less, the difficulty any sector of workers will have if the government starts printing work visas for folk to come in from (overseas ed) doing it, and so on. No real engagement with whether Brits should be competing with workers from lower cost base economies in our own country. And so much more. The minimum wage (if enforced) would only ever protect those at the bottom of the wage spectrum from cheaper foreign workers, why should workers higher up the wage scale be swamped with foreigners in skills already in oversupply?
    Slagging off UKIP as if they were Nazi’s, when in many historic labour heartlands the UKIP message in much closer to what the majority feel than labour.
    No vision for iteratively improving public services other than throwing money at them. No realisation that the service many get from the NHS, schools, and so on is crap. No recognition that individual citizens need to be given more buying power in the relationship with the state providers. Their vision was all that nanny state knows best, and that a complaints system will fix everything else (it doesn’t).
    Basically saying the public are too thick to be given a choice on Europe is never going to go down well.
    And so much more. The country deserves better choices than it had.

  50. Brigham
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Some time ago, I said to my MP. “Having watched the opposition front bench on the TV, if you can’t beat these load of ****** you don’t deserve to get into power ever again. He said that he was inclined to agree with me.

  51. turbo terrier
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Chris S

    Cameron should realise this and my first move would be to start planning the transfer of the submarines and all the supporting infrastructure to England.

    Hallelujah. You should have stood in the election.

    Chris absolutely bang on the button. My only thoughts are, to start planning will result in years of doing nothing. Just do it. I am sure our “friends” across the pond would help out in the short term. When the jobs go, the knock on to all the support services, then the world looks slightly, no very different. The icing on the cake is:- Westminster can hardly be slagged off for carrying out one of their key policies. The old wives saying about being careful for what you wish for has a really poetic ring about it.

    It is so much easier to spend other peoples money.

    Same with all the green crap. Repeal the Climate Change Act along with all the subsidies immediately let market forces drive our energy costs down. The energy companies are importing excess power from France at knock down prices and then get paid to shut down their turbines to protect the grid. Whoever thought that proces through? To add salt to the wound, fracking is being held back dispite the turn round in American fortunes. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

    If we do not then what a legacy Milliband has left.

    Bring it on.

  52. lojolondon
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    John, the stone was a poor idea, poorly executed, but it reminded me that Tony Blair made five pledges to the nation when he took power in 1997, and invited us to judge him on them. He never achieved a single one of those pledges, but unfortunately was completely let off the hook by both the opposition, and notably by the entire media. For that reason I thought the stone would be a good thing to remind Labour of their promises this time round.

  53. Robert Taggart
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Whatever the reason – be glad of the result !

  54. Vanessa
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The Edstone was a bit like the tories putting all their promises on the Statute Books as LAWS. Not a lot of difference.

    The Edstone was described in the Telegraph as “the heaviest suicide note in history” It made me laugh out loud not unlike filling our Law Books with unkept promises !!!!

  55. Graham Elliott
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    A tangential point (to be generous to it), but I wonder whether the Conservatives should drop their second ‘slang’ name: Tory. I notice that you almost never use it. It is only ever used by non-conservatives as a venomous slur. Conservatives use it in a somewhat gung-ho context which seems almost to abet the outsider’s use of it (eg. Mr Cameron’s ‘Land of Hope is Tory’ conference speech. It originates from an insult to the effect that it is a party of brigands. It is an ugly word.

    Why have two names? It is bad marketing. The Tory brand is toxic. Conservative may not be a happy description of what the party is about, but Tory gives no sense of purpose at all and has the above disadvantages. Anyone with emotional attachment to it is too feeble to take seriously. I suggest it is now buried for ever so that by the time the party is applying again for the job of being government, it will long have faded into obscurity.

  56. Jon
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    On Dateline London a Guardian columnist trotted out the familiar stance that if you call for English votes for English MP’s than it’s English Nationalism and building anti Scottish sentiment etc and quite angrily so as we have come to expect. I won’t bother why this isn’t the case other than to say English Nationalism is next to nowhere here, BNP, NF are done.

    On Sunday we go an insight from a New Labour grandee. After 2010 they were just told to give out the message that the wealthy and Tory’s are bad, shake your fist. All they did was create division, be angry, offer nothing and insult a lot of us as calling us Nationalists or racists etc if we wanted an issue raised.

    I think Labour are in a very precarious situation an a lot will depend on who leads and with what agenda. Just like in Scotland they could have their clothes stolen from them. A potential for that is UKIP if they have a re think and go just left of the Conservatives.

  57. Richard
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Labour lost this election as a result of Liam Byrne’s note left at the Treasury and Mr. Brown’s encounter with Mrs. Duffy.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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