The collapse of traditional parties on the continent

Mrs Merkel’s bad loss of votes and seats in the 2017 German election was part of a continental pattern. In practically every Euro member state there has been a similar collapse in support for the two traditional parties of the centre left and centre right that alternated in government in the last century. Their vote has been lost to challenger parties of the right and the left. Some say the rise of the so called populist parties is the result of the financial crash and the poor economic performance since 2007.

This explanation does not seem to be correct, as the USA and the UK also suffered from a similar banking crash and recession in 2007-9. It is true that we have made a bit better recovery than many parts of the continent since then, but the similar problems with real income growth and productivity characterise most of the advanced world. In the USA the two main traditional parties continue to dominate US politics. In the UK following the Brexit vote there was a sharp improvement in the vote share going to both the Conservative and Labour parties in the 2017 UK election, giving the UK a very different political path to that on the continent. Between them Labour and Conservative commanded 83% of the vote.

The extent of the decline of the parties similar to Labour and Conservative in the rest of the EU is very marked. In Greece, Pasok (centre left) recorded just 6.3% of the vote in the last General election, and New Democracy (centre right ) 28.1%. A left inclined Syriza has taken over as the main governing party.

In Belgium The Socialist party polled just 11.7% in the 2014 election, and The Christian Democrats 11.6%. The vote has splintered to a range of regionally based parties. In the Netherlands in the 2017 election the socialists claimed just 9.1% of the vote and the VVD (centre right) 21.3%.

In Spain the PP (centre right ) managed 33% with PSOE (socialist) on 22.6%. The PP is in minority coalition government.

In France En Marche swept all aside in the legislative elections, leaving the Republican party (centre right) on 22% and the Socialists on 5.7%.

In Germany the CDU polled just 26.8% this autumn and the SPD 22.6%.

The challenger parties that have captured much of the support have several similar characteristics. They often campaign to relax the austerity controls of the Euro scheme on their economies, favouring higher levels of public spending and borrowing than is permitted. Some of them also campaign in favour of ending freedom of movement within the EU, wanting some controls on migrant numbers into their countries. Some of the parties are Eurosceptic, seeking exit from the Euro. Others merely campaign for a very different type of Euro with a subsidy union to back it up. Some of the successful challenger parties are wanting regional independence or autonomy, as with the Catalan nationalists, the Belgian regional parties and the Lega Nord in Italy.

It looks as if the collapse of the old main parties on the continent is a Euro area phenomenon related to economic pressures within the zone,leading to identity issues affecting national and regional politics. It is curious how the grand old parties allow this decline to happen, and how none of them so far have found a way to recover. One of their main problems is they cannot offer much change in economic policy given the way the Euro scheme works. Locked into policies which electors do not like, voters turn instead to new parties and noisier parties in the hope they will break out of the EU consensus. Normally democratic parties change policies that make them unpopular and fight to keep their voting base. The EU has changed all that in the Euro area.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Then don’t have Council Tax!
    It costs between 8% and 10% of the Council Tax bill to collect it anyway.
    This never-ending accusation-loop and counter-accusation between Local Government and Central Government. “It is they and not we who are responsible for the rise” You are both right.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Parking tickets and fines rake in record £900m profit for local councils I read today – what is the cost of collecting all this? Do they really make a “profit” from it at all after all the costs of collection and the inconvenience caused to motorist and the reduction in other taxes due to the money having gone in parking mugging fines (or people being put off from even going into town)?

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Perhaps people even being put off working by parking charges and fines.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Dear LL

          We have no parking charges here on Sundays and it is a nightmare. Noise, pollution, traffic jams, and danger as the whole world and his wife drive in to fight for that free space outside someone else’s house.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          FCO paper 30/1048 demonstrates the lack of difference between Labour and Tory both prepared to lie to the public and deceive us that the EU was effectively in charge with the two political parties acting as managers to deceive the public. MPs on both sides still acting against their terms of office and in a treasonous way to prevent the will of the people to leave the EU!

          What is clear, people want change from the existing lying career politicians who they do not believe or trust. The same is the world over and it is taking hold. The EU was conceived and built on deceit of the public and will fall from grace on the same premise.

          Tories lied about immigration to defeat UKIP and (etc ed). May carries on to deceive the public! Immigration central to budget last week to public services, welfare and housing, not mentioned. If there was any real intention to deliver with a measurable outcome I am sure it would have featured.

          This is the current position is blurred as never before. What shade of a Labour do we want, anew Labour atreezer the appeaser or Marxist Corbyn. Hardly a choice. Most fell this was the problem over the last three elections which one of two bad options did they want.

          There was a high turn because of Brexit. If May betrays that trust watch her and your party remain in opposition for generations.
          Mark my words your party is on borrowed time and is failing dismally. People will vote Marxist Corbyn just to get rid of socialist May.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          Buy a driver-less car which can drop you at your office go and get itself MOT’d plug itself into a charging point and then come back and pick you up when you’re ready. No traffic violation tickets or parking fines.

          • Posted November 28, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

            Do not worry, the government will find a new way to tax and inconvenience those when they arrive.

          • Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

            Can driverless cars read parking signs, tell whether ’10-11am’ means you can park then or you can’t, see whether the back bumper is slightly over a yellow line and then pay with a mobile phone? I can’t.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Reading Council has installed Pay and Display machines all around Reading University, roads that used to be congested with parked cars are now empty, which is good in a way…

        But, I don’t see Reading Council recovering the cost of tens of machines any time soon…

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        It is the speed mugging fines which are the worst. I’ve found many roads in housing estates without speed cameras right outside schools but on an open highway close-by, no housing, speed cameras being used as a traffic control catering for numbers of cars on a road miles away rather than a speed trap per se. Also the hidden speed cameras where any normal driver would pick up speed momentarily, locals know about them, so it is strangers the Council robs. It is surprising who, in these cases, never get speed tickets even though they drive like a bat out of hell.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        After 2 previous consultations and rejection, our council has succeeded in making the last large area a residents parking zone. We were told that their survey had revealed that about half the houses had a car and there would be plenty of space despite many roads having half the parking taken away for the benefit of the council’s enlarged refuse lorry. This was obviously not the case, as spaces were taken up by 6pm. They also put double yellow lines all over for no apparent reason and took away echelon parking on wide roads and put in end to end.

        Now, as before, anyone arriving home late cannot find a space, having paid £130 for a permit. They tried to park on yellow lines and move the car early, but the wardens were out, on bonus, and fined them in large numbers. In some parts the councillors who lied their way to this expenses and pensions bonanza would be unwise to identify themselves.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Parking enforcement is a lot more corrupt since Traffic Wardens were disbanded, and that area stopped reporting into police structure, with councils in charge you will find (and this is open knowledge in some places) that, for instance, yellow lines are not enforced near council offices where council staff are parking on them, various senior council officers cars are never ticketed no matter how badly they park, and so on. There is no culture of “without fear or favour”, and indeed no complaints mechanism for the public to try and reflect this is going on.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        This apparently is £900 million is just the profit? So they probably raise about three times this and two thirds goes on paying the salaries of the muggers, the often misleading signage, the empty bus lanes, the multi coloured tarmac and endless red lights and the like.

        But the “profit” has to be spent on transport it seems, so even more empty bus lanes, parking restrictions and road blocking and more employed motorist muggers one assumes. Sounds like a brilliant scheme to reduce UK productivity hugely.

  2. Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Good morning

     One of their main problems is they cannot offer much change in economic policy given the way the Euro scheme works.

    Nail head well and truly hit.

    When you give away power you no longer become relevant. People can see that it is not worth voting for whoever because no matter what, they cannot effect change. That is the essence of the democratic process. The EU is not only undemocratic, it is anti-democratic. Any party that wishes to reflect the will of the people is derided as ‘populist’. So it is no surprise that the old parties, which tow the EU line are failing.

    CMD won the 2015 election on a promise of a referendum on the EU. He won a majority and UKIP got nearly 4 million votes. This was a great achievement by both and all on the strength that people voted because they wanted change.

    This therefore must serve as a lesson to the current government. If change does not come there will be a serious backlash come the next GE. I think even our kind host might be fortunate to hang on to his seat. And I do not jest !

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Good morning Mark. Funny how the word “populist” has been sneered by BBC presenters for the past couple of years. I prefer the word “patriot”!

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        DaveM: “Funny how the word “populist” has been sneered by BBC presenters .. ”

        BBC doesn’t like Democracy, much.

        • Posted November 28, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

          Nor do the BBC like fair competition in broadcasting. They will just continue with their pro EU, green crap pushing, big state, Guardian agenda funded by taxes collected under threat of employment.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        I like patriotic instead of populist. I used to think populist just meant a result they didn’t agree with. So 1997 wasn’t populist.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Voting for representatives who have no powers to represent you is clearly not democracy.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        This is the most important thing you have said over the years.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Good morning Mark,

      I take all your points, though I reckon the risk of our host losing his seat a the next General Election is minimal, given that it’s one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. Voting against John in Wokingham is an act somewhat reminiscent of King Canute ordering the tide not to come in: I think I’m correct in saying that at the last General Election he polled more votes than Labour and the LibDems combined.

      Having said that, I hope the current opposition MPs are good conversationalists – because he’s going to get very lonely up there in Westminster with nobody left to talk to on the Tory benches.

  3. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    The people of Europe are wakening up to the fact that they are ruled by an unelected bureaucracy.
    Many are now rebelling against the lack of Demos in the EU.
    It can only deteriorate.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      More precisely:

      A Dictatorship of Bureaucracy.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Brussels is seen as the new Moscow by my friends in E Germany.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          From a BBC interview with the great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,june 1976:-

          “…our Russian experience is vitally important for the West,because by some chance of history we have trodden the path the West is taking 70 or 80 years before the West.And now it is with a rather strange sensation that we look at what is happening to you when many social phenomena are reapeating what happened in Russia before it’s collapse.Our experience of life is of vital importance to the West,but I am not convinced that you are capable of assimilating it without having gone through it right to the end yourselves.

          The question is not how the Soviet Union will find a way out of totalitarianism,but how the West will be able to avoid the same fate.”

          It’s very interesting that famous as he was when he left the USSR for the West,there has been an attempt to ignore if not erase his legacy since.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, as they have seen it all before.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        It is difficult to name anyone who is responsible for anything even when things run relatively smoothly. What does Juncker actually do for instance in his 40-hour week?

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          Time Lord


          Brussel’s wonderfully stocked wine cellar has a frequent non-elected visitor!

          • Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink


            “Brussel’s wonderfully stocked wine cellar has a frequent non-elected visitor!”

            I nearly lost my G&T reading that! :0)

          • Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink


      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Mikhail Bakunin,the influential 19th century intellectual (seen by some as a father of modern libertarianism) wrote:-

        “The state has always been the patrimony of some privileged class:a priestly class,an aristocratic class,a bourgeois class.And finally when all the other classes have exhausted themselves the state becomes the patrimony of the bureaucratic class and then falls-or,if you will,rises- to the position of a machine.”

        I would say we are entering the machine phase!

        • Posted November 29, 2017 at 1:15 am | Permalink

          It is hard to believe Bakunin wrote all of that. ” the state….rises to the position of a machine. ” The state barely existed, compared to now, in the age of Bakunin. He could never have experienced nor heard of any state rising to ” the position of a machine”. I sense a modern American input into the “quote.” He was one of the fathers of Anarchism not Libertarianism, …if you will.

          • Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            It was Bakunin alright-from “On the International Workingmen’s Association & Karl Marx” (1872).Of course in Russia and Germany there was a powerful state and bureaucracy then and yes he was an anarchist but many modern day libertarians cite the 19th anarchists as their forefathers.He lived a fascinating life,it’s a pity he was overshadowed by Marx whom he severely criticised for his dictatorial approach

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg..don’t know how you can say this..the EU Council members are all elected heads of state..the Eu parliament members are all regards the is the civil service of the EU just like we have a huge civil service unekected..the leaders of this like Junker et al are appointed by the Council elected members for a contract period rubber stamped by the elected psrliameny..every where i look i see elected

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Commissioners are not elected and cannot be got rid of by their people. Their loyalty is only to the EU, to which they take an oath for life, not their people. The Commission proposes legislation, not the Parliament. It is framed by lawyers, away from democratic influence.

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:05 am | Permalink

        Jason wells

        You make a very sound point!

        Incidentally, the majority of UK voters democratically elected to leave the EU. Why are we having such trouble in this simple endeavour?….I mean we “elected” to go!

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        Jason.Yes, a dictatorship of the civil service just like ours but called Presidents and High Representative with an army and an empire.

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Its odd Jason because I can only remember voting for an MEP out of your list of EU rulers.

  4. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Fragmentation of political parties would sit fine in Brussels, I believe.

    It means that no one Party in any State can be an overwhelming victor and press for change, coalition governments have to be formed (eventually), leading to eventual apathy on the part of the voters and ultimate authority to what appears to be the only solid governing body left: the European Commission.

    Surely the success of En Marche was down to fear of Le Pen’s noxious background; as far as the USA is concerned, the two appalling Presidential candidates on offer last time perhaps confirm that running such a huge undertaking is a game for the very rich, very well-connected and none too scrupulous.

    Please forgive the cynicism, I’m feeling very bitter about politics this morning!

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      En Marche’s success was largely down to the relentless smearing of Fillon by the left-wing, govt controlled French press.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Rather poor comment, DaveM. Were you in France during these elections? Did you read Le Figaro, Valeurs Actuelles, Les Echos, Le Parisien, most of the regional press? They were all supporting the right-wing candidate. Fillon was a rather poor candidate who made mistakes, and instead of changing his course admitting and apologising for them went on and radicalised himself even more trying to get Mrs Le Pen’s votes (which obviously she was more adept at keeping).

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and they have ended up with an inferior president.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Join the Club

  5. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Exactly the EU is anti-democratic, you can vote but it won’t make any difference. The main parties are locked into policies which electors do not like. The politicians are powerless, dishonest puppets bound to disappoint the voters. Just as Cameron’s “Tories” were locked into mass, open door, EU immigration, this while pretending they were trying reducing it to the tens of thousands. giving dishonest cast iron promises and pretending he was a low tax conservative at heart.

    He was never anything of the sort and had two open goal elections which he wasted due to his lack of a working compass.

    Still, even now, under socialist dope T May, nothing has been done on control of out borders and she has even ruled out a points based system but offered no sensible alternatives.

    She even lied to voters, during the referendum, that we “had control of our borders though Schengen”. Sure we did dear.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      In the UK, you vote but it doesn’t make any difference due to FPTP. Two thirds of tbe votes cast in the 2017 general election were completely wasted as they had no effect on the outcome.

      This article completely ignores the fact that voting for “challenger parties” delivers representation by those parties in systems where the outcome reflects the voting preferences of tbe electorate (i.e are proportional), which is the case elsewhere. In tje UK, votes for such challenger parties are wasted due to the system. What can be more undemocratic than a system where voting the way you want to is a complete waste of time?

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        If more people voted for “challenger parties” they would win.
        We are free to vote for whoever we like.
        If we all voted Green or Lib Dem then they would be able to form a government.
        But we don’t.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      No plans for a bank holiday for the royal wedding says Downing St. Let us hope not. We can hardly afford another 1% or so off productivity. The government already do more that enough damage with their straight jacket of red tape, green crap energy, over taxation, over complex taxation, bonkers employment laws and the likes.

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:23 am | Permalink


        Quite right!

        I am positive Pensioners would prefer to have no additional holidays, rather they would find it much more beneficial to have an extra day in payment towards their shrinking income! I mean, it is predominately the aged that still support the Monarchy, so they should really have the satisfaction.

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        Why can’t we have a wedding on a Saturday or Sunday? More people would be off work. There is always catch up anyway.

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        LL: 0.4%, 1 day out of 250 working days.
        You are not good with numbers, are you?

  6. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    What about the collapse of the Conservative party in the UK? The House of Commons Library (as of 1/9/17) says you are now down to less than 150k members and you no longer have a majority in the Commons itself. Labour meanwhile has over 550k members. Perhaps if you started offering policies that appealed to right wing leaning voters you might get the same enthusiasm that lefties now have for Labour.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      @ Dame Rita Webb

      What about the collapse of the Conservative party in the UK?

      That will be nothing if the reports in the majority of the Sunday papers is even remotely true about Mother Teresa having a secret deal over the payments the EU are going to be given.

      This is treating the electorate as idiots and more importantly those who fighting so hard to deliver on the referendum result no respect.

      Too much is being pushed on the back burner away from prying eyes. The reports of the real cost to the poorer in society for the Hinckley, real cost of renewables just two of the many areas we could well do with our money she is giving away.

      We have too many of the same type in the house and the responsibility has to be taken up by the local constituency parties to change the standard of what they are wanting to represent them in the way of real life experiences and meaningful education in business and industry.

      Where is the leader capable of changing the party to drive us forward? Sitting somewhere on the back benches and you can count those suitable on one hand.
      Like in Europe we need change , big change. The norm is no longer good enough.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed why join a conservative party led by people like T May and P Hammond – People who are just Corbyn light, tax borrow and piss down the drain, misguided interventionists.

      The Tories need a positive, uplifting, independent, lower simpler taxes, cheap energy, free trade, easy hire and fire and smaller government vision.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      May I suggest: The Self-inflicted collapse of the Conservative Party?

      How so? Look at the debacle that was the last General Election:

      An unnecessary election called;

      Then, so much for: “fighting to keep their voting base,” the opposite happened! Pensioners were targeted in what came to be known as the Dementia Taxes;

      All taking place during a ridiculously long 7 week campaign, allowing opposition elements ample time to formulate and polish persuasive counter arguments;

      The result: a decent majority lost, putting Brexit in serious danger.

      If the present leader copies the Clinton Democrats and takes previous support for granted and sets out to please party donors rather than enact the will of the people, Brexit will be lost!

      If that happens, The next Tory Party Conference may well be held in a Wokingham telephone box!

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        @ Doug Powell

        I agree, if they don’t grow a pair and stand up to the EU very soon the electorate will walk away for sure.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      JR’s “brilliant” analysis only forgets one thing: the voting system.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink


      The Conservatives are going for an easy-ride, (personal) career-enhancing lacklustre BBC-friendly New Labour pitch when they should be putting clear water between them and the Communists.

      As for the BBC, they need to be nurturing alternatives and being positive about a subscription-only service

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        And the PM hasn’t thought to put in a good chairman. Think what a difference that would make, especially if they were visible.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear! to the subscription-only service! I doubt if there would then be so many “presenters” paid more that £150,000 pa,

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:33 am | Permalink

        Kenneth: “As for the BBC, they need to be nurturing alternatives and being positive about a subscription-only service”

        Don’t look to the Tory party for reform of the BBC, they’ve had seven years to bring the BBC into a competitive market position but have failed to do so.

        Question is, Why?

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for this government to put forward proposals for conservative policies. I think they have decided they are not vote winners.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      If the Conservative party offered membership for £3 and said everyone could vote in a coming leadership election it would probably get 500k members. But of what sort? The Conservatives got a bigger share of the vote in the last election than at any time since the days of Mrs T. And there is a majority as there is a supply & confidence agreement with the DUP.

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        The grandees would never do that. They might find 500k oiks like UKIPers joining and then voting for a Conservative Brexiteer PM. Horrors.

  7. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    What choice does the UK voter really have? Either the Conservative party who look like giving billions of our taxpayers money away to the EU or Labour who have no idea when it comes to the EU or handling money at all! Unfortunately or fortunately for the government Nigel Farage is no longer on the scene. I think that with the obvious mess both main parties would make of Brexit and the mess Mrs May is currently making of everything, UKIP would pose a similar threat in the UK. I despair that we only have Vince Cable and his band of merry men or two other, quite frankly, disappointing parties to choose from. How lucky are we??

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Above should read Farage.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I don’t for one minute think Farage is finished. He isn’t likely to let the LimpDumb Tory party destroy his lifes work.
      I do believe if the government tries to dilute Brexit there will be a UKIP Mark 2 which will sweep up at the polls.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        I think a likely outcome is a further reduction in numbers voting or a radicalisation , as it were, of non-voters. It will be nigh impossible for the mainstream parties to combat increasing violent racism as it to raises its ugly head….not the normal slur that anyone saying the M-word migrant but acts of violence. There will be no-one who can channel the wrath of a people defeated by their own MPs in Parliament with their block-vote constituencies. I believe the Home Office for decades now has been working towards a violent power to speak, no power to write and no political power for patriots who are labelled variously as extremist, far-right, Eurosceptic, intelligent, bookish, with racist references to they not having a sun tan and being really really old at 32 years old.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Ian, I hope you are right.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Let’s hope so although unless the self serving Tories and Labour change the voting system which they won’t because it favours them so much, a UKIP resurgence would be similar to last time when Farage’s 4 million votes resulted in 1 one single MP? And we call ourselves a democracy!!!!

        • Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

          Jools. Yes, a disgusting result for UKIP. It was obvious what the public thought and wanted but the present system suits the two main parties. That’s alright then.

          • Posted November 28, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            The trouble with losing FPTP is that you can’t then throw out the government. You end up in the German situation with Frau Merkel for ever. Nor do you know what you are voting for. With FPTP the coalitions are already formed and the manifestoes written. With the continental systems the coalitions and programmes are formed after you have voted and behind closed doors. And it can take months. As the Irish will tell you, don’t lose FPTP because you will regret it and you will never get it back.

            Our system is not perfect but it is more open and less corrupt.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Dear Ian–Yes, I’m with you 100%–But how till the next Election?

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Well I’m still a paid up UKIP part member Ian. I certainly couldn’t vote Tory again after Cameron’s deceitfulness. And copycat May. I doubt if I am alone.

  8. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “One of their [grand old parties] main problems is they cannot offer much change in economic policy given the way the Euro scheme works” – and as Syriza’s pusillanimous retreat in the face of the Evil Empire’s demands showed, the new parties can be similarly afflicted if they achieve office.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      The True Finns also sold out too

  9. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that the three European countries which don’t have a significant vote for a hard-left or nationalist / anti-immigrant party are Switzerland, Norway and the U.K.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      wrong Switzerland has a major anti-immigrant party as part of the government

    • Posted November 28, 2017 at 4:02 am | Permalink


      Simple really, with regards to the UK.

      It has been stealthy done by past Governments and the current incumbent, using a slow but sure approach over a very long period; starting in the late 1940s…which did not, in the process, sufficiently upset the political/citizen apple cart? We all became used to the situation and just carried on regardless.

      The rest of Europe however, not including France, are relatively late to the uncontrolled migration party that has happened in the UK and France..and a great shock to the system it was and continues to be!

      It took the UK 60+ years to come to terms with its own migration. Europe, on the other hand, has had mass migration foisted on them in an extremely short period of time, in numbers that could not be possibly be handled either politically or practically? This scenario is not going to change anytime soon.

  10. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    “In the UK following the Brexit vote there was a sharp improvement in the vote share going to both the Conservative and Labour parties in the 2017 UK election, giving the UK a very different political path to that on the continent.”

    In the May 2014 European Parliament elections UKIP won more votes and more seats than any other party. This resulted in our Parliament offering a referendum on the EU and the subsequent vote to leave.

    At the last GE both main parties said they would respect the referendum result, despite not agreeing with it, and as a result many UKIP voters returned to their original parties.

    But if the government, or Parliament through its “meaningful vote”, does not secure a clean Brexit with the complete return of control of our laws, immigration, money, trade and assets (fishing grounds) but some ‘halfway house’ where we pay the EU for trade/remain in a CU, and/or the ECJ still has jurisdiction in the UK for EU citizens etc. or we continue to accept the free movement of EU citizens, then UKIP will return.

    Furthermore, even if we leave the EU but continue to have large scale immigration, despite, in the case of the Conservatives making a “no ifs no buts” promise to reduce immigration to tens of thousands, then again UKIP (or similar) will return.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      I think this is true. If / when the Govt fail to deliver a clean Brexit UKIP will return. If UKIP is unable to return, my real fear would be how people choose to express their unrealized wishes. Hopefully the two main parties, the civil service, and the BoX will soon recognise this and deliver a clean Brexit and let the country just get on with it.

    • Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Caterpillar. Yes, UKIP will return. Farage may not be leader but I’m sure he will feature heavily in their campaign. Watch this space.

  11. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    “In the USA the two main traditional parties continue to dominate US politics.”

    That is only because of the massive barriers to entry – financial and organisational – for a third party in the USA. Their only route to breaking the monopoly was by electing Trump who is effectively a third party on his own, his policies are not those of either of the two traditional parties. So to exclude the USA from the political upheaval that has happened is wrong. Likewise you could characterise the Brexit Leave vote as being a reaction to the two main political parties and the large majority of their MPs who are Remainers. If you look at the changes as being “anti establishment” then what has happened in USA and UK is no different to the EU countries.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Countries that mainly use a First-Past-The-Post voting system, generally over time, revert to a binary choice of government.

      It used to be simple left or right wing, but since the 2007 crash, has become increasingly either authoritarian or libertarian. Not that the voters understand the difference in the latter pair of options; they are just angry.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      The simple fact is that some 20-25 % of a given electorate will be “against” the government, whatever the governments is or does. Discontents used to stay away or, in proportional systems, vote for the extreme left (extreme right too often associated with fascism), for a party that would never govern and when it did, by mistake, it would be wiped out at the next election.

  12. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I wonder too whether PR systems are a cause.
    In the UK, with our FPTP system, people can vote for the person, not the party. Politicians who become unpopular nationally still retain the support of their constituency.
    I prefer our system.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      You can vote for the person, not the party under PR systems as well. Both Single Transferable Vote and Open List PR are forms of PR where you vote for individuals to represent constituencies, not parties.

      I’d prefer a system where you can vote for individuals and the outcome reflects the preferences of the electorate.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        The danger is your local candidate may well have policies you like and voted for, but after long negotiations to form a coalition government all the policies you voted for locally can be abandoned.
        At least with our current system their are party manifestos.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Party manifesto promises are also regularly abandoned under the current FPTP system. FPTP is no guarantee that any manifesto pledge will be implemented, coalition or not.

          • Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            I agree with your point on manifestos
            But recently the Lib Dems have received the backlash from the electorate after renaging on their seductive vote winning student fees manifesto policy.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          Ah, ah, as if: do you really think that within the Conservative Party (or Labour for that matter) they are not differences not reflecting what was in the original manifesto. Do you really think there are no negotiations between the different tribes within each of the two main parties?
          And can you tell me when a party manifesto was actually 100% actuated?
          Manifestos in this (and other countries) are as weak as budgets: there may/will always be “events” to explain why the Government cannot apply them.

  13. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    What influence does Legatum have on the government please and also what is your motive – and that of the other Legatum members for wanting a very hard Brexit?

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you for allowing that – I did not think you were a big enough man to do it! Well done! I underestimated you.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Legatum (if it has any influence) appeared after the referendum.

      This referendum – resulting in a Leave vote – was offered by a PM (who was not Boris Johnson or Michael Gove), voted for by the whole of Parliament (many of whom were not Tory) and voted for by the people after a lengthy and open debate.

      The word ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ were created after the referendum by a recalcitrant Remain movement. Every person I know who voted Leave had an ‘up yours, Delors’ attitude to the EU. Leave meant the ‘hard’ way if you will.

      No-one has called into question the influence of the POTUS *during* the referendum. His landing of Airforce 1 during the referendum campaigns and his threats to the British people on behalf of Remain.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Should read:

        The Legatum connection (if it has any influence) appeared after the referendum.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Worried about Reds under the beds Mike ? I remember that mass delusion from last time.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Mike, I’ve heard of a soft Brexit. I’ve heard of a hard Brexit but this is the first time I have heard of a very hard Brexit. All three are Remainer categories of course.
      Not sure where Leave fits into any of them. Another category, unspoken in the Remainer mode, would be a clean Brexit. I’m all for that.

  14. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Traditional parties are not doing too well here.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Just imagine how they would do under proportional voting

  15. Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Yes, membership of the EU limits room for manoeuvre for political parties. The same can be said about the triumph of globalism over the interests of the nation state. This affects both the USA and Britain.

    I would not be complacent about changes in politics in Europe not having a parallel in the UK and USA. Trumpism and populism could lead to the decline of so-called RINOs (Republicans in name only). Bernie Sanders brand of Democrat could also change that party.

    In the UK Mr. Corbyn’s Socialist Labour is completely different to Blair’s New Labour and they are clearly in the ascendant. The Conservative party has its own worries particularly about attracting young voters. If Conservatives fail to deliver Brexit they will lose votes to more populist candidates. UKIP was a warning.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      We must have TINOS or CINOS occupying most of the seats on the government side of the HOC.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Corbyn’s Marxists also have a big advantage in the large number of young voters who have no memory of Labour disasters and have come through a state education system staffed by almost wholly socialists and Marxists slanting every subject to their point of view. These have also been using EU propaganda material, which is why we have entries in this blog from the brainwashed who completely misunderstand the regulatory system and trade. This age group also takes its information from computers in the form of short passages which cannot explain anything complex and so simple Marxist ideas based on jealousy are exploited by Momentum.

        Look up Ben Bradshaw and the history of the Labour vote in Exeter. The huge number of brainwashed students on dumbed down courses has resulted in a huge swing in successive elections and especially since they were fooled into an offer of free fees and May did nothing to reduce the extortionate interest. The same happened in Canterbury. The Socialist Get out of Bed to Vote party is on the march. Venezuela here we come.

  16. Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I would say that the UK has also turned to extremist parties, but this has happened by the ‘extremists’ (in my eyes) taking over the existing parties. The Conservatives have been captured by a hard-right English nationalism and Labour by a hard-left that is close to Marxism. The Scots have turned to and, maybe ahead of England in this respect, are starting to turn away from a nationalist party.

    So I don’t think we are different from the rest of Europe. Yet another demonstration of the Europe-wide ‘demos’.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      “The Conservatives have been captured by a hard-right English nationalism”

      This is a joke, right ?

      I communicate with one of the hardest-right English nationalists (allegedly) in the Tory party and do so on a daily basis on his blog. He edits words like ‘immigrant’.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        No, it was not meant as a joke. From where I stand on the political spectrum Mr Redwood appears to be at the far right. I would accept there are people further right still, but for the mainstream parties I see him as almost as right wing as you can get.

        I do agree with some of his views; an illustration that we are all actually mixtures of attitudes and that the division into left and right is not always useful.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Dear Anonymous–I am with you re the editing of ‘immigrant’ by you know whom–If that word has pejorative connotations, which of course it does, that is hardly the fault of the indigenous population–A population is not obliged to destroy its homogenuity but the UK has done a good job of exactly that.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      ‘hard-right English nationalism’. I can barely find the right words to describe this trash statement. If anything the Tories under this appalling leader called May have lurched leftwards embracing state intervention in all areas of economic, social and personal.

      May, Greening, Crouch and Rudd’s conversion to liberal left politics is nothing short of an abhorrence. Hammond is a Keynesian acolyte and we have a horde of backbench tories who remain silent, compliant and complicit

      May will do and say anything to appease the left. She’s no Tory, she’s a liberal left cuckoo in the Tory nest

      I want my party back from the grip of feminism and identity politics

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives are less right wing today than at any point in my lifetime.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Alan, if the Conservative Party has been taken over by hard-right nationalism, it doesn’t look to me as if it’s very successful! Perhaps you would enlighten us?

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        sm: “Perhaps you would enlighten us?”

        He did, ‘people who disagree with Alan’, are hard right.

        Reading his post, I’d imagine he would be more at home in the Labour or perhaps British communist party, than any centre rightist party. Of which, incidentally there isn’t one in the UK.

  17. Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    If voters had a decent third party to vote for in this country then I believe they would abandon Labour and Conservative in droves. Currently neither party is offering the electorate policies they like. Your party should heed the warning signs before it’s too late.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed. T May is clearly incapable of the vision needed, but she will surely not be leading the party into the next election. Unless that is they want to bury for party for many terms in a John Major way. But then that was very clear with John Major but they still did it.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The fear people have of electing a LibDem MP is that any time they could be found wandering about looking confused and with temporary amnesia. Whart do you do with a reasonably well-dressed adult who doesn’t know where they live and their name? It’s only when their mobile phone rings from their spouse that they snap out of it.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Is UKIP not a decent party? And, people who feel that UKIP is not right for them might very well consider LibDem a (very, very) decent one. Too decent perhaps. What about Green? Etc.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Farage was UKIP. You may follow the political careers of their MEPs when we get out of the EU. They will disappear. One or two of them will not be a loss to anyone.
        LibDem is just too silly for words, childish ideas and perhaps the most undemocratically behaved of all parties mainstream and otherwise. They have such an arrogant contempt for democracy. In some ironically liberal countries they would be banned. They simply cannot tell the truth and do what their electors ask of them, however small.
        The Greens are ideologically so twisted they start speaking and in the first thirty seconds speaking commonsense then after one minute they speak in equivalence of Orcs, Goblins and Middle Earth with a dead-pan face.
        The Labour Party will just read out a Christmas letter to Santa Claus entitled “Labour Party Manifesto. Rudolph’s Grand Plan”
        The Tory Party with Mrs May will speak of Grammar schools even when we are on the verge of nuclear war. Lacks focus and balance. Cannot prioritise. Enjoys giving tax-payer money to foreigners… and plastic water-buckets ideal for beer-making having a really handy tap at the side.

      • Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        I think you must be the worst EU-funded troll on the internet.

        • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

          Someone has to ask the proper questions.

        • Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          Love your comment Newton.

  18. Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Obviously we have had our recent minority moment with the success of UKIP forcing Cameron to hold the referendum with the result that UKIP alone wanted. It seems many of the less mainstream parties get the votes channeling voters unhappiness and promising alternative policies, but when elected scent power and come up against their unelected establishments and the EC ,ditch them.

    Please do not think that the increased votes for our two mainstream parties indicates we are different from the rest of Europe, I have never known such voter dissatisfaction across the spectrum.

  19. Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The reason why new parties do well in the rest of Europe but not here or in the US, is because they have PR and we have FPTP which makes it harder for new parties (compare the number of votes UKIP got in 2015 with the AFD this year and the number of seats).
    FPTP is a real barrier to new entrants to the market of ideas and so should be replaced.
    (If a barrier like this was in the supermarket sector, everyone apart from Sainsburys would be appalled).

  20. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Truth is the situation in Europe mirrors the problem with traditional Parties here . Labour under Corbyn has featured communism and Conservatives under Theresa have wallowed form one direction to the next . The electorate are basically fed up with things the way they are and want leadership and direction that inspires confidence ; votes everywhere reflect a desire for change .

    Germany has reacted against Merkel because of her decision to attract migrants ; her power base are not prepared for her kind of laissez faire anymore ; they prefer their strong traditional way of life . This feeling is echoed right across Eastern Europe where religion is foremost in its judgement .

    Here the loss of membership the Conservative Party has experienced is a warning shot across the bow ; Theresa made a huge mistake in the timing of the last election and has since had no choice but to struggle with her Cabinet and other committees that do not reflect real Conservative values . Her time is running out to get back into calmer waters .

  21. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Losing votes? Anything to do with the politicians ignoring those who voted for them? – and one woman and her cronies inviting a million in who have committed crime against the people whose taxes are used to keep those they do not want there. Govt is supposed to protect the people who vote for them – not do their best to annihalate their fellow countrymen – and despite protests – AND LIES -from the leaders, that is clearly the aim.

  22. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Somebody put it quite well recently on these pages – “staying in the EU enables our Politicians to abrogate responsibility – not me Guv its the EU” What do we pay theses (people ed)for?

  23. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink


    Here we go again generalities always blamed on the EU, I can mention three European countries where this is less the case, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Portugal .

    Each country has their own characteristics and some of it is due to local, regional and national circumstances, but to take the EU across the full spectrum and say this is due to EU policies is just another John generalisation with no substantive proof.

    For example the problem and example mentioned in Belgium has existed for the past 50 years and the Italian one is at least 30 years old as well, even before the EU existed in its present form and policies.

    So, John please just stick with facts and figures and not hypothetical guesses.

    thank you

  24. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The collapse of these parties relates also to the pr system of elections. UK would be in much the same position if pr was our system also. In fact UKIP would be a highly represented party in Westminster by now.

  25. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    All the recent EU member state elections clearly illustrate that proportional representation does not work and results in a political mess. Why? The leading parties always show some degree of caution when drawing up their manifestos knowing that they may have to implement some of their proposals. The lesser parties are free of this constraint and can indulge in ” pie-in-the-sky” ideas which fracture the vote leaving a country in limbo.

    This is exactly what the EU dictatorship wants and the member states should understand that in the future they will have little or no more power than the average Parish Council has today.

    We need to be clear of all this by speeding up the Brexit process and never letting proportional representation infect our democracy.

  26. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    We voted to leave so why go on analysing the make up of these countries political systems.
    It seems that despite all some of us have a fixation on things european especially EU things- will we ever get away?

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      What about putting on your bathers and heading West?

  27. Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Sorry Mr Redwood, but today’s blog really smacks of wishful thinking!
    As a pretty close observer of and participant of Dutch elections I can vow that they had really nothing to do with the euro or the EU. Of the 25 parties on the ballot paper and the 13 that made it (with at least 2 MPs) I can only spot 2 or 3 for which these might have been (side) issues during the election campaign. If there was any collapse at all, it was a collapse of government-partner PvdA (Labour) and the shift to the right of the electorate as a whole. And in spite of a balanced budget and a healthy growth rate. What can be witnessed is that people are less “faithful” or “loyal” to particular parties and may shift far more easily then before. (look at France where a brand new party was voted for by so many).
    Many other themes and issues played during the elections. Unlike in your curious FPTP system, Dutch parliament is an accurate reflection of the popular vote, just as the current (majority) government is based on the majority of the popular vote. (In the UK, Totries + DUP make it to 43%). Maybe time for you to give up hope on the break up of the euro or the implosion of the EU?

    • Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter

      I agree with this except the bit about “despite the balanced budget” where one might say instead “because of the balanced budget etc”; and the bit about the Parliament reflecting the vote – well, yes, it does, so why doesn’t the government?

      • Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        @Rose; I wrote “in spite of a balanced budget” because it was the Dutch Labour Party which provided the minister of finance (Dijsselbloem) who had the main credit for steering us into a balanced budget era, but then saw his party being slaughtered at the elections.
        The government coalition has more than 50% and also reflects the popular vote (a bit more right wing than the previous Dutch coalition)

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          There is no gratitude in politics!

  28. Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Instead of looking at the collapse of traditonal european parties we should be looking at the potential demise of some of our own following this brexit debacle. I shudder to think of the make up of what was traditional british government following the next election. We could go further and say that not only has the Eu caused change in europe but it has brought about big change here at home..the çountry is divided as never before and is likely to become more so when bitterness eventually sets in following the completion of the brexit business..the blame game begins.

  29. Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    You are missing the fundamental driver, the decline in the worker’s share of national income, is due to the globalisation of capital and labour. It’s called Neo-liberalism.

    The workers are fed up with being screwed down by big capital and its tethered politicians; but, they don’t know enough to know who is to blame, so they blame everybody. Particularly immigrants that are the consequence of the workers being turned into a globally traded commodity; like oil; corn; money and land.

    The evidence is well documented by the OECD and IMF. You can see where the decline in labour share undeniably started. The Thatcher / Reagan / Monetarist era. Just look at Figure 1 in

    Until sovereign states realize that they have total control over a private sector that uses its currency, we will end up like the Eurozone, being controlled by the German Euro.

  30. Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    It appears whenever there is a loss of trust in the status quo people become disillusioned and turn to those who promise a better alternative. Whilst they may be right that their current political system maybe failing them badly they are inevitably wrong in their choice of the alternative. Mostly because they are influenced by personalities and are too ready to accept false promises. Western civilisation has arrived at a period where governance is such that it is no longer fit for purpose as it has become too corrupt and powerful. It has done so for exactly the same reason that if they throw over the current system the next one will be picked on personalities and false promises.

    However it will be better if it also results in greater autonomy for groups that are more like minded and the curtailment of the enlargement of groups who are not. That way those who choose one system will not stop other groups from choosing a different one. Allowing as it did once before when Europe chose this path that made the West prosperous and democratic. Hopefully not then making the same mistake of amalgamating and so concentrating power again.

  31. Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile Mrs May has to pay a bribe of over £1b to buy the votes of 10 members of the flat earther DUP party to keep herself and her party in power. Just imagine what Redwood would have made of that if it had happened in say, Germany!

    • Posted November 28, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Frau Merkel wheels and deals every time she forms a coalition. It is done behind closed doors though so you are unaware of it. When was the last Christian Democrat government with a working majority?

  32. Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    The average Conservative voter is 72 year old.

    I am not sure it is only the traditional political parties on the Continent that face a struggle for their very survival.

    On a side note, I would like to point out that the French people have overwhelmingly voted to renew 75% of the National Assembly in the last election. It is the single biggest influx of new “MPs” since WW2.

    I would strongly urge the British voters to do the same and get rid of the same old familiar faces, whether they be Labour or Conservatives.

    Get some new people in, especially new people that have not chosen politics as a career.

    • Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      You have an odd view that youngsters are always right and older people are always wrong (politically).
      Sounds rather ageist to me.

  33. Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I believe that the instinct of most people is for as little centralisation as possible, as they feel that they have more control of the situation. I can phone up my local councillor, I might even bump into him in the street and have a chat, but if I want to see my MP I have to phone the local office and I might get an appointment in a few weeks time if I’m lucky. What chance of talking to my MEP? I’ve never tried, but I suspect it is near impossible; I don’t even know who he/she is.

    The EU is the reverse of what most people want, it provides more and more centralised control and a fake, highly paid, parliament with limited powers.

    I believe that the US has stayed together because the individual State legislatures have far more control over the State’s destiny in a very wide range of matters than the central government, with the National government only being involved in genuine nation-wide issues. The individual States in the US have more freedom from central government than the UK, a sovereign country, has from the EU.

    With all the traditional parties now seeming to support ‘big government’ which is getting bigger almost daily, people all across Europe are becoming disillusioned and want more control over their destinies at local level. If the Tories don’t heed this “wake-up” call, the same will happen here as elsewhere in Europe. It will take longer, because we don’t have proportional representation like most EU countries, but I am convinced it will happen.

  34. Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    unfortunately the conservative party is in no position to find policies that are attractive to the electorate. all of its resources appear to be sucked by the internal problems that brexit is creating, leaving no room for any creative thinking.

    the big problem for the electorate is that it just can’t accept that the conservatives want to help out the whole country. right now, the conservatives appear to be focused on helping tax avoidance (this is what TM’s husband does!!), hating animals, with a side dose of nuclear extremism (i.e. a competition as to who can think the least before pressing the button).

    It’s a sad state of affairs, as new ideas can’t reach the surface as the surface is covered by a toxic sludge of policies that are only wanted by a few swivel eyed MPs.

  35. Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    You can add Ireland to your list. Either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael have held power certainly since I started doing business in Ireland 45 years ago, and probably since independence. At the last general election the two parties combined only just got over 50% of the popular vote. I predict Sinn Fein will be in coalition following the next election, which may be next month.

  36. Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The Conservatives are in a somewhat difficult position, their only way to remain in the majority in the next election is to negotiate a ‘good’ Brexit. The route to a man’s heart is his stomach, I couldn’t possibly speak for the fair sex, but Gordon Brown was quite right that the path to Power was bribing the people with their own money. Greed has, in the past, been the tipping balance between the two main protagonists. Its a way to stumble along, all the time half the population is unhappy – and the half that won, be they the Haves or the Have-nots, can’t go too far off the rails without fouling their own doorstep. The same cynical view can explain why the majority of Members vote Leave.
    Until Brexit.
    As a country we have made it pretty plain with our votes in the European Elections where our preferred route lay if we are not hampered by Party Lines.
    We have paid for Brexit and we want it delivered. The Brexiteers lent the Conservatives their vote in the last election – its only on loan. Corbyn may bribe the young and impressionable with his ‘pipe dream’ of Utopia with free University thrown in with the rest of his cant. Some, say an equal number, are diehard Conservatives, the rest want Out of Brussels.
    Meet the new floating voters.
    Brussels wants cash; without ours it’s without a paddle. If unrest in Europe is rife now it won’t get any better when Brussels stops bribing everyone but Germany with our money. We just have to wait until June or July 2019, it should be sorted for the leaver’s Summer Holls.

  37. Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Let the voters get on with burying themselves with their own parties, they deserve all they have coming to them.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Who would you recommend voting for Ian?

  38. Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, I’m afraid, but I try not to turn on my computer at weekends.

    Regarding the North South border in the island of Ireland:
    The people of the island of Ireland have always taken advantage of different prices on either side of the border. They fill up their cars at filling stations with the lower duty and buy tobacco and cigarettes similarly (as will happen between Scotland and England with cheap booze). Such deals will continue whatever border controls are introduced. Sensible fuel retailers own outlets on both sides of the border.

    We do the same when taking our cars abroad. We arrive at Dover with as little fuel as possible and fill up the other side of the channel. We do the reverse on the way back and fill the boot up with booze. This is tax avoidance – something the Labour Party disapproves of; their members wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing of course.

    Trucks from the continent have long distance fuel tanks fitted so that they can travel from Dover to Scotland, if necessary, and back again without having to refill in the UK. (They also use or motorway system free whereas any vehicle in France must pay quite steep toll charges.)

    There are very few ‘level playing fields’ in international business whether it’s within the EU or anywhere else.

  39. Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    “Normally democratic parties change policies that make them unpopular and fight to keep their voting base. ”

    Cough cough Foreign aid, mass immigration – all unpopular and still happening under Theresa May.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Define and prove mass immigration

  40. Posted November 27, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    New industrial strategy, R&D already has 34 billion a year of taxpayers money going into it, mainly to companies and unis, at the end of the day the money is just subsidizing companies to take on people leaving uni instead of the companies borrowing money like they did years ago, and then make sure they had a return on their money, but now they do have to make sure they have a return on the money from taxpayers. The new idea from Gov is to put the money going to companies up by 14 billion pounds a year, which is 2.4% of GDP from 1.7% of GDP, in the hope they might come up with something no one else has, but if they do, they either sell it off for song, shelf it or the company is brought out by an overseas company with them getting all the benefits of the UK taxpayers money. Imagine what you could with 34 billion pounds or 48 billion pounds a year, and that not all the subsidies companies are getting, like oil, gas, decommissioning oil rigs 30 billion on the books, but will come to 60 billion, decommissioning nuclear power station 70 billion on the books, 100 billion for HS2, 40 billion for hinkley point, the list goes on and on of companies picking up taxpayers money for little work.

  41. Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether the difficulty for the two main parties in various countries is that they are becoming too like one another? Both moving ever leftwards?

    Now, for example, Frau Merkel has failed to make a coalition because she prefers to pit the Liberal FDP against the far left Greens, rather than include former Christian Democrats. Of course the EU is the main problem there, not left versus right. The AfD want to get back to the old EEC, not an ever expanding, German-dominated superstate with its own army, single foreign policy, and single finance minister. Therefore everyone is told the AfD are the new (extreme right ed). (Just as people here were told Nigel Farage was extreme right.) But how long will they go on swallowing this?

    Similarly here, the two parties have drifted ever leftwards, but because of the EU, they survived in the general election, with people who wanted Brexit delivered gritting their teeth and voting Conservative, and people who didn’t, abandoning the Liberals to vote Labour. Once again, dishonesty played a part, but in a different way.

    The Dutch election was the most spectacular demonstration of dishonesty, where the supposed liberal conservative posed as a Turk-bashing demagogue. Very ugly to behold.

  42. Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t realise it was BBC etiquette, certainly for the want of a better word, to describe a man getting “engaged to his librarian girlfriend” or “his waitress girlfriend” or “his MP girlfriend” or “his cleaner girlfriend” or “his actress girlfriend” . And repeat it it several times.
    The sooner the BBC is closed down for good will be all for the good.

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      ‘The sooner the BBC is closed down for good will be all for the good’

      – Only the BBC could produce a masterpiece like the 1995 production of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (as well as lots of other things).

      For me Jane Austen represents the very best of Conservative Values: How to be a gentleman / lady / good British manners, good British sense of humour / wit, the church, the crown, the army, and so on.

      Yes, the BBC has many problems but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The alternative is to have even more vulgar, crass, soulless TV on our airways – both programmes and commercials. And so on.

      • Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Have you seen the latest Howards End where they take great trouble with the houses and streets etc but don’t know how to speak or how to eat?

  43. Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    JR, aptly put….

    Reminds me of an equally apt quotation from Thomas Sowell:

    “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

  44. Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    The Tories and Labour are on verge of collapse too, both split between the centrists and the radicals. If a centre party comes along like in France, the Tories and Labour could be toast.

    Similar to America where Republicans split between the moderate, Abraham-Lincolnites and the far-right, populist Trumpists. If Republicans carry on with Trump, popular with older Republicans, the Republicans could find themselves out of power for years.

    This is all down to recession, globalisation, China’s economic threat, and automation. The euro is important but really a side show compared to all of these seen together. (Surely?)

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      And the countries that meet the real challenges of these issues are the ones who will do the best in the future.

      (We are way too bogged down in national debt, lack of productivity and Brexit to even begin to address these issues properly)

      Personally, i think radically building up our tech industry would be really significant in addressing many of these issues but the Tories largely seem largely silent on this.

  45. Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


    So here’s a radical solution that could focus the Government’s minds?

    Should the Remainers ultimately win and the UK stays within the EU clutches, this would be conditional on “WasteMinster” being immediately dissolved. All the incumbent costs would be terminated. All personal, in whichever guise, would be made immediately redundant! Thereafter, each county council would report directly to Brussels?

    Imagine the enormous cost savings that could be used for really important citizen priorities?

    Sadly, this blog would become redundant!

    …any takers?

    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


    • Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would the Remainers “win”. Whatever winning means and why the UK would stay “within the EU’s clutches” . Maybe a good night’s sleep will help. The EU does not want you anymore, is that clear?

      • Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        It never did, but it wants our money. That has always been clear.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Inverse psychology, will not help your case?

  46. Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    “In practically every Euro member state there has been a similar collapse in support for the two traditional parties of the centre left and centre right….” — Because the Centre Right & Centre Left are one and the same – The Extreme Centre! Both are more interested in serving special interests than the people they are supposed to represent.

    There are no progressive ideas alive in the extreme centre. Nothing to inspire or motivate people. Progressives have to move outside the Extreme Centre, either to the Left of Right.

    With nothing to inspire or motivate people, the Extreme Centre relies on attempting to frighten people into voting for it, eg Project Fear. Even before elections, the Extreme Centre governments, in trepidation of being defeated, now tell the world that the Russians are interfering in the Election.

    May has jumped onto the Russia bashing bandwagon. Unsurprisingly, she was challenged by the remoaning conspiracy theorists, who are clutching at any straw to get the referendum declared void, to investigate the result! How dumb was that PM?

    Note: Let us keep pen and paper voting – impossible to hack!

  47. Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    The main parties have not collapsed. European politics has always had a much broader range of parties than we do – and those parties work together. Their politics is consensual.

    Our politics has turned extreme. You have Corbyn’s hard-left Labour. And the Tories who have basically become UKIP. Most UK voters remain moderate centrists repelled by both of these vile choice.

    Moderate leaders like Blair and Cameron could win elections. Extreme ones like May and Corbyn can not.

    What we really need is to rethink Westminster – to get rid of the expense cheating gropers who are ruining our country. Some reforms are needed urgently. Firstly, halve the number of MPs. There are too many. Then MPs should be forced to retire at 70 – and no one who will turn 70 during the next Parliament should be allowed to run. We have too many irrelevant pensioner clogging up the backbenches. A strict two term limit must be introduced. Second jobs must be banned. We can not have MPs who earn several times as much from other jobs as they do from representing their constituents.

  48. Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Every country is run by its elites, whether the UK, Japan or North Korea. The same insiders tend to form groups and rule through established parties which have the funding, organisation and activists to whip up support at elections. In other words, vested interests. The EU referendum was the first major issue to have been decided by the people directly since 1975 and its result has thrown the vested interests on the losing side into hysteria, and rightly so. Like Hilary Clinton they still can’t believe they lost.

    FPTP is not a very representative system but at least it usually gives a clear mandate to a winner. PR often ends up with coalitions which are not representative at all, because they are created in the interests of parties and not voters. Personally I would stick with FPTP but require non-binding referendums on important issues instead of (usually incorrect) opinion polls. Governments which ignored the referendum results would ultimately pay the price. As Mrs May seems hell bent on doing.

  49. Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, Edwards2, you could try voting for yourself, just pay the fees and put your name down, quite sure you would pick up a lot of votes, or put your name forward at your local con party club and get them to back you instead of the MP party HQ give you to vote for. adds in the local paper, write about what you like for the UK, make some local speeches. Free parliament will give you 10,000 pounds and back up to be independent in your area or carry on as you are, as I have suggested, death by thousand cuts, whichever party wins the next election, 6% in department cuts still to come with this gov you have at the moment. Private healthcare won’t help you.
    I would put myself up, but I am useless at writing and reading.

  50. Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    If Mrs May’s government continues to perform so badly in the EU negotiations UK will enter the next general election with both main parties entirely unelectable.
    At first the Remainers wanted a vote on the final deal in Parliament. Now it is the Leavers who want one in the hope of preventing her government and parliament keeping UK in the EU in all but name.

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page