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WRT the collapse of the Labour party

(23 Posts)
policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 19:47:19

... and its echoes of the collapse of the Tories pre-97: maybe this is just how politics is going to go now?

1) Parties get voted in in landslide majorities amid atmosphere of rejoicing and disgust for the outgoing administration
2) New administration spends a decade or so fiddling about in the centre ground and appeasing the Daily Mail, very occasionally delivering an indeologically-driven piece of legislation that appeals to its core voters
3) Electorate gets frustrated that not much has changed
4) Ruling party starts to split amid recrimination and realisation of impending electoral rout
5) As 1)

It's as though the electorate feels that its real power, these days, lies in rejecting (with great fanfare of anger and disgust), not in making positive choices based on ideology.

Well that's my theory anyway. It is the Wonk Theory of Electoral Circularity.

2cats2many Mon 08-Jun-09 19:48:53

Well, the saying goes that: 'Oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them.'

I think you're right.

margotfonteyn Mon 08-Jun-09 19:53:20

Am afraid twas always thus. Depressing isn't it?

I really don't see why they can't all sort of 'rule together' as all parties are run by upper middle class white males, all the same 'sort' and then just argue everything out between themselves, with Gordy arguing for the 'left' view and DC the 'right' etc., or is that called proportional representation................

giddykipper Mon 08-Jun-09 19:55:38

See also 1979

2cats2many Mon 08-Jun-09 19:56:05

No- proportional representation is the Torys or Labour falling over themselves to make concessions and cutting deals with the Greens (no bad thing) or UKIP (bad thing) in order to tip themselves into a majority so they can rule.

Small fringe parties tend to hold the balance of power under PR.

pinkteddy Mon 08-Jun-09 19:59:34

It seems whoever you vote for you get the government! Its very depressing.

policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 20:00:35

Was it always thus? I think there's been a significant collapse in the core vote of the two major parties. You used to get people who would vote for a donkey wearing a Labour/Con rosette, but I think those people are dying out now and not really being replaced.

The electorate, on the whole, is less party-driven than it was, and thus more open to swinging from one party to the other (hence landslides, and the kind of drubbing Labour have taken over the last few days).

Plus, the ideological distance between the two parties has reduced, so it's easier for people to travel from one to another (not saying 'they're all the same', but they're closer than they were 30 years ago, aren't they?)

margot, I heard some professor of political philosophy arguing for the adoption of the Ancient Athenian system the other day. You would have a group of appointed advocates who would dream up policy ideas and present them to a house of citizens (selected by lottery). The citizens would consider the advocates' ideas and decide whether or not to adopt them. Nobody gets elected at any point.

policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 20:03:42

grin at 'whoever you vote for, you get the government' - it does feel like that at the moment

giddykipper Mon 08-Jun-09 20:06:03

I think it's more about general voter apathy than people becoming less party-driven. When it comes to a general election I think the fringe parties will struggle, I think people are more cavalier with their votes in a Euro election. I think the poor turn-out has caused the labour collapse, I wouldn't surprised if it serves as a shot up the arse to labour supporters and turn-out is higher in the general election.

LeninGrad Mon 08-Jun-09 20:07:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pinkteddy Mon 08-Jun-09 20:13:07

I think they were more adventurous with Green vote in euro elections (if you look at percentage increase). Lib dem vote seems to have fallen although not by as much as Labour. Labour's vote has not gone to Tories in euro elections anyway, their vote only increased by about 1% by the look of things.

ilovemydogandmrobama Mon 08-Jun-09 20:13:45

Think though that perhaps Rowan Williams had a point about the growing cynicism being unhealthy for a democracy as far as the drip drip feed of the MP's expenses.

A bit like watching the 10 year old going into meltdown on BGT, it was not nice to watch. The Labor party turing introspective and hitting the self destruct mode, is not pleasant.

I read something to the effect that the actual turn out for the local elections was a very small percentage of the population and lower than votes cast on BGT. When a TV reality show gets a higher percentage of the population voting, then there's something terribly wrong.

margotfonteyn Mon 08-Jun-09 20:14:17

Yes, policywonk, that Ancient Athenian systems sounds like the sort of thing i mean

Agree with you that there has been a significant collapse in the core vote. We were out on Fri night with some friends and I was appalled to realise that they really did not understand/know the actual difference in historical values between the Tories and Labour. Everything has been so dumbed down to 'personalities' that many people do not get the fundamental differences....aaargh. Was forced to give them a mini lecture, about which they had absolutely NO idea. And these are people who are teachers, other 'professionals' etc.

dittany Mon 08-Jun-09 20:16:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Mon 08-Jun-09 20:16:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Mon 08-Jun-09 20:18:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 20:18:10

ilove... - I actually think that some voters now see elections as reality tv writ large: ooh that Tony, he seems nice, I'll vote for him; ooh that Gordon, he's awkward and a bit shouty, I'm going to vote for Dave instead, he seems nice... I think some people basically vote for the leader they would like to be stuck in a lift with.

My theory mostly applies to General Elections <starts revising theory hastily>

policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 20:20:37

I thought the Green vote was a bit disappointing last night - think I'd become over-excited because pretty much everyone on MN seemed to be voting Green. (Greens did increase overall number/share [too lazy to check] of vote by 50 per cent so they're happy enough I imagine - but if you can't make a breakthrough at a time like this, with anti-Westminster sentiment like this, in a PR election, when can you make a breakthrough?)

LeninGrad Mon 08-Jun-09 20:22:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 20:22:53

have checked - Greens increased share by 50%, not absolute numbers of votes (increased from 1m to 1.3m).

policywonk Mon 08-Jun-09 20:35:55

Yes I agree about the alliances thing, Len.

jkklpu Mon 08-Jun-09 21:12:13

Interesting discussion. I agree that apathy is a massive issue with those not voting at all, especially outside general elections but with the phenomenon spreading to generals as well, being more and more significant. If voting to keep the likes of Nick Griffin out isn't enough of a draw, it's ahrd to see what might be.

Part of the problem may be that reality TV is so far from reality but stimulates nonsensical aspirations based on people not needing to make an effort to be a "success": for example, being the worst possible audition candidate for a talent show makes you a celebrity for 15 minutes. With these aspirations, people feel even less of a stake in real things like the state of health, education, transport, the economy, etc. If you're going to be a multimillionaire star, win the lottery or sell your story of seducing a footballer, why bother paying any attention to what's going on around you?

I don't mean that this is the underlying reason but it doesn't help. More over, it also encourages people to subsribe to political reporting as soap opera, giving the journalists more of an incentive to dumb down the complicated stuff and make it all an issue of personalities. Highly depressing.

Donk Mon 08-Jun-09 21:20:35

I think a lot of Labour voters round here decided not to bother.....end result, to Yorkshire's lasting shame (A born and bred Tyke hangs her head in shame at being Yorkshire)(but at least I voted, and NOT for the BNP!), the BNP get a look in!

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