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UK General Election 2010

Who do you support (and/or plan to vote for) in the upcoming British elections?  

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  1. 1. Who do you support (and/or plan to vote for) in the upcoming British elections?

    • Labour
    • Conservatives
    • Liberal Democrats
    • Other left-wing (SWP, SP, SSP, Greens, etc.)
    • Other right-wing (UKIP, BNP, etc.)
    • Scottish, Welsh or Irish nationalists

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So, the year is finally upon us, where we can finally rid ourselves of this unelected cretin. So what are the options?

UK wide parties

Labour:  The current ruling party, led by Gordon Brown at the moment, but could their be a leadership contest before the election?  If they lose the GE, there will certainly be one.  One of the Milibands will undoubtedly take over in the case.  They have been in power since 1997, when a certain Tony Blair led them to victory.  Supposedly the left of centre party, although I'm sure there are those that would disagree.

Conservatives:  The other main party, who are currently leading in opinion polls.

Liberal Democrats:  The traditional 'third' party, looking to entice lots of disillusioned Labour voters.

United Kingdom Independence Party:  A party which was originally primarily concerned with UK withdrawal from the EU, and enjoyed great electoral success in the 2009 European elections.  Its former leader Nigel Farage has stepped down to concentrate on standing against former Conservative MP John Bercow, who is currently serving as Speaker of the House of Commons.  Traditionally the Speaker's seat is unopposed at elections, and with Nigel Farage being quite popular, rare for an MP, this could be interesting.

British National Party:  A far right party, always surrounded by controversy, and led by the well known Nick Griffin,

Green Party:  Although not as popular as the European branches, the Green Party is slowly becoming more popular.

National parties

English Democrats:  The main goal of this party is a devolved parliament for England, creating a Federal United Kingdom.

Plaid Cymru:  The Welsh party, seeking Welsh independence, making them an EU and UN member state.

Scottish National Party:  Same as above, but Scottish.  Currently the most popular party in Scotland.

Mebyon Kernow:  I had to squeeze them in somewhere.  This is a party that wants a devolved parliament (a Senedh) for Cornwall.

I will put in the Irish ones when I have more time.

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In the last election, Labour got 55% of the seats, and 35% of the votes, the Conservatives got 31% of the seats, and 32% of the vote, and the Lib Dems got 10% of the seats and 22% of the vote.  UKIP got 2% of the vote and no seats, and the Green Party got 1%, and no seats.

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Northern Irish parties include:

Sinn Fein - Political wing of the republican movement. They stand for Westminster and refuse to swear loyal to the Queen, so they can't take their seats. 

Social Democratic and Labour Party - Largely catholic, moderately pro-Irish Unity. Have lost a lot of their working-class base to SF or to apathy. Despite SF having eventually conceded to adopt the SDLP's approach, ther SDLP didn't gain from this as they were never that big a player in the peace process. Possibly because they had no guns and no other material powerbase.

Ulster Unionist Party - Originally the political wing of the Unionist movement, now in decline. Currently allied with the Conservative party. Except that their one MP can't stand the Tories.

Democratic Unionist Party - Political wing of Ian Paisley. Significant proportion of fundamentalist protestants. Hardline Unionists.

Alliance Party - 'Cross-community' liberal party.

Traditional Unionist Voice - Split from the DUP that reckons the DUP should never have sat down with Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein and the DUP are in coalition in Stormont. The DUP is in a bit of a state with respect to some dodgy property dealings.

However NI politics is a bit weird as the fight isn't ever between either 'side' of the republican/loyalist divide. SF voters will never become DUP voters or vice versa. The fight is within the two communities, with slim pickings for Alliance/Greens/etc. Westminster elections are stranger as FPTP means a 40% Catholic-voting 60% Protestant-voting area could vote in Sinn Fein or the SDLP if the Protestant vote was more split.

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Ah, the sleeper awakes!  I was just thinking this is the kind of topic in which we need your presence.

I've found a page on the BBC which has tracked the popularity of the main three parties since 1983.


Nema, do you think this could be an election where the Big 3 party is gatecrashed, or at least the Big 3 all lose a considerable proportion of their votes?  Could UKIP capitalise on last year's success, or will these 'protest' votes still be limited to European and Local elections?

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My prediction is that we have a hung parliament, and Labour will form a coalition with the Lib Dems creating a working majority.

As I understand it, the Tories need a substantial proportion of the votes to have a majority of seats in Parliament. I also predict the BNP will gain a seat in Parliament.

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As I understand it, the Tories need a substantial proportion of the votes to have a majority of seats in Parliament.

I know, its ridiculous the way the system works.  I'm hoping UKIP gain some seats, and there is a Con/UKIP/DUP coalition...unlikely though.  Anything but Labour (well, aside from BNP obviously, but that goes without saying).

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Bah, that's my party of choice.  I wouldn't say ultra Thatcherites at all though.  I'm just reading through their policies, and the more I read, the more I like.


They've recently had more defections from both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.  Time to stop the EU gravy train!

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You've got to bear in mind two things: first, the FPTP system and how that relates to constituencies, and second, the composition of the electorate and how that relates to voting intentions.

Polls are a half-decent tool which are often close to a general prediction. What they can't do is tell you about individual seats, unless you have data for those seats. So the general trend towards the Tories getting a plurality of votes, sure, that's a given. But the question is why.

However, what you shouldn't infer is that lots of Labour voters are going to vote for the Tories. The European Elections illustrate the situation - basically, the New Labour strategy to maximise the vote by ploughing into the centreground to attract 'floating voter' while at the same time still being the only option for working-class people has just meant it made a temporary gain and has lost many of its activists in the process. Not to another party, just to abstention. In the European elections, it wasn't that the BNP got a high turnout (though it's scary they got the votes they did), and both they and UKIP went down a touch since 2004 - the difference was that the Labour vote was just 2.4 million. To put that into perspective, if Labour's two biggest donors, Unite and Unison, actually voted for Labour, they'd've got more than 2.4m, never mind the rest of the unionised workforce, never mind the ununionised workforce! You can see the penny dropping as 12 years into government, a couple of ministers have finally mentioned the c-word, as they realise they'll have to defend working-class seats against the BNP.

The Tories didn't do particularly well out of the Euro elections, mind. In that context, their eurosceptic wing votes for UKIP en bloc, something that can't be done for Westminster. Anywhere with enough people prepared to vote UKIP in Westminster is probably solidly Tory and will certainly not swing UKIP while Cameron looks set to become PM.

In terms of coalition arrangements, it's unlikely, but not impossible, that 9 or so votes will hold the balance of power. I'm not sure how keen Cameron would be to do a deal with the DUP even then, which would bring a load of unwanted baggage, when he could go for Clegg, who appears to be getting ready to hand over the Lib Dem block in exchange for some front bench cushions and smallest imaginable tokens of policy.

The other thing that complicates matters is that the Tory vote still shows no signs of long-term recovery. In the 2004 General, they polled worse than 1997. They can still win on current levels of support - but they are going to run into problems in 2013/4 if Labour manages to recover. They either need to find a way of taking Lib Dem votes, or find a way of capitalising and building eurosceptic votes without ruining the past couple of years worth of PR. 

As for Labour, it will lose a lot of ground in Scotland to the SNP, as they can take some working class votes, but only in some areas. Not an awful lot will go to Plaid, as Welsh Labour is doing its damndest to distance itself. It will be fighting off the BNP in a number of constituencies, like Barking, but will probably win - probably. It'll also be challenged in 'safe' seats where there's credible opposition to a particularly bad candidate (I think a couple of Liverpool seats, for example, have favourites of the party machine that the CLP will have problems campaigning for), and it'll have a hard time stopping Caroline Lucas from taking Brighton Pavilion. There are a fair few well-rooted candidates of the various trade union and socialist groupings standing against Labour; one or two like Dave Nellist in Coventry are in with an outside chance. After the election, the remaining parliamentarians will no doubt declare that it's time to turn over a new leaf, but the party has pretty much burned its bridges, and its unclear if it can go back and ask for support or whether it'll just wither further.

The Lib Dems will probably see little change this time round, possible losses to the Tories in marginal seats due to support erosion or slightly better Tory turnout overall. The Lib Dems themselves have lost a lot of the momentum they had a few years ago, as their right wing (currently in power) doesn't have much to say that Cameron doesn't. It, too is in danger of losing a lot of its activists if it gets too close to Cameron.

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Bah, that's my party of choice.  I wouldn't say ultra Thatcherites at all though.  I'm just reading through their policies, and the more I read, the more I like.


Strengthening the rail network and transport: good.

Building another airport: bad.

Constitutional reform: broadly good.

Opposing devolution: bad.

Five-year freeze on immigration: hilariously bad.

We believe that whilst climate change is proven, the arguments over global warming, and particularly anthropogenic global warming (AGW), are at this time unproven. We believe that the security, happiness and prosperity of the nation are too important to be thrown away in the pursuit of illusory aims.
No party that makes statements like that will hold even a tiny fraction of my support. So, no, not on your life, and stay the heck away from Scotland you nutjobs. Better to vote for the other extreme.

I remember around the time of the last election there was a debate among the local candidates which was hosted by my university. I don't recall exactly which parties attended, though the big four were there (SNP, Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem). The Greens and SSP were present as well, I believe.

The Conservative candidate, to give him credit, seemed to realise that he was playing to an extremely hostile crowd and avoided being particularly imflammatory (though he still roused calls of indignation and disbelief at times). The audience was largely made up of students and older local residents; they seemed annoyed by Labour, offended by the Conservative. There was one particularly memorable moment when the candidates were questioned about Trident. All of them were against it, bar Labour, which wanted more and better, and the Conservative, who simply said "we support it," following tirades of Trident-hate from his peers.

I remember afterwards, some people went up to ask questions from the Candidates in private. I was watching one of my fellow students ask the Conservative something when I saw an older woman stop and gawp, before hissing to her companion "He's speaking to the Tory!"

That's the broad feeling about Conservatives up here, generally.

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OK, I don't agree with their policy on climate change so much, but they still have good policies.  Having at least 1 Grammar school in every city, introducing a deposit on glass and plastic bottles etc.

Devolution in its current form is turning into a bureaucratic money wasting exercise, which UKIP are right to oppose.

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