Post-election is so much more interesting than the run up with all its populism, needless stress (like the Tories ever had a chance) et cetera. And that’s how it should be. It’s not about three long campaign weeks, but the years in between them. Immediately post-election is when the parties can be most honest in their self-appraisal, safe in the knowledge that a gaff today will be well forgotten when next time comes.
Yet, I’m pleased to say, many Tories and supporters are as self-delusional as ever. An ex-Thatcher advisor pushes the one more heave school of thought, mourning Howard’s departure, despite his raising the vote just 0.6 per cent and whinging about winning in England (not that the last Tory governments ever won in Scotland or Wales) as if that means something and claiming the voters are moving rightward. That last point’s the most serious mistake, but also the easiest to make. We tend to surround ourselves with like-minded souls and that makes it too easy to assume our views to be in the majority.
Reactionary blogger Laban Tall, nearly voted UKIP and blames them for splitting the Tory vote. He’s the kind of voter the ‘one more heaves’ want to keep and build upon. But Laban’s not known for checking his facts, he always writes nonsense from the gut. Had he checked Labour seats won adding Conservative and UKIP votes together (and making the big assumption that every UKIP voter would otherwise have voted Conservative) Laban would have discovered that just thirteen results would change. Labour would be down to 343, Tories up to 210 and with 92 seats for the rest the Labour majority would be 41. That’s just three short of the 44 seat majority Thatcher won in 1979 and she wasn’t held back at all, was she?
UKIP had a terrible time. They fought 496 seats and lost their deposit in 451. The norm for UKIP was an electorally insignificant one or two per cent. The constituency they represent has been punching above its weight for a very long time and has led the Conservative Party up a very long garden path.
And there’s more. Not only did the Conservatives wipe the floor with the swivel eyed loons (as Google calls them) they took seats from the Liberal Democrats whose attack on the Conservatives failed abysmally. Centre right Lib Dems went blue.
So all the evidence shows that the British right is as united as can be and that if the Conservatives want to win they’ll need to forget the likes of Laban Tall and move leftward where a gap should soon emerge…
In contrast to the right, the British left is terribly divided. Conservatives won more seats with about the same vote thanks to the Liberal Democrats who took votes from Labour’s left. So, paradoxically, Labour is more likely to hurt the Conservatives by moving leftward. Repairing the split in the progressive vote will not just be the easiest way to take seats from the Tories, it will be a lot more rewarding for core Labour supporters and activists… who will have a new leader without the right-wing baggage just in time.
Yet it looks like the Tories will be stupid enough to elect a leader who’ll keep them standing still. Goody-goody.