The UK election tusami

An election tusami, not just in Scotland, but across the UK.

The basic elements to consider are:

1) Scotland represents just 5million people, out of over 60million in the UK. Yet it holds nearly 10% of the seats now almost all in the hands of the SNP.

2) Labour are obliterated in their heartland of Scotland, with even Gordon Brown's old constituency going SNP. There will be almost no Scottish Labour in the opposition benches. Thus Scotland has only nominal representation within the two mainstream British political parties.

3) The Lib Dems are decimated, not just in terms of number of seats and percentage of votes, but in terms of being totally decapitated in terms of leadership and personalities.

4)UKip polled nearly 3times the percentage of the national vote than the SNP, yet have just one seat.

5) For the first time northern Ireland is possibly a major player in UK national life, with the 10 DUP seats giving David Cameron a possible alternative coalition partner to the much smaller Liberal Democrat representation and thus putting Irish politicians within government.

5) The Conservatives have consolidated their position, re-building their presence in the south east at the expense of the Lib Dems, and eating into Labour's dominance in the north, and yet in no way a ringing endorsement.

6) The polls got it wrong, underestimating the Conservative resilience and the weakness of Labour. This seems reminiscent of the defeat of Kinnock in 1992.

So what does the Parliamentary landscape now look like?

Well firstly the Constitutional consensus has been unravelling for 20years, and its now broken. It was already dysfunctional after devolution and the dismantling of the upper chamber but now it has broken within the House of Commons. There is no longer a United Kingdom in terms of political power and representation and certainly within the Parliamentary context.

Scotland has endorsed almost total rejection of working with the rest of the UK. SNP is not a UK party but a British rejectionist party. Its not simply an anti-austerity or anti-Conservative party, however it might have liked to position itself.

The Liberal Democrats are obliterated across the UK as a Parliamentary force, but could still be in government as a much junior partner.

Labour has entrenched itself within London and bucked its decimation elsewhere thus re-enforcing the distance between the Capital and the rest of the country, as well as strengthening the metropolitan voice within Labour itself.

The Conservatives have pushed back into the south west and Wales, thus surviving, just, as a UK party but without Scotland and bruised in London.

There new government will be much more fragile, with the Conservative back benchers having more influence.

So, some thoughts:

Scotland has dominated the results, but in fact Scottish people have voted themselves into irrelevance. With no voice within government or opposition their concerns will just end up being largely ignored especially if they simply continue to be a foghorn for anti-Toryism, which in fact seems to be unmasked as anti-Englishness directed at the whole Westminster establishment.

The larger UK picture, when you add in the UKip percentage of votes to the consolidation of the Conservatives and the presence of the DUP in northern Ireland, makes it clear that there is not a UK anti-austerity or a left of centre consensus. Scotland, a minor part of the UK as a whole, might have voted against it but the rest of the UK hasn't. Should people elsewhere in the UK subsidise Scotland taking a different line with the economy.

The Conservatives haven't received a ringing endorsement, and are perhaps going to be able to form a majority government of one or two seats. UKip undoubtedly has sucked off the more reactionary elements in the Conservative voter pool, thus leaving a more moderate Conservatism in power.

Lib Dems have been wiped out when facing Conservatives and Labour and SNP. Squeezed on all fronts, it seems that what in fact was a sophisticated protest vote has evaporated when that vote took power, with people forced to make a choice about what government will actually look like. Conservatives such as myself, who were sympathetic to Liberal Democrats, voted Tory because the risk of the Lib Dems shooing in a Labour govt was too great, and likewise Labour voters sympathetic to the Lib Dems voted Labour because the threat of the Lib Dems shooing in another Tory govt.


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