Friday, January 14, 2011

There's A Lesson For Obama In The Stunning Defeat The Conservative/Liberal Dem Coalition Suffered In England Yesterday


Rejected by U.K. voters

Wasn't President Obama absolutely wonderful Wednesday night in Tucson? That's the guy I voted for in 2008. I wish there were more important topics Wall Street didn't care enough about to allow him to say whatever he wants to! Obama's Conservative Consensus administration, though, seems to never go up against Wall Street and most of what's important, from preserving Social Security and looking out for working families to American trade policy and tax policy, Obama is more their spokesman than working America's. He would be perfectly happy presiding over the Conservative/Liberal Democratic coalition in the U.K., a coalition pushing forward hideous-- if less draconian than what the GOP envisions-- austerity measures that target ordinary working families and accrues very much to the benefit of the wealthy establishment and the upper management class.

Yesterday British voters had their first opportunity to pass judgment on how that coalition has been doing since they were elected last year. Labour won a big victory. Keep in mind that during the last general election Labour won 14,186 votes (31.9%), the Lib Dems took 14,083 votes (31.6%) and the Conservatives lagged with 11,773 votes (26.4%). This time Labour's candidate, Debbie Abrahams, walked away with a far greater margin, 3,558 votes for a total of 14,718 (42.1%), while the LibDems held pretty steady with 11,160 votes (31.9%) and the Conservatives just collapsed entirely-- 4,481 votes (12.8%). [A candidate calling himself the Flying Brick, running on the Loony Party, came in 7th out of 10 candidates with 145 votes and the Pirate Party candidate made off with 96 votes.]

The by-election in northwest England yesterday is worth looking at for two reasons, one procedural and one substantive. Procedurally, the very reason for the election is nearly unfathomable for Americans. In last year's general, one candidate lied about another candidate and a court threw out the results and forced a new election! The GOP would be out of business entirely if this logic ever took root in the U.S.!
Having lost at last year's general election by only 103 votes, the Liberal Democrats' candidate accused the ex-Labour minister Phil Woolas of falsely associating him with Islamist extremists, and took his case to a specially convened election court, which found Woolas guilty. Protesting his innocence, the latter was duly thrown out of parliament, and the contest began...

But that's where the substantive kicks in. Nationally, the LibDems are in a coalition with the dominant Conservatives and are helping them implement a much hated austerity program that favors the wealthy over working families. Anyone who imagined the calumny the Lib Dems suffered at the hands of Labour might have seemed likely to hand them an easy win has been in for a surprise as voters decided to cast their ballots based on the political developments nationally instead. Going into Thursday's voting, "one poll put Labour on 46%, 17 points ahead of the Lib Dems, and apparently coasting to victory." The latest YouGov GB polling had Labour up 13 points since the General election, the Conservatives (at 36%) down 1% and the LibDems just disintegrating with 9%, down by 15%! Approval for the Conservative/LibDem government and their version of the Conservative Consensus has plummeted, down 24%. And the LibDems look to have abandoned their base and destroyed themselves by hooking up with the Conservatives. Nick Clegg, their leader is now a loathed figure.
The fleeting burst of Cleggmania during the general election campaign now looks like something from another age. Today, an opinion poll put support for the Lib Dems at just 7%. In a survey released just before Christmas, Mori found that in some regions of the UK, it was as low as 4%. To hear some people talk, the party's broken promise on tuition fees will haunt them just as much as Iraq haunted Labour, and there will be no decisive recovery for years.

And now they face what could be a very grim 2011. In May, there will be elections for local councils, as well as the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly-- and the most positive prediction you can extract from senior Lib Dems is that things will be "difficult." The referendum on changing our voting system has hardly fired the public's imagination, and is widely predicted to be lost-- which will lead plenty of Lib Dems to wonder what the point of partnership with the Tories actually is. Meanwhile, as the cuts finally bite, senior Lib Dems worry that their support could well plunge even lower, and the message to their activists boils down to that most hackneyed of instructions: keep calm, and carry on.

A great deal of political comment tends to fixate on the most dramatic possibilities-- how the coalition might fail or whether the Lib Dems could split. If support remains low, they will obviously stay put, for fear of sparking an election and being wiped out.

In the U.S. midterms, disappointed Democrats and left-leaning independents did not turn out to vote. Conservative Democrats were devastated, although some normal Democrats wound up losing their seats in the tidal wave as well. Republicans did turn out at the polls. In district after district, Democratic turnout cratered while GOP turnout held steady from 2006 and 2008. If Obama continues to pursue conservative policies that devastate his base, the same thing will happen in 2012 and we'll win up with Mitt Romney as president and with a stronger Republican House and, very likely, a Republican Senate as well.

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At 10:29 AM, Anonymous me said...

There's A Lesson For Obama In The Stunning Defeat The Conservative/Liberal Dem Coalition Suffered In England Yesterday

Nope, the lesson is for Murdoch: Get better control of the media.

And fuck Obama.

At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what they said.

fuck obama.


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