The return of the duopoly.

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Any election produces reams of data for psehologists to pore over to their hearts’ content. One of the notable features of this election is that it confirms the return to two party politics in Wales and England.

Despite what many left wing commentators say this was a good night for the Conservatives in some respects. They won 42 per cent of the vote. That is their highest since 1987. Moreover, this is the fifth election in a row that the Conservative share of the vote has gone up. Labour need to try some serious introspection. In some respects this was their election for the taking. The Tories ran a very lacklustre campaign and ducked the leaders’ debate. The Tory manifesto was terrible and contained an explosive Policy on paying for old age care. The Conservatives focussed solely on their uninspiring leader. The economy is very slow and austerity is continuing. There is widespead dissatisfaction with the NHS. Under suchlike circumstances a decent opposition party would be returned to office.

Of the rougly 530 constituencies in England about 520 are held by either Labour or the Conservative Party. In Wales all but 4 of the 40 seats are in Labour or Conservatives hands. Plaid Cymru have 4 Members of Parliament. Welsh Liberal Democrats have gone extinct as a parliamentary party.

In Scotland three party politics prevails. to some extent even four party politics. The Liberal Democrats have four constituences in Caledonia as against only eight South of Hadrian’s Wall. The Conservatives have made huge strides in Scotland. They recovered some territory that they had lost n the 80s. The memory of the community charge is finally expunged. It is noticeable that the Tories in Scotland hold only rural territory. That had been the case for décades. Moreover, the constituences they hold are in southern Scotland and in eastern Scotland particularly around Aberdeen. Perhaps Michael Gove coming from there was a factor in regaining this land for the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Labour has regained some seats in Scotland in urban areas. This is thz start of a recovery. It is doubtful that they will replace the SNP as the largest party in the next Westminster or Hollyrood election. They might not even come second next time. There is no God given right for Labour to be one of the big two in North Britain.

The Liberal Democrats have contradicted themsevles so badly. They are ardent europhiles/ The EU is the antithesis of open government or small government. It is all about snooping and state control/ It is over regulation on sterroids. If the Lib Dems want the UK to be so typically European they should advocate compulsory ID cards which all other EU states besides the Republic of Ireland have. The Lib Dems cited the European Arrest Warrant as one of the splendid accomplishments of the EU. It is staggering that the Lib Dems should want to make it easier to imprison people. They wish to reduce people’s rights and have them sent abroad to face trial without due process. They want fewere guarantres for liberty. The Lib Dems are appealing for votes on the basis that more people will be incarcerated. One wonders what the point of having a Liberal Democratic Party is when they Attack the Conservatives for caring too much about individual liberty.

The Liberal Democrat vote fell in 2015. Its peak was 2010 despite getting fewer seats than before. It fell again in 2017. The Liberal Democrats sill not go below a certain level. They are the most pro Remain party. 48 per cent of people vote Remain but only 8 per cent voted for the Liberal Democrats. Being outspoken europhiles hurts the party and does not help it overall. By next Parliamentary election this issue will have been resolved. One might have thought a far left Labour leader would drive moderate Labour voters to the Liberal Democrats. Not a bit of it. The Lib Dem leader Farron has no presence. With a more credible leader the party will do better. They can scarcely do worse. This is their lowest share of the vote in 50 years. In terms of seats they are back where they were in 1979. Three party politics is a long way off let alone becoming the Opposition party/ They at least do not have to worry about UKIP becoming the second largest party in Parliament.

One of the major stories of this election is the collapse of UKIP; tHE PArty’s support has Fallen off a cliff. From 13 per cent it is down to 2 per cent. UKIP only fielded candidates in a third of constituencies. UKIP stood asides in many constituencies to give pro Brexit candidates from Labour or the Tories a clear run. It did not capture any seats. By next Westminster election Brexit will have been completed. The party’s raison d ‘ etre will have disappeared. The party will probably have wound up by then. Donations have stopped coming through. The party is attracting fr less media curiosoity. The virtual disappearance of UKIP to a large extent explains the return to two party politics.

Nigel Farage has talked of reassuming the leadership. But even with one of the most recognisable politicians in the United Kingdom back as leader the party has run out of steaM.

UKIP appears to be one of those parties that comes on the scene and shakes things up for a while before disappearing. There was the Social Democratic Party. This was unusual since it was a breakaway from Labour and then formed an alliance with the Liberals only to later merge with the Liberals. The Scottish Socialist Party was another such party which had a toe hold in Scots politics in the early Noughties and has since vanished. There was also a Scottish Pensioners’ Party. Common Wealth was a mildly left wing party in the 40s which made little impact. The effect of UKIP despite only ever having two Members of Parliament has been seismic. Were it not for UKIP it is doubtful that the triumvirate of parties would have addressed the issue if EU membership.

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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