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After the by-elections… February 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is a bit disturbing. From the after-byelections in the UK coverage on the Guardian. Discussing how UKIP was squeezed at the by-elections.

On the Today programme this morning Matthew Goodwin, who co-wrote Revolt on the Right, the most authoritative book on the rise of Ukip, with Rob Ford, expanded on the same point made by his co-author. Goodwin said:
Today some people have been saying the Ukip ballon has completely popped. We still have a second-placed radical right party in a Labour seat with 25% of the vote. That is a significant issue for all the main parties to think about.
But also, let’s assume Theresa May wins back half of the Ukip vote. Labour MPs today are cheering the demise of Ukip. What does that mean for Labour? It means that around 45 seats will go to the Conservatives pretty quickly at the next election quite easily, because you have Labour MPs on small majorities where Ukip has around 15/20% of the vote. So Theresa May’s strategy right now, I would suggest, is spot on.

This is one of the more pernicious aspects of FPTP. UKIP don’t have to win, or come close to winning, or can in fact see their vote eviscerated by the Tories without any benefit to Labour. Imagine 45 seats transferring from the BLP to the Tories.

As Phil noted on the CLR last week, the Stoke ‘win’ is actually deeply concerning.

And Phil makes another point which is crucial. There’s little purpose in the BLP becoming a Tory/UKIP lite in relation to Brexit matters etc. That side of the political terrain is already well covered. Pulling back support from there is the name of the game.


1. dmfod - February 28, 2017

What do you mean by that at this point? Do you think the BLP should still be advocating effectively for remain, which presumably would now mean holding another referendum and uninvoking Article 50 somehow, or just pushing for as soft a Brexit as possible? Or accepting a ‘full’ Brexit but defending freedom of movement and any positive aspects of EU legislation for workers?


WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2017

I’m.completely against rerunning referendum or attempting to stymie Article 50. That said I think there’s an argument for fullyvaccepting UK departure from EU while also accepting or working towards it joining EEA/EFTA or some similar bespoke arrangement but the Tories who objectively are politically dominant ate adamantly against freedom of movement so the hardest of hard Brexits seems to be most likely outcome and difficult to see how a BLP grievously damaged by the process itself can do anything much to push back.


dmfod - February 28, 2017

It’s interesting that eurobarometer shows 68% of UK people support freedom of movement and only 24% oppose it (admittedly one of biggest levels of opposition in the EU) yet ending it is constantly portrayed in the media as a popular move


WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2017

I wonder if it is so much freedom of movement as control of immigration. Polling on the latter – which of course implicitly and explicitly impacts on the former – is much more clear cut with much tighter figures – for example http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9788.

“If they have to choose, the polling evidence suggests the public are very evenly divided. There have been various polls using various different wordings that amount to a forced choice between EU market access or cutting EU immigration – all show a tight divide. An ORB poll this month found people agreeing by 44% to 40% that more control over immigration was more important than keeping EU free trade; a YouGov poll in November asking a forced choice between market access for British exporters and reducing immigration broke down as 49% for market access, 51% for immigration; ComRes in November found 42% would prioritise the single market over immigration, 43% would prioritise cutting EU immigration; NatCen found 49% of people said we should accept freedom of movement as the price of staying in the single market, 51% that we should not.”

And given the nature of the discourse in the UK in relation to immigration with the media in particular taking a very particular view, and the calculation by May and the Tories that that is a clear token of their intent and delivery in relation to Brexit and the political realities that the EU is cleaving strongly to freedom of movement (and indeed in relation to Switzerland refused to budge on it in any meaningful way) I’m not sure where that leaves us bar seeing an hard Brexit ahead…


dmfod - March 1, 2017

Same poll found 77% had a positive view of EU immigrants. Perhaps even more than you’d think it depends on how you ask the question..


WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2017

And yet the Tories and UKIP command between them 55 and more per cent of the vote in polls and the former have a political dominance gifted by incumbency (and FPTP) and perceptions of the oppositions inadequacy and various other factors whereas those who would take a more progressive line languish significantly behind. Very significantly behind. Sentiment is tilted largely towards both the political manifestations of Brexit (hard Brexit at that) and towards immigration control. And trying to push back against that politically given the disposition of forces actually available is hugely difficult.


2. dublinstreams - February 28, 2017

surely Theresa Mays strategy was to stay in Europe?


3. Ed - March 1, 2017

It’s not an argument for dismissing any worries about UKIP, but Goodwin and Ford are two of the most brazen snake-oil merchants in the UK commentariat. Their academic niche is based on talking up the far right; I sometimes get the impression they would be happy to see the country go full fash if it boosted their REF scores. They’re up to their necks with that trashy ‘Blue Labour’ faction and every argument they make points in the direction ‘why Labour needs to become more racist’. I’d say Goodwin and Ford were absolutely devastated by Nuttall’s failure to win the seat in Stoke.


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