Congratulations, Mr Blair

Congratulations to the UK Labour party, who once again have blocked the evil resurgance of Toryism in the UK. Even though about 40-50 seats have gone to the Tories (still giving them only the same number of seats as the Labour party achieve in their worst moment of 1983 due to the "longest suicide note in history" manifesto) the Labour government still hold three times the majority that John Major held after the 1992 election when the odious Murdoch right-wing propoganda sheet "The Sun" manipulated some of the more feeble minded members of its intellectually inferior readership to vote for the Tories.

Nonetheless, this is still Labour's third great win with a majority that
would have seemed handsome enough to previous Labour governments. When the
votes are combined with the Lib Dems' strongest showing since its alliance
with the SDP in 1983, there is no major rightward shift. So that social
democratic wind of change in 1997 was no temporary symptom of momentary Tory
failure. It was still a rejection of conservatism, of the privatising, small
state, anti-welfare individualism of the right and that remains the
story.

(Polly Toynbee, today's Guardian)

It is particularly gratifying that the electorate overlooked Howard's particularly nasty attempt to win support by appealling to racist bigotry in attempting to create a vote winner out of immigration and asylum processing (it is amusing how many racist bigots still fail to understand the distinction between the two). Its also gratifying that the carrots held out by basically stealling from the poor to give to the rich failed.

Remember that not since 1910 has the Conservative party suffered three defeats
in a row. Labour defectors to the Lib Dems have rescued the Tories from an
outright hammering they deserved for a despicable campaign that stirred race
hatred and knowingly falsified the facts to fuel fears on asylum and violent
crime. The picture they painted of a country too dangerous to walk its streets,
too dirty to enter its hospitals, too stupid to learn, was not, by and large,
the country voters recognised. Abandoning the intellectual rightwing case left
them naked with nothing but vacuous and toxic poster slogans. They helped
increase the BNP vote by stirring race, but they were too populist for the
people.

The reality, as Toynbee rightly points out, is that defections from Labour to the Lib Dems actually helped the Tories by dividing the left wing vote - rather than a simple transfer to the right. For a typical example, take Melanie Johnson's loss in Herts:

Welwyn Hatfield
Result declared May 06 2005 05:56

CONSERVATIVE GAIN - Grant
Shapps

The 2005 general election

Votes
Share%
Grant
Shapps
, Conservative
22,172
49.6
Melanie
Johnson
, Labour
16,226
36.3
Sara
Bedford
, Liberal Democrat
6,318
14.1
Conservative majority:
5,946Time of declaration: May 06 2005 05:56Turnout: 68.2 %
The 2001 general
election

Votes
Share%
Melanie
Johnson
, Labour
18,484
43.2
Grant
Shapps
, Conservative
17,288
40.4
Malcolm
Biggs
, UK Independence Party
798
1.9
Fiona
Pinto
, ProLife Alliance
230
0.5
Labour majority: 1,196Time of
declaration: June 08 2001 02:48Turnout: 63.9 %

It is clear from this result that the huge vote for the Liberal candidate resulted in gains for the Conservatives - without it, the Tories could not have gained this seat. Indeed, the net loss of votes for Ms Johnson (5000) was not enough in itself to lose the seat - but at least some of the substantial Lib Dem vote rightfully belonged to Labout. As Tonybee rightly points out, the electoral system gave the seat to the right, despite a larger majority of Social Democrat voters. Proportional Representation would have served both left wing parties well.

See the full Toynbee article at
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/columnist/story/0,9321,1477909,00.html

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