We’ve had privatisations and the right to buy, but today the Tory campaign finally moved into the 90s with John Major warning us of the dangers of
a Tory government with a small majority paralysed by its extremist backbenchers a Labour government working with the SNP. With any luck, the Tory nostalgia strategy will carry on moving forward through the years and the old Hague baseball caps will be pulled out of storage for one last moment in the spotlight.
Back in 2001, the Tory campaign was centred around ‘X Days To Save The Pound’, but I’m not quite sure what we’d be exhorted to save this time, aside from Cameron and Osborne’s political careers. ‘Save the Union’ would once have been a natural Tory rallying cry, but this time it seems that the Union be damned, a Tory victory is all that’s important no matter how much it might put the future of the country under threat. Here’s my question: let’s say you’re the Prime Minister and you’d actually quite like to get rid of Scotland, but you can’t say that in public or do anything that would too obviously give away your plan. What would you have done differently from what David Cameron has done since the morning of September 19th (the day after the referendum)?
Yet again, it seems that the democratic will of the British people is all-important, but only as long as they vote in the right way. I can remember the Major government, and the constant speculation over which MPs might rebel over what issue, and how the various concessions that were made to the right of the party slowly forced sensible and moderate Tories to jump ship and defect. But apparently that sort of pandering to nationalists who only cared about their pet issue was and would be perfectly all right, it’s only where they’re Scottish that they’re suddenly beyond the pale. I really don’t have much time for nationalism in any form outside sport but the absolute panic the SNP appear to be inciting in the British establishment is quite fun to watch.
Of course, if this election was being conducted using the sort of sane and sensible voting system you’d see elsewhere in Europe, we wouldn’t be having this problem. Yes, the SNP might be about to get a majority of the vote in Scotland, but that would only translate to a majority of seats, not a landslide that scours the ground clean of anything else. Also, we’d likely have two parties, neither of which looks like getting very far past having one-third of the electorate support it, accepting that neither of them had anything like the sort of mandate to govern alone. I have seen some discussion of just how silly our electoral system is becoming in an era that’s a long way from two-party politics, so there’s maybe a chance that common sense will dawn.
Anyway, if you need something to make you both smile and weep, here’s the latest tale of Grant Shapps being caught out by the internet. Smile as you read of his comedic exploits, then weep as you realise he’s considerably richer than you and MP for a safe seat, so this won’t affect his chances of re-election.
It has prompted one of the great press releases of the election, though:
Not likely to be creating any safe seats, today’s move down the list of parties standing in the election finds us at the National Health Action Party with twelve candidates standing around the country. Unlike most single issue parties, they probably won’t lose all their deposits as one of their candidates is Richard Taylor, formerly the independent MP for Wyre Forest, and one would expect that there’s some lingering support there for him given he got 16,170 votes there last time after two terms as MP. I don’t know if this will take him back to Parliament, but his 2001 win in Wyre Forest was pretty unexpected at the time as well – and one of the few interesting points in a very dull election night.
As you might expect, the party’s manifesto is very detailed on health issues with lots of plans for the NHS, and very general on others where they mainly call for everything to be fair. Aside from Taylor and his personal vote, I wouldn’t expect huge things from the party, as they only managed 1% of the vote in the one region they stood in for the European elections last year. European elections are ones where people tend to vote much more expressively than in others, and if only 1% of them then thought the NHAP were worth backing, I can’t see them making big breakthroughs this time.
Finally, today’s dive into Election Leaflets finds a non-party candidate who is very likely to be elected to the Commons – John Bercow, the Speaker. After the attempt to get him in the Commons failed, I did wonder if he might face some opposition from a suspiciously well-funded independent, but the Tories weren’t organised enough to arrange that so Buckingham is the only constituency in the country with just three candidates, and he’ll likely sail to victory over the Greens and UKIP.