Monday 13 December 2010

Vote H'uh, What ever is it good for?

FTB has returned to his excellent blog to muse on what has happened to the country since the election and wonders why he has found it so difficult to address urgent matters which need public illumination.

"it might be that I am still in shock that so many people voted for the Labour Party at the General Election in May."

The following observation will not cheer him up.

In the constituency of South East Cambridgeshire the election was unusual in that it wasn't possible to vote Labour at all as the candidate, John Cowan, had the Labour whip withdrawn just before the election. By then the slips had been printed so although his name went forward and was tagged "Labour", he wasn't really.

It might have been more honest to put a black line through the word "Labour" but they don't allow officers to tamper with the voting papers. If he had carried the vote, he would would have been the duly elected.

In practice, in that constituency, Labour fielded an outsider because they were never going to win it anyway. It turned out, however, the candidate was not just an outsider but a liability with whom they did not wish to be associated and about whom they had already been warned.

Asked for quote so close to the election, the Labour party spokesperson said they hoped people would vote Labour. This was despite the fact that they obviously couldn't because there was no Labour candidate on offer.

Still 4,380 citizens either didn't know this or ignored the short statement at the polling station. The results were:

Conservative James Paice 27,629
Liberal Democrat Jonathan Chatfield 21,683
Labour John Cowan 4,380

The numbers would not have swung it for the Lib Dem chaser but if a Labour voter is going to move, it is not going to be all the way to the other end of the political spectrum (not that that is very far these days) but to an intermediate "stop the Tories" point i.e. the Lib Dems. Some of them must have made that move because the Lib Dem vote increased by about 6%, although we cannot know if the vote came from people who had moved from the Conservatives to the Lib Dems either.

The mystery remains: why didn't the Labour vote collapse to about 500 people, in line with the other independent?

Some of it will be down to ignorance and a determination not to read any papers, blogs, listen to the radio or tv, read any election material frantically shoved through the door by the hopeful Lib Dems, or even to bother reading the notice at the polling station, which I'm told was displayed on the desk where the slips were given out.

Perhaps those voters came down determined to register a preference for Labour, despite the fact that our parliamentary system requires you to vote for an individual and exercise your judgment on the basis of what you think of them personally. It is in fact impossible to "hold your nose and vote Anything" because the Anything party does not stand. All you have are individuals and you either like the cut of their jib or you don't.

It is possible that some of those votes were postal and may have been entered before the row broke out, but after all this there is still the ritualistic core vote. They vote Labour because they do and no amount of facts - such as there being no Labour candidate - will shake the belief that it is the right thing to do.

If they are prepared to vote for a non-existent Labour candidate, it is logical to vote for an existing one - even Phil Woolas - as that at least represents an improvement over an imaginary candidate. Arguably.


JuliaM said...

I've heard many people say, in all seriousness, that they vote Labour 'because their parents did'.

Not read blogs or newspapers? These are people that don't even read the leaflets of their chosen party. They don't need to...

Wrinkled Weasel said...

People in general are ignorant and stupid. That is why the majority of the populace has to be herded like cattle.

What happens if you give them the benefit of common sense? They fall over a cliff and the survivors say "We didn't see the signs" These are the people who will buy a block of fish and wonder why there is no little piece of parsley included in the pack, only to find out that in bold letters on the front of the box the photo of the fish, with the parsley, bears the legend "serving suggestion".

I always find it eery when a train or plane reaches its destination and the passengers look around blankly as if they are wondering what to do next.

And then you get the women at the supermarket checkout who suddenly realise they must pay for their items and begin a search for their purses, leaving the rest of the queue to hang around a bit more.

Or what about the thousands of deaths on the roads each year. Accidents? No, these are people who should not be allowed near anything made of plastic, let alone anything mechanical that moves.

Just don't get me started.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Labour voters can READ!?!?

You will be telling me they have learned to walk on their hind legs next.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Follow ups to...

Elby the Beserk said...

Exquisite. I have posted the link to it on The Divine Miss Toynbgee's latest CiF drivel, and entitled the link

"Vote Labour, Vote Stupid"

Thank you so much.

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

People vote tribally.

You'd be amazed at the amount of people at my blue-collar level (nearly all in fact) who think that Labour were great and managed the economy well and tjat Tories are bastards who are cutting because they just love doing it.

And don't dare say anything in support of Thatcher.

Submariner said...

As Electro-Kevin says... including all the holders of public-sector non-jobs , and all those who bought the Brownite flim-flam that 'it was all the fault of evil bankers' with no mention of the vast structural deficit he had already created.

Up here in the post-industrial North East the controlling political narrative is all about "savage Tory cuts": it's back to 1984 as far as the local pollies and media are concerned. Saves them having to think or take responsibility for anything real.

Michael Fowke said...

But we shouldn't get too depressed. Everything - in time - will turn to dust.

Dick the Prick said...

I think it's nice that there's a natural baseline Labour movement - fuck the candidate. It's defo tribal but they love debating about daft stuff. It sounds sweet and nostalgic almost (I have been drinking!)

In Tory circles the Leader of North Yorkshire has been deselected from contesting his seat as a Tory next May yet he's still Leader of the Council. Hmm...will he go native and start burning the place or will he fuck off and do the decent? Answers on a postcard....

Submariner said...

The Harrogate council leader, you mean? What an idiot.
Some priceless quotes from the BBC story.
Asked why he had chosen to wear the Nazi-style uniform, Mr Gardner said: "It's one of those situations, you had to be there.

He even describes it as 'a total invasion of my privacy' that people have looked at the pictures he put on his own Facebook page!

Dick the Prick said...

No - East Rding of Yorkshire. It's all a bit odd. As far as I can make out his group thought him a bit of a twat and instead of the Tory cllrs just getting shut they reverted to having the local assoc execute him. I guess if he does have support within the cllr group he could quite easily just be chucked on another assoc's list if someone steps down but that seems a bit unlikely.

So..either he has the support of the Cllr group or not and if he does then he can remain as Leader of the Council but if not then he should be out by next Council meeting. All very dirty and underhand - exactly what you'd expect I guess. Private Eye have been trying to dig up some dirt on him but it's not really come to much.

He was my gaffer's mentor and came to one of our caucusses and was a distinctly unimpressive chap. Apparently East Riding have deselected 9 sitting Tory Cllrs which is a blitzkrieg, really.

I dunno - i'm not sure I can tell the difference anymore between parties except that Tories do seem to execute with quieter methods.