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Election 2001: The Morning After
By Adam Porter from YearZero magazine 8th June 2001
It was almost too predictable for words. Sorry but it was. If you will let us we can tell you about the next election too. But I bet you have figured it out for yourself anyway. It is near impossible that Blair will be ousted at the next election.
The parliamentary majority is too big. It is highly unlikely he will be defeated at the one after that. The parliamentary majority is too big. He might go in the one after that, in 12-15 years time, but by then the Tories may not be the party that replaces him. Parliament in the UK has never seen a majority of the size of Das Neu Labour overturned in one go. The really disastrous thing for the Conservatives is that they didn't even begin the process. Recent history can help us.
In 1983, after the Falklands war, Thatcher won an overall majority of 144. It took two goes by Kinnock to whittle it down, first to 97 in 1987 and then to 16 in 1992. The effort burned him out. But the second swing from 97 to 16 was the second biggest swing to Labour in their history, at the time.
Their previous biggest swing being post-WW2 and the dumping of Churchill, the formation of the Health Service and so on. Kinnock in 1992 did, in fact, get more votes than Tony Blair did in 1997. Yup, it's true.
However our undemocratic system allows Blair to be seen as the great 'political warrior' when not only is he less popular than Kinnock, but he has also presided over a government that helped create the lowest turnout since a shell-shocked 1918. But this is where we live.
As a 'democratic' footnote the post-war Labour government in 1951 received the most votes ever cast by a UK population. The most, ever. Of course, in full Dubya-stylee, they actually lost that election to Churchill.
But don't let the false notion that we live in a democracy bother you. This 2001 election was all about the second part of the modern political conundrum. Because first you acquire power, then you retain it. But exactly, what for?
What has happened in the UK over the past ten years or so is, in the main, a shift to the libertarian left in the UK. But it has happened almost completely without representation, political, journalistic, social or of any other kind. Just look around you.
For forward looking types the Greens are seen as preachy, over-rural, out of touch on fuel prices and also unfortunately broke and dippy. The Socialist Alliance, Socialist Labour and so on are quite frankly, perceived as backward-looking anti-modernists who just favour a slightly different type of centralised state control than we have at the moment.
Similarly, though far less compassionately, the Conservative/BNP policies of internment camps, race walls and Union Jack bulldogs have failed everywhere but troubled Oldham and wacky, individualistic Romford. Remember that even in Oldham, with the huge effort of the national structure of the BNP, they could still get nowhere near winning a seat.
Their national showing wouldn't even get them PR representation. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the BNP is not their vote, we have seen blips like this before, but where they get their funding from. As far as the low turnout goes though, David Dimbleby briefly hit on one of the reasons for it.
He said, in conversation with one of his sea of pundits on BBC's 'Election Special', that people staying at home would "damage the moral right, the validity" of Das Neu Labour's victory. Of course the same Neu Labouritzen politicians and supporters had their stock response lines worked out. Probably texted to them by Millbank.
All of which, in varying forms of subtlety, blame us, the voters, for being thick, apathetic and cynical rather than them, Neu Labour, for being disillusioning, thick, apathetic and cynical. We were 'complacent' (i.e. stuffed to the gills with fine living, probably brought to us on a silver tray by our butler), we were 'apathetic' (i.e. so superficial we truly don't care, possibly also stoned) or 'cynical' (just for the hell of it we are going to mess things up because we are downright perverse).
God forbid that any of the 43% who didn't vote or – on top of that - the 8% who never even registered actually had any reason for staying away. No reason then to confront the fact that we always, be it 1951 or 2001, elect minority governments.
No reason to confront the facts that Tony Blair has a huge overall majority in our 'representative' parliament on no more than 21.8% of the vote.
That's right. Of the adult population eligible to vote 8% are not registered. Of the 92% who are registered only 57% turned out. Of the 57% only 42% voted Neu Labour.
That means that Tony Blair has around 70% of the seats in Parliament on 21.8% of the adult population. But instead of focussing on that, our masters and manipulators deem it " a stunning victory" and of course "a landslide."
And on the BBC Online's front page the turnout question isn't even raised. No, instead the glory given to the warrior politicians was taken as read and the in-your-face disillusion and anger was, so predictably, fired broadside back at us. Once again, it's our fault.
Like fuck it is.
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