Linky Ole England: Election 2015


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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149 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    My results are here.

    91% Conservative
    80% UKIP
    76% Labour
    73% Liberal DemocratReport

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      I tried answering these, but I don’t know anything about any of these issues. How should I know if there should be high speed rail between Birmingham and London?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        You need to work on your kneejerk exercises. Either HSR is a universal good or a universal bad, man. Pick one.Report

      • Avatar Zane says:

        That was tricky for me too, Vikram Bath. I just imagined I lived in the UK, read through the supplementary information, and did the best I could. (High speed rail from London to Birmingham? Why yes! We need to cut down on fossil fuel (petrol) use and encourage other means of transportation.)

        It was fun to discover how different the UK can be from the US. (No residential property tax? Wow!) It was a fairly informative survey, I thought. Thanks, Will!

        It was interesting that my responses still left me in a fair amount of agreement with the Conservatives.

        My results are:

        Labour 90%
        Liberal Democrats 90%
        Sinn Fein 81%
        Conservatives 41%
        UK Independence 33%

        I’m a bit of an outlier from others in my St. Ives constituency, apparently. 😉Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          My thinking was that the UK is soooo London-centric that it wouldn’t be the worst thing to encourage people and commerce in other cities, and that HSR is something that can do that.

          It is walking in a bit of a fog, but I probably put more thought into it than a lot of voters. 🙂Report

          • Avatar Zane says:

            That quip about alternatives to auto traffic was actually part of my thinking about that question, but I did pause and think about it a bit. It’s not like proposing high speed rail in the US. I have the impression that the UK has pretty good rail transportation already, or at least that it used to. It is one of the questions where I felt like I was very much influenced by being an American and that the actual issues might be seen quite differently in the UK and not cleave along the same lines as in the US.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

              I once said the Tube seemed pretty good to a guy from London. He laughed and said “Maybe if you are a tourist….”

              There doesn’t seem to be any group of people that likes their public transportation.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                If you look at a Tube map imposed on an actual map of London, you will notice that Tube service is much heavier north of Thames than it is south of the Thames. Most Londoners live north of the Thames but millions still live in South London and do not have adequate Tube access. The New York and Paris subways cover much more of their respective cities than the Tube.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

            My friends from the North of England will tell you that they are proud Northnerners.

            What is interesting about England is that the stereotypes for North and South are kind of reversed from the U.S. but not completely. The North is Industrial and/or Agricultural, Working Class/Poor, and Labour heavy. The South is Tory, Financial, and Wealthy.

            But it comparing the U.S. to the England or the U.K, is like comparing apples to oranges. We are a huge nation with 300 million people. The entire UK is not even 65 million people.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          I think what that means is that the UK doesn’t have a federal tax on residential properties. Municipalities do generally have property taxes.Report

          • Avatar Matty says:

            The primary tax income for local government the ‘council tax’ is actually a tax on residential property and while it is the councils that raise and spend this money the laws regarding it are national and no area gets a choice to tax in a different way only about the rate.Report

      • Me too. I realized about half-way through I was answering as if they were questions about the US: sure, we should raise out minimum wage, but maybe theirs is already high enough. No idea.

        And it didn’t allow my idea for the House of Lords: Draft Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, and all the surviving Pythons, Fringers, and Goodies into it, so they can dress up in wigs and robes [1] and give inane speeches.

        1. OK, Ediie Izzard too.Report

      • Avatar Niall says:

        The argument against HS2 is that it is yet more infrastructure investment in London & surrounding areas, which is the most expensive area of the UK to do further development in. There’s a great economic argument for starting in Edinburgh or Glasgow (or even further north), linking them to the north of England and extending to London eventually, but not a chance it will happen, as means London doesn’t feel the benefit of it for years. Well, the Treasury would but that’s less important.

        Side note – London is a great city, but is still a black hole that hoovers up all investment. Imagine if your financial, political, media and business centres were all in a single city, which has GVA per head of 67% above the average GVA (for England) and you’ll be getting close. Scotland is a little bit under the English average but is third overall, so it’s obvious how big a distortion London has on the UK economy.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Interesting. I’d voted “yes” for what I considered to be the opposite reasons, that offering good transit too and from London would allow other cities that need access to London to grow. Proving Vikram right, perhaps.Report

      • Avatar Matty says:

        The controversy is not over the speed but the route. Basically the area between Birmingham and London is so crowded there is nowhere you could put a new rail line that wouldn’t impact someone and the need for a straightish line to actually run the trains at full speed limits the options anyway.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        I wasn’t sure about that one either. I ended up voting against it despite liking rail because Britain’s railways are plenty fast as is (by Canadian standards). When you can travel from one end of the country to another within a day (and London to Edinburgh in a half-day), transportation speeds are fine.Report

    • Avatar Zane says:

      I object to the “opposite of libertarian” side of their political ideology graph being labeled “authoritarian”, unless “libertarian” has the same awful connotation in the UK that “authoritarian” must have. Wouldn’t “communitarianism” have been a better term?

      I’m also a little confused by where I fall on that graph. In the US, my strong support of legalization of drugs and individual activity, for example, would move me fairly far up to the libertarian side. I wonder if questions are weighted differently than they would be in the US.

      Also interesting that there’s no abortion/birth control question. Unless I missed it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Aren’t abortion and birth control more settled issues over there?Report

        • Avatar Zane says:

          I knew they were less controversial, but I didn’t realize how much less controversial, I guess.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            Outside of the US, abortion and birth control isn’t controversial at all in Western Europe. Nobody, outside of minor parties that get 4-5% of the vote advocate current Republican policy on abortion.

            Guns and abortion are the two things among the European friends and acquaintances I know that confuse them more than anything else.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

              I think it is still a hot topic in Ireland….

              And also this is not quite true, one of the big issues with Muslim immigrant populations is that they are socially conservative and reject European secular attitudes towards sex in many ways and in education.

              The big difference in Europe is seemingly that you get nearly unrestricted access to abortion for the first trimester but it becomes much more regulated and controlled during the second and third trimesters. The difference being that the social conservatives in Europe are not trying to ban first trimester abortion even if they don’t like it personally. Americans would never be able to agree to European style abortion laws because our far-right is implacably against all abortion.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Well, Ireland’s in a weird place where they’re in 2015 culturally, but half of the population (and much of the political class) still think it’s 1965.

                On the abortion restriction thing, pro-lifer’s have made that argument before, but the issue is, yes, there are restrictions in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, but in practice, nobody is actually going to stop a woman from getting an abortion in the 3rd trimester because it’ll be waived under the health of the mother or whatever other exception they’ll use to get it done.

                OTOH, if the same exact laws, by the letter, were written down for the US, those restrictions would be held to the letter and there’d likely be no exceptions in various red and purple states.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              Jesse Ewiak: Outside of the US, abortion and birth control isn’t controversial at all in Western Europe. Nobody, outside of minor parties that get 4-5% of the vote advocate current Republican policy on abortion.


              Last December, the conservative People’s party (PP) announced plans to tighten the country’s liberal laws by making abortion illegal except in the case of rape or when there was risk to the mother’s physical and mental health. Women wanting an abortion would have needed two doctors to verify those conditions.

              The People’s Party (Spanish: Partido Popular [par?tiðo popu?lar] ( listen); known mostly by its acronym, PP [pe?pe]) is a conservative,[2][16] and Christian democratic[6][17][18] political party in Spain. It is one of the two major parties of modern Spanish politics.”Report

            • Avatar North says:

              In fairness Jesse outside of the US there’s a pretty solid detente in most places. Abortion is a lot more limited than US pro-choicers would prefer but it’s absolutely in no danger of being banned which is an anathema to Pro-lifers. Then again that’s a compromise most pro-choicers would willingly make but no Pro-lifers would willingly abide by.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW says:

                North – It’s odd that you’re saying that, being from Canada where there are zero legal restrictions on abortion up until the moment of birth for any reason whatsoever.

                Pro-life people in Canada are plenty willing to compromise. The pro-choice lobbyists and activists in Canada are still arguing that abortion access isn’t widespread enough, are censoring pro-life groups on university campuses, and would never contenance introducing any restrictions or limitations. I think your perspective on who’s hard-line on this issue is off.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Maybe in Canada, but in the US right after the 2010 wave, a whole host of restrictions were passed in US states ( that should make you very happy that various states restricted a valid medical procedure based largely on religious belief.

                The thing is, I’m a hardcore anti-forced pregnancy person. I want on-demand abortion in any hospital, at no cost to the woman, because ya’ know, I trust that 99.999% of women aren’t crazy people who are suddenly going to have an abortion in week 37 for a non-life threatening reason.

                But, most pro-choice liberals I know would be perfectly happy with a situation where abortion was fully legal for the first 3 months, and restricted in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and it matches polling of the country.

                The thing is, even my moderate pro-choice friends don’t trust the pro-life lobby, who tells lies about abortions connection to cancer and thus, passes laws that make doctors give false information to patients, along with establishing waiting periods that pile a heavy burden on poor pregnant women, that they wouldn’t push for further restrictions.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        Does “libertarian” mean the same thing in the UK as it does in the US? (This is stipulating that there is a single agreed-upon meaning in the US: given the “no true Libertarian” arguments I routinely see among self-identified libertarians, this is not obviously entirely true.) There is a classic Michael Moorcock essay from the 1970s denouncing Robert Heinlein. The thing is, Moorcock seems to have a been an old fashioned Marxist, but he repeatedly used the word “libertarian” as a term of approval. So far as I can tell, he was using it in a “civil liberties” sense, and did not consider it as being opposed to communitarianism. In present-day US political discourse, “libertarian” seems to mostly refer to economics, favoring an unregulated free market. The two uses are nearly orthogonal to one another.

        If we are using “libertarian” in a civil liberties sense, then it makes perfect sense to take “authoritarian” as its oppose. If we are using “libertarian” in an economic sense, then a libertarian might or might not also be authoritarian. In my experience, discovering that a self-identified libertarian is also an authoritarian is utterly unsurprising.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          The table uses libertarian to cover both the social and the economic. So the criticism seems valid. Communitarian also doesn’t seem quite right as its opposite, either. But I don’t know what does…Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Left anarchists used to call themselves libertarian during the 19th century. Using the word anarchist or anarchy was not always possible so the left anarchists referred to themselves as libertarian. The current American usage came about through intellectual discussions during the 1950s and 1960s on behalf of Classical Liberals who wanted to disassociate themselves with Modern Liberals. The actual split between classical and modern liberals occurred during the late 19th century though when some liberals began advocating for a more active role in government to combat poverty but still hated the idea of public ownership of industry.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarianism, in that libertarians are opposed both to the social authoritarianism of the right and the economic authoritarianism of the left.

        Actually, that’s a bit of an oversimplification in that there’s a degree of social authoritarianism on the left as well, and economic authoritarianism on the right.Report

        • But they’re quite soft on the authoritarianism of the wealthy. You see this in a few ways: one is their eagerness to dismiss the poor as untrmenschen. Another is their embrace of childish power fantasied like Atlas Shrugged..Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            Not merely of the wealthy: also those with social capital. Hence the dispute with the Civil Rights Act. This in turn makes libertarianism a comfortable haven for outright racists.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              @richard-hershberger Ah, the racism smear. The last, and first, resort of someone who has absolutely nothing intelligent to say.Report

              • Hey, does the commenting policy apply to people criticizing liberals?

                Yeah, I thought not.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Fair point. I missed the line amidst the escalation.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                Can we get something in the comment policy about the use spurious accusations of racism as a way to smear the opposition? I really don’t have the words to express the depth of my contempt for this tactic and the people who use it.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                I’m considering suggesting that we permanently ban the words “liberal,” “conservative,” and “libertarian,” and every time someone uses one of those words, the website auto-replaces them with a pre-selected list of particularly absurd random nouns. Best of all, the word selected for the word will change every time the page refreshes.

                So Commenter X might write:
                “The thing about conservatives is that they’re all racists”…

                …but Commenter Y will read
                “The thing about platypus is that they’re all racists”…

                …and will reply
                “Did you mean conservatives or liberals? Because we all know liberals are the real racists.”…

                …and Commenter X will read
                “Did you mean yurts or prophylactics? Because we all know deontology are the real racists.”…

                …and no one will know what the hell they were talking about, unless they figure out how to avoid using the goddamn labels to call each other names.

                Since 90% of the time discussions like this aren’t really about anything anyway, I doubt we’d see all that much degradation of intellectual content.

                In other words, it’s time to take a breather, fellas.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Where you see a power fantasy, other people see a power absence.

            I mean, do you think that I have the right to tell you what to do?
            Because *I* don’t!

            Why would you think that you have the right to tell me what to do?
            Because you have some cops with you who agree with you?Report

            • Avatar LWA says:


              We’ve been over this, haven’t we?
              Yes, Jay, you DO want to tell other people what to do. You just have a very specific list of what you want us to do for you. Maybe because your list doesn’t include anything sexual or drug related, you think it doesn’t count,but it really does.

              You want to send men with guns to pick my pocket to support the regime of property and contract rights which you enjoy immensely- I am not allowed to say no or opt out.

              You don’t live in a hut in the wilderness- you want me to pay for social legal and physical infrastructure to protect your stuff and provide you with opportunity to get more stuff, which I will then need to protect.

              C’mon- this Greta Garbo “I want to be left alone” stuff is nonsense- you DON’T want to be left alone, but involved in a deep and complex interdependent relationship with all of us.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                For the record, you have as many allowances to say no or opt out as Freddie Gray.

                But only one of us argues that we’d be better off after dissolving the police.

                You don’t live in a hut in the wilderness- you want me to pay for social legal and physical infrastructure to protect your stuff and provide you with opportunity to get more stuff, which I will then need to protect

                I pay for my electricity and water and sewage. My part of town is also blessed by busybodies. Who arm themselves recreationally. Your participation is not required.Report

              • Avatar LWA says:

                You pay your bills?

                Seriously, thats your argument?

                You really think you don’t sit atop a massive pile of unearned wealth which other people provide to you?Report

            • Look, if it was a tragedy that the people on the train got asphyxiated, it might be a cautionary tale. If we get told that they were being punished for their sins, all of which amount to not agreeing with every tenet of the author’s “philosophy”, it’s a power fantasy.

              Not a serious one, of course, because you can’t get much power from static electricity.Report

  2. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Labour – 94%
    LibDem – 88%
    Sinn Fein – 78%
    Cons – 31%
    UKIP – 23%

    I’m sure none of you are surprised by this.Report

  3. Avatar Zane says:

    Related to how same issue is read differently within US vs. UK politics: State oversight over the media appears to be an issue in this election per the Peter Osborn piece. It’s odd that there wasn’t a survey question about government regulation of the press/free speech, isn’t it? (And I ask this only partly to refute the idea that I’m an “authoritarian”…)

    Funny how Scotland has become the UK’s Quebec.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Well, you have to remember, there was the whole News of the World hacking scandal where it was shown the tabloids had hacked tons of celebrities phones to get gossip on them, plus there’s already an organization devoted to being a watchdog for TV stations (OFCOM).

      Plus, there’s the issue that the biggest newspapers in the country aren’t relatively staid publications that may have leanings, but aren’t loud about it (WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, LA Times, etc.). The largest papers are tabloids dominated by one main ownership group who well, post tabloid stories about the horror of the day.

      Put it this way, the question of regulating newspapers might come up in the US is a big chunk of them were owned by Rupert Murdoch, and they continually had front page stories about Hispanics ‘hating America’ and ‘benefit cheats’ pointing out the outliers of people who do abuse the system, while ignoring the actual stories the matter.

      It’s an entirely different culture when it comes to the media there.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I got Labour and Lib-Dem from a week weeks ago when you posted the quiz on facebook.

    My guess is that we will see a repeat of 2010. Labour or Tory getting a small overall win but not enough to produce a majority government. I suspect that Scottish Independence will replace Lib-Dems as the third largest party. Lib-Dems were seriously hurt by choosing to align with the Tories instead of Labour in 2010 and have taken the biggest blow to their reputation in the last five years. The wildcard is UKIP but I don’t expect them to do anything but win a few more seats but even this will be a huge victory by their general standards of success. My from a distance take is that the UKIP appeals to the British version of Joe the Plumber. Going people seem to stick with Labour or the Tories depending.Report

    • Avatar trumwill says:

      You never posted those results! If you had, you’d be able to bring them back up.

      I think the danger of UKIP is less the number of seats they will win, but the number of seats they will throw from the Tories to somebody else in a plurality-win FPTP system.

      If the UK doesn’t settle on two parties, they’re going to really need to re-evaluate their electoral system.

      The big unknown here is that Milliband says that he will not coalition with the SNP. Which means that in the event that his party wins the most seats (the most likely outcome at this juncture), the UK will have a minority government. That, combined with the 2011 law making it more difficult to call a new election, will take them into uncharted territory.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Eh, the only difference between actual Labour/SNP coalition and a Labor minority government is that the SNP won’t get ministers. Which is probably good for both Labour and SNP in the short-run as SNP doesn’t get the LibDem problem of having to approve of things that are opposed in their manifesto and Labour has a party that largely agrees with them as a partner on a vote-by-vote basis.

        But yeah, I don’t think it’s going to last the full five years.Report

  5. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Lib Dem 93%
    Labour 92%
    Sinn Fein 87%
    Conservatives 55%
    UKIP 43%

    (below the fold: Green 95%)

    Though depending on the questions I suspect I’d be more Lib Dem less Labour – I understand Labour is pretty pro-surveillance state.Report

  6. Avatar greginak says:

    Labor 89
    Lib Dem 83
    Sinn Fein 79
    Con 68
    UKIP 63Report

  7. Avatar CJColucci says:

    I started working through the survey, but then I realized that issues were irrelevant. I’m rooting for Labour so I can hear about Chancellor Ed Balls.Report

  8. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Labour – 89%
    Liberal Democrats – 87%
    Scottish Nationals – 85%
    Plaid Cymru – 79%
    Sinn Fein – 78%
    Green – 77%
    Conservatives – 76%

    It seems odd to me that I can agree with Labour 89% of the time and still agree with the Conservatives 76% of the time. I suppose that goes with the US conventional wisdom that all of the major UK parties are at least somewhat to the left of our Democrats. The “where voters side with you” map was interesting — looks like I belong in Glasgow. Perhaps because I said “yes” on the Scottish independence question — smaller countries for all!Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Mine was similar, though in the other direction.

      I find it interesting that almost nobody scores higher for the LDP than for Labour.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        From what I know and read, Liberal Democrat voters fall into two camps

        1.) Left-leaning voters in urban areas pissed off at Labour over support of the Iraq War, but who are upper-middle-class types. The phrase I heard is “too rich to vote Labour, too smart to vote Tory.”

        2.) Rural-based seats where the LibDems have cast themselves as a rural protest vote in places where the Labour aren’t strong enough, then used their porking/constituency services abilities to stay in power.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          Lib-Dems also seem popular among naturalized ex-pats from various anglophone countries. I remember reading that a lot of former Americans really like the LibDems.

          Of course there are not enough of these people to help Lib-Dems win elections.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        I did

        86% conservative
        78% UK independence
        67% Liberal democrats
        66* LabourReport

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Most times that I take one of these quizzes, I score more liberal (US definition) than I think I am.Report

  9. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    Took the quiz when it was on Linky Friday, so I don’t remember my exact results.

    The weird thing is that it showed me as matching the SNP on social issues and immigration and matching the LibDems on economic and environmental issues–But for overall match, it split the difference and showed me matching with Labour.Report

  10. Avatar Michael M. says:


    99% – Labour
    96% – Green
    94% – Liberal Democrats
    91% – Sinn Fein
    36% – Conservatives
    25% – UK Independence

    The common subject area that aligns me with the outliers in my results (Conservatives and UK Independence) is education policy.Report

  11. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    So, as I understand it, the Tories are expected to still come first in the seat count, but still short of a majority–And even if the LibDems remain their coalition partners, they’ll still likely be short of that majority.

    On the other hand, Labour plus SNP is likely to be a majority–but Labour has ruled out a formal coalition.

    People who live in or otherwise know about Westminster system countries–What does that actually mean after election day? What’s the mechanism for going from an election where Labour comes in second to a country with a Labour minority government supported by the SNP on a vote-by-vote basis? Or does David Cameron stay PM until further political shenanigans happen?Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      If I remember correct, whichever party has the most seats has the first opportunity to form a government. In this, it looks likely to be the Conservatives. If they come to the conclusion they can’t, either because they don’t have the numbers, or think they’ll get a Throne Speech voted down, then the Queen (in theory) will then ask the runner-up to create a government and will go from there.Report

      • Avatar Niall says:

        The rules are (supposedly) that in case of no clear majority, the incumbent gets first attempt to form a government, but it’s turned into a bit of a free for all. (Labour have been trying to stop the haemorrhage of seats towards the SNP by muddying the waters on this, but more likely to backfire.) Cameron can put his speech forward and see what happens, but if a majority vote against it he’s out and anyone else can go for it – only reasonable candidate being Miliband, obviously. Or Cameron can decline to do so and Miliband gets first crack at it instead. You don’t need a majority of votes for, you just need to stop a majority of votes against, so a minority government is quite possible. Or if both attempts fail (eg if SNP with significant seats votes with both against the other), it’s back to another election, but nobody wants that as voters will get annoyed at everyone.Report

  12. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    Labour 98%
    Sinn Fein 94%
    Liberal Democrats 93%
    Conservatives 55%
    UKIP 21%
    Scottish Nationals 98%
    Green 98%
    Plaid Cymru 96%

    Not really a fan of the “left-wing authoritarian” characterization. I much prefer communitarian. And “legislated equality” as an axis, I think of as helping everyone have access to Rawlsian primary goods – broadly defined.

    The 98% Labour makes sense though, I interned with them when Gordon Brown was running, and will be so pleased to see the LibDems get their comeuppance. “Vote Clegg get Cameron” was spot on, and they deserve every soured, former LibDem voter for a generation for their utter betrayal.

    Left-Wing Authoritarian
    Your political beliefs would be considered extremely Left-Wing and moderately Authoritarian on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to stand up and protect those who are oppressed or taken advantage of and believe the government should do the same.


  13. Avatar Niall says:

    Interesting to see the outside view on this! I live in Scotland, voting on Thursday for SNP, scored 91% SNP, 91% Labour, 86% Lib Dem, 33% Conservative, 30% UKIP, plus 95% Green, 89% Plaid under the line. No surprises there apart from coming out as authoritarian left (my biggest problem with SNP is their growing authoritarianism), as I came out as libertarian left on a different one ( I think I like that one better, as shows the distribution of parties better than a simple percentage – even if you don’t do the test you can see the evolution of party positions over the years – esp Labour and Lib Dem.

    This actually shows what a joke all this fuss is about – there’s a deep, deep dislike of the SNP by Labour, despite very similar policies and centre-left positioning. Labour in Scotland has a few good guys, but is mostly careerist idiots desperate to hold on to their expense accounts, and after quite a brutal referendum campaign where Labour did nothing but talk Scotland down, they get a well-deserved wipe out, along with the Lib Dems. A lot of people expected that from the Tories (the Conservative and Unionist Party, to give the full name), but it hurt a lot of people to hear their party saying it – caricatured with a bit of truth as “too wee, too poor, too stupid”.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Hi @niall ! Thanks for stopping by! How did you vote on the referendum? (I may have more questions, if you’re cool to answer them, that depend on how you vote on that one.)Report

      • Avatar Niall says:

        Hi! I voted yes – ask away.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Does support for the SNP versus Labour run strictly (or almost strictly) along the lines of the Yes/No vote?

          Is SNP surge in Parliament related strongly to Labour and Brown campaigning against independence? Or is it mostly a matter of “We may agree on the issues, but they don’t represent ours”?

          With the referendum having failed, is the SNP’s muscle more devoted representing Scottish interests in parliament (rail from Edinburg to Glasgow, etc), more devolution, or another referendum? If they don’t get the last any time soon, will the experiment be considered a failure?

          If Labour gets its act together, replacing the “careerist idiots”… do you see the overwhelming support for the SNP waning?Report

          • Avatar Niall says:

            Hey, harder than expected! I’ve been trying to write this a while so pronouns are all over the place, hah.

            Maybe as background I should say I voted LD in 2010, SNP in 2011 (for Scottish Parliament) and was strongly for Devo Max at the start of the campaign but not very keen on independence. Then as it went on, I started to believe we could do it, and the terrible behaviour of media, government and the Better Together campaign destroyed any lingering fondness for the British State.

            It’s hard to give a definition of how to separate Lab and SNP, as both cover the same centre-left area. I initially thought no but I think it’s a lot more complex – SNP’s core support was always people who wanted independence, and Lab core support was the working class/industrial areas. Then SNP picked up a lot of supporters through solid government over the last 8 years, while Labour have relied on their old supporters always being there (my faither always voted Labour etc) and haven’t really worked constructively to gain new supporters. The result being the existing and new Labour support is more defined by being against the SNP than anything else (and so broadly against independence), and you can see it in the way they talk – Scottish Labour doesn’t bring anything new or radical to the table and just attacks the SNP on anything and everything. The voters kind of like what the SNP do (free prescriptions, care for elderly, no tuition fees, council tax freeze gets a lot of support) and so the attacks don’t resonate. So yeah it is kind of split on indyref vote, but the cause of it is deeper than just that.

            I would say the drop in Labour support is largely from their actions through the referendum – a lot of people thought Labour were the good guys and the Tories were the bad guys, and then spent two years watching them team up to talk us down, to the point of laughing and celebrating together at the result. The spell was broken and they changed from being one of us (the Scottish people) to one of them (the faraway Westminster elite), and so as you say, they don’t represent us any more. On Brown, I really don’t get it. I thought he was a joke since 2010 election, but gets hyped up for making intervention after intervention by the press, so not a clue.

            My impression on the SNP now is they have accepted the result of the vote, and are putting forward a good faith effort to work inside the Union. It’s no-lose for them – if they do and get powers for Holyrood, the long term independence plan is still on. If they’re denied any participation in the commons, the Scots see that they and their representatives are viewed as second class in the eyes of the British state, they can capitalise on that too. I don’t know what would make it a failure – the referendum came a bit earlier than they wanted it to in the first place and they won’t rush into a second one if they don’t think they could win it. Everyone knows the story of Quebec.

            I think the support is there for the SNP to lose – I wouldn’t be surprised if the SNP become the reliable Westminster choice as they’re free of the Lab/Tory whips and will represent Scotland only. If they do well this time, of course. FPTP is all or nothing as well so plays into that – if SNP can maintain 35% they can keep a lot of seats indefinitely. I think support is almost certainly going to slip the longer they’re in government though, and can’t see anyone but Labour as serious opposition at Holyrood, but the rules are different there!Report

  14. Avatar Aussie Sheila says:

    96% lab; 90% green; 88% lib dem; 25%con; 90%snp.

    I hope it’s a draw, and that the resulting clusterf&$@ results in new elections, with better intelligence as to the most favourable anti Tory coalition.

    Oh, and btw, f&@$ Murdoch and all his minions. If a centre left coalition manages a win in the next couple of years, he is done like a dinner. Over to the US where naturally, he is allowed to run amok. Free press and all that. What a shame we aren’t all billionaires. Then our speech would be as free as his. What a joke.Report

  15. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    According to the quiz I am 98% labor and I should live in Cornwall.Report

  16. Avatar Roland Dodds says:

    I was placed within a few points of voting Labour, Lib Dems, and UKIP. I am as schizophrenic a voter as you can get I suppose.

    Oddly enough, I volunteered with the Labour Party in Scotland during the last Parliamentary election that brought the Tories/Lib Dems to power. I imagine there are far fewer Labor activists out in the community this year….Report

  17. Avatar Matty says:

    Is the Ole England in the title of a piece that has a lot about the SNP a deliberate mistake?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      You mean Scotland isn’t in England?! (I kid)

      It wasn’t a precise title. I tried to think of something for Scotland and couldn’t, so went with England (for which there is a link!).

      I maybe should have gone with the old standby, Disunited Kingdom.Report

  18. I know I posted these already, but here goes:

    84% Liberal democrat
    82% Labour
    74% Sinn Fein
    66% Conservatives
    44% UK Independence

    Not sure what this says about me.Report

  19. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    Labor 91
    Lib Dem 89
    Sinn Fein 75
    Con 63
    UKIP 58

    quite similar to @greginak.

    I’m surprised because usually when I take these quizzes for American candidates, I get in the 40s or lower for every one.Report

  20. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Ah, separatists. If you win, that’s the end of the story. If you lose, that just means you need to keep holding referenda until you win.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I was actually reminded of our discussion about the Scotland referendum when the subject of Puerto Rican statehood came up, where it may be the same dynamic in reverse.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Well, Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States in all but name, which is inconsistent with democracy. And, going by Wikipedia, in the 2012 referendum a majority voted against their current situation and 61% of those favoured statehood (with the next-closest option, free association, far behind).

        Puerto Rico’s problem is that, unlike separation, they can’t just have a straight-up yes/no vote because there are multiple options. There’s already been a clear vote against the status quo of their relations with the US.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          A scant 54% voted against the status quo, which doesn’t qualify as the sort of consensus needed for a change in status (either independence or statehood) even if they all agreed on what they would like to change to, which of course they do not. As it is, barely a third of voters voted for statehood and less than half of those who voted in the first section voted for statehood in the second.

          They might have gotten more with a straight up-and-down vote (as was the case previously), but they purposefully didn’t go that route in order to achieve a particular result. In contrast, 83% of Alaskans voted for statehood and over 90% of Hawaiians did.Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW says:

            When the status quo is “not being able to vote for the leaders of the country which rules you”, I think 54% of the people being against that is certainly sufficient to justify a change in status.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              But the two non-status quo sides are diametrically opposed. That’s like saying over 50% people oppose Obamacare so we should repeal it, when something like a fifth to a quarter of that “opposition faction” are there because they don’t think PPACA goes far enough.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              If the status quo is that intolerable, they should be able to get much more than a bare majority to support changing it. Even if they could agree on what comes next, there is still the 46% getting swept into a permanent change, the support for which may not last as log as the consequences.

              But it doesn’t seem to me that the status quo is all that bad, at least compared to most of the other available options. Statehood means taxes that they currently do not pay, and while they would get a voice in the national government they would also be far more accountable to it. They’d no longer get to do things like set their own minimum wage locally.

              Which is why the status quo seems to command more support than any other individual option, and why they had to kind of rig the ballot to get a pro-statehood vote (which was rightfully disregarded by even those who would like to see PR statehood).Report

  21. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    My results:

    95% Labour
    90% Lib Dem
    87% Sinn Féin (what? no! I guess it’s like the Bloc, where we’re leftists so we end up on the same side for most issues despite my ardent anti-separatism)
    28% UKIP
    17% ConservativesReport

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I flinched when I saw that I had UKIP as #2.

      Then I thought “Well, issue for issue, I guess it’s not too much of a surprise that I did.”Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        What’s your view on / understanding of the UKIP? I’ve heard them described as BNP-lite and am not clear on whether that’s broadly accurate or excessively harsh.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

          Well, here’s their key points

          – a ban on unskilled immigration to the UK for 5 years
          – leaving the EU
          – 50,000 visa cap on skilled immigration
          – increase in defense spending
          – cut foreign aid by 9 billion
          – repeal Climate Change Act / abolish green taxes
          – support for PR over FPTP (wonder why?!?!)
          – various tax cuts paid for by things other parties would never touch (ie. Scotland, EU, foreign aid, etc.)
          – bunch of “we’ll give you, the honest English man (but not those dirty immigrants) free stuff!”, again largely paid for by cutting things the other parties wouldn’t touch.

          On the non-mainfesto portion, their leader said several dumb things in the leader’s debate about people with AIDS, and they’ve had multple Akin-style moments with people they’ve got standing for seats that have had to stand down (such as one called for the kidnapping of Obama), plus Farage said in the old version of the UKIP that wasn’t going after former working class Labour voters in rural England, that looking at the privatizing the NHS might be a good idea.Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW says:

            Thanks, Jesse.

            They do sound really bad. Combination of xenophobia and aggression is never a good thing, added to anti-poor, anti-worker economic policies. And seriously, foreign aid is a small fraction of the budget and the UK has one of the world’s better development agencies, I’d hate to see it gutted.

            I can see why they’d support proportional representation given the election results: third-largest vote share, 1 MP. A good thing on the policy level, but weird on the democracy level.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

          Oh, forgot to add, they also got caught having policy up from their old “we’re a libertarian-leaning nationalist party” days, basically endorsing a very conservative economic agenda (flat tax, no maternity leave, scrapping any kind of overtime, vacation, limit on hours, etc.) that of course, looks good if you’re a right-leaning conservative in America, but even the Conservative Party would never endorse in the UK.

  22. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Shoot, we’re not going to know anything for sure until tomorrow?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I just saw a tweet from John Podhoretz that said: “YouGov Poll is an online poll taken today. Not an exit.”

      So, of course, I checked my article and it said: “The Ipsos MORI/Gfk NOP poll was carried out for Sky News, ITV News and the BBC at 141 polling locations in 133 constituencies across Great Britain.”

      So, all that to say, I still have no idea what’s going on.Report

  23. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Results about to start rolling in. As @jaybird notes, it could be a really happy night for the Tories.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Also, why didn’t anyone tell me that there is not only a Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol Party but also an Official Monster Raving Loony Party? It’s like you guys don’t love me anymore.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Charlie Stross is already predicting that if the exit poll numbers hold up, Scotland is gone by 2025. If I understand him correctly, his theory is that despite, or perhaps because of, the predicted SNP near-sweep in Scotland (exit poll says 58 of 59 seats), Cameron is committed to actions guaranteed to seriously piss off the Scots.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Oddly, the SNP secondary preference is 45/39/16 with “don’t know or don’t care” taking the top spot.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


          SNP won 58 out of the 59 seats in Scotland according to the Predictions. Previously this was Labour’s stronghold. Conservatives seem to have gained from England.

          The final tally is:

          316 for Tory, 239 for Labour, 58 for SNP, 10 for Lib-Dem, 2 for UKIP, 2 for Green.

          The big lesson here is that Clegg destroyed his party by going into a coalition government with the Tories instead of their more natural allies, Labour. Labour was also felled by the rise of Scottish Independence which also spells trouble for Cameron and the Tories down the road. UKIP provided to be too extreme and toxic for the Brits.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Lord Ashcroft is projecting UKIP to get 14% of the vote! If true, and if we count LDP for the conservatives – and there is reason that maybe we should this time – they will have gotten a majority. (If Ashcroft’s numbers are right.)Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko says:

              Bollocks on Lord Arsecroft!* ‘E only gave UKIP 11% what just this morning!

              * I can’t possibly be the first person to call him that, even in jest.Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko says:

              UKIP wound up with 12.6%. That makes them the third-most popular party by votes; one in eight British voters preferred UKIP to all available alternatives. Resulting in their attaining a grand total of one member in a 650-seat Parliament.

              Maybe in the specific case that’s a fortuitous result. Unless you live in Clacton-on-Sea, in which case you’re likely to find your hometown will soon be rendered the butt of some snobbish jokes in the near future.

              But it does suggest that a system that relies on geographic districting and a first-past-the-post selection system may not necessarily result in truly representative democracy, regardless of the way executive power is vested.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko says:

            As I see it, those numbers are projections from exit polls. Note that it takes 326 votes to form a majority in Commons. The obvious minority partner in the government in such a scenario would be the SNP, meaning the Tories would have to make good on the promises they made last year in the independence referendum and give Scotland some more of that sweet, sweet devolution it likes so much.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              316+10=326. It’s right on the line and only works it the Tories meet or exceed the projections.

              If not, then a minority government is the most likely scenario. Possibly a minority coalition, which is a thing!Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


              The big problem is that SNP is farther to the left than the Tories. The Independence movement was left-wing, right-wing in character. Scots are The Left in the UK and also the Left of the Labour Party.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              The problem with the Tories plus SNP is not just that the SNP is considerably farther left, as Saul points out, but that Cameron has now promised a bunch of stuff that the English favor that the SNP is fundamentally opposed to: the EU referendum, EVEL in Westminster, and Trident, to name three. If the Tories wind up within ten seats of a majority, I suspect Will is right and they’ll go for a minority government, cobbling together majorities for specific votes as necessary.Report

  24. Avatar Dand says:

    Nate Silver says there might be worldwide polling problem

    Are conspiracy theories as common in UK as the US? I remember hearing a bunch after the polls were wrong in 2004.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      The UK has a documented historical problem with chronically underpolling Tories. Until this year, they’d corrected it.

      Polling, it turns out, is imperfect. Which was a heresy in 2012 and will be heresy in 2016.Report

      • Not just the UK. It turns out that 75% of Americans though George Washington was full of it,Report

      • The heresy in 2012 wasn’t that polling is imperfect: it was that the polls were all skewed in a way only understood by right-wing media and Real Men (but I repeat myself), and, unskewed, pointed to a precisely determined outcome.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          From what I recall, any suggestion that the polls might be systematically skewed was met with a pretty similar reaction. I had to defend the proposition that there was an outside chance that the polls might be wrong, and the response was “Dude, polls=science.”Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              Did we know before the election? Was it unreasonable to believe they might be?

              If your answer to the second is yes, that’s what I was talking about. If your answer is no, that wasn’t the vibe in 2012 outside certain (conservative and horse race announcer) circles.Report

              • There was no particular reason to believe it; the people who professed it publicly all wanted badly either to believe it, to make others believe it, or both; and it turned out to be false. I feel fine about giving it no credence.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                When is there a reason to believe that polls are systematically skewed? Was there a reason to believe it in this election? In Israel? In the other elections Silver refers to?Report

        • Avatar Dand says:

          As opposed to 2004 where inaccurate polls were evidence of a rigged election.

          • Hey, when the CEO of a company that makes voting machines says that he’s going to deliver the election for one of the candidates, you have to wonder 🙂Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            The main criticism of the pollsters in 2004 were that (a) the pollsters weren’t adequately counting people without landlines, and (b) in part because of that, were not weighing party affiliation appropriately. These things weren’t terribly unreasonable concerns, but turned out not to be issues.

            In 2012 the main criticism was that the polls were assuming a turnout similar to that of 2008 when they believed that turnout would return to normal levels. As it turned out, not only did 2008 turnout persevere, but the polls had underestimated depressed turnout among Republicans. Here the concerns again were not completely unwarranted (nobody knew what was going to happen on election day), though they had an irrational level of certainty that this was the case.Report

  25. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Well, when Alberta was won by Liberals, I was thinking about what this meant for Hillary.

    But England is making me wonder what *THIS* will mean for Hillary.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t think either has much to say about HRC and 2016.

      The Progressive Conservatives ruled Alberta for 44 or 45 years. In a representative democracy, that is probably how long one-party rule could last before the people get antsy and want change.

      There are a lot more social issues on the ground in 2016 and the Conservatives are not really near GOP levels of conservative. The Conservative Platform would be the envy of many Democrats and not just neo-liberals. The Tories have made peace with NHS. Our right-wingers have not made peace with Obamacare yet and I don’t expect them to anytime in the future.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Dude, *DEMOCRATS* haven’t made peace with Obamacare.

        Which is another thing that makes me knit my brow about 2016.

        If we keep kicking key parts of the legislation down the road in 2015, what does *THAT* mean for Ms. Clinton?Report

  26. Avatar Matty says:

    I really didn’t see that coming, I voted Green hoping for a broad left wing coalition that would further slow the pace of spending cuts and expected a continuation of the Tory coalition, with fewer liberals and possibly the addition of the DUP.

    Not only were the polls wrong up till the exit poll, I was very wrong about the general mood. It’s a reminder how much we all live in little bubbles of people like us. The modern world with communications and travel should have broadened our experience, instead it seems to mean we segregate by opinion instead of geography.

    Like a lot of people I’m tempted to say Scotland will go within 10 years, less if there is a vote to leave the EU, but I’m chastened enough to say I really have no idea.Report

  27. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Yipes, that’s pretty much a worst-case scenario in policy/national unity terms, and pretty dreadful in democratic terms as well. A majority government based on 37% of the vote and a +6% lead, and the seats of the other parties don’t even remotely resemble their vote share either.

    Uck, at least when the Canadian conservatives won we had the plus sides of the Bloc being crushed and an NDP official opposition. This result is dreadful from every angle.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Oddly enough, I’m not as bothered by the 37%. I’ll be crunching some numbers later, but it seems likely that in a head-to-head match-up that Cameron would have won. (In contrast to almost every previous UK election I’ve looked at going back to the 1950’s!)

      But… my thoughts on Alberta and Canada hold regardless. If the body politic’s preference is for multiple parties, and it’s going to stay that way, the system needs to accommodate that somehow, either with MMD or transferrable votingReport