Monday, May 11, 2015

COTW: A Tale of Two Maps

The United Kingdom's Labour Party is mired in its past. Under former leader Ed Milliband the party failed to attract votes from the "aspirational, middle class" and was reduced to its core constituency, the remnants of the traditional British working class. The chart tells the story with UK coalfields located on the left and the seats (232) won by Labour in the 2015 election located on the right:

Labour was accused of being too centrist prior to the election, so Ed Milliband distanced the party from Tony Blair's "New Labour". This analysis was given by Alan Johnson, who served as Home Secretary, Health Secretary and Education Secretary in the last three Labour governements. Labour peer, Peter Mandelson also called Milliband's embrace of the left-wing a "giant political experiment" that went wrong. Another New Labour peer, Lord Hutton, called Milliband's social manifesto an "old-school socialist menu". The scale of Labour's loss to the Tories was a shock not seen since Margaret Thatcher, but it was the collapse of the coalition party, Liberal Democrats, and suport for the Scotish Nationalist Party (SNP), that allowed the Conservatives to gain an overall majority. LibDems won only 8 seats while the left SNP won 56.

Labour actually increased its share of the popular vote from 29% under Blair to 30.4%. There has been discussion in the UK to move to proportional representation similar to that used on the Continent, but "proportional lite" was rejected in a 2011 referendum. UKIP won 12.6% of the 2015 popular vote, but only gained 1 MP while SNP won 4.7% of the popular vote, but gained 56 seats according to the current winner-take-all system similar to the United State's Congress.  Conservatives' majority is wafer thin without the coalition Lib Dem's 58 seats.  It is down to ten now.  One item on Cameron's agenda: a referendum on UK's European Union membership.