Feeds:
Inlägg
Kommentarer

Posts Tagged ‘Skottland’

VAL 2016 | Mycket har skrivits om att Labour tog hem segern i borgmästarvalet i London. Men en större överraskningen var valet i Skottland.

Ruth Davidson

Där lyckades Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – eller Scottish Conservatives till vardags – gå förbi Labour och bli det största oppositionspartiet.

Efter valet skrev partiledaren Ruth Davidson en krönika om sina upplevelser från valrörelsen. Den gav en bra bild av hur det känns att kampanja på gator och torg, dag in och dag ut.

”I can barely believe it, but I have to. I couldn’t be happier, yet I’m empty inside”, skrev hon i The Spectator när valframgången var ett faktum. Resultatet, trettioen ledamöter, var mer än dubbelt mot tidigare.

On Thursday morning I’m woken by day three of a tension headache firing tentacles up the back of my neck and the base of my skull then burrowing into the cortex beneath. I am drenched in sweat, with dread balled in my stomach. My back throbs thanks to the ire of a decade-old spine break that has never fully healed. I spit blood, mixed with toothpaste, into the sink. My skin has broken out into the kind of volcanic fury not seen since my teenage years and my nails are bitten down to stumps. I love election campaigns. But polling days are their own special torture.

Scots will have had two referendums and two elections in 21 months, which means I’ve spent years on the road. These are hard, gruelling empty miles filled with limp service-station sandwiches and buttressed by soul-sapping chain hotel rooms. And I love it. The sheer joy of criss-crossing the country, the chance encounters, the backs slapped and hands shaken. For a geek like me — thirsty to learn new things at every stop, in every conversation and about every dot on the map we visit — it’s an opportunity to get drunk on the wonder of the new. Colleagues become the sort of brothers-in-arms that only months of in-the-trenches hard graft can bring. But every campaign has a reckoning. Elections are reports card that judge all of us. However much we can plead the mitigation of circumstances, momentum or the actions of others, there’s no escaping the verdict of votes cast.

I’ve marched my team of Scots Tories to the top of the mountain and — God love them — they’ve followed me to a man. Confronting the final 40-hour shift, I felt the burden of that reckoning heavily. Dante should have had a special circle of hell reserved for those who dare to dream at elections, and then see those dreams shot down and the corpses strafed to make sure.

I walk into the polling station with Jen, my partner, clutching her hand as a bank of photographers flash us. Once inside, I duck behind a pillar so they don’t clock that I’ve no vote to cast (mine went by post weeks ago). I then spend my hours as a sentry at various polling stations in a seat I hope to win, campaigning with my fixed air-hostess smile and saying a cheery ‘good morning’ every three seconds as voters filter past. I try to keep score. The ones stopping to chat are a mental mark in the ‘for’ column. Those who ignore me and stare at their feet are in the ‘against’. Going by mental maths, it’s close, but the Presbyterian Scot in me knows it’s worse to hope. It’s the hope that kills you.

Weather tales and gossip are traded within the team like football stickers. ‘It’s raining in Dumfries but sunny in Annan. That’s got to be good for us.’ ‘Mebbe, but what about Biggar?’ As the close of poll ticks nears, the frenetic activity seems pointless; if someone hasn’t voted by 9.40 p.m., they probably won’t by 10 p.m. It doesn’t stop our pace of campaigning stepping up, just in case. At 10 p.m. the window creaks, clangs and is bolted.

This is Schrödinger’s result time: any outcome is possible. So I pull on my suit for the count at Edinburgh Central, sweating under the starch. I follow the old rule: never jinx an election result by writing an acceptance speech. My crumpled concession notes will have to do. As I’m dragged from gantry point to gantry point, across television networks, my picture of election night is more fractured than those watching at home. One result relayed by phone brings a guttural yelp of ‘fucking yaaassssss!!!’ It is a bit too loud. Half a dozen photographers canter over. I refix the mask and hide behind my suit.

Läs mer: ”Ruth Davidson: I’m a John Major Conservative but we are ‘on probation’ in Scotland”, The Telegraph.

Bild: Getty Images. ”Ruth met voters in an Edinburgh pub […]” Från partiets Facebooksida.

Read Full Post »

VAL 2015 | I en intervju med BBC:s Andrew Marr lyckades David Cameron på ett mycket kraftfullt sätt förklara faran med SNP. När han fick tala till punkt vill säga.

Vad premiärministern sade var bland annat följande:

[T]his would be the first time in our history that a group of nationalists from one part of our country would be involved in altering the direction of the government of our country, and I think that is a frightening prospect, for people thinking in their own constituencies is that bypass going to be built, will my hospital get the money it needs? Frankly, this is a group of people that wouldn’t care about what happened in the rest of the country. The rest of the United Kingdom, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, wouldn’t get a look in and that’s the prospect that we face if we don’t get the majority Conservative government that is in our reach.

[…]

[T]here is a fundamental difference when you have a group of nationalists that want to be involved in the government of a country which they don’t want to belong to. So you have to ask yourself, if you’re a voter in England or Wales or in Northern Ireland, would these people care at all about what happens in my life and my constituency?

[…]

They have every right as members of Parliament, but they do have a fundamentally different approach to any other Member of parliament, which is they don’t believe in the Westminster Parliament, they don’t believe in the United Kingdom, they wouldn’t be coming to Westminster to help our country; they’re coming to Westminster to break up our country and what Ed Miliband needs to do is rule out any sort arrangement because otherwise you’re not only putting not only about the money…

Valet har utvecklats till det mest svårbedömda på många år. En anledning är att det inte längre bara handlar om de stora giganterna Conservative Party och Labour.

I år kommer även valresultatet för UKIP och SNP avgöra vem som som får bilda regering. Om det sedan dessutom måste till en ny koalitionsregering blir läget än mer komplicerat.

Nigel Farages möjligheter att locka väljare från de konservativa kan bli avgörande för om Cameron kommer att kunna få ihop nog med mandat för en majoritetsregering. En nästintill omöjlig uppgift även utan hotet från UKIP.

Samtidigt ser det ut som om separatistiska Scottish National Party skulle kunna utplåna Labour i Skottland.

Hur har det blivit så här? Tittar man historiskt har de två stora partierna bara sig själva att skylla sig själva.

I februarinumret av History Today skriver dess redaktör, Paul Lay, om hur partiet straffade ut sig i Skottland under Margaret Thatchers tid.

[F]or most Britons, the swinging sixties only got going in the 1979s and 1980s; Thatcherism was as much a democratization of the permissiveness and self-love of 1960s elites as it was an attempt to turn back the clocks. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that a more cautious, less individualistic Scotland turned its back on a Conservative party that appeared to want to conserve little.

När Labour inte längre behövde konkurrera med de konservativa i norr blev man lata och självbelåtna.

Fraser Nelson, chefredaktör The Spectator, skriver i Axess:

Först kom 1997 års konservativa kollaps i Skottland, som verkade vidarebefordra hegemonin till Labour. Efter tio år av vunna val utan kamp blev Labour lata. Partiapparaten började gynna sina egna pampar; före detta chaufförer och portföljbärare ärvde säkra mandat. När Donald Dewar, Skottlands före detta försteminister, avled ställde hans före detta kontorschef upp i hans ställe. Labour kunde ha letat efter framtida begåvningar: istället ville man ha lydiga jasägare som garanterat skulle rösta rätt.

I stora delar av Skottland vägde man hellre än räknade Labours röster – partiet brydde sig inte om att värva röster, eller registrera väljare, eller ta hand om lokala partiföreträdare. Skotska Labours strategi gick ut på att säga ”vi hatar de konservativa” – och det fungerade under 1990-talet. Budskapet började bli lite väl lätt att genomskåda under 00-talet. Efter 2010 har det fullkomligt förlorat sin dragningskraft: skottarna slutade att uppfatta konservatismen som ett enda ont. Att rösta på de konservativa ses numera som en harmlös perversion, ungefär som transvestism eller cricket. Att hata de konservativa räckte inte för att bära upp Labour. Men detta blev inte uppenbart förrän under valkampanjen inför folkomröstningen, då en stor del av skotska Labours väljare gick över till jasidan, lockade av det kraftfulla och effektiva budskapet från nationalisterna.

Dessa avhopp i parti och minut från skotska Labour till SNP:s famn är sannerligen egendomliga – separatisterna fantiserar fortfarande om att styra tillsammans med Labour i en koalition. Deras företrädare talar nu om ”chansen att återställa den allmänna hälso- och sjukvården i England till vad den en gång var” – med andra ord, en återställare av de marknadsinriktade reformerna under Tony Blairs år. Det är åtminstone teorin. Men den allians som SNP behöver nu är mellan Nicola Sturgeon, dess nya ledare, och David Cameron. Hon har uteslutit en koalition med de svekfulla konservativa, men ändå behöver hon honom mer än någon annan politiker i Storbritannien. Om hon får välja vem hon skulle installera i Downing Street i maj så skulle hon välja honom.

Så där har vi det. De två statsbärande partierna i Storbritannien har med en kombination av likgiltighet och självgodhet gjort sig mer eller mindre omöjliga i Skottland.

Inte konstigt att valet ser ut att bli en rysare.

Read Full Post »

VAL 2015 | Väljarna har i allt större utsträckning börjat vända de etablerade partierna ryggen i Storbritannien.

Standpoint April 2015 Issue 71

Av den anledningen har Conservative Party och Labour tvingats inse att valkampanjen måste bedrivas lika mycket lokalt och regionalt som nationellt.

Men frågan är om småpartierna, p.g.a. valsystemet, kan förvandla de många röster man antar att de kommer att få till mer än bara några symboliska mandat. Undantaget här är möjligtvis SNP som kan ta hem hela Skottland.

Men oavsett om väljarna tycker att de två stora har blivit allt för lika varandra eller om det handlar om att de inte tycker sig få svar på sina frågor kan det mycket väl ändå bli så att de två stora partierna fortsätter dominera, om än med färre mandat, via ännu en koalitionsregering.

Ingen tror nämligen idag att vare sig Labour eller de konservativa kommer att vinna så pass många röster att det kan bilda en egen majoritetsregering.

I sitt temanumret inför valet skriver Oliver Wiseman, Assistant Editor på tidskriften Standpoint, om hur politiken i landet har förändrats sedan 1950-talet.

One of just two men will be Prime Minister after May 7. In that sense this election is a two-horse race. In every other respect, Britain is in for a messy, multi-dimensional and unpredictable few weeks, after which the country might wake up on May 8 knowing little more than it knew the night before. The process by which Britain resolves the contest between the two candidates for the top job will, to a greater extent than in any election in living memory, be a local rather than national process. Of course, the fierce national debate (televised or not) between Labour and the Conservatives and their respective visions for the country rages on. But an unprecedented proportion of voters are listening to someone else: above all, UKIP and the Greens in England, and the SNP in Scotland. Both UKIP and the SNP have won considerable support by connecting people’s problems to membership of a union, the former a European one, the latter a British one. Can the insurgents live up to their own high expectations on polling day?

[…]

British politics has changed. In the 1955 general election, the high-water mark of the two-party system, 96 per cent of the votes cast went to either Labour or the Conservatives. Just one other party, Clement Davies’s Liberals, won more than one per cent of the national vote and there were only four parties—Sinn Fein being the other—in the House of Commons. By contrast, in 2010, Labour and the Conservatives won a combined share of the vote of just 65 per cent and today there are 12 parties represented in the Commons.

It is no coincidence that 1955 was the year the swingometer made its debut on the BBC’s election coverage. The two-party system meant that the ups and downs of the campaign, the mood of different corners of the country and the strengths or weaknesses of a party leader’s speech mattered only insofar as they affected one thing: the swing. But the TV graphic has become less useful with each election since its debut. In 2015, it is moribund. Election battles are now fought on too many fronts to be encapsulated in the shift of one arrow to the left or the right. Once May 7 and its choppy wake has passed, both Labour and the Conservatives, if they hope to ever form a majority government again, must ask themselves why large swathes of the electorate hate them so much and why parties they dismissed as amateurish flashes in the pan are suddenly doing so well.

Tidskriftsomslag; Standpoint, april 2015.

Read Full Post »

POLITIK | David Cameron måste ta tag i en lång rad problem om han vill att Conservative Party återigen skall bli ett majoritetsparti.

New Statesman 11-17 januari 2013

Ett av de riktigt stora problemen är att man är näst intill utplånade i Skottland. Ävven i norra Englands städer har man stora problem.

Ett exempel är Liverpool. Här hamnade partiets kandidat först på sjunde (!) plats i förra årets borgmästarval.

Förutom Labour och Liberal Democrats gick det även bättre för de grönas kandidat, och för en som definierade sig som ”Trade Unionist and Socialist” samt en liberal och en ”independent”.

David Skelton, deputy director på idéinstitutet Policy Exchange, en think tank till höger, skriver i New Statesman vad förnyarna måste ta itu med om man vill stävja ”dinosaurierna” inom partiet.

Last year, Policy Exchange and YouGov carried out a major polling exercise about what voters want, and there are lessons from it for all the main parties. For the Conservatives, it highlights four (overlapping) ways in which the party needs to do better.

First, they need to do better outside their southern heartland. In the south and the east of England the Tories have nine out of every ten seats. In the Midlands they have about half, and in the north less than a third. In Scotland they hold a single seat.

Second, they need to do better in urban areas. The Tory problem in the north and Midlands is a specifically urban one. There are 80 rural seats in the north and the Midlands. The Conservatives hold 57 of them (or 71 per cent). But there are 124 urban parliamentary seats in cities in the north and Midlands, of which the Conservatives hold just 20 – or 16 per cent.

[…]

Third, the Conservatives do badly among ethnic minorities. Fewer than one in eight voters of Pakistani origin voted Tory, while nearly six out of ten voted Labour. Among black voters, fewer than one in ten voted Tory and eight out of ten voted Labour. Brit – ain’s ethnic-minority voters are usually concentrated in urban areas.

Finally, the Conservatives need to do better among ordinary working people. Polls show two-thirds of voters agree that “the Conservative Party looks after the interests of the rich, not ordinary people”. Even among Conservative voters, more than a quarter agree. They are voting for the party despite this problem. (And no, that isn’t because these people think they are rich and that they will benefit.)

Although class differences in voting patterns have declined, there are still large numbers of people who think that the party is “not for people like them”. This is a problem for the party everywhere, but particularly outside the south-east. People in the north are more likely to perceive themselves as working class than people doing the same jobs in the south.

So was Tory modernisation off target? What was the first phase of Tory modernisation? Ask a Westminster journalist and he would talk about hugging huskies, promoting greenery and not wearing shoes.

That’s a misleading stereotype. In reality, efforts to reassure voters about the National Health Service and economic competence were much more important. That first phase of modernisation succeeded far enough to make David Cameron Prime Minister, but not to get him a majority. That is because the most important part of the modernisers’ agenda isn’t done yet.

[…]

The modernisers “get” the problem, but efforts to address it have been uneven and too limited. The deficit makes it tougher.

Läs mer: Ledaren ”The Tory modernisers cannot allow the dinosaurs to win”.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är New Statesman den 11-17 januari 2012 (Lägg märke till dinosauriens monokel. Nice touch!)

Read Full Post »