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Tories to Use Cranks to Form Coalition

[ 198 ] June 9, 2017 |

As we all know, recently a flawed candidate facing an extremely hostile media ran a solid campaign that barely lost, but with an attractive and progressive platform that clearly indicated the direction the party was headed in. But enough about Hillary Clinton! There was an election yesterday in the UK, in which the Tories were humiliated by a strong opposition campaign, but it looks like they’ll just be able to hang on to the government:

Democratic Unionist leader and last first minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster says she wants to “bring stability to our nation” by backing Theresa May and the Tories to continue in power.

Foster added that she is now entering discussions with May over the details of any arrangement that would prop up a new government.

Foster said the election in Northern Ireland where 10 DUP MPs were elected to the Commons was a “great result” for the union. She confirmed that May had been in contact with her on Friday morning about gaining DUP support for a minority Tory administration.”

“I make no apology for wanting the best for Northern Ireland and all of the union,” Foster said at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast just across the road from the main entrance to the Stormont Parliament, which remains in cold storage while talks begin next week to restore devolution.

This sounds like a pretty fragile government to me, but I’ll leave it to Dave and Christa.

…I also completely agree that “could a better candidate running on this platform have won?” counterfactuals are dumb.  Since the candidate who would 1)run on the platform Corbyn ran on and 2)had more support within the party…doesn’t exist it’s a silly thing to argue about. Corbyn won the leadership and he won it again and he did better than could have been reasonably expected in the election.

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  • georgekaplan

    “But enough about Hillary Clinton!”

    Dear _God_ are you never going to grow up.

    • John F

      No, the RWNJS never ever stop, why should the left?

      • so-in-so

        No, the RWNJS never ever stop, why should the left?

        No do the leftier-than-thou part of the left, so why should the liberal/progressives, let the games continue!

      • SatanicPanic

        May’s mistake was not making better deals with Putin.

        • SatanicPanic

          Oops didn’t mean to put this here

    • You get what you pay for around here.

    • Rob in CT

      Wherein “growing up” would entail what, exactly?

      • sharculese

        Not making jokes. Grown-ups never make jokes.

        • so-in-so

          And if you supported HRC, or even voted for her in the general, grown-ups are required to where sack cloth and ashes. For ever.

        • Malaclypse

          That’s not funny.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Wherein “growing up” would entail what, exactly?

        AFICT, in it involves leaving witless insults in the comments of political blogs.

        • tsam

          I’M THE GROWED UPPEST MOTHERFUCKER HERE

        • CP

          AFICT, in it involves leaving witless insults in the comments of political blogs.

          If I’d know growing up was gonna be so much like childhood, I’d have been a lot less eager to do it.

          • West of the Cascades

            It’s only like childhood if you get to be President.

    • CP

      Well, considering that we’re in for a week or two of “this candidate’s moral victory but technical loss proves what a brilliant campaigner he is and that he is the future of the party, also too!” from the same sources that’ve spent the last six months giving us “this candidate’s moral victory but technical loss proves that she is the most abominable candidate since King George III and the party should never have run her!” you’ll forgive Lemieux & co. for pointing out the double standard.

      • Davis X. Machina

        ‘Double standard’?

        Dude, you spelled ‘double X chromosome’ wrong.

        • EthanS

          I thought X chromosome was standard.

    • Harkov311

      I assume he’ll stop talking about it when people stop irrationally hating Hillary for just doing normal politician things. So probably never.

    • GoBlue72

      He’ll give it a rest when he gets a job.

      • sibusisodan

        I think personal abuse of the front-pagers should be automatic grounds for banhammering. What does this add?

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          I’d like to point out that over at Balloon Juice, troll commenters are both a) far less able to irreparably destroy threads and b) generally nowhere near as blatant.

          And in point of fact, until recently insulting the frontpagers is one of the few offenses for which banhammering was semi-consistently enforced.

      • brad

        Hey Bros, have you been getting frustrated lately that some people just.won’t.listen? Well, help is here. Just call 1-900-SHE-LOST to wave those blues goodbye. We have zealous, eager, breathy (mostly*) young Clinton voters standing by, waiting for you to tell them why they’re so wrong. With just a few firm arguments you’ll have them in tears, begging to apologize and for you to tell them what to do next. And hey, if you get a little excited when you’re done teaching politics, you’ll find our girls are eager to learn whatever else you might want to… impress on them.

        $3.99 a minute, no Stein voters will be serviced. legal bullshit blahblahblah

        *- 1-900-SHE-LOST is an Equal Opportunities employer and has a wide spectrum of options available to meet your individual needs, be it LGBTQ+, a different language, or a different age. Except we don’t have black women, for some reason you Bros seem to forget they exist.

    • Phil Perspective

      I’m disappointed Scott didn’t mention Lord Buckethead.

  • sibusisodan

    The Guardian is pointing out that governing with the DUP makes the ‘hands off’ approach to N Ireland issues untenable. Especially as SF won’t take their seats.

    • djw

      Yeah, this would seem to make (at a minimum) the frictionless Irish border something of a sticking point in Brexit negotiations.

      • sibusisodan

        Ha!

    • howard

      it’s hard to imagine there not being another election soon.

    • JdLaverty

      Yeah I mean this is the downside of the thumping the Tories just took: it elevates the goddamn DUP to a critical position of power. Yes, that DUP. The one with the history of recruitment and collaboration with death squads. The one that organised fun night-time outings in which mobs of racists and ultra-loyalists attacked and vandalized (and sometimes burned) Catholic neighborhoods. The party that was founded by none other than Ian Fucking Paisley. That DUP.
      I mean I realize it’s no longer the 80’s, 90’s and they’re different but not different enough for me to be comfortable with them having this kind of coalition leverage over the entire UK.

  • sergiol652

    With May not resigning, why wouldn’t the Tories do a no-confidence vote on her?

    • Murc

      Led by whom?

      Serious question. Name the political figure in the Conservative Party who has the standing within said party and the political skill to say “Dump May! I should be PM! Follow me, support me!” and have it actually work.

      For that matter, I’m actually unclear as to if you can unseat a sitting PM who will not resign without a no-confidence vote in Parliament itself (not just the relevant political party) and that automatically triggers another election, I think? Yes? No?

      • sibusisodan

        The Conservative parliamentary party can no-confidence their leader:
        https://www.plmr.co.uk/blog/comments/et-tu-1922-how-does-the-conservative-party-replace-its-leader

        That would not trigger an election in itself.

        • Murc

          That’s fair enough.

          It does leave open the “Who leads the uprising?” question, tho.

          • sibusisodan

            The 1922 committee – the Tory backbenchers club – is in charge. Some deniable stirring of the pot and you get enough backbenchers to write in asking for no conf.

            No one has to stick their head above the parapet until the no conf passes. If it fails this time round, well, no harm no foul.

          • West of the Cascades

            Boris Johnson?

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man

        I read that Conservatives received ~42% of total parliamentary vote, Labour ~40%. So situation where neither party has a parliamentary majority seems an accurate reflection of overall voter preferences.

        I think May’s personal goose is cooked though it’s not clear who might replace her. Amber Rudd seemed a strong contender when she performed well in May’s stead in the final debate among party leaders, but she only won re-election to her Parliament seat by a thin margin, greatly reduced from the last election, so hardly the strong gust of wind in the sails that you’d want to take on the present party leader.

      • aab84

        After last night, Ruth Davidson (if they can get her elected as an MP) doesn’t seem like a ridiculous choice.

        • From what little I’ve read about her since the election, she actually seems like the best choice. It seems like they wouldn’t have won so many seats in Scotland without her and she seems to have a fairly soft stance on Brexit which seems in line with the electorate’s preferences. As an aside, can you imagine someone like her ever leading the current Republican Party? Never happen.

    • ASV

      IANAClose observer of British politics, but was there any sense that Cameron could’ve or would’ve been pushed out if he hadn’t stepped down? This election strikes me as a much bigger debacle than Brexit as far as internal party matters are concerned.

  • If it works like the last time the Tories had to form a coalition, the other non-Tory members of the coalition can look forward to getting screwed hard, while the Tories will do all the stuff they were going to do anyway.

    “We’re a coalition, so you have to vote for putting gay people and Muslims in camps.”

    “Okay, fiiiine, now can we vote for improving health care.”

    “No, here’s a bill to kill the NHS.”

    “What the fuck.”

    “Also, here’s a bill to shoot your daughter.”

    • Cassiodorus

      That first one would seem like a feature for the DUP, not a bug.

      • jam

        I think they’d need to lock up Catholics too in order to really get them on board.

      • ap77

        Right – the problem with these positions is that they are too progressive for the DUP.

    • Ronan

      This coalition is basically the equivalent of mainstream Republicans, nativists, and a collection of religious nuts going into coalition with each other. (So might have some sticking power.)

      • CP

        You mean mainstream Republicans, mainstream Republicans, and mainstream Republicans?

        • Ronan

          Afaict the only thing preventing the Tories from going full Republican was that England was too secular a society. So this should be interesting.

        • Rob in CT

          Right!?

        • GoBlue72

          Win the thread.

          • Ronan

            just to be clear, that was the implication of my initial comment.

        • Ellie1789

          Climate denial, check. Religious fanaticism, check. Anti-woman fanaticism, check. Fanatical fascination with guns, check. Yep, all seems in order.

          “Cranks” is far too nice a word for these folks.

  • Dilan Esper

    Your last statement is way too strong and may show your centrist-establishment bias disguised as analysis.

    Counterfactuals are stupid because they are counterfactuals. Any different candidate might have lost some votes JC got, and therefore you can’t know if they would do better.

    But the fact that JC won the leadership doesn’t prove anything. Nominations are often strongly influenced by party elites, and party elites basically always assume self interest and electability are the same thing.

    Look at Trump. He sure looks like he was a very strong Republican candidate who got votes others could not have gotten. But elites wanted Rubio.

    The only reason to reject these counterfactuals is because they are counterfactuals- there’s no reason at all to assume party elites are brilliant at electability.

    • Murc

      Your last statement is way too strong and may show your centrist-establishment bias disguised as analysis.

      If you get your first sentence this wrong, I’m not sure we should read the rest of what you have to say.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yes, Dilan used a lot of words to say absolutely nothing that was responsive to anything I argued. Defending Jeremy Corbyn allegedly reflecting “centrist/establishment bias” is a nice touch though.

      • Clearly time to relurk. It’d been fun.

        • so-in-so

          If the choice is between ditching Dilan and keeping Bijan, I know where MY choice would be…

          • sibusisodan

            Could we have another election to entice Bijan back?

          • Ronan

            Yeah dont go Bijan, the place is more interesting for your input. (And if you only pop in every election day the superstitious among us might start assuming causation after the inevitable debacle)

            • Thanks folks. I popped in partly to encourage Brockington to post more and partly because ELECTION.

              But the general conditions remain unchanged. A year or so of gaslighting, lies, and harassment was enough.

              • Hogan

                You are, of course, the custodian of your own sanity and equanimity. Sorry to see you go, though (and especially that you’re going for THAT reason).

              • Karen24

                I will miss you. Will you pop back in to comment on Brit politics at least?

                • Thanks!

                  It’s sort of idiosyncratic. I’ve not done the DRAMATIC EXIT, so if I feel like it I’ll comment. As I said, I want Brockington to post more and commenting seems to encourage him a bit, so I may do.

              • sharculese

                Oh, Bijan, so much has changed during the time I was away that your absence was one of the things that slipped through the cracks! And now seeing you and knowing that you’re gone is making me sad.

                This is not snarky sharculese. This is serious. But I understand if not being here is better for you. I wasn’t here for a long while, and I hope you come back.

                • sibusisodan

                  Have I mentioned that I’m glad you’re back?

                • Thanks sharc! Glad you are back and hope things are well with you.

                  (Didn’t mean to derail the thread, so please read my thanks as applying to subsequent kind words as well.)

        • Murc

          Don’t go, Bijan! A nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

        • Scott Lemieux

          Hang in there!

      • sibusisodan

        I want to hear more thoughts about how Corbyn was helped by party elites.

      • John F

        I know Esper bashing is fun, but this is the part he says evidences centrist bias:

        “Corbyn won the leadership and he won it again and he did better than could have been reasonably expected in the election.”

        The question should be why do you think JC did better than could “reasonably expected”?

        • Scott Lemieux

          Like, better than anyone expected Labour to do with any leader? It’s really not complicated.

        • sibusisodan

          1. Electoral history of the left and right wings of Labour since the time Corbyn entered parliament.

          2. No evidence of a Corbyn campaign bump during the 2015 referendum

          3. The utter chasm between the party polling at end April

          4. The resounding success of Miliband at convincing middle England and the youth to vote for a left-moving Labour party.

          When you start the campaign with ‘could lose 80+ MPs’ and end with ‘largest vote swing since Attlee’ you’ve done better than even unreasonable people could expect.

          • John F

            “you’ve done better than even unreasonable people could expect.”

            When something that “reasonable people couldn’t expect happens, it’s reasonable to question how reasonable such reasonable people and their beliefs actually were.

            Or as Silver put it today, a big problem with UK polling this election is that almost every company put their thumbs on the scale- they did it (over did it) to compensate for the perceived bias in prior election polling.

            As it turns out one of the bigger thumbs was ignoring the stated “intent” of voters and forcing the vote into a turnout model. Essentially too many people under 35 were saying they intended to vote than the model said- so they discounted that vote – those were Corbyn voters as it turned out. Was that a reasonable thing to do?

            • sibusisodan

              Yes, based on the recent experiences of election polls and modelling, especially 2015 GE, Scottish referendum. Double-especially regarding youth turnout.

              There was lots of hype in 2015 that Miliband was turning out the youth vote. Voting day: didn’t happen.

              It was reasonable – though incorrect – to be sceptical of claims about turnout this time. Next time – who knows!

              Corbyn defied expectations, some of which are grounded in more than 30 years of electoral history. There was little conclusive evidence prior to the vote that these expectations were obviously wrong.

            • Phil Perspective

              When something that “reasonable people couldn’t expect happens, it’s reasonable to question how reasonable such reasonable people and their beliefs actually were.

              Because even the supposed soft-left media, like The Guardian, was blasting Corbyn until a few weeks ago. If people thought the media was unfair to HRC, it was nothing like the hostility that Corbyn faced. Not to mention Corbyn had little support from his fellow party parliamentarians. Often times they tried to figuratively stab him in the back.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Lemieux is able to compare a series of numbers, unlike Esper who prefers ignoring them in favor of faulty memories.

          Math is not centrist!

          • ap77

            Math has a well known neo-liberal bias.

            • ASV

              Go find yourself a social science methodology throw-down and you will hear people claim this.

            • Bill Murray

              only if you’re doing economics wrong

          • giovanni da procida

            Of course math is centrist. How else could one explain the central limit theorem?

            • Only if you are in Sicily in time for Vespers.

              • giovanni da procida

                I might be delayed at Benevento.

                ciciri

      • jam

        Forget it Jake, it’s Dilan.

    • Rob in CT

      Wut?

  • Joe_JP

    Labour exceeded expectations but looking at the results, the Conservatives have 318 by one count with 48.9%, Labour has 261 with 40.2%. Scottish National has 35 and Liberal Democrat has 12.

    (Democratic Unionist has 10 as noted.)

    When you have 49% of the vote, it is a bit problematic that you have to rely on a fringe party to gain control. (I’m rooting for Larry the Cat.)

    • Murc

      When you have 49% of the vote, it is a bit problematic that you have to rely on a fringe party to gain control.

      … how so?

      If you have a shade under half, you’re almost certainly in a situation where you will have to rely on a fringe party for that last tiny bit of support, unless you can, somehow, negotiate a Grand Coalition with your bitterest foes. That usually takes very unusual circumstances like, say, the Second World War.

      I mean… part of this is just math. You need a majority to govern. At the very least you need to acquiescence, if not outright support, of a majority. Are you advocating the movement to a plurality model? That seems even worse.

      • sonamib

        It doesn’t have to be a fringe party. It could be a small centrist party. Like the Lib Dems*.

        *LOL

      • Joe_JP

        There is currently a run-off in Georgia going on where the top two are running against each other.

        I think that is the best way to handle things. Give all the MPs a choice between the top two (or three if there is a significant vote by three candidates). Or, use some sort of ranking system that our resident voting expert can talk about.

        I don’t think fringe parties having power far above their democratic support, in effect providing political blackmail, is ideal. Maybe, it’s reasonable to have a system where the 49% — more than Clinton received — would have to toss something to one of the fringe parties to get their support.

        But, I’m not sure how it is “even worse” to support such a high plurality. It is after all repeatedly done in this country for various races.

        • Murc

          Give all the MPs a choice between the top two (or three if there is a significant vote by three candidates).

          Except that people in the UK don’t vote for Prime Minister. The only people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May are the ones who live in their constituencies. There are no “top two” candidates.

          Now, there’s a colorable argument that the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has become so important and so powerful that the person who occupies it should be directly accountable to the people. But that isn’t currently how it works.

          But, I’m not sure how it is “even worse” to support such a high plurality. It is after all repeatedly done in this country for various races.

          Not in Congress, tho. You don’t get to make a Speaker of the House or pass bills with a plurality. You need a majority.

          Parliament works the same way. You need a majority to become PM and to pass legislation. It seems to me that a system where you only need a plurality to be PM or to pass legislation would not be as good.

          • Joe_JP

            “Except that people in the UK don’t vote for Prime Minister.”

            Ryan and Pelosi weren’t elected by the people at large either. I said “top two.” So, top two PARTIES. In effect, that is what is happening here. The Irish party here is tossing their support to the Conservatives. Not to a single individual alone.

            As I stated, I think that the majority should be determined in some other way, so am not actually saying the plurality winner of seats (though like races where there is some floor where a run-off is not needed, at some point the difference is marginal)
            should necessarily win.

            I am saying it is unclear that it is “worse” to have some party with 49% of the seats winning over a system where it turns on them needing to toss something to some 1% fringe party.

            • wengler

              This just isn’t how Parliamentary systems work.

            • giovanni da procida

              “The Irish party”

              Technically, the Unionist party. Describing them as “Irish” is probably as insulting to them as it is to parties in Northern Ireland that consider themselves Irish.

          • Phil Perspective

            Except that people in the UK don’t vote for Prime Minister. The only people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May are the ones who live in their constituencies.

            LOL!! You don’t know crap. When you are voting for your local MP, you know you’re voting for either Corbyn, May or Tim Farron(LibDem leader) as PM.

            • Peter T

              Well, election before this one voted for David Cameron and got Teresa May, or Miliband and got Corbyn. Here in Aus, under a variant of the same system, one voted Abbott, got Turnbull, voted Rudd, got Gillard and then Rudd again.

              Parliamentary systems quite change leaders between elections. See current switch in Ireland.

        • sharculese

          Our system may seem better in theory but in practice it only helps ensures permanent Republican rule. It basically enables conservatives to do whatever they want in the general knowing the Republican will win in a revote where depressed turnout favors them.

          This election may be different in that turnout seems to be way way up. I’ve had poll workers tell me that they see more people voting now than voted in the general election. Also Ossoff has more money than Handel and Georgia Republicans have never really seemed to like her.

          But the long term trend hasn’t been great.

        • GoBlue72

          So, like the French system.

        • GoBlue72

          Actually, don’t even need to run 2 elections. Just structure it as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). We already do that in some local elections in the U.S. in California.

    • sonamib

      Wait, where are you getting 49% vote share for the Tories? The BBC has them at 42%.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/election/2017/results

    • aab84

      Your numbers are wrong. They got 42-43%, not 49%.

    • djw

      Where are you getting 48.9% It’s 42.4% to labour’s 40.

      • jpgray

        318/650 is my guess – mixing up seat percentages versus vote percentages.

      • Joe_JP

        My numbers is not popular vote.

        It’s a breakdown of percentage of seats.

        ETA: The popular vote numbers are duly noted but not really “mixing” things up here. It is a question of what you are counting. And, the artificial heightened victory of sorts (since popular vote is closer) is notable. It isn’t as bad as our electoral vote majority ala Trump, but it does make Tories w/o context look better than they are.

        • Joe_JP

          My concern above is even more if the Tories only have 42% of the popular vote or whatever but can get power by some fringe party tossing them their support. Plus, even with a much greater number of MPs in the UK, the Tories appear to have a pretty unfair number of representatives given their vote differential with Labour is minor. This government stuff is hard.

          • sonamib

            That is entirely the Tories’ fault. If they hadn’t been such assholes to the Lib Dems in the coalition government, the Lib Dems might have considered allying them now.

            • djw

              Right. There’s a perfectly cromulent non-crackpot party for them to reach out to, if they hadn’t played the arsonist with that particular bridge last time around. When considering how to treat one’s coalition partner, “might we need them again in the future” is a question you should keep in mind.

            • Joe_JP

              Yes. Looking at the results, the Lib Dems received seven percent of the vote but only 2% of the seats.

              https://www.ft.com/election-results-2017?mhq5j=e1

              Labour’s seats and popular vote numbers match and Conservatives have seven percent more seats than a raw popular vote accounting might warrant.

              • Ahenobarbus

                Go back to the last election, and UKIP won something like 12% of the vote but just one seat.

          • sibusisodan

            There hasn’t been a government since the war with a majority of votes. It’s been plurality all the way.

            That’s just how FPTP shakes out.

            • Joe_JP

              Right. It’s a question for me on how you determine who controls the government.

              Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as a coalition is more democratically appropriate than Conservatives and some fringe party, but because of how the seats break down, it works this time under the rules in place.

              • Ahenobarbus

                Getting close to 50% should give the Conservatives more options in who they may partner with. They could play the fringe parties off one another and prevent them for asking too much (in theory at least).

                • NonyNony

                  They could, if they didn’t have a rep for screwing over their minority partners. If they’d dealt more fairly with the LibDems they’d probably have a range of options. If I were a member of any party allying with them I’d be wondering how stupid my leadership was.

                • Ahenobarbus

                  True. I’m just saying, generally:

                  1. Joe-JP is bothered that a severe fringe party with only a handful of seats can get to play Kingmaker
                  2. But a plurality party that needs only a handful of seats usually has more coalition options, thus undercutting the power of any given fringe party.
                  3. I’m not sure I’d want a situation where they were forced into coalition with a larger minor party. That larger third party would *really* have more power than they deserve. And that party wouldn’t necessarily be respectable.
                  4. Anything that doesn’t require 50%+1 is risky.

                • N__B

                  I’m not sure I’d want a situation where they were forced into coalition with a larger minor party. That larger third party would *really* have more power than they deserve.

                  Didn’t the LibDems prove that sometimes a large minor party gets doodly-squat for their efforts?

                • jmauro

                  I think part of LDs problem is that they were hung up on fixed elections every 4 years so once the collation started they hadn’t zero leverage to stop anything since the Conservatives knew they weren’t going to break the coalition and force an election.

                  Not understanding leverage been a problem with the UK leadership for a while, for more examples see the EU and Article 50.

    • bexley

      That is 49% of the seats not votes.

  • aab84

    Somewhat OT, but does anyone have a good breakdown of UKIP defectors? They’re the most fascinating story to the election to me. Not that UKIP collapsed, but that former UKIPers didn’t break nearly as heavily Tory as expected.

    Have there been any preliminary analyses? Are these just anti-establishment bomb-throwers who preferred Corbyn’s rhetoric to May’s? Xenophobic Labour voters who feel comfortable returning to the party now that immigration is “solved”?

    • jpgray

      Doesn’t this tend to argue for some strategic value in Corbyn’s deplorable (in my view) watery stance for Remain? He was plausibly eurosceptical to voters who wanted to see him that way.

      Does the LibDem meh performance put a knife in the idea that a all-out Remain stance would swing voters over? Does the UKIP split happen as it did with a more strongly Remain (or anti-trigger) Labour leader?

      • tomscud

        Large obscuring factor in the Lib Dem case in that in an election that was about stopping the Tories for the non-Tory voters, having gone into coalition with the Tories and then received nothing to show for it within the last decade is a significant turn-off.

    • guthrie

      Not seen anything so far, I would expect many of them just to stay at home muttering about how bad politicians are. Remember quite a lot of people also used ukip as a protest vote and have woken up to how nuts they are, therefore voted labour as usual, probably.

  • Alex.S

    This sounds like a pretty fragile government to me, but I’ll leave it to Dave and Christa.

    Well, it’s a good thing they aren’t heading into a self-created complicated crisis with no easy solutions and many choices among bad options to be made.

  • Scott’s point about counterfactuals is fine as far as it goes, but since the Bernie-or-bust types are bizarrely using the UK election as support for their conviction that Bernie Woulda Won, it seems that their counterfactual is amply cast into doubt by wondering whether Labour would be taking office if it had a more effective leader.

    Labour got great turnout, had a great political situation to capitalize on, including May’s error in calling this election in the first place … and lost. Tories look to stay in power at least for a while, pushed even farther right by Irish wingnuts. And if the new gov’t crashes in a month or two, what then?

    • Steve LaBonne

      Labour, if I’m not mistaken, gained seats for the first time since 1997, and did it in spite of widely publicized internal dissension, essentially unanimous vitriol from the press (even the Guardian only stopped sagging Corbyn at the last minute), and starting from a deep hole in the polls. The idea that there was some magical alternative leader who would have done better seems… unconvincing.

      • guthrie

        Yes, I agree.

      • I agree. The way I see this argument is that centrists have been in control and bleeding seats for 20 years. And now that the left wing of the part gained seats but still lost in one election, (some) centrists think they should be given back the reigns.

        How about this as a counterfactual? If Corbyn-haters had gotten with the program instead of sabotaging their party, Labor might be the majority party in parliament right now.

        • guthrie

          I think that is a possibility. Hard to say really, but the desperation of the centrists to cleave to new labour lack of ideology centrism really made them look bad and destroyed party unity. There are more ways to oppose Corbyn than head on, the sensible thing would have been to guide from the shadows. As far as I recall Milliband lost the last election because he didn’t move left enough soon enough, thus too many labour voters stayed at home because they didn’t see the differences.
          Of course how were they to know that unfettered Tories are even more evil and incompetent?

      • EliHawk

        Gaining seats for the first time since 1997 is a bit like saying Harry Truman and FDR failed by losing EC Votes for three straight elections after 1936. There’s nowhere to go but down, but I’d rather have the 2001 or 2005 result than the 2017 one.

        The Centrists won a metric but ton of seats and then slowly bled them back. It’s like criticizing Sam Rayburn’s performance in elections by using 1936 as a baseline.

    • tsam

      Yeah–oranges prove apples because reasons and also neoliberal.

      For the life of me, I cannot figure out what motivates these boogers.

      • Davis X. Machina

        For the life of me, I cannot figure out what motivates these boogers.

        Team spirit.

        He drew a circle that shut me out —
        Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
        But Love and I had the wit to win:
        We drew a circle that took him in.

    • Scott Lemieux

      “Some hypothetical better candidate who doesn’t actually exist woulda won” is just repeating the same mistake as the dumbest versions of the “Bernie woulda won” argument.

    • jpgray

      I think Bernie would have won in some places Hillary did not. I also think he would have lost in places Hillary did not.

      I don’t know the numbers on this offhand, but I don’t believe there is any evidence that Bernie inspired a massive increase in youth turnout during the primaries. I would imagine that his policies would have more impact on youth turnout in the general, but what a huge gamble it would represent.

      Also the context of Corbyn getting to throw down was two convincing wins among Labour members in leadership contests. While that’s not a good analogue to a Dem primary, Bernie didn’t pass that bar.

      • Alex.S

        Also the context of Corbyn getting to throw down was two convincing wins among Labour members in leadership contests. While that’s not a good analogue to a Dem primary, Bernie didn’t pass that bar.

        They get to skip that part with by saying DNC and nodding at each other. That way they can ignore the vote totals and the campaigning strategy of Sanders.

        • ap77

          Yes, it was all a grand conspiracy, you see. TOTALLY RIGGED. A front row kids screw job! And if you think that makes the Bernie Bros sound like Trump and his supporters, that is just because you are a neo-liberal sellout. The fact that POC also very strongly favored Clinton is further proof of a centrist establishment bias.

      • John F

        “I don’t know the numbers on this offhand, but I don’t believe there is any evidence that Bernie inspired a massive increase in youth turnout during the primaries.”

        http://pos.org/democratic-primary-voter-demographic-shifts-and-candidate-coalitions/

        In 2008 14% of Dem Primary voters were 18-29 years old. In 2008 17% of Dem Primary voters were 18-29 years old.
        Sanders won among 18-29 year olds by 71.6 to 27.8.

        In the 2008 general election, 18% of voters were 18-29 and went for Obama 66 to 31.5.
        In the 2016 general election, 19% of voters were 18-29 and HRC won 54.5 to 37 (8.5 voted for Johnson or Stein)

        If everything else stayed the same*, given how close HRC v. Trump was, I believe the youth vote would have made Bernie POTUS over Trump.

        *Yes I know that’s a huge flashing neon sign of an “if”- if Bernie was running instead of HRC things other than the youth vote would have been altered- and not all to the Dem’s benefit – but to pretend that Corbyn’s unexpected performance (WHICH WAS DRIVEN FIRST AND FOREMOST BY THE YOUTH VOTE) doesn’t lend some rhetorical help to the Bernie supporters is silly. Of course it helps their argument, it doesn’t PROVE their argument (absent access to parallel universes nothing can do that anyway) – but it certainly helps them make it.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Ceteris are never paribus.

        • GoBlue72

          Admitting that the youth vote was critical means admitting that Clinton didn’t offer younger voters as much of what they wanted and didn’t inspire them as much. It also means admitting that engaging with the Millenial generation needs to be taken seriously instead of sneering at the “kids” over their Snapchatting and skinny jeans and demands for “free stuff”. (You know, free stuff like the Boomers got to enjoy when they were young, like ridiculously cheap college educations and houses you could afford to buy when you were 23.)

          It also means coming to grips with one’s looming generational sunset and sharing the stage with the next one.

          Its means understanding that cranky old socialists like Sanders and Corbyn are providing POLICIES that speak to the what it is younger voters want. Imagine that – a politics about providing stuff to the voters, and then the voters vote for you. Heaven forbid.

          • Brien Jackson

            This doesn’t really say much at all. Clinton didn’t “sneer” at free college, her campaign put forward a plan that was more direct and expansive than Sanders’ was. The big chasm is that young voters tend to get attracted to high talk about sweeing change and “revolutions,” but then what happens when you win and can’t deliver that? And who really thinks that trying to build around the most fickle voters is a good long term strategy?

            • Clinton didn’t “sneer” at free college, her campaign put forward a plan that was more direct and expansive than Sanders’ was.

              Correct. Yet stupid lies continue to dominate the Left’s criticism of HRC.

          • econoclast

            You should save your “You just don’t get it, dad” speech for your actual father. We’re trying to discuss politics here.

        • ASV

          This is like saying their late comeback in game 3 adds rhetorical help to the argument that the Warriors would beat the 96 Bulls. It is an argument that can only exist in rhetoric and sophistry. When I was in high school, my French teacher liked to say French is not English in disguise. As it turns out, British politics is not American politics in disguise.

    • Aexia

      Seen some folks upset that Democrats haven’t called Corbyn to congratulate him on not losing by as much as expected like Bernie did.

    • wengler

      There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Bernie would’ve done better in the Rust Belt than Hillary Clinton given normalized conditions. It doesn’t really matter though because there are too many variables to make any counterfactual worthwhile, including the extremely likely appearance of a billionaire ‘centrist’ in a Bernie vs. Orange Fascist Clown election.

    • Dr. Acula

      DUP voters would be insulted by being called Irish. I know, it’s stupid, but it’s true; I am related to some of them, and boy, do they hate it.

  • sibusisodan

    Marina Hyde at the Guardian is on fire:

    > May remains mesmerically unable to pivot. Having destabilised everything with an election she called unnecessarily – and having done so on a stability platform – her genuine verdict was that “the country needs a period of stability”. You what, madam?

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/09/theresa-may-gamble

    • CD

      Thanks for that. The riff on foxhunting is lovely.

    • John F

      “The PM is like a deadbeat dad who’s gambled away the housekeeping

      And then solemnly explains to the kids that only he can deliver the strength and stability they need”

      Glorious…

      • Ellie1789

        You mean like Republicans?

  • Nick056

    As we all know, recently a flawed candidate facing an extremely hostile media ran a solid campaign that barely lost, but with an attractive and progressive platform that clearly indicated the direction the party was headed in. But enough about Hillary Clinton!

    To quote Jim Comey: Lordy.

    Allowing that this comment was intended to be facetious and not stand up under scrutiny, it’s everything bad about anti-left politics in about as compact a form as you can imagine. Labour fought a campaign of Teresa May’s choosing and ended her Tory majority while scoring bigger vote shares than when Blair actually won in 2005, all with a relatively very left wing manifesto. The resulting coalition government is going to be extremely fragile and potentially short-lived. The Democrats, meanwhile, mounted a campaign against the candidate they clearly thought was best for them, after supporting the centrist choice in the primary, and failed to beat him or re-take the Senate, leaving a Congress in place where the center of gravity for two years will be the Freedom Caucus. Not to mention, the balance of media coverage in the US was not nearly as stacked as in the U.K.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yes, the zero people who have argued that the US and UK elections were identical in every respect are definitely wrong.

      everything bad about anti-left politics

      [eyeroll emoji]

    • jpgray

      These comparisons are just not well-taken, whichever direction you want to go:

      1. Hillary could not be more different from Corbyn from the position of establishment politics. HRC was right out of the “plausible competent manager credible to establishment stakes out targeted popular policy turf,” whereas Corbyn was more “loony backbencher with no cabinet experience stakes out outdated lefty nonsense that always loses.”

      2. The media were absolutely brutal to Clinton. She came pre-Gored with twenty-five years of gaffe-sniffing and scandal-hunting; she was a constant victim of the impossible “charisma” trap for female candidates; and she was not a plausible choice for the increasing number of bombthrowers who seem to have no ideology beyond wanting something, anything, that is different. This is different from media treatment of Corbyn, but stacked against her it absolutely was, almost as much as it could have possibly been.

      • Brien Jackson

        And different in kind: Whatever the UK media did to Corbyn, they didn’t relentlessly imply that he was a fundamentally corrupt criminal.

    • sonamib

      while scoring bigger vote shares than when Blair actually won in 2005

      I’ll repeat : don’t look at vote shares, look at the spread between the Conservatives and Labour, that’s the only thing that counts.

      If third parties are collapsing, then you kind of expect your vote share to increase *automatically*, there’s nothing magical about it. (Were people astonished when the Republicans got a larger vote share in 1996 than in 1992, when Perot was running?) The thing is, you need to get more of their votes than your opponents do!

      And, lo and behold, Corbyn did narrow the Tories’ lead! It was +6.5 in 2015, now it’s +2.4. That’s 4 points less, quite impressive when you consider how hard the circumstances of this election were.

      But please praise Corbyn on the relevant metric. If he had gotten 36% of the vote, that would have been a failure, despite 36% > 30% of Milliband.

    • John F

      “Allowing that this comment was intended to be facetious and not stand up under scrutiny,”

      It was meant facetiously, but it also does stand up so long as one does not add stuff to it that’s not in it.

      “it’s everything bad about anti-left politics in about as compact a form as you can imagine.”
      This is too obtuse to even begin responding to- is your head always this far up your own ass?

      • jpgray

        It doesn’t stand up.

        Hillary represented an immensely powerful Dem party establishment bloc, was blessed by an incumbent president early on, and staked out known popular positions with great tactical calculation.

        Corbyn represented fringe protest lefties nobody listened to, was hated or ignored by party establishment figures, and staked out positions that everyone thought represented electoral suicide given the frame of 2010 being the fruits of spendthrift Labour.

        I’m not on board with Nick’s point on the media, but he’s right that the comparison of the two as stated just falls down hard in many respects.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yes, I agree that the zero people who have argued that Corbyn and Clinton are identical in every respect are wrong.

          • Nick056

            It’s not that they’re identical in every respect (you know that’s a straw man). It’s that leftists rightly perceive them to come from completely different left-of-center traditions, arise out of very different contexts, and ultimately, view one as a success and the other as … not a success. These seem like pretty sound judgments to me, and as much as you may roll your eyes, the type of comparison you make seems calculated to be dismissive and insulting to anyone who think Corbyn is a very different politician from Clinton, who ran on a very different message and platform/manifesto, and had different results.

            • Rob in CT

              If Corbyn ultimately becomes PM, then this works.

              For now, he did what the Dems in MT and.. KS was it? did – lose by less than he “should” have.

              Which, to be clear, is a good result.

              • Nick056

                Labour deprived the Tories of their majority in an election the Tories chose. Last night Anna Soubry came close to saying May needed to go. Everyone at 10 Downing Street regards last night as a Tory disaster. Comparing that result to KS-4 is not really correct.

                • Ahenobarbus

                  But Corbyn still isn’t in charge.

                • Nick056

                  And the Tories now aren’t a majority. If they stay in government for long, it’ll be owing to a coalition with the toxic sludge that is DUP.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  If they stay in government for long, it’ll be owing to a coalition with the toxic sludge that is DUP.

                  And if the US had a comparable system, Democrats did well enough in 2016 that Ryan almost certainly would have needed help from the Tea Party Are Cucks Party to form a majority. So what? None of this changes the fact that a faction of Clinton-hating fanatics who are (correctly!) praising Corbyn for his moral victory call Democrats worthless losers when they exceed the partisan baseline by 20 points. It’s this silly, hacky double standard I’m making fun of.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Corbyn is a very different politician from Clinton,

              Well, of course. There are similarities and differences. I trust readers to understand this.

              who ran on a very different message and platform/manifesto,

              Relative to the political center of gravity in the country, Clinton’s platform was similarly left-wing.

              and had different results

              They both lost.

              • Nick056

                Platform and message. Do you really think Clinton had anything like WeDemand, with copy borrowed from Frederick Douglass (“power concedes nothing without a demand”)? Your perception that she was similarly left-wing relative to the country’s electorate does not jibe with the results of the Priorities USA study from April:

                https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/05/01/why-did-trump-win-new-research-by-democrats-offers-a-worrisome-answer/

                This study found that large numbers of formerly Democratic voters saw her policies as far more favorable to the wealthy:

                42 percent of Obama-Trump voters said congressional Democrats’ economic policies will favor the wealthy, vs. only 21 percent of them who said the same about Trump. (Forty percent say that about congressional Republicans.) A total of 77 percent of Obama-Trump voters said Trump’s policies will favor some mix of all other classes (middle class, poor, all equally), while a total of 58 percent said that about congressional Democrats.

                To say the least, that’s not how people see Corbyn. Cynicism toward neoliberal policies, including a lifetime of association with those policies, affects voter perception. And with respect to “they both lost” — this is politically devastating for May and politically enormous for Labour. “They both lost” is … not a rational comparison.

                • Hogan

                  It’s very likely that people heard what was said about Clinton much more than they heard what Clinton said. How does better messaging address that?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  This study found that large numbers of formerly Democratic voters saw her policies as far more favorable to the wealthy:

                  This proves literally nothing about whether Clinton’s platform was as or more left-wing in context. It just proves you don’t understand how most voters make decisions. And, in addition, you ignore the fact that the American media doesn’t cover policy at all. The British media was hostile to Corbyn, but it discussed his policies rather than his email server.

                  Corbyn’s platform consisted largely of restoring a fairly recent status quo ante. You certainly can’t say that about Clinton’s.

                  And with respect to “they both lost” — this is politically devastating for May and politically enormous for Labour. “They both lost” is … not a rational comparison.

                  It is rational — they both lost. They both will not hold power.

                  I agree that in context Corbyn’s performance is impressive. But this requires exactly the kind of structural analysis you are not willing to perform in the American context.

                • Nick056

                  Sure, I’m willing to perform a structural analysis in the American context. Various models built on fundamentals predicted a toss-up or or R victory, which turned out to be correct. That they reached that result without talking about EMAIL or campaigning in Wisconsin is instructive. And although you seem to think I don’t understand what drives voting behavior, I heavily weigh fundamentals in my assessment of voting outcomes. You and I probably agree on that.

                  Where we seem to disagree is the relative strength and success of Labour in contrast to 2016 Dems, and what lessons or inferences can be drawn from that in terms of ideology and message, however tentative or contingent. You’re content to say “they both lost,” and respectfully I think that’s ridiculous. Labour outright performed better in what was supposed to be a less favorable environment for them, so much so that the Tories lost their majority whereas in 2016 the Republicans kept their majority *and* gained the presidency.

                  They performed a lot better than the Dems in 2016 and they messaged far more effectively. You’re falling back on the familiar Clinton defenses of “actually, her platform was very left wing” and “the NYT and The Fix are terrible,” but I’m old enough to remember my own complaining that the media didn’t cover policy in 2004. It was true enough then, but Kerry simply did a poor job of defining himself and conveying his agenda in 2004; so to with Clinton.

                  I mean, Jeet Heer and John Judis and Sarah Jones all have thoughtful things to say about last night, and somehow you can read all their pieces without getting the sense that Labour just experienced a loss comparable to the Dems in 2016. It’s not because they’re unable to perform structural analysis.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Various models built on fundamentals predicted a toss-up or or R victory, which turned out to be correct.

                  Actually, they predicted that Republicans would get as many or more votes, so Clinton overperformed the fundamentals on their face, and when you consider EMAILS!/Wikileaks, probably outperformed them by 3-7 points. True, she had an opponent who was a weak candidate, but then so did Corbyn.

                  In addition, a large part of what made narrow Conservative win a political disaster is that it was widely assumed that Labour would get routed because Corbyn was inept. This was wrong, but it’s not a structural disadvantage for Labour per se, and treating it as one is basically double-counting his strong campaign. And yet, even a strong campaign with an attractive platform against a bad candidate running an awful campaign Labour…lost, so it’s neither here nor there for “Bernie woulda won” arguments.

                  As for your “the candidate lost ergo they had worse messaging [unless the losing candidate exceeded media expectations]” arguments, I think all such arguments are essentially useless tautologies.

        • GenOfSwine

          This is so counter factual on it’s face as to be offensive.

          That the white male left has done a spectacular job (with plenty of assists from corporate media, Republicans, and Russian bots of course) of erasing, denigrating, or silencing the voices of the women of color that were the first, strongest, and most consistent supporters of Hillary Clinton does not give you right to rewrite history. WoC were her block, not this mystical establishment you’ve concocted in your heads.

          And just because lefty white males couldn’t give less of a shit for reproductive rights, police brutality, or social justice generally – or as your lord and savior might sneer, “identity politics” – doesn’t change the fact that the Clinton campaign was the first in history to put women of color and their issues front and center more than any other campaign in history. Go ahead and tell me with a straight face that standing up for Mothers of the Movement or a repeal of the Hyde amendment are popular positions.

          • GoBlue72

            WoC over a certain age. Just like white women over a certain Millennial PoC – and Millenial women – voted for Sanders over Clinton. The divide in the party between Sanders and Clinton was largely NOT about race OR gender, but about age. Or, in other words, about the future vs. the past.

            • Brien Jackson

              Incidentally, I’m looking for field organizers at the county level and I’m the only person under 40 to sign up. The average age of new dues payers and volunteers since November is in the upper 50’s.

              Maybe if you actually want to win elections don’t insult the people doing the work?

              • GoBlue72

                That has not been the experience in my area. So, YMMV.

    • Shantanu Saha

      Dude. When the LEFT!!! is full of assholes, there is nothing bad about being anti-LEFT!!!

      • GoBlue72

        Totally. Its super progressive to actively undermine accomplishing actual progressive POLICIES and POLITICAL POWER because somebody on the Left said something mean. Totally.

      • Murc

        Dude. When the LEFT!!! is full of assholes, there is nothing bad about being anti-LEFT!!!

        Uh.

        With respect, Shantanu, rejecting policy platforms on personal grounds seems to have… more than one problem with it. I would say it would probably be a bad thing.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Shantahu’s terminology casts too wide a net, but the underlying point is valid — FWIW, I’m pretty sure his use of LEFT!!! is meant sarcastically (i.e., you can substitute “purity wankers” for “LEFT!!!” without altering the meaning).

        • Brien Jackson

          I don’t think this is wholly true. The left coalition is a largely transactional one, so how you handle alliance building makes a big difference in addition to simple platforms. This was Bernie’s biggest hurdle with PoC, for example.

      • econoclast

        It’s dumb to let loud-mouth dumbshits claim the mantle of the Left, when their only claim to it is their own self-regard, but I find myself letting them do it. I have trouble settling on an alternative formulation, though. Brocialist? Purity pony?

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          “Brocialist” is a good enough formation for the [BONERS]/Bill Maher Brigadiers, but ideally the description should be unisex. I suggest “purity wanker” and (personal favorite) “pink anarchist bunny” as substitutes.

          • so-in-so

            Is “wanking” unisex? I suppose, but its generally kinda gender specific.

      • wengler

        Politics is full of assholes. If you specialize in constantly policing your boundaries like Lemieux does, it gets confusing to figure out what side you are on.

        The Nader posts were a fine tradition, but it became rather tedious now that it’s every other post.

        • Scott Lemieux

          constantly policing your boundaries

          ?

          now that it’s every other post

          ?

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            I believe wengler is advocating the Anthony Fremont school of left-spectrum politics, where OUR LEFT (however defined)* is too integral to the well-being of the town to make upset. Criticism of OUR LEFT is theoretically allowed, but in practice engaging in this will usually be met by immediate banishment to the wastelands of Iowa.

            Of course, in the real world OUR LEFT doesn’t have a monopoly over the Democratic Party, much less omnipotence, so the “taking-my-ball-and-go-home” skinlessness of this stance is ever more farcical. Especially since this is not particularly concerned with the merit of any particular criticisms.

            *And distinct from the left in general

    • wengler

      I pretty much agree with this, though if the US had Parliamentary elections like the UK, Paul Ryan and the Republicans would’ve already destroyed all the accomplishments that Prime Minister Pelosi passed from 2007-2011.

      • Brien Jackson

        Well if you had so few checks on power voting patterns would be much different.

        • Scott Lemieux

          There’s no reason to believe Obama wouldn’t have retained his majority in a Westminster system when he ran for re-election in 2013.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Well, I’m glad Nick Clegg can at least get a chuckle out of this.

    • Ronan

      I wish Ian Paisley were alive to see it. He’d be in his element.

  • sibusisodan

    For all you data hounds, Lord Ashcroft has 14k post-election data points here
    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2017/06/result-happen-post-vote-survey/

  • TMIdiot

    Re: the final paragraph- her name is Angela Rayner

  • econoclast

    But Scott, I read here in these very pages that you hate the left more than you hate conservatives, and were cheering for a Tory victory. If I can’t trust random commenters to read your state of mind, who can I trust?

    • so-in-so

      Not exactly “random”.

  • GoBlue72

    So where are all the Corbyn critics sniffling about how Corbyn is awful because he once had an afternoon tea 20 years ago with somebody who voted for Sinn Fein?

    Because right now we are watching the Tories hold discussions about forming a government with what is essentially the Northern Ireland version of the KKK. Not that the corporate press describes the DUP like that. They just described as “social conservatives” or a “right wing” party.

    • Brien Jackson

      Um, what?

      • Steve LaBonne

        That comment seems both clear and accurate to me. Which part confused you?

        • Scott Lemieux

          The answer to “where are they?” is “not at this blog.”

      • Phil Perspective

        Do you know anything about the DUP? GoBlue is more right than you know.

      • GoBlue72

        A few noxious items from the DUP party platform:

        1. Oppose same-sex marriage. (And are generally anti-LGBT)
        2. Strictly oppose abortion rights.
        3. Climate change deniers.

        Something like 40% of DUP members are Young Earth Creationists and want it taught in the schools. More than one DUP politician has gotten in trouble over various sexist or homophobic garbage coming out of their pieholes.

        They are also anti-Catholic and trace their roots to various Protestant Unionist terrorist groups. Many DUP leaders have connections to these same group.

        The NI First Minister (until last year) is Peter Robinson, a member of the DUP, is a former active member of Ulster Resistance, a Protestant NI terrorist group. The party was founded by Ian Paisley, as context for anyone familiar with Northern Ireland “Orange” unionism.

        These are not nice people.

        • Ronan

          They arent nice people, in a lot of ways, but what you’ve highlighted is closer to ‘extreme social conservatism’ than the KKK. The DUPs links to the paramilitaries were always less extensive than Sinn Feins, and if you want to downplay Corbyns support for the PIRA(which was not just afternoon tea 20 years ago) then you really cant have your cake having eaten it. (If you want to accept Sinn Fein as a legitimate party with a serious mandate then same goes for the DUP)
          Arlene Foster, afaik, doesnt have links(at least serious ones) to the paramilitaries(although she does to the security forces), and she was at times on the receiving end of IRA violence growing up. There really arent many clean hands within the two major parties. (Of course if you want to declare a pox on both their houses, then that seems morally consistent)

  • TopsyJane

    “As we all know, recently a flawed candidate facing an extremely hostile media ran a solid campaign that barely lost, but with an attractive and progressive platform that clearly indicated the direction the party was headed in. But enough about Hillary Clinton!”

    May was the robotic, uninspiring, foot-shooting, flip-flopping candidate HRC was said to be and wasn’t.

  • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

    Assuming May does form this coalition, I sincerely hope she screws them and gives them nothing.

    The alternative is these people have a significant impact on the British government in the coming years, which is far worse.

  • FOARP

    1) Criticism of the Tories over this coalition deal (which is a confidence and supply deal) shows you why the Lib-Dems would still have been criticised heavily for entering into a coalition with the Tories (which was the only viable coalition) even if they had only made a C&S deal. People don’t see the difference between C&S and full coalition – it was the same with the Lib-Lab pact in the 1970’s.

    2) The DUP are a nasty bunch to be sure (to be sure), but there are few really clean hands in Northern Irish politics, especially not after SDLP and UUP both lost the last of their seats and Alliance also have no representatives at Westminster. That said the real test here is what policies the DUP forces the Tories to adopt in return for this deal – if it’s stuff on abortion or gay rights then that’s unacceptable, but if it’s just taking a more Northern-Ireland-friendly stance on Brexit then I don’t see the real problem here.

    3) There’s been some questions about whether this is actually a breach of the Good Friday Agreement which promised that the UK government would be neutral in Northern Irish politics. This is impossible to say and basically a political question anyway. It’s mainly Sinn Fein who are making this claim, and I somehow doubt they are really committing themselves to, say, never playing a role in government in the Republic.

  • Brett

    They need 326 to form a majority government because of Sinn Fein sitting out, right?

    So while the Conservatives might have a fragile eventual coalition with the DUP, I don’t see how Labour could form a government at all. Even if the SNP and Liberal Democrats agree to do it with them, they don’t have enough seats altogether.

    Guess they might be having another election in the relatively near future . . . .