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The Reform Party and the UK’s lurch towards fascism

I posted an earlier version of this a while back - inspired to do update following THAT discussion about all things ULEZ. 

The “manifesto”, in terms of transport, only mentions stopping HS2, but there’s plenty on the usual right-wing obsessions: Brexit, immigration, veterans and climate change.  I had another look because I worry about the ongoing decline of the two main political parties. 

If the Cons stay wedded to Brexit, then we will go into the next GE with all the widespread impoverishment Brexit has ushered in - not helped by Covid, Putin, etc. People generally vote according to their pockets.  I don’t get Labour’s current position on Europe either, but let’s see how that evolves, and even the Cons may also evolve, or even pivot, but time is already running out for them.

Several roads now lead to the horrors of a further lurch to the right in this country.  Let’s hope Labour get the GE landslide the polls are predicting - but we’re still at least a year out from the real campaigning beginning. 

A cycling angle? With the Reform Party and its ilk, Facebook Steve and Nextdoor Dave attain real political influence. It’s not spelt out in the manifesto, but you can see where this is probably heading and what it is likely to mean for cycling.  You can bet that this lot are very much "on the side of hard working drivers" etc. 

As you all know, Dave’s going to “sort the traffic” and no doubt show them lazy planners how it’s done: Steve thinks the Council are corrupt, the police blinkered and is, if he can fit it in to his busy schedule he’s going to “teach them Lycra’s a thing or two.” It won’t concern him that his Mondeo is 3 months out of MoT or that Mrs Steve sometimes drives the kids in it uninsured. 

As vulnerable road users, vulnerable people, we rely a great deal on the rule of law for protection. The rule of law means that we understand what the laws are, they are in general fair, and how they are applied and to whom is even-handed and consistent. 

The fascist position is broadly the opposite - it’s all off-the-cuff to support today’s particular agenda - that’s why the Iain Duncan-Smith “happy to see ULEZ infra vandalised” comment is, as an example, so very worrying.  In the Conservatives, here is a party happy to send signals to enable the mob to attack RNLI stations, beat up immigrants, shout at teachers, doctors etc. 

This right-wing stuff works by allowing/enabling significant privileged groups to to think of themselves as the downtrodden underdog and here is a way to fight back.  The pro Brexit campaign played on people’s ignorance, fears and prejudices exactly as this does. 

It’s all about freedom, innit, less regulation, less tax burden, and damn the climate.  There’s more polar bears now, so it’s fine.  Let’s have open-cast coal mining, lithium mining and fracking. The section on climate change stumbles around like a Friday night drunk, trying to explain he wasn't being racist to the barman - a denier position emerges, unsurprisingly.

In places, the mask really slips: “We must keep divisive woke ideologies such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender ideology out of the classroom.” - to be honest, I don’t even know what those two are.

The standard enemies are put up - the civil service, the BBC.  Amid all the thrust and parry, there’s nothing  about making a better, more inclusive and cohesive world to live in; arts, sports and culture don’t feature in this barstool view of the world: a dullard’s grim vision.

Don’t be a member of the wrong sort of minority would be my advice, should any of this come to pass. 
 

https://www.reformparty.uk/reformisessential

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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hawkinspeter replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

Unfair to the supporters of smaller parties. How many Green votes did it take to elect each MP? All votes should be equal in an ideal democracy. FPTP makes a mockery of that aspiration.

I kind of agree with both you and Sriracha on this.

I'm not a fan of FPTP, but I do think that the ideas/policies are more important than the implementers of those ideas.

There's also technical difficulties with trying to balance the "value" of votes which would lead to MPs being elected to areas that hadn't voted for them i.e. balancing out the number of green votes to the number of MPs.

Ultimately, FPTP favours the larger parties  but also has the effect of making parliament more effective by providing larger/more majorities.

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mdavidford replied to hawkinspeter | 2 weeks ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:

Ultimately, FPTP favours the larger parties  but also has the effect of making parliament more effective by providing larger/more majorities.

Depends what you mean by 'effective'. It allows governments to do more stuff, but that's not necessarily a good thing, especially when it's driven by dogma. Arguably, Parliament is often more effective when it's doing less.

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hawkinspeter replied to mdavidford | 2 weeks ago
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mdavidford wrote:

hawkinspeter wrote:

Ultimately, FPTP favours the larger parties  but also has the effect of making parliament more effective by providing larger/more majorities.

Depends what you mean by 'effective'. It allows governments to do more stuff, but that's not necessarily a good thing, especially when it's driven by dogma. Arguably, Parliament is often more effective when it's doing less.

I suppose it depends on whether they're working for themselves and their mates or for the people and country.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

The most amusing thing is that the Labour government that's just been elected is probably closer to me politically than it is to you.

The most amusing thing for me is watching such a desperate and graceless display, almost Trumpian in its petulance, of sour grapes and unwillingness to accept the result. I guess we all find our amusement where we can.

Still, we on the left can afford to be gracious now - have a drink on me old son.

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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Nice try Rendel.

Please point out where I said I was unwilling to accept the result?

I'm not sure why you feel that I shouldn't be allowed to criticise FPTP under a Labour government when you've never once objected to my criticism of it under Conservative governments?

FPTP has just produced the least representative government in over a century, if now is not the time to discuss electoral reform then when is?

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Sriracha replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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Government is inevitably the art of compromise between competing interests and factions. We can't all get everything we want.

FPTP tends to push the voters themselves into deliberating upon those compromises, and in return obliges the parties to appeal to a broad church.

PR tends to allow parties to prosper on much narrower single issues, which leaves the compromises to be worked out far away from the voters, by horse trading between coalition partners and King makers behind the scenes, exacting a price that few voters voted for.

In this election we saw another aspect of FPTP - the ability to vote a government out. That's very hard in PR - there is a tendency for the new government to be just a rearrangement of the old pieces. Whereas under our system, constituency by constituency the winner seems to have often been whichever party was best placed to unseat a Tory incumbent. The country got what it wanted - Tories Out - and achieved this success despite only limited agreement over who should replace them.

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David9694 replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Gonna repeat myself here - FPTP is the system we use - that is 650 individual contests for each constituency to decide its local MP.  Those 650 individual results give rise to party political groupings in Parliament.

If you are adding up all the "lost" votes cast for 2nd / 3rd place / unsuccessful candidates, then you are substituting the results given by the system we use for a completely different set. You try to pass this off as insignificant, but it isn't. 

Under the purest form of PR, the Party List* system, the choice of local representative aspect is largely lost.  There are a couple of other variants (Alternative vote, single Transferable Vote) that try to offer a bit of both, but apart from having been rejected in the referendum of 2011, it's all a bit "add 5 and then divide by the number you originally thought of and then come back next week" complicated.  In the mis-trust put about by the Reforms of this world ("take a ball pen") there is something to be said for a simple, relatively easy to follow system. 

I get that FPTP is brutal on most small parties - it usually only helps geographic / nationalist parties in Wales and Scotland, not that either has done especially well this time.

I get that FPTP can do strange things when more than 3 serious candidates stand; I highlighted the example of Wellingborough & Rushden elsewhere in this thread.  That point takes me all the way back to the main premise of this thread - disillusioned people kicked the cat by voting Leave, and now they're even more disillusioned and are lurching towards the chancers of the Reform party. 
 

* Party List - let's say for simplicity that there are 6,500,000 votes cast in total. Every 10,000 votes your party gets earns you a seat.  I guess you devise a way of saying where each party was most prevalent, perhaps using the old constituency boundaries, and the party allocates local representatives according to its judgement. 
 

 

 

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Rich_cb replied to David9694 | 2 weeks ago
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You didn't really answer my question.

What was Labour's vote as a share of the population?

There are certain posters on this forum who are sticklers for consistency.

If you've spent a rather long time complaining that certain votes that actually achieved majorities shouldn't be considered legitimate as there wasn't 100% turnout and toddlers were disenfranchised I'd love to know how you square that circle with the ridiculously unrepresentative GE result?

Was it legitimate? If so, why?

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David9694 replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Refendum result = 52/48% of voters (NB leavers concentrated at the elderly end) trumpeted as the forever will of the people. Those were the rules of the game so out we came. I might mention the pack of lies Leave told to get us there, but hey. 

Fair enough about the toddlers, although it's their future at stake and they grow up so fast it won't be that long before they are electors. I guess we'll never know for sure on the "could have voted, but didn't", but it (i) further undermines the "will of the people" argument for a major long-term change and (ii)10 years on seems like a reasonable period for a refo re-run. 

People can then go into it eyes open, in the knowledge and lived experience that leaving that leaving the EU has not benefited them in any way.  There will still be those who vote stay out because their lives are ruled by spite (see: 5 Reform constituencies). 

Labour won 412 of 650 individual local contests - yet you want to claim this somehow isn't legitimate because you say it wouldn't have happened under a different set of rules you've come up with - change the rules after the game has been played? legitimate indeed.

412 MPs is the only result that matters.  

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Rich_cb replied to David9694 | 2 weeks ago
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Labour did indeed win under the rules in place. As did Leave.

You, and many others, have expended much time and energy attempting to undermine the validity of the referendum result and concentrating on vote share has been a frequent line of attack. Your pie chart earlier in the thread being a prime example.

Applying those same criteria to Labour's election victory would only be consistent.

Personally I think 20 years is the right amount of time between significant referenda. There was about 18 years between the first and second devolution referenda in Wales and that produced a significant change in result so 20 years seems about right.

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mdavidford replied to David9694 | 2 weeks ago
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David9694 wrote:

There are a couple of other variants (Alternative vote, single Transferable Vote) that try to offer a bit of both, but apart from having been rejected in the referendum of 2011, it's all a bit "add 5 and then divide by the number you originally thought of and then come back next week" complicated.

It's not really any more complicated than voting for Strictly, and the Great British Public™ seems to manage that OK.

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hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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Rendel Harris wrote:

This, for better or worse, is how the system works and the Tories didn't seem to mind when it delivered them four elections on the bounce. What's that phrase we have been hearing ad nauseam from Brexiteers since 2016? Something about you lost, get over it?

Hopefully, it won't be a simple lose/win dichotomy and the country will benefit from Starmergeddon (time will tell) and thus everyone will "win". It's not like the Brexit referendum where everyone apart from a small handful of people loses out.

I'm hoping that Labour will be looking over their shoulders at Green who put on a very good showing in Bristol. My area (Bristol East) had Greens come relatively close second place and of course, they won quite decisively in Bristol Central.

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 2 weeks ago
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My area (Bristol East) had Greens come relatively close second place and of course, they won quite decisively in Bristol Central

Yes, I was quite impressed by that- I think the Greens would get an even higher vote % if people accepted they were in with a chance in more seats. That increased visibility would help cyclists against the overwhelming 'idle vote' of the motorists.

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Sriracha replied to hawkinspeter | 2 weeks ago
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I think you're right. Major parties have to look over their shoulder and steal the ideas of up and coming parties, and weave them into the compromise they present to the voters.

Smaller parties complain that they never get any representation under FPTP, but as long as their ideas advance on their merits, regardless of who advances them, then democracy is served. The system exists not for the benefit of the parties, but for the electorate.

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 2 weeks ago
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Sriracha wrote:

I think you're right. Major parties have to look over their shoulder and steal the ideas of up and coming parties, and weave them into the compromise they present to the voters. Smaller parties complain that they never get any representation under FPTP, but as long as their ideas advance on their merits, regardless of who advances them, then democracy is served. The system exists not for the benefit of the parties, but for the electorate.

I agree. Here in Bristol, a lot of us are voting Green not necessarily because we think that they'll become our MP (congrats to Bristol Centre voters though for achieving just that), but in order to send a message to whoever is in power. I prefer voting for ideas/policies rather than personalities.

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exilegareth replied to Rich_cb | 1 week ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

My point was that the "no enthusiasm" for Labour argument is valid. Labour's vote share relative to its seat count is, I believe, the most distorted in UK history. Only 1/3 people voted for Labour and they were incredibly vague about their policies yet they will now be able to push through any policy they choose. Given your previous posts on the subject of British democratic votes I'm rather surprised you are ok with the situation.

Here's an odd thing. Labour amost certainly chose to haver a lower overall share of the vote but to win the seats it needed to win. Imagine it's a bike race - Labour chose this time round to win the bunch sprints, not the combativity award. The essence of Corbynism was an attempt to win the combativity award and to get the plaudits of the crowd. The number of seats where Labourhas a small but sufficient majority suggests they're back to where they were in the noughties, when they were the predominant electoral operation in British politics.

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Rich_cb replied to exilegareth | 1 week ago
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I don't buy that at all.

Labour's vote share was likely affected by tactical voting in Lib Dem/Conservative marginals but really low turnouts and really low voter share don't occur if the public are genuinely enthused by a party.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 week ago
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Seems folk haven't been that bothered since the last century really...

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8060/CBP-806...

High points in last 50 years:

1992 (Major vs. Kinnoch) 77.67%

Feb 1974 Wilson vs. Heath 78.8%

2019 "Get Brexit done" Johnson vs. Corby 67.52%

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Rich_cb replied to chrisonabike | 1 week ago
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I believe there was turnout of 72% for a certain vote in 2016 too.

Interesting that the large turnouts seem to coincide with the biggest ideological differences between the main parties.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 week ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

I believe there was turnout of 72% for a certain vote in 2016 too. Interesting that the large turnouts seem to coincide with the biggest ideological differences between the main parties.

Indeed but that would not be a general election... the 2017 general election featured Brexit but not as much as 2019: turnouts 68.8% and 67.5% respectively.  Referendums vary, only 42% for the Alternative Vote one, arguably almost as important although the significance likely seemed a lot less to many...

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HLaB replied to David9694 | 2 weeks ago
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Bizarrelly I think we've got Reform (an Oxymoron of change) to thank for massively splitting the Tory vote in this stupid First Past the Post system  7  In my constutuency Labour beat the Tories by just 39votes and 8,741 voted for facism / the no change Tories  7

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wycombewheeler replied to David9694 | 1 week ago
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David9694 wrote:

 

Taking aim at the Conservatives, Mr Farage said: "There is a massive gap on the centre-right of British politics and my job is to fill it."

 

If there is a massive gap in the centre right in this country it's because reform has dragged the conservative party away from it. The gap is centrely not to the right of the conservative party.

Nigel has been in America too long if he thinks reform is centre right

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chrisonabike replied to wycombewheeler | 1 week ago
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wycombewheeler wrote:

David9694 wrote:

Taking aim at the Conservatives, Mr Farage said: "There is a massive gap on the centre-right of British politics and my job is to fill it."

If there is a massive gap in the centre right in this country it's because reform has dragged the conservative party away from it. The gap is centrely not to the right of the conservative party.

Nigel has been in America too long if he thinks reform is centre right

Shurely "There is a massive gap on the centre-right of British politics and my job is to fill it with the Labour Party, until the Conservatives have finished flirting with US neocon ideas and Trump-style audience-baiting" ?

From my perspective we're pretty well served with economically conservative / businessist political options - pick your favourite colour!  But as a former trader perhaps he means more "no-holds-barred" even lighter-regulation markets (but at the same time as doing more labour-movement regulation of course...).  And/or he feels that apart from the likes of Braverman the socially conservative area is lacking?

Perhaps he thinks there should be a "make us like the US" box to tick?

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Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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Well whaddya know, turns out Left_is_for_winners!laugh

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brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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Labour are left of the Tories and Reform, but I don't think that they are particularly 'left wing' any more...

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Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 2 weeks ago
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I agree and they're not the party I joined as a kid and all the worse for that, but just for tonight I'm going to celebrate the end of a long Tory nightmare.

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Hirsute replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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No Tory seats in zones 1 to 3.
Watch out for your wallet * and wear a stab vest.

* wallets may be returned if you dropped them on the seat.

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 2 weeks ago
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I agree. Not sure who is left wing in the UK.
I ended up voting labour after checking the tactical vote sites. I do wonder how many voted the Tories out rather than voting labour in.

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hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 2 weeks ago
4 likes
Hirsute wrote:

I agree. Not sure who is left wing in the UK.
I ended up voting labour after checking the tactical vote sites. I do wonder how many voted the Tories out rather than voting labour in.

The Tories have done more for Labour than Labour has.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 2 weeks ago
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Definitely a case (like in 1997) of "Elections are lost, not won". Incumbents were there too long (aside from their infighting) and eventually there are too many "events, dear boy".

I'd say perhaps the same for SNP although we'll really see that in 2 year's time.

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