Britain’s electoral map

The Conservatives gained 97 seats in the House of Commons, Labour lost 91, and the Liberal Democrats lost five.

And look at that map: no Orwellian reversal of blue and red, as in the famous U.S. electoral map in 2000, which made such an impression that we permanently adopted “red” for the Republicans and “blue” for the party of the left. In Britain, the Conservatives are still blue, and Labour, the party of the left, is still red, as it ought to be. (There are ways of making the current American scheme make sense, however; red is the color of vitality, signifying that conservatives have life in them, not that they’re Communists.)

A striking parallel to the recent U.S electoral maps is that the Conservative (blue) part of Britain is much larger geographically than the Labour (red) part, and that, just as in the U.S. map, this is deceptive, because Labor dominates in the cities where the population is much larger and where many more parliamentary constitutencies are located than in the country. Click on the proportional view to get a more accurate picture of Labour’s strength in the cities. If I may paraphrase Barry Goldwater, perhaps the British can saw off London and let it drift out to the North Sea.

Of Britain’s many minority parties, the UK Independence Party won the most votes, with 917,000 out of 29 million votes cast, and the British National Party came in second, with 563,000 votes. But neither UKIP nor BNP won any seats in the Parliament.

- end of initial entry -

An Indian living in the West writes:

Some points need to be made:

Scotland is a Labour stronghold—which is another reason why Labour is almost guaranteed a certain number of seats in Parliament despite poor performance in other parts of Britain.

The Tories are almost exclusively an English party. If England were a sovereign country, the Tories would be the ruling party in perpetuity.

Northern Ireland is dominated by the old Unionist v. Republican factions. The Ulster Unionists are still the largest faction in Northern Ireland. they were traditionally allies of the Conservatives. I don’t know what is happening now (I’m out of touch with British politics).

The truth is that the old squabbles have been replaced by a familiar and simpler formula: net recipients of state benefits v net taxpayers. Although the Ulster Unionists would typically be pro-Conservative, Northern Ireland’s economy (like much of the UK) is a basket case—the state accounts for 77 percent of GDP in NI. It’s an economic sink-hole. The Tories want to stop all this because not only is it wasteful it has a debilitating effect on the people—they become addicted to government largesse in the way that an opium addict becomes destructively dependent on opium. Scotland has a similar problem—its population is almost completely dependent on government money. Wales and Northern England—same story.

So the Tories represent the fleeced hard-working English taxpayers who are paying through their noses to keep this show going. The problem is that the state already accounts for 52 percent of the GDP of the United Kingdom today—and a majority of Britain’s current population is already a net recipient of benefits from the state (either through employment by the state or through the benefits systems). There are some who think the actual figure is even higher and that close to 75 percent of the population is a net recipient of state benefits. That means only 25 percent are paying their way.

Among the smaller parties, the BNP represents people who would normally vote Labour but won’t do so now because of immigration. UKIP represents the “hard-right” old Tory vote. It is important to remember that although UKIP and BNP have some similarities, people who often look at these parties don’t understand what separates them: class. The class system in Britain is alive and well and the voting patterns reflect it. Hard-core old Tory voters who come from the upper and upper middle classes will not vote BNP who they regard as working class lumpen. BNP voters will never vote Tory or UKIP who they regard as representing monied interests and privilege—in fact, if Labour hadn’t opened the floodgates of immigration in Britain, the BNP wouldn’t exist. The only reason it exists is because its traditional supporters have become disillusioned with Labour due to immigration. If the Tories hadn’t abandoned their Euroscepticism, UKIP wouldn’t exist.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 08, 2010 08:40 AM | Send

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