Post-Election Thoughts

Posted on May 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm,

Whilst it wasn’t the most exciting election of recent times, it certainly proved to be the most interesting. Here’s some brief thoughts on how it went.

Nationally, the big three parties all lost. Labour lost a lot of seats, the Lib Dem surge lost them seats, and the Tories frittered away what had been a massive poll lead, and didn’t get enough seats for a majority. The only parties who won in terms of the voting were us Greens, getting our first MP, the Northern Ireland Alliance Party, who also got their first MP, and Plaid Cymru, who picked up a seat.

In the local elections, Labour were the big winners.The big three parties all benefited from the locals being held alongside the general, and Labour was the party which, as a result, gained seats. In fact, in some wards in London, this led to paper candidates tripling their vote, and shooting past parties who campaigned hard to double theirs.

For some good analysis of the national picture, take a look at Jim Jepps’ blog

Anyway, we now have a Lib-Con coalition. On the upside there are some signs that the deal has reigned in some of the Tories’ pro-rich policies, and we’ve got nice-looking things like the new Freedom Bill, which will revoke most, if not all, of Labour’s attacks on civil liberties. On the downside, are the savage cuts they’ll be making to public services. If you’re a Lib Dem member or voter who is unhappy about this new alliance, The Greens will happily offer you a new political home.

One more piece of post-election analysis that’s worth pointing to is from The Jubilee Centre, who reminds Christians why we’ve no need to panic about how bad the new government might turn out,
and that we still have a duty to pray for the the new government.

7 Comments

  1. Ben Stevenson
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “On the downside, are the savage cuts they’ll be making to public services. If you’re a Lib Dem member or voter who is unhappy about this new alliance, The Greens will happily offer you a new political home.”

    What is the Green Party position on government debt? Do you seriously think that if the Greens were in power, they would be able to avoid making cuts?

    Basic economics should teach us that debt is not a great thing to have. We are spending around £30 billion a year on interest payments, roughly £500 per person (on average).
    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article6840749.ece

    £500 of the money the average person pays in tax pays interest on debt, and provides nothing towards schools or hospitals.

    Our country has huge levels of debt – over 60% of GDP and rising fast.
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=206

  2. Stephen Gray
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ben,

    Our party position is that the overall taxation level should be raised to the level it was during the Thatcher era, making the burden of public debt fall on the rich who can afford it, rather than on the poor who can’t. Our investment plans to boost the economy would also boost the government’s income.

    The plans in our party manifesto are fully costed, and expected to reduce the deficit exactly as much as Labour’s plans will. The figures can be found here: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/policies_2010/2010manifesto_economy.html at the bottom of the page.

  3. Ben Stevenson
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    One problem with the assumption that more tax automatically means more government revenue.

    However, more tax may simply mean more incentive to take earnings elsewhere, as football clubs and other businesses are already doing:

    “Almost three-quarters of Premier League football clubs, including Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Portsmouth, are based in offshore tax havens, an investigation has found….”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article7127776.ece

    “Debt-laden chemicals group Ineos has confirmed it is going ahead with plans to move its headquarters from the UK to Switzerland in the hope of saving £100m a year in tax….”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/ineos-headquarters-switzerland-tax-bill

    In addition to optimistic assumptions about tax income, there are things in the Green Party manifesto that would be financially detrimental – e.g. a move to a zero carbon economy, 35 hour working week, “a decent Citizen’s Pension scheme and a major increase in Child Benefit”.

    We cannot have things we cannot afford, however nice they may be.

  4. kyle
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Stephen, the Greens are in government in Ireland – making very savage cuts! So Ben is right when faced with the fact even Greens will cut.

  5. Stephen Gray
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Ben,

    Your comments about companies moving to tax havens are specifically mentioned in our manifesto commitments in our plan to crack down on tax havens and other methods of tax evasion.

    I’m not convinced that moving to a zero carbon economy would necessarily be financially detrimental, nor would a 35 hour working week. The citizen’s pension and child benefit increase, however, are all paid for in the proposals.

    Now, there may be some individual problems with our manifesto from an economic point of view, but the point is that it does outline an alternative method of dealing with the deficit that doesn’t involve cutting important local services.

  6. Stephen Gray
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Kyle,

    The Irish Greens are cut from a very different cloth to the British Greens, and they’ve split over this very issue, having been seen to have sold out their principles by many at the grassroots level. It’s unlikely that UK Greens would even consider going down a similar path.

    Stephen

  7. Ben Stevenson
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Maximum working hours don’t work. In theory, I work in a job that complies with the European Working Time Directive, but there is no way I could just leave when I officially finish – I stay until the job is done. And this is not because of some evil private sector employer, I work in the public sector.
    The effect of the EWTD directive is unpaid overtime. (I am well paid so not making a big fuss about my hardship, just pointing out that the EWTD does not necessarily achieve what is attempts.)

    I’ll believe in a crackdown on tax havens when I see it. If this was an easy way to increase tax revenue, why has it not been done already?

    Politics is not an exact science. Different jurisdictions should be free to try different ideas in the real world so we can learn from their successes or failures. If Switzerland wants to charge less tax, then good for them – let’s see how well that works.

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