The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Labour Surge in Britain (Election Day Thread)

Update 2: Betting markets now think Corbyn will be PM. I cannot, in my entire life, recall an election I have been so happy to watch.

Update: Exit polls point to a hung parliament, Tories with the most seats, which means they’ll be given the first chance to form a government. But we’ll see.

Leaving this up on election day. Anecdotally, more young people are voting than usual. We’ll see. Corbyn’s probably the best candidate I’ve seen in my adult life and I’m hoping he wins. Use this is a thread related to the election.

So, Brits vote on Thursday for a new government. When the election was called, the Conservatives under May were up over Labour by more than 20 percent in most polls. Today, the spread has tightened, with Labour behind in most polls–but not all.

As was the case in the US with Sanders v. Clinton, the divide is generational. Those aged under 44 are for Corbyn and aged over 44 are for May. The younger they get, the more they’re for Corbyn. The problem, as everyone has pointed out, is turnout: Youngs tend to vote less.

Even the best polling doesn’t show a straight up Labour victory, it shows the Tories failing to get a majority. Polls in Britain have tended to be wrong away from Conservatives, but, given how unreliable polls have been over the past few years, I certainly have no idea how this will go. I certainly didn’t expect the election to be this close when it was called, though I’m very glad to be wrong.

Unless Labour wins, expect that Labour MPs will launch another coup attempt against Corbyn, even if his results are good.

I want to emphasize that they are doing so for ideological reasons. The excuse that Corbyn was hopeless doesn’t cut it any longer, but they will still try to take him down. This is because they genuinely don’t believe in his politics: They want to be slightly less cruel Conservatives, not 60s style social democrats updated to treat women and non-whites well.

Those are their genuine beliefs: They’re neoliberals. They blocked censuring Tony Blair for Iraq, they like cruel austerity politics, and war.

It’s interesting how much better Corbyn has done during the campaign: It seems that when the media can no longer lie about him as much, and when May no longer has the media covering for her incoherence and, well, excusing her repeated refusals to appear in public (which are now looking like cowardice not calculation), Corbyn shines.

Certainly, Corbyn regularly gets rock star treatment: The people who like Corbyn really like him. No one is enthusiastic for May.

So, we’ll know soon. No prediction from me, but a preference. May will do incalculable harm if she gets a term: gutting worker and environmental rights, social welfare, and the NHS. Brits have another possibility. This is the last off-ramp. If they don’t take it, it’s on them.



The Cause of the Opiate Epidemic


The Hung UK Parliament


  1. Mallam

    Here’s hoping the surge is real and at the very least a hung parliament results. Seeing May face-plant would be almost as refreshing as Corbyn winning outright. Given the age gap, I am not optimistic. Old people the world over just keep fucking the youngs. It certainly has made me more amenable to restricting the franchise among 65+’s.

  2. marku52

    I don’t know, a labour win might be a poisoned chalice. With the City reacting as to wreck the economy to deactivate leftist policies, and Brexit occupying all the political oxygen, this might be another place where left policies are made to fail.

    Corbyn has greatly outperformed expectations, and when people heard the inspiring manifesto (man, I wish our Democrats would put out such a platform), they were pleasantly surprised, after all the negative press. “I mean, isn’t he supposed to eat babies?”

    It might be that a damaged May is the best to hope for. Confusion to our enemies.

  3. different clue

    If the Brits fail to take this off ramp its on them?

    Wouldn’t it be more precise to say that if a majority of Brits fail to vote for this off ramp, then it is on the majority who voted not to take it?

    As to The City working to crash to crash the British economy in order to deactivate leftist policies in the event of a Labor win . . . would Labor be thinking about that ahead of time? If The City were to try carrying OverClass Aggression to that extent, might the survival of Britain require the extermination of The City? And if so, would Labor be able to lead and drive plans to exterminate The City in order to get that source of political/economic gangrene out of the British System? If The City really would crash a whole country’s economy to prevent a whole country’s shift in policy . . .

  4. bruce wilder

    If The City really would crash a whole country’s economy to prevent a whole country’s shift in policy . . .

    If ?!? isn’t that the title of a reactionary’s poem?

  5. marku52

    Of course the City would do all they could to crash Labour. I was listening to NPR soon after Brexit, and the English talking heads were “aghast” that property values were “already”falling in the city.

    The horror.

    That that might be a really *good* thing for many of the people who worked there never appeared to concern them.

  6. Dan Lynch

    Yes, Corbyn has done better than expected.

    I’m skeptical that Corbyn will be allowed to win, but would like to be proven wrong.

  7. In the image Is quite different from what people see inside great Britain – the people who get their news from the dailies (for example The Sun, Daily Mail) see a completely different Britain and a completely different set of values. They are voting out fear – because fear is what makes a great deal of people vote in the newspaper world.

    It will be interesting to see a large number of factors in hindsight – for example, were the radical Islamists let loose, or did they act upon their own? I say this because both the radical Islamists and the conservative when of the military state want the same thing in power – a cruel conservative government. it may be a little bit of both, because it is the terrorist attack which is keeping May in power – it should never have been this close, and the attack was conveniently timed for the conservatives.

    The problem with the people who run government, is that they want Corbyn’s international policy – which is why the cartoonists over at London Times are basically on his side more than they would like to admit – but hate the idea of living in a socialist country. I feel for the readers of the London Times – they want to vote conservative of their nature, but these are conservatives which they have to hold their nose over – the international affairs are just truly aghast.

    I am usually more sanguine and sane – but the conservative side is truly – well let’s put it bluntly, they are the great-grandparents, who rave in the middle of the night. They make no sense at all.

    Conservatives by seven – but this is only a guess, the newspaper reading voter sees a very different world.

  8. V. Arnold

    English voters seem to be in lockstep with U.S. voters; consistently and constantly voting against their own best interests.
    Given that history; Corbin will be close, but, no cigar…
    The galoots have control and are not about to relinquish that power.

  9. Stirling brings up the problem: the dominance of tabloid media and the number of people whose emotional reality is determined by it. It’s generational, but generations take a while to turn over…

  10. Synoia

    The same demographic which favors Corbyn, also were Bremainers, the young.

    May lusts to continue as Prime Minister, all other considerations are flexible, except her passion for absolute control.

    The attacks have given her a chance to increase her grip on the levers of power, one doubts she will shirk that responsibility.

    The choice in the EU is to become part of the greater German Co-Prosperity Sphere (Prosperity for Germany, that is), or not. The UK has the option to leave, unlike the Euro Club, who cannot leave (banking systems are hard to change, just like the legacy British Airways systems).

    While leaving the Euro is a simple (cough) matter of software, the cost is high, and the timeline years. Would the kind and gentle Germans, or EU “leaders,”tolerate such an event without some form of sanction?

    One could see both the Eurozone and the EU as a Hobson’s choice, dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.

  11. bruce wilder

    As far as I can see, May is well on track to increase her majority in Commons. The marginal seats are Labour seats where UKIP previously did well; if older UKIP voters become Tories, game over (for now).

    Britain’s partisan political system is in the midst of what Americans would call a realignment. The resurgent polling for Labour should not obscure the reality that the Blairite Parliamentary Party is thoroughly neoliberal and starkly at odds with the Labour membership party (the largest political party by paid membership in the West). Moreover, the historic Labour Party shadows coal and steel, and coal and steel has been gone, gone, gone for nigh on a couple of generations.

    It is great in a way that Labour’s youth have been able to latch on to a political fossil like Corbyn just as Americans found Sanders, but it is also telling that no one like that is available from a younger generation, a generation not already past retirement. A new class system dominates emerging politics and it is monolithic in a way that the old class system thankfully was never. The young and privileged and educated are different from the people who need responsible political leadership in ways that are likely to prevent responsible political leadership from emerging on what used to be called, the left.

    Even if Corbyn’s Labour Party were to manage to hang Parliament, it wouldn’t matter, because the PLP is still neoliberal, because the PLP is composed of those feckless, privileged young people whose policy preferences are virtually indistinguishable from the Tories.

  12. I would fervently love for Corbyn to win the election or at least cut May down to a minority, and I think he’s done a lot of things right given his starting disadvantages. I’m pessimistic, though — as I said, he is not “government-shaped”, and May is. Despite her almost comical incompetence, play-acting the part of a Margaret Thatcher clone, she is still “government-shaped” — has more of the aesthetic qualities of a British governing politician than Corbyn does. Well, we’ll see, I hope to be proven wrong — if Corbyn breaks even on seats it would still be highly validating.

  13. A1

    And the loser is…..the people of Britain.

    Corbyn may be OK but the labour party as an institution is almost as vile as the conservatives.

  14. If the exit polling holds even a little, Corbyn may have robbed May of her majority. Which, relative to where he was, a huge victory in itself.

  15. Watch polls, May has gambled and lost – she has traded the banker for the Ukipers, not a good trade.

  16. Wilder – must be the name of his prediction.

    It is going to be a long night – but May’s head could be at the end of it.

  17. bruce wilder

    i have no idea why i should be cheered by this exit poll — i wonder whether to trust it even

    still, given the gain to the Tories baked into the cake by the decline in UKIP’s vote and especially the loss of SNP seats in Scotland, this promises a remarkable gain by Labour: 30+ seats!

    it will be interesting to see where Labour cleans the Tory clock and if there’s any appreciable effect on the balance of Corbyn-hate in the PLP

  18. Labour did clean the Conservatives – give there a fight between the voter and the MPs. The MPs know the only good press is to run as “Tory light”. London does not want socialism – the want the money to keep rolling.

    There is a disconnect.

  19. S Brennan

    I this the same guy who wrote this a few hours ago?

    bruce wilder permalink
    June 7, 2017

    As far as I can see, May is well on track to increase her majority in Commons. The marginal seats are Labour seats where UKIP previously did well; if older UKIP voters become Tories, game over (for now).

  20. Dizzily

    Unfortunately, in the 2015 election, the exit poll underestimated the final Tory vote. It would be quite the shock if it went the other way this time around.

  21. Conservatives now give up of majority – London coming on the Labour. May looks doomed.

  22. May was doomed if she couldn’t *expand* her majority. This was an attempt at diluting the “unreasonable nutcase” caucus, and it failed miserably, it seems.

  23. Richard

    Realignment is happening, but the UK is more urban than the US, I think doesn’t have gerrymandering and definitely doesn’t have a big neo-Confederate Bloc.

    So far, Tories have made small gains in the postindustrial Northeast but are losing traditionally conservative pro-Remain (and presumably rich) parts of London to an all-out Socialist.

    If the whole of metropolitan London and other cities turn solid (Labour) red, the Tories would have to sweep nearly everywhere else in England in order to rule in the future.

  24. Caoimhin​

    do not know how to extrapolate UK/Parliament final results from early reported results, for instance, in the way U.S. elections can be determined early from a small sampling of early results.

    However, at this early stage, with about 2.5 million votes counted, Labor has over 45% of the vote. By comparison, the final 2015 election results left Labor with only 30.4% to the Tories 37% of the national vote total. In 2015, the total vote was approximately 32 million cast, IIRC.

    I hope this turns our to be a genuine trend rather than ‘too good to be true’ or ‘too early to extrapolate.’ Right now, and for the time being, my mood is seriously elevated from 24 hours ago.

  25. Labour is taking seats from SNP – rather than Tories.

    UK is getting the default deal – or go back to “Remain”.

    Boris plans no-conf against May.

  26. atcooper

    I had to come here first before I started looking into how it was going over there on the other side of the pond. Corbyn doing well is such good news.

  27. Richard

    Stirling: I believe most Labour gains so far have been from Tories.

  28. Richard

    ^ You must not be looking at constituency by constituency. Both Labour and Tories have gained from SNP.

  29. Richard

    Labour definitely taking seats from Cons in England. SNP and Labour splitting the lefty vote in Scotland, allowing Tories to sneak in a few victories there.

  30. The tabpress was betting the most SNP seat would go to the Tories, while some will – labour has taken a few. Sorry if I was not clear, tabpress has got to me.

    Right now
    Labour: 187/+21
    Conservatives: 177/-9

  31. More outlets saying Tories loose majority – now watching Northern Ireland for a Tory lead majority.

  32. Tom

    I’ll just take your guys words on it. I had multiple arrests today I had to code to the hospital and delivered a baby, I had no time to follow this.

    If Corbyn really is winning, then either he finally learned to lead or his enemies shot themselves in the foot.

    Well I’m heading to bed.

  33. MojaveWolf

    Much as I’m somewhat cheered by these results here near the end, they are not going to be as good as many of us were hoping after the media’s premature calls for Corbyn. My wife used to live in UK for a few years and when it was a toss-up at around 217-apiece or something she was telling me that unless the map had really changed from what she remembered, it might break heavily Tory at the end, and she was right. I’m still hoping they don’t get 316 (so the one NI party that hates Corbyn can’t give them a majority and everyone else will work w/labor) but she is telling me that she sees no hope of keeping cons to 315.

    Much better than expected, and I’m cheered for what this says about how elections should be run/won in the future, but I would’ve liked to actually WIN, not just moral victory. rI don’t care if May loses Tory leadership; I seriously don’t care who runs them unless the other person has better policies. (this doesn’t mean I’m not kinda happy, I am, just letdown after what I was hoping for earlier)

    On positive side, what is the deal about some rule that would mandate new elections in just a couple of months because of the close margin?

  34. MojaveWolf

    Seven seats left, 313 for she saying dudley north labor, kensington, two cornwalls, st ives and one other I missed tory, someoone I forgot Lib Dem who was lib dem before (Richmond Park?) from the last seven.

    She (my SO) said maybe kensington will be more liberal than she remembers but she’d be really surprised if the 4 SE don’t go conservative. So she’s saying labor at best 2 more and almost certainly 4 more for tories so 317 and the one party who hates Corbyn will ally w/them.

  35. Morally this is a net-win. Unfortunately, when the smoke has settled, the spin will be solidly in the “May blew it” category rather than credit Corbyn’s politics or campaign. It’s been clear for some time now that even in the turbo capitalist West, left positions hold sway among the masses as long as they are honestly framed, which honesty is instructive in what I believe to be the fallacy of Ian’s previous collectivising of the responsibility for the ostensible rejection of his analogous off ramp. I mean, imagine if Labour and the press had, if not fully embraced, at least not slandered and abused Corbyn at every step in this thing, what the result had been. Oh, and that second update: betting markets, eh? Our society is dominated by an illness. “Seeking/Getting/Sticking with treatment” would be a more appropriate metaphor.

  36. Kfish

    Looks like the DUP are auditioning to be the new Lib Dems. Nick Clegg doomed that party when they went into coalition with the Conservatives and immediately started selling out the university students that voted for them.

    This time round, the DUP will be the party that put the Conservatives into power, as well as the party standing in the way of any special treatment for Northern Ireland that might be better than Brexit. In the Guardian article linked above, they\’re quoted as saying that they\’re opposing any special treatment for NI in case it weakens links with the UK. How self-serving can you be?

  37. Herman

    The best thing about Corbyn’s strong showing is that it has all of the Third Way liberals upset that the man they mocked as a weirdo is doing better than expected. If you want to see this attitude in full force go and read some of the comments on the election over at the Lawyers, Guns and Money blog. Most of the commentators are obviously not too happy that Corbyn did as well as he did and I bet that many secretly wish that May had a landslide victory so they can bury the left and make a Blairite head of the party again.

    Corbyn reminds the Clintonites of Bernie Sanders and his strong showing last night is a good example of what a legitimate left-wing candidate can accomplish even in the face of massive opposition from the media, the right and the neoliberal center-left.

  38. Consider that the spread between the two Major parties was 3%, on the low end of the spectrum. The tabpress did not get out they vote, except where they were already winning. their work a bunch of seats that held on to a conservative number by 2% or less.

    It is nighttime for the ultra-liberals – in both the United States and the United Kingdom. a younger fresher face will cast aside the errors that dog Corbyn – and will eventually when the PM slot.

  39. Willy

    Nobody’s perfect. But May appears to have learned nothing from Hillary’s experience. They may think they hold all the keys, but might not have a viable answer to the growing disenchantment with the Turd Way.

  40. bruce wilder

    Kerr Starmer.

    If you need a competent Brexit Secretary, . . .

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