Thursday, April 8, 2010

False Analogy Coming Up

On May 6th, the British will hold an election. The prevailing wisdom says the Conservatives are going to win. I think that’s wrong. If I’m right, and the Conservatives lose, expect our media to go insane trying to equate that upset with what they hope will happen here in November. In fact, expect to find yourself awash in a tidal wave of “bad omen for Republicans” stories. Don’t believe it.

Let’s start by explaining why everyone thinks the Conservatives will win. Labour’s been in power since 1997 and they are worn out. All of their mistakes have caught up to them, and the people are sick of them. They spent too much, reformed too little and let bureaucracy spin out of control. Add in that Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, is neither telegenic, nor politically savvy, and he’s prone to nasty streaks and gloom, and you have a serious recipe for failure. And polls have confirmed this, with Labour trailing the Conservatives by as much as 21%. Hence, it’s inevitable.

Thus, should Labour win the election, the media will call it a miracle. They will frame this as an “utter rejection of Conservative ideas”, and will tell us that this represents “an end to the shift to the right” that the world has undertaken during the past two years, and a “rebirth” of the left. Then our media will pick this up and will start trying to draw an analogy here: unpopular government, makes hard decisions, but people are “really” upset about the economy, which is getting better. . . = surprise Democratic victory!!!

But don’t be fooled because there is more to this story than is being currently told. Indeed, I wouldn’t be suggesting that the Conservatives are likely to lose if there weren’t.

First, the Conservatives are not exactly all that great of a party. The British haven’t liked them since Margaret Thatcher was forced out of office. Since that time, they’ve had a succession of bland leaders who stood for nothing, except the disowning of Thatcherism. That’s left them with little real support. Moreover, their new leader, David Cameron, is hardly inspirational. He’s milquetoast defined. He stands for nothing. He’s the ultimate “me too only not as much” type leader. Indeed, he proposes to do everything Labour is doing, only not as fast. That makes them very different than the Republicans. Indeed, whereas we face left versus right in November, the British May elections will be a battle royale between left and further left.

Secondly, in the past twelve years, the British people have slunk into dependence. Many more of them than ever rely on the government for their survival. Their entrepreneurial class is gone. Foreigners run their companies, those that are left, and industry has all but vanished. In the place of the once industrious British people, a whole class of angry white trash has sprung up that demands the government support its binge-drinking, knife-wielding, non-working habits. Thus, the English electorate is more like that of New Jersey than that of the United States, and elections there have little meaning for elections here.

Third, that 21% number isn’t what it appears to be. That number occurred at the height of the financial crisis. Since that time, it’s fallen to around a 9% lead for the Conservatives. This is partially the result of the financial crisis lessening, but also partially fatigue. Voters have been told for two years now that the Conservatives would win the election. People tire of what they assume to be a sure thing and they move on, which hurts the Conservatives and gives Labour a second chance -- basically, they peaked too soon.

But no doubt, you’re still thinking that 9% should be a pretty huge victory right? Actually, no. There is a quirk in the English electoral system that favors Labour because of the way their districts are established and the utter lack of competitiveness by the Conservatives in Scotland. What this translates into is that the Conservatives need to poll about 11% higher than Labour nationally to guarantee a Conservative victory. If the election were held today, it is estimated that their 9% lead would translate only into a draw in Parliament.

Talking all of this into account, there is a very good chance that the Conservatives will win the popular vote, but still not win the government. Or, perhaps, they will win the government but just barely. But in either event, the result tells us nothing about our own elections in November.

So don’t be fooled, when you start seeing articles asking what Labour’s resurgence means for the Democrats.

It doesn't mean squat.


Unknown said...

Andrew: Excellent analysis, and I agree with your conclusions. I got my first understanding from Dame Thatcher herself when she was a guest-lecturer at one of my undergrad political science classes. She was still pretty much an unknown back-bencher at the time, but she made it clear that we should draw no conclusions about the Tories being like our conservatives. I never forgot that. Although she pushed her fellow conservatives as far as she could when she became Prime Minister, they were never up to her standards. John Major made Tony Blair look like Mr. Excitement. Cameron is almost as big a dud as Major.

In addition, the UK's parliamentary system does not provide for a winner-take-all Prime Minister, unlike our presidency. If neither party wins a majority, it's coalition time, which is another distinct possibility.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Thanks. I would have loved to have seen her speak in person!

I think that it's easy to confuse the labels, especially when the media describes the "Conservatives" or any of their European equivalents as "right wing." They really aren't.

In truth, there are very few parties in Europe that would qualify as "right wing" in the American sense. They are all, by and large, socially liberal and fiscally liberal (in the American liberal sense). There are no libertarians or "social conservative" types, nor are there any pro-free markets types.

But I think it suits our media to pretend that they are the same so that Americans don't grasp how truly different we are from Europe.

Joel Farnham said...


This is interesting. I do see that the media will triumph Britain's election should labour win or even draw as a harbinger for our elections. They will jump on the band-wagon that is mis-lableing the tea party as we speak. In the end though, all it will do is create a media that is more out of touch with the average citizen.

The Conservatives over there sound like Rino's over here.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I absolutely see the media doing their best to tar our side with their failures. . . which unfotunately, look more and more likely. I think it fits the storyline they want to sell perfectly, and truth be damned.

As for the Conservatives sounding like RINOs, I think the RINOs are more likely to be considered far right in England. The Conservatives really are center-left Democrats.

CrisD said...

This was a great informative post!

Wow! LawHawk, how neat to hear Margaret Thatcher.

Can we hope that an MSM/progg. attempt to make hay out of this will inflame/renew the debate in U.S. that I think is a winner for the conservatives here?

(yes, that was an awful run-on)

StanH said...

The Lame Stream Media is forever conflating what goes on with Europe and American politics…apples and oranges.

Lawhawk you had mentioned attending a Lady Thatcher speech in the past, I say again you lucky hawk.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks CrisD! I like to watch foreign politics as well as American politics and I thought it was probably time to mention this before we start being flooded with articles trying to create this false analogy.

The two situations really just aren't analogous, but I suspect it will suit the MSM's purposes to draw the analogy nevertheless.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Very correct. There really is nothing comparable in Europe to our political environment, and any of these analogies are simply false.

Unknown said...

CrisD and StanH: There were some advantages to attending UC Berkeley. And at that time, though many of the professors leaned left, debate and contrary opinion were considered staples of a university education. Dame Thatcher was nearly a stereotype of British reserve. She was pleasant, but not overly-familiar. She took questions, and gave clear, concise answers. In fact, she was so professorial that I thought to myself that I really admired her, but she was going nowhere in politics. Once again, I got it wrong, proving that college students had the brains and the education, but not the world-experience that makes it all work.

Individualist said...


You are suggesting that the liberals who run the labour movement in England have gerrymandered their voting districts to favour their party.

I am shocked! Are not the liberals the poster children for fair elections. All the editorial writers at the New York Times think so....

And for this to happen in England. How many times has the party politborough chief Howard Dean lectured us that the English are better than we are at Politics.

Tsk! Tsk!

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, That's certainly part of it.

The Scotland thing though, has more to do with the rise of the Scottish National Party (center left) as the opposition to the Labour Party (center left) instead of the Conservatives -- who have all but vanished as they've become not competitive. It would as if the Republicans were replaced by some new "Moderate Democratic Party" in 8-10 states. It's just a huge disavantage.

Also, I think that Europe has been slowly but surely drifting left as more people become dependent on their governments and as more people on the right flee to places like the United States. The European work force is much more like our union workers at this point than they are like the rest of America.

Joel Farnham said...


You are again ahead of the curve. As usual, they are a day late and a dollar short.

This is the pedestrian version of your excellent article. It has very little insight, but it does establish that the upcoming UK election is going to be center-left. Congratulations.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Thanks for pointing that out! I guess we paid for a more powerful crystal ball? LOL!

Joel Farnham said...


Either a more powerful one, or one that works correctly. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, We just had it tuned by the Psychic Friends Network! LOL!

Writer X said...

Such a beautiful country and such a shame. Their country is being dismantled before their very eyes. So much for a progressive agenda. Those people paying attention see the parallels to our own country; the rest are watching the Cartoon Network.

Great read, Andrew.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Writer X, and you're right, it is a shame. England was a beacon for the world for the past 500 years. Now it's becoming a hinterland of do-nothingism, dependence and bankruptcy.

Individualist said...


In all seriousness this type of article is too few. I don't mean just Commentarama but in the states as a whole.

We Americans have a tendency to not concern ourseleves with events across either pond unless there is some reason that it will affect us. More specifically we conseratives even more so as we tend to leave their business to themselves as we don't want them intruding on our business.

Unfortunately in the Internet Age this is a losing strategy. The liberals are involved accross the pond with their brethren and are always pressuring for their agendas whereever they can. They then use what influence they have. Note the references to English scholars lecturing us on the beneficial social policies in the NY Times, Hugo Chavez piping up about everything America does with the goal of somehow empowering or giving cover to the left.

I think it is good that you are commenting on English politics and I think it would be better if we Tea Partiers on the Continent found our ideological brethen in England and started to help them out in similar ways.

Perhaps if there is a conservative blog in England that you could contact you guys could share posts from time to time. They could post yours as an American viewpoint and you could post theirs as a British one.

If the liberals are going to try to control the UN then we need to be more aware internaionally. Myself included. I know little of European politics other than what leftist over there has condemned our country this week.

Just a thought.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I have always believed that Americans don't pay enough attention to foreign affairs. Though, I don't think the Europeans are any better. They like to think they pay attention to the world, but I've seen the news they get and I know how narrow and ridiculously skewed it is.

As for working with a foreign blog, that is an interesting idea, though I don't know of any at the moment. It's certainly worth considering. We should definitely be seeking out people who share our views anywhere in the world.

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