I was one of those who didn’t believe the exit polling in the British election. I remembered the leaked exit polls in 2004 and thinking that President Kerry would be inaugurated the next January. I didn’t go as far as former Lib Dem leader and campaign honcho Lord Ashdown who said he’d eat his hat if the exit poll was right. His party *underperformed* the exit poll and ended up with a paltry 8 seats. The Tories overperformed and wound up with a majority. Holy cats, nobody saw that coming.
As to Labour, they were kilt in Scotland losing seats in Glasgow that they’d held since the 1920’s when Scotsman Ramsey MacDonald was their leader. The two Ed-headed Labour leadership had different but equally dismal fates: Ed Balls lost his race in Leeds and Ed Miliband resigned as leader this morning.
More bad news after the break.
The non-exit polls were also big losers. They were wrong, wronger and wrongest about essentially everything. The contrarian in me is often pleased when the Conventional Wisdom takes a bollocking ,but not in this case. One thing the pre-election polls may have sussed out was that between 25-30% of Labour voters thought Cameron would be a better PM than Miliband as well as being posher. That number could account for the so-called “shy Tory” effect.
David Cameron and the Tories are riding high right now but they *way* in which they won is bound to bite them in the ass. They ran a relentlessly negative campaign, stirring up fears of an evil alliance between Scots Nationalists in the person of wicked witch Nicola Sturgeon and Labour in the person of dweeby-n-nerdy Ed Miliband. It reminded me of the disgusting campaign Poppy Bush ran in 1988 against the Miliband-like Michael Dukakis. In that instance, the boogiemen were Willie Horton and the ACLU.
In Britsh terms, the aftermath of this election could resemble 1992 when John Major led the Tories to a victory over Labour but spent the next 5 years fighting his own MPs over Europe. The same issue consumes the Tory right to this day. Additionally, Cameron may be remembered as the PM who drove Scotland out of the Union to win an election. I’m not sure if the Posh Boy is nimble enough to keep Great Britain in the EU and Scotland in the UK.
The field of political battle is littered with the bodies of what the British MSM insists on calling the Big Beasts. 3 party leaders have resigned including Lib Dem Nick Clegg who won his own seat but presided over a loss of 49 seats. Clegg still earnestly insists that going into coalition with the Tories was the right thing to do. But the biggest names in his party all went down to defeat. I understand that the Lib Dems will be caucusing in a VW Vanagon in the next Parliament.
The greatest loss of all to me is Ed Balls’ defeat at the hands of the Tories. Why? I love his name, so I’m sorry he got a bollocking and was bounced out of Westminster. Balls.
For more details than I care to go into, check out the Guardian’s wall-to-wall coverage.
Since my election day post was predominantly about the Murdoch Sun’s front pages, I’ll give them the last word:
2 thoughts on “Balls Bounced”
I stayed up late (for me as I work overnites) to watch the coverage on Sky TV and BBC International. When the exit polls came out, 5 pm our time, 10pm theirs, I was aghast. It’ll be interesting to see where all the notable MPs who lost seats wind up. Especially Ed Balls. Convetional wisdom has him coming to the U.S. To teach at a uni. All in due time, I guess.
The folks at ITV were genuinely shocked when Simon Hughes and Vince Cable lost their seats. I was too: Cable was one of the best liked pols in the UK.
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