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Another fragment from today’s UK election result

On the glorious denouement of Russell Brand and “celeb” politics:

Hilariously, the very same people who accuse the Murdoch papers of brainwashing their readers into voting for the Tories – such undiluted snobbery – believed that a celeb with a webcam and a lively Twitter presence could simply click his fingers and get the hordes voting Labour. But he couldn’t. And it isn’t hard to see why. It’s because people aren’t idiots. They want substance, seriousness, not finger-wagging gags about EVIL TORIES and instructions to ‘save Britain’ by giving the nod to Ed.

Brendan O’Neill.

30 comments to Another fragment from today’s UK election result

  • Paul Marks


  • I wonder if Russell Brand could be bothered to go out to the polling station and pass his “Votey Wotey” for Ed Miliband? Not that it would have made any difference.

    What a prick.

  • bob sykes

    Staring across The Pond, where does Cameron get the votes he needs to govern?

  • RAB

    He’s got them Bob. The Tories needed 326 seats to form a Government, and they now stand at 327.

    Not a good night if your name is Ed, was it? Snork, Titter. Milliband has resigned, Davey is gone, but I must confess my joy was unconfined when I heard that the thug Balls lost his.Oh and the Pollsters, those pure men of slide rule science, are most upset. It seems some people have been lying to them!

  • Alsadius

    They forget something fairly important – when you’re an obnoxious little shit who makes a point of ramming your smarm down the throats of anyone who listens to you, the only people who listen to you are ones who already agree, and thus you convince precisely nobody. Brand might matter in a Labour leadership, but he’s totally irrelevant in the general.

  • nemesis

    It seems some people have been lying to them!

    I lied to ‘yougov’. Naughty me.

  • Kevin B

    As Toby Young tweeted:

    “What’s so absolutely astonishing is the British public gave Tories a majority in spite of being told not to by so many comedians. Weird”

  • I could not help noting that the general MSM reporting of opinion polls was (always, from what I saw) missing the proportions of persons undecided, not saying, refusing to be polled, etc. The sort of thing I saw was very similar to the Wikipedia summary of UK 2015 election opinion polls. I did a quick bit of looking at the more detailed polling data and discovered that, where available, 10% to 20% of those polled fell into the undecided or not saying categories.

    This (lack of reporting) is rather worrying. It is also probably a rather good explanation of what went wrong – too much belief in data, big data, bigger data, and then even more data.

    Also, maybe polling organisations need to build up statistics of lying, and the voting intentions of liars. This is always assuming that they can identify the liars, and that the identified liars can somehow have their true voting intentions determined.

    And have you counted how many polls there were: I make it 87 in the last month. Why? Is this some set of practical sessions as part of training courses to satisfy our national shortage of third-rate statisticians?

    Surely this level of polling, and particularly reporting of polls, must lead to a level of irritation by saturation amongst the electorate. And then the results become increasingly meaningless.

    Best regards

  • My question for the British commenters: how does UKIP get 3.6 million votes and only one seat, while SNP gets 1.4 million votes and 56 seats?

    Were the UKIP votes all concentrated in a couple of districts where they were outnumbered by some other party?

  • Alsadius

    Ferox: Quite the opposite. SNP didn’t run outside Scotland, and they won all but three Scottish seats. UKIP ran in almost all ridings, got a decent amount of support nationwide, but was only #1 in a single riding. This is the sort of thing people often criticize first-past-the-post elections for.

  • Matra


    (Gratuitous insult deleted by the Samizdata management)

  • Mr A


    As Ferox says “My question for the British commenters”, I would imagine he is not British so it’s a fair enough question considering he has no idea how the British electoral system works. Cut him some slack.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Matra, how UK politics works isn’t necessarily obvious the world over. It took me quite a few years to understand the place of things such as Primaries and the Electoral College in US elections.

  • Alastair

    Anyone have any thoughts on whether carswell will become UKIP leader and if so
    so if he can counter Red UKIP?

  • Libertarians have the same problem in the US. What we are doing to counter that is moving the Republicans in a more libertarian direction. And I’m looking for leftist defectors with this:

    Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers.

    Leftists hate Prohibition enforcement. I piggy back on that.

  • Laird

    Regarding Nigel’s comment about the lack of MSM reporting about the number of undecided/not responding persons, I think that the general assumption is that those people tend to break along party lines in roughly the same percentages as those responding to the pollsters. Clearly that wasn’t true in this case.

    I wonder if the incessant trumpeting about Conservatives losing significant numbers of seats, the need for yet another coalition government, etc., might not have had the (to the pundits) perverse effect of encouraging a higher turnout among Conservative supporters than would otherwise have been the case.

  • Mr Ed


    IMHO non-socialist voting may be under-reported for a variety of reasons, e.g.
    1. The natural reticence of the economic ‘herbivore’ as opposed to the boastful smugness of the predatory socialist.
    2. The link between socialism and violence is apparent to many, who may be wary of voicing views contrary to the supposed fashion, either out of fear or wishing to be seen to go along with the ‘fashionable’.
    3. A realisation, in this case, amongst many of the good people of England that they were at risk of being dictated to and ruled by a combination of Labour and Scottish Nazgûl party, and fleeced to pay the Jockgeld for at least 5 years.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Now the shouting is over, is it not a bit suspect that there is a indeed left-wing bias across the media in respect of how they think the non-vocal will vote? Even if that bias is presented as non-partisan, it is in reality anti-right because it is ignoring facts. Contrary to Mr Brand et al who think there is a tory bias, the reverse could not be more true.

  • @Ferox:

    Were the UKIP votes all concentrated in a couple of districts where they were outnumbered by some other party?

    Basically, yes. UKIP placed 2nd in 120 seats and were 3rd in about 350. This represents millions of votes and resulted in not a single seat under the First Past the Post system.

    Unfortunate, but this is the political reality chosen by voters during the 2011 AV Referendum.

    It is what it is.

  • Runcie Balspune

    We vote for people, you might think and you might desire to vote for a party but the electoral system is not about parties, it is about people who represent you in parliament ((c) de Montfort, 1265).

    The fact that “party share” is not represented is irrelevant, each party candidate has different views anyway, political parties are far from some homogeneous entity. If you want a system where you vote for parties then that’s fine, but you can kiss your independents good bye, whilst few of us would mourn the likes of Mr Murray and his Oxbridge educated Noble European heart of gold, at least he is proper representation in the tradition of what politics as intended.

    How about considering getting rid of political parties altogether? Perhaps those “fantasy cabinets” discussed in a previous thread could actually happen.

  • Runcie:

    There are ways to have roughly proportional representation and still have the possibility of some independents getting in. Finland has an open list system where each party runs several candidates in a multi-member district, and voters vote for one candidate. If an individual unaligned candidate can garner enough votes to get a seat outright, you could get an independent in parliament. I think at the last election, however, only four or five candidates, all popular figures within one party or another, garnered enough votes that they would have won a seat had they run as an independent.

  • Thailover

    Polsters have an existential dilema. They are political rather than scientific-minded statiticians, ergo they have an agenda. On one hand, they want to be known as accurate and exhibite uncanny ability to predict the future, and on the other hand, they want to be able to show the “enemy” that it’s futile to bother voting, as you would be wasting your time. The more they try to work the dark magick of the latter, the more they prove themselves to be worthless clowns. They only seem “necessary” (accurate) when the left doesn’t need them after all. Which, of course, means that they’re not needed in any circumstance.

  • bloke in spain

    @ Alastair
    “Anyone have any thoughts on whether carswell will become UKIP leader and if so
    so if he can counter Red UKIP?”

    What I was told was whassername (sums up UKIP) runs the show as a temp until later in the year/next year. But Nige may well be back. Leaner & meaner.

  • bloke in spain

    But they really do need to get themselves some “faces”. They’d have got a lot more seats if anyone knew who they were.

  • jamess

    From what I know about Carswell, he would be a great person to lead Ukip. Anyone know otherwise?

  • Laird

    I certainly hope Farage comes back. He’s far too much fun not to have around.

  • jamess

    My understanding (and I’m really not sure about this, so I’m looking for correction) is that Farage pushed the anti-immigration line. It’s certainly a good short term political tactic, but it’s also tarnished the Ukip brand and made some people refuse to vote for them despite agreeing with a lot of other things they go for (notably, on the EU). If Carswell, as now surely their most recognised person, could lead the party and take it in a small-state direction, that would surely be a good thing.

  • Paul Marks

    I went to a funeral on Monday.

    I watched people who had been life long friends, not even speaking to each other.

    This has got to stop – it must stop.

    The Blue and Purple tribes must reunite – we must become one tribe once again.

    Not under the washed out pale (almost grey) blue we have now – but under a brighter (more sincere) blue.

    People who are ashamed to wear a rosette that is a proper blue colour (and go for the washed out pale blue that Central Office has been pushing) are often unsound on other matters also.

  • Paul, now you have some idea of what things have been like in Scotland for the last year or so. We’re split right down the middle, and it’s ruining friendships and families.

    It all reinforces my conviction that joining the European Project was the biggest mistake this country has ever made. It’s tearing the Conservative Party apart (which, as you’ve seen, is no dry political detail), and, by making “independence” a less daunting prospect, is tearing Scotland apart, threatening to tear the entire country apart.

    I don’t know what is to be done. Leaving it is still necessary, but these wounds won’t heal overnight.