The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 May 2005

Tories Look Better Than Expected

Rough Waters For Blair

Labour Backbenchers Could Set Agenda As Majority Shrinks


(With Major Saturday Developments)



What was expected to be a dull rerun of Tony Blair's previous, mammoth victories, has instead turned out to be at least the beginning of the end.


It isn't spin to suggest, even if Michael Howard obviously won't be the next PM, the Tories look mighty good today.

The reason? It's Bush-esque, or Bush-onian, whatever term we might coin, where expectations were so low, the Conservative Party had an easy hurdle to jump in this election.

Biggest upset: the third-party and increasingly leftist Liberal Democrats appear to be picking up just a few seats in early returns, with later results looking a bit better.

Instead, voters sick of Blair and Labour in many cases did go Conservative, giving party leader Howard at least enough voices to make the House of Commons a bit less of a one-party echo chamber.

Most interesting: a 5% vote swing toward the Tories in London, reversing eroding support in the last two elections.

Here's where it gets especially compelling: with Labour's majority dropping to potentially uncomfortable levels, Blair's moderate agenda could face huge pressures from a rogue band of old-fashioned socialist Labour backbenchers, perhaps 50 in number, who will have the ability to screw things up mightily for the prime minister.

This could be good news for Conservatives in the next election, where they could take the reins from a fractured Labour. With Blair, as nearly the sole occupant of the Thatcherite wing of his party, could very well see it return to its hard-left roots.

News coverage tonight has focused on Blair and Iraq as the problem, but Conservatives were also for the war and there are growing internal social problems that have created frustrations.

I don't think the Tories are yet ready to take the reins of government, after a long rebuilding process and stumbling around on the issues, in recent years.

If there is an internal Labour coup which results in Blair's political demise, however, Conservatives will be well-positioned for the next election.

Updates later as returns arrive.

Update: day-after reactions from around the world, as chronicled by the BBC, show newspapers around the world blaming Iraq for Blair's huge parliamentary losses. Isn't the real problem a lack of trust, not the decision to go to war in the first place, as well as the large number of festering social problems at home?

Saturday: Conservative leader Michael Howard announces he'll soon step down as party leader, citing age and the desire for new leadership to be in place, before the next election. Apparently his intent was to see the party through this contest and just beyond.

A list of contenders supplied by the BBC is here, there really does seem to be a talent pool in the Conservative Party, with younger potential leaders than one would expect.

2 Comments:

  • More intellectual dishonesty. The Tories marginal gains was due to the Liberals significant gains, because of Blair's lies leading Britan into the Bush lap dog status. On just about every seat the Conservatives gained, was accompanied by a more significant gain in the Liberal vote.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 06 May, 2005 13:16  

  • More intellectual dishonesty. The Tories marginal gains was due to the Liberals significant gains, because of Blair's lies leading Britan into the Bush lap dog status. On just about every seat the Conservatives gained, was accompanied by a more significant gain in the Liberal vote.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 06 May, 2005 13:16  

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