I am no expert in UK politics and I have never played an MP or even a barrister on TV, but I did forego a room at a Holiday Inn Express last night to stay up to the small hours watching BBC World at home, so I won’t let a lack of knowledge stop me. I think — and I hope this is not just wishful thinking — that the results of Thursday’s election in the UK augur poorly for the U.S. Democratic Party in 2016.
Now most people know by now that the SNP (Scottish National Party) swamped Scotland, winning near every parliamentary seat, and that the Conservative Party did extremely well, much better than expected, winning 331 seats and gaining a majority of Parliament without need of coalition partners.
What most people outside the UK don’t realize, however — and you certainly wouldn’t know if you read the absurd coverage in the Wall Street Journal — is how the popular vote went. (The UK has a peculiar system where a party could come in second in virtually every election and end up with no seats in Parliament.) Of the five largest parties, the Conservatives gained 36.9% of the vote, Labour 30.4%, UKIP (UK Independence Party) 12.6%, Liberal Democrats 7.9%, SNP 4.7% and Green 3.8%. (Perhaps the relatively good showing of the Greens, just making its way into the top five of umpteen parties, accounts for the relatively poor showing — only 8,419 votes en toto — for the “Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party.” Yes, they have one.)
By far the party that saw the biggest increase in popularity from the 2010 election was the EU-skeptical UKIP, which went up 9.5%, more than tripling the gain of any other party, including the SNP (Scotland is not that populous). Although UKIP has only one measly parliamentary seat due to that odd UK electoral process, this means that the two top right-leaning parties garnered a whopping 49.5% of the vote. Predictions had been for a close election. It wasn’t.
Silent majority? Seems like it was, but why? For one thing, the media, including the all-dominant Beeb, leans left in the UK and wants to convince themselves and others that they are in good shape, spouting their party line time after time until it becomes accepted cant by them and their global audience. We know that this happens here in the U.S. as well and many people get browbeaten by it, tending to keep their opinions to themselves. It may even be worse over there.
One of the inaccuracies of polling is that low-information voters tend to get overcounted because they tend not to vote in the end. At the same time, many who are keeping their heads down lest they be accused — almost always falsely — of racism, homophobia, greed, etc., are undercounted. This could well have been what happened in the UK and in the U.S. during the 2014 election when Republicans did better than expected. Will it happen in 2016? It’s not impossible, especially with the conditions in our country being what they are.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Monster Raving Loony Party garnered only 8,398 votes in the UK election. Bragging rights once again to the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party. Take that to the pub and smoke it!
Roger L. Simon’s “Diary of a Mad Voter” will debut on PJ Media on Monday, May 11.