The commentators 08-05-15
...on the general election
This was an election that Labour could have won, and David Miliband could have won it. Instead, Labour is one of three parties that emerges from last night facing questions about its viability. The Lib Dems have been crushed, Ukip is finished and Labour has no visible means of coming back as a credible alternative government in five years' time.
- John Rentoul, Independent
There are many reasons for this Labour failure: the loss of Scotland to the nationalists, the ebbing of English working-class support to Ukip, and the inability to stem the small but significant defection of radical voters to the Greens among them. No one, though, can pretend that Miliband didn’t give it his best shot, or charge that anyone significant in the Labour party undermined his efforts by off-message criticisms. Miliband had an absolutely clear run – and it failed.
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian
Miliband cannot survive this carnage. Even if the Tories struggle to assemble a government, which they may, no leader can be permitted a disaster on this scale. To suffer a swing against Labour to the Tories and to lose ground even to the dismal performance managed by Gordon Brown in 2010 is an extraordinary act of negative capability. It is a failure almost beyond conceiving.
- Philip Collins, The Times
The Tories should beware triumphalism. And, to be fair to David Cameron, he has long been aware that a second term, if secured, would almost certainly be harder than his first. The Tory campaign was all about finishing the job, securing the “good life”. But the Tory ship of state is heading for choppy waters. However Cameron governs – with his own narrow majority or a second alliance with the nearly extinct Lib Dems and others – he will face a progressive opposition made freshly muscular by scores of new SNP MPs. The global newsflash is that Britain is self-federalising, and Cameron must fast present a plausible response to that ferocious dynamic.
- Matthew d'Ancona, The Guardian
A union of such unequal states as England and Scotland does not lend itself to neat federalist blueprints. Fairness demands decentralisation in England as well as devolution elsewhere. The tax and spending implications are fiendishly complicated. All this will require open-minded cross-party negotiation. The politicians should remind themselves that Britain has been here before. In 1910 the Westminster parties bungled Irish Home Rule. We know what happened next.
- Philip Stephens, Financial Times
It is already clear that the polls and their pollsters have had a bad election. In the end the debate between online and phone polls, and different methodologies, proved irrelevant. Although during the course of the campaign the latter had shown several Tory leads, the final crop of polls were roughly anticipating a tie. The challenge with trying to understand what went wrong isn’t simple. The same methods (often used by the same companies), in different countries, are most of the time accurate. Indeed they were just five years ago, at the last general election in 2010.
- Alberto Nardelli, The Guardian
Politicians have decided that they don't need us any more. They are connecting directly with the voters.
Comment archive, 2015
Scottish National Party
Depression and killer pilot
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