Thursday, June 8, 2017

British Vote Today Not Looking Good for Labour

UPDATE IV: From the The Guardian's "election results live":

Labour says 'Tories are being punished for taking British people for granted'


UPDATE III: The first announced exit poll has the Tories falling short of a majority. "The survey predicts the Conservatives will get 314 seats and the Labour Party 266." This is a far cry from the 345-375 spread predicted by a majority of the final polls. If the exit poll is accurate, there will be plenty of upheaval -- anarchy? -- in the UK.


UPDATE II: With exit polls soon to arrive, I just finished reading yesterday's FiveThirtyEight post, "The Three Scenarios For The U.K. Election," Both Nate Silver and Harry Enten still appear to be snake-bitten by the Trumpocalypse of last November; hence, the excessive hedging they indulge in prior to revealing their three scenarios: 1) modest Tory triumph, 2) Tory landslide; 3) Tories lose their majority:
We don’t have a model of this election — but in our view, there’s no way around the fact that uncertainty is high and that nobody should be surprised about the outcome unless perhaps Labour wins an outright majority of seats. U.K. polls have not historically been very accurate. And pundit attempts to outguess the polls have often been even worse. (In 2016, pundits and betting markets were notoriously confident that Britain would vote to remain within the European Union even when polls showed a nearly even race.) However, if one takes the polling average but assumes that the error is as high as it has been historically, then it turns out that each of these three outcomes are roughly as likely as one another. 

UPDATE: If the Tories gain 45 seats, a forecast that Yves Smith featured in her post, this would be considered an enormous victory for Theresa May. According to a helpful scorecard provided by The Independent, any gain of 34 seats or more for the Tories will be considered a landslide, a triumph for May and "[T]he 'terrible campaign' story will be rewritten as a brilliant reading of the essence of the British people."


Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith has a strong track record of pessimism when it comes to the left's ability to transform the neoliberal center. She is at it again with "Final UK Election Polls: YouGov Still the Outlier, Predicts Tories Get Only 302 Seats." Smith, with slight a hedge in the form of an acknowledgement that polls were wrong about Brexit, seems to favor the point of view that the Tories are looking to pick up something like 45 seats, which would give them a 100-seat majority over all other parties in Parliament. This scenario imagines Tories racking up wins in the midlands, the north, even Scotland.

I understand that Labour's vote is concentrated in metropolitan areas and is heavily dependent on fickle youth turning up at the polls, but the idea that the Scottish National Party could lose as many as 12 seats because of its pro-independence stance seems far-fetched to me.

The fact remains that Yves Smith's pessimism is mostly on the mark. The neoliberal center, entrenched in the West for decades, is remarkably resilient. Look at how it was able to stymie the Obama 2008 landslide or how it was able to Jiffy Pop a new electoral majority seemingly overnight with Emmanuel Macron's En Marche!

Sadly, neoliberalism will likely have to collapse internally -- we're seeing that now with Trump -- before it is deconstructed by social-democratic majorities at the polls. The problem with internal collapse -- remember Thucydides! -- is that it is bloody, horrific, painful, basically the worst.

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