The Corner

The British Elections: The Latest Game-Changer

Britain’s general election has looked a little like a roller-coaster ride on LSD since the first debate between the three party leaders two weeks ago. Underneath the hellzapoppin’ surface, however, there have been two important game-changers.

The first was the debate, which did indeed shake up the electoral prospects of all three parties by pushing the Liberal Democrats into a position of equality with their two “main” rivals, transforming their telegenic leader, Nick Clegg, into a modest political superstar, opening up the posibility of a “hung Parliament” in which no one party has an overall majority, and making all calculations about the result both very difficult and highly changeable. But something like a stable relationship between the parties soon settled down as follows: The Tories enjoyed a slight lead with 32-24 percent over the other two parties, which battled for second place with percentages around 28-32 percent. Such an outcome on Election Day would have produced no clear victory for any party — and both Labour and Tory parties had good grounds for hoping that their side would emerge as the largest party in terms of seats.

Then, with eight days to go before the election, the second game-changer occurred. Yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown — unaware that he was speaking on a still-open neck-microphone, described a Labour-voting woman who had ventured mild criticism of high immigration levels in an otherwise friendly chat as “bigoted.” This was played out in full on television — even the horribly embarrassing moment when Brown buried his head in his hands as he heard his own words played back to him. Brown apologized, but to little avail. Today’s headlines run as follows: “She went out to get bread and came back with BROWN TOAST!”

What makes this much more than simply embarrassing for Labour is that it illustrates the private contempt of Left elites for ordinary Labour voters, with their old-fashioned patriotic and conservative social prejudices on immigration and much else. So Labour’s vote is likely to go down substantially further as even the faithful desert the party — pols and pundits are breathlessly waiting for the next set of polls. This now looks like a two-party race again, but this time between Tories and Lib-Dems. Given that the Tories start out from the stronger position, it is hard to see how they can avoid winning the election. But there’s another debate tonight — and one week for a third game-changer to emerge.


Most Popular


Ezra Klein’s Intellectual Demagoguery

Ezra Klein wants you to know that he doesn’t think Sam Harris is a racist. “I’m not here to say you’re racist, I don’t think you are,” Klein explains in a two-hour debate with Harris on the latter’s podcast, Waking Up. “We have not called you one.” No, not at all. Klein is telling the truth ... Read More

The Scholarship/Activism Balance — A Rejoinder

The Martin Center recently published an article by sociology professor Fabio Rojas, in which he argued that professors should maintain the right balance between their teaching and scholarship on the one hand, and activism on the other. In today's article, the Center's Jay Schalin pushes back somewhat. Schalin ... Read More

The Book Comey Wanted to Write

Making the click-through worthwhile: the book James Comey had wanted to write, Facebook starts to feel useless to some writers, an infamous D.C. city councilman manages to make everything worse, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign finds its wish granted. What Did James Comey’s First Draft of A Higher ... Read More
Film & TV

Pro-Life Feminist

My paisana at the Human Life Review are hosting an event in NYC on Thursday, May 3, at the Sheen Center (18 Bleeker Street) for the airing of director Jim Hanon’s half-hour documentary, Pro-Life Feminist. After the viewing, he’ll join the trio of castmates -- Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, Aimee Murphy, and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Good News for Pompeo

Looks like he's in, as he should be. But this fight has been a hint of what life will be like for Trump if the Democrats somehow take the Senate -- they'd refuse to confirm anyone for anything. Read More