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Another important chapter in the austerity revolution
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the UK election results, drafted and published on May 9, 2015

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): The outcome of the parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom
on May 7 has stunned everyone. While opinion polls consistently projected a hung and fractioned parliament,
UK voters, in a surprise last minute swing, provided Prime Minister Cameron’s Conservative Party with an
absolute, 4 seat majority.  At the same time, the Liberal Democrats, the Tory coalition partner in the previous
government lost a staggering 49 seats and saw their representation in the House of Commons reduced to 8.  
The list of high profile Lib Dem candidates who were castigated by voters included cabinet members Vince
Cable, Danny Alexander and Ed Davey as well as the former Lib Dem boss Charles Kennedy. While retaining
his seat in Parliament, Nick Clegg has already handed in his resignation as Lib Dem leader. Likewise, Labour
leader Ed Miliband and UKIP boss Nigel Farage have also resigned from their party positions.  Labour’s
disappointing result was particularly devastating in its former Scottish stronghold. Miliband's party lost 40 seats
there including that of Scottish leader Jim Murphy and that of shadow foreign minister Douglas Alexander. The
Scottish National Party, however, won a landslide 56 out of total of 59 seats in Scotland.  Clearly a remarkable
and tide turning outcome. What is it in Noah denkt™’s opinion that happened here? Why did the pollsters get it
so wrong?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Well, the polls correctly predicted the landslide SNP victory in Scotland. And
they also anticipated correctly that Liberal Democrats would have a terrible election night. If they didn't foresee
the Cameron win adequately then that may have something to do with the fact that they underestimated the
impact which the last BBC Question Time Debate had on voter opinion. It seems to us that Ed Miliband's failure
to accept that Labour overspent the last time they were in government must have rubbed many people the
wrong way. Generally speaking though, this election was first and foremost a national referendum on austerity
politics. And in the confinement of the voting booth, voters probably realized that the tough cost cutting of the
Cameron government is very likely the more responsible way to deal with the challenges of the future than the
tax-and spend-approach that Labour and others were advocating for.  

AE: Yes, we are aware that this project is firmly anchored in the pro-austerity camp!

Nd: Well, yeah! We do indeed believe that the technological advances, the ensuing dramatic changes in the
labor market and the high-speed interdependence of global markets (financial and others) force governments
to question previous welfare state assumptions according to which governments should be obliged to protect
their citizens from undue economic hardship. It seems clear to us that governments are simply overwhelmed by
the ultra-complex nature of our turbo-reality so that they cannot reasonably continue to aspire to be the
ultimate protector of the past. Voters in the UK must have consciously or subconsciously felt that too which is
why they handed that “shock majority” (Daily Telegraph) to the Conservatives.

AE: If what you say is true why then did the electorate punish the Liberal Democrats in such a brutal manner?
They, after all, did support Mr. Cameron’s downsizing of protectionist government tasks? Should they not have
been rewarded for their courage too?

Nd: It is natural that voters while accepting the need for reasonable hardship also want to express their
frustration over the pain that subject hardship is causing them. That is why they have castigated the weakest
link in the political austerity chain without undoing the austerity approach as a whole.

AE: And what about the rise of the Scottish National Party?

Nd: Well, unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there who stubbornly oppose the notion that times
have changed and that the old social welfare philosophy sadly isn't tenable any more in the current (“Uber”)
circumstances. The SNP is part of that crop. So, if you add to that mix the fact that a lot of Scots probably
needed to make amends for rejecting the earlier independence vote then you might have an explanation for
the SNP sweep in Scotland.

AE: Nevertheless it cannot be denied that there is a serious North-South divide over the need for government
austerity in the UK?

Nd: Correct. As in all major, if not revolutionary, paradigm shifts there is a deep division over which way to go.
That is normal and healthy. And it is exhilarating that despite all the pain, the British public has ultimately
decided to do the right and reasonable thing. Others, in
Greece, Italy and elsewhere should take note of that.
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