Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 24 May 2014

Sense Prevails

So the elections are over and the count is in. Everything has returned to a sort of normality.

Sense, a sort of sense at least, has prevailed.

There is all sorts of talk about UKIP having triumphed, but it didn’t. in fact, its numbers, its popularity dropped by about 6% on a year ago. This is a good thing, a very, very good thing.

In my particular neck of the woods, my constituency elected four UKIPpers. I am utterly horrified. There is no over all control in my local council, which would be fine, except that it is swinging to the right, which makes me very uncomfortable.

What makes me even more uncomfortable is that those four UKIP councillors were elected in the poorest most rundown wards with the highest rates of unemployment and child poverty, and the lowest rates of home ownership and residents with higher and further education qualifications. The very people who would suffer most under a right wing, reactionary regime are those who are voting for it. Ignorance absolutely is not bliss.

The most ethnically and culturally diverse ward, my own, voted Liberal Democratic. This was not my choice, but since virtually everyone else voted Conservative, I suppose this was about as leftist as it was going to get.

This brings me to a particular piece of political canvassing that dropped through my letter box last week, and perhaps the nastiest most cynical piece of electioneering that passed through my consciousness. I was frankly appalled. I was appalled because it appealed to people’s good sense while actually being emotional blackmail. It was an act of honest-to-goodness desperation.

It came from our local Liberal Democrats. You may remember that they were voted into office in my ward, so either it worked or the majority of the local voters were already in their camp. Either way, I’m not thrilled.

The flyer did not outline the good work the Liberal Democrat councillors have done on the council in the past and it did not outline their plans for the future. It did not talk about its politics or its policies. The flyer that was pushed through my letterbox and through the letterboxes of thousands of other homes simply said that Labour could not win in my ward, so we should vote for the Liberal Democrats, because if we didn't the Conservatives would win, and we didn’t want that, did we? It was practically imploring.

Let's put aside the fact that the Liberal Democrats quite happily got into bed with the Conservatives four years ago in order to give themselves some sort of credibility and a hand in running the bloody country. They could have moved a little to the left, but, instead they opted to shake hands with David Cameron. As I said, let's just ignore that for a moment.

The Liberal Democrats showed no conviction. They did not try to persuade their constituents that they had the best plans for the area going forward, or that they had the future welfare of the electorate at heart. They were simply running scared. They didn’t want to lose their jobs, and they didn’t want the other bloke to win, but they couldn’t come up with a single good reason why they were the better option. They didn’t appear to believe in what they were doing, or they didn’t think they could make us believe in them.

Instead of filling us with confidence in them, instead of finding areas of agreement with us, they tried to frighten us. I think we were probably frightened enough.

Some people were frightened and angry and ignorant enough to vote UKIP for crying out loud. 

I voted my conscience. It matters to me. If my conscience had been to vote Liberal Democrat this nasty piece of trash landing on my doormat would probably have dissuaded me from voting at all. I won’t be frightened by politicians and I won’t be blackmailed by them. 

I don’t know what effect this had on other people, but it made me angry, and for none of the reasons the Liberal Democrats intended. 


  1. I think the only reason UKIP have managed to grab any attention at all this election is because of the compromise the Lib Dems made four years ago. For the longest time the Liberal Democrats occupied what I have come to call the 'Other Guy' position. They represented a 3rd option in what had been for decades a two horse race, and steadily built their voting foundation by appealing to the disenfranchised and the disappointed.

    And they nearly did it. They came as close as they ever have done in the last election (to my recent memory anyway). But it wasn't enough and the Conservatives just pulled, I think it was 3 dozen seats more. But then Nick Clegg compromised and the popularity drained away, leaving room for UKIP to pop up their heads and pull a few ears their way.

    That's my 2p on the subject, not that I have ever been particularly observant of the political climate. I'm two busy working my little job and paying off my student loans.

    Thanks for the words.

  2. I am so delighted that UKIP improved their ratings and public visibility. I shudder to think what would happen to our economy should Labour get back in and drag us back to the position we (the public) have strived and suffered so much to get out of. I instincts and previous convictions have always been for the Conservatives but they (and all the parties) need to listen to the voters. People will always vote with emotions. Forget logic and forget rational discussions. Things like the "bedroom" tax makes a lot of people's blood boil, regardless of the merits. There are familiies who were born into a home which in turn became their home and later, home to their children and eventually the children grew and left apart from one, who is now living alone and being evicted or 'financially punished' for having too many rooms. Rooms that they want to give to an immigrant who has never contributed to this country. That, to my mind is morally insane and devoid of human compassion. This is where the Conservatives let people down. We cannot afford another Labour, Liberals are so pathetic, so what is left. Only UKIP. Not to get power but to teach Conservatives a lesson in listerning.

    1. " Forget logic and forget rational discussions"

      This is the only way the UKIP and the like make sense. We've just seen a huge surge in support for Sinn Fein here. Reactionary protest voting just puts worse people in power.

  3. Let’s take a look at this, then, shall we, “Anonymous”? First, Dan Abnett didn’t “bag” himself anything or anyone. Second, there’s nothing sanctimonious about it, except that it disagreed with your strongly held views (which, of course, you’re entitled to). So, you grabbed a meaty word that you couldn’t be bothered to look up in order to put her down. Thirdly, there’s no reason to put quote marks around liberal. She’s a liberal in the political-leaning sense of the word, not in terms of party affiliation. And, while we’re there, a remarkable, wise and beautiful woman who seems, to me, to have a great insight into political reality. Notice how I politely used the sub-clause “to me” there? Like her, you can have your views. They’re yours. Good luck with them. They should be discussed, not targeted and off-handedly pissed on. Fourthly, why would you suppose for a single moment that her husband didn’t wholeheartedly agree with her stance?

    Finally, “Anonymous”? Really? Really? You have strongly-held convictions but you won’t put your actual name to them, as she did? You won’t stand up and be recognised, as she is? Ah, political debate! No wonder we’re in the state we’re in if people cheerfully opine without daring to rise from cover. What a fucking coward.

    Because of that, I’m not going to even discuss liberalism, or your use of the wankish phrase “leftist nutcases”.

    But, in the spirit of your mode of address, let me do it your way and just say that your comment was two half-arsed sentences of poisonous toss and you can take them the fuck elsewhere.

    Very happily putting my name to this...


  4. Well said Dan!
    Anonymous huh??!
    Always going to be Internet toughguys
    Nic, we luv ya ;)


  5. Bloody well said Dan!

    I voted Lib Dem again,and pretty conscientiously, I think.The Lib Dem councillor has been effective & communicative as far as I can tell, and I don't believe in using local elections to punish parties for their behaviour at Westminster.
    That said, I strongly dislike that kind of negative campaigning, the "only we can beat X here" leaflets, which appear all over the country wherever the LDs have been the 2nd party.

    In terms of policies & basic political philosophy, I don't believe the LDs are precisely equidistant between Tories & Labour, I believe they are a party of the left. The centre-left maybe, but often the same can be said of Labour! On particular issues; for example civil liberties on the national stage & the treatment of multi-occupancy households here in Cambridge, Labour have lurched worryingly to the right. When the LDs present themselves to Tory voters as a way to keep Labour out, that stinks of opportunism.

    Also, one of the things that drew me to them in the first place, was their consistent call for electoral reform. Of course they must work within the existing broken system, but when their election literature seeks to play dirty tricks with exactly the sort of unrepresentative first-past-the-post crap they have stood against for so long, that seems like they're letting themselves & the voters down too.

    1. Now I feel bad that I'm signed in as my internet alter-ego! For the record, it's Paul Little ;-)

  6. Well met Paul

    Big....Stephen Bissett

  7. The whole Lib Dem campaign of so and so cant win here so vote for us has been going on for some time. My partner used to be a paid up member of the party and was a district councilor for some time.

    Seeing the inside of grass roots local politics really opened my eyes, the majority of local activists, and I don't use that term in a derogatory manner, I just cant think of a better way to describe them are quite simply un-hinged. That goes for all parties in my local area.

    People should get into politics believing they can make a difference and to serve the local community, at best most at a local level do it because they have nothing better to do, at worst its all about ego.

    The Liberal Democrats, a party who I have supported since I could vote, regardless of their chance of "Winning Here" will no longer be getting my vote until they change.

    They need to go back to being what they always were, a third way with measured opinions that were not necessarily about getting votes but what at the core they believed was right.

    Ukip will soon be a forgotten memory, like the BNP who now have just 2 councilors and no MEP's from a high of 58 and 2 respectively. However unless the Lib Dems rebuild from a local level another party will spring up in a couple a years and take away the alternative vote as both ukip and the bnp before them have done.

    The apathy towards using your right to vote is only going to get worse, if children grow up in households where no discussion about voting or politics in general takes place apart from "whats the point, they are all the same" the next generation wont end up voting and its really disheartening.

    Short of making the vote compulsory, or my particular favorite a "common sense" test before people are allowed to vote or have children! the only way this can be turned around is education.

    I had no lessons in politics or social responsibilities at school, I was taught that at home but it really needs to be back in the classroom now. Bung it in with sex ed and RE, but it really does need to be a subject that is more heavily focused on at an earlier age.

    This might go so way to halting the ever dwindling voter turn out and not only that but in generations to come we might end up with politicians at local and national level doing it for the right reason, to serve the people of this country.

  8. Agreed 100% Chris, tho the LDs will still be getting my vote for the moment, as I believe first & foremost in reforming the electoral mechanics to make them more representative, and I don't necessarily blame the Clegg for the coalition, he did exactly what moderate parties all over Europe do all the time. A lot of British voters (& commentators) need a basic understanding of coalition politics!

  9. I'm a middle of the road voter, sometimes I vote left, sometimes I vote right and it all depends on the politicians in question at the time and the policies they present. Personally I think they are all a load of bastards who only in it for themselves anyway and accusing one side of being worse than the other is kind of like asking if you would like a meal of dog shit or horse shit, either way it's still crap you are being fed. Granted I live in NZ so I'm not entirely clued up on the various British Partys but that "negative" campaign style isn't unique to the Lib Dems, we see it over here with the major parties "endorsing" minor parties candidates, effectively saying "Don't vote for our candidate vote for this guy instead, that's far better for us!" because they know that there is no way that the marginal voters in the electorate will ever vote for their candidate for whatever reason but they still need partners in the coalition, as lets face, any one party getting a majority these days happens once in a blue moon. It's a pathetic process that actually undermines the spirit of democracy. Great article and "Anonymous" I'd really recommend going to see a doctor, I've heard that when your belly turns yellow it can be bad for your health. Or actually do the world I favor and don't, might be better for all concerned actually.

  10. Extreme brittleness, self righteousness, moralizing, hectoring - all hallmarks of the white "liberal". Shaming tactics another.

    Really, you should keep quiet because you're ruining the mystique surrounding your books this way.

  11. Go get 'em, Dan :)

  12. Dan, why don't you come and say what you really mean? LOL

  13. At the end of the day, this is his wife. This is the person he truly loves. Anyone insults or slanders her and there'll be hell to pay. And I think Dan proved that just now.



  14. You took that troll apart. Nice going.