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May 01, 2015

Comments

I'd be interested to know how much of the UK election has made it outside of the UK news media, and how it's being reported.

nary a peep here in Japan.

I'm predicting a Very Silly Party landslide.

But who will take Umbrage this time (Mary W. being dead for some time now)?

I had heard that the other parties had vowed not to include UKIP in the next government, regardless of how they do in the election.

UKIP Manifesto. For what it's worth.

I've seen a fair amount on it. But then, I read the Economist, and wander about their blogs quite a bit.

The UKIP seems to mostly get portrayed (in the US, at least) as the British equivalent of the Tea Party. But its leader, Nigel LaFarge, gave an interview with the Economist (here) wherein he sounds far more linked to reality than any Tea Party spokesman I have ever listened to. (Yes, Brett, doubtless there are some sensible Tea Party members out there. But they seem to be hiding their light under a bushel.)

I happen to think that their raison d'être (getting Britain out of the EU) would be an economic disaster for Britain. Unless they somehow magically convince the rest of the EU that they should still get the kind of special access to the single market that Norway and Iceland enjoy. And given the EU's understandable irritation at their exit, that doesn't seem like a good bet.

Perhaps they don't expect the EU to last much longer, should countries start escaping, so the EU's irriation at their exit isn't a consideration.

as always, I'm struck by the difference between what "conservative" means in the US, as compared to in any other OECD nation.

Wouldn't you expect that, in countries with very different histories?

So, kind of a dumb question from someone who is largely uninformed about British politics, but what is the reasoning for the UK to get out of the EU, with the UK not being in the Eurozone?

From what I know, the worst thing about being in the EU is also being part of the Eurozone and no longer being fiscally sovereign as a result, which is something that only applies to those EU countries that are also in the Eurozone, of which the UK is not.

It kind of seems like the best of both, unless if the issue is unwanted immigration from other EU members. Is that it?

To some degree, yes. And, I recognize that even among (for instance) the European nations, there's a lot of difference between what "conservative" means.

But the difference between us and pretty much every other OECD nation seems, to me, to be a difference in kind rather than degree.

I don't really see the kind of bred-in-the-bone distrust of government and the public sector *per se* in places other than here.

There is "distrust" in the sense of "what a bunch of boneheads", but not really the kind of almost atavistic fear that the government isn't just going to do stupid stuff, but is going to do malicious, tyrannical, oppressive stuff, if we don't keep on eye on them every minute.

What's odd is that many of the other OECD nations actually have histories of what we would consider oppressive governments. And, we do not, in any meaningful sense.

We just have the fear.

It just strikes me as weird.

Maybe my impression is incorrect.

Sorry, my 3:58 is in response to Brett's 3:47, not hairshirt's 3:58.

what is the reasoning for the UK to get out of the EU

The basic argument is "We don't want a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels telling us what to do!"

That being, for example, making decisions on what standards will be for various things, so that all of the countries in the EU are working to the same standards. Which makes it possible to import something from another EU country and know that it has the same restrictions on toxic elements, it is covered by the same kinds of insurance, etc. (Without that, the UK gets to field a horde of inspectors to look at all imports from their largest trading partner.)

Not to mention that the EU would have to field inspectors for all British goods going to the EU. Which would make it far easier (and likely cheaper) to buy from elsewhere.

What's odd is that many of the other OECD nations actually have histories of what we would consider oppressive governments. And, we do not, in any meaningful sense.

We just have the fear.

...and so long as we have that "fear", we'll never have an oppressive government, duh!</s>

I should probably have noted that the UKIP isn't just anti-EU. From what I have seen, it also covers pretty much the entire xenophobia spectrum. (Which, come to think of it, may be why those who know little about it think it resembles the Tea Party.)

Are they anti-American too?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2429047/UKIP-bunch-morons-fascists-says-man-FOUNDED-anti-EU-party-20-years-ago.html

Because they sound so American.

Their program sounds so intriguing, what with the hating of everyone all at once.

Whatever they do, keep the government away from my National Health Service.

"What's odd is that many of the other OECD nations actually have histories of what we would consider oppressive governments. And, we do not, in any meaningful sense.

We just have the fear."

Not so odd. You've just stated the effect before the cause, which makes it look a little odd. We're sufficiently concerned about oppressive government to have largely avoided experiencing one.

"what is the reasoning for the UK to get out of the EU"

I was under the impression that it was a combination of regulatory/tax autonomy, and control over immigration. What with the freedom of travel in the EU, member states have very little control over immigration, or so I would think, and UKIP puts a pretty high priority on England having control of who immigrates there.

I don't think you can accurately call this "xenophobia", as they do advocate some immigration. Here's their 3 point program:

"Put a five-year moratorium on immigration for unskilled workers, which will enable the unemployed already living here to find work and
those already working to see wage growth.

Introduce an Australian-style points based system to manage the number and skills of people coming into the country, treating all citizens of the world on a fair and equal basis as a welcoming, outward-looking country.

Tackle the problem of sham marriages."

Not wanting to have to prioritize immigration by EU citizens over immigration by non-EU citizens hardly seems xenophobic. Quite the opposite.

Sham marriages?

No pizza for them!

I don't know if was for sarcasm or satire, NV. But, either way, it came true just a few comments later.

The main problem in the UK right now are those pesky "foreigners with HIV" destroying the NHS. Oh and Scotland has gone from fair maiden of Great Britain to socialist bete noir in less than a year's time - it's all very depressing.

Nevertheless here's a kind of funny guide:

https://i-d.vice.com/en_gb/article/the-a-z-of-the-general-election

Would you mock somebody who was concerned enough about a heart attack to eat right and exercise, saying they're paranoid because they have no evidence of heart disease?

These days eating right and exercising (most, not all, kinds of) are political litmus tests. On the fringe left meat eaters get ostracised, on the fringe right getting caught consuming any kind of vegetables (apart from catsup/ketchup) could mean the same.
And both fringes are equally convinced that they are under constant threat of food tampering by the government and the food industry resp.
So, it would be less mocking about paranoia than scorn about the choice itself because it means that you are one of THEM.

Oh yeah, I forgot the 2135 suspected sham marriages are of course a problem of such magnitude that it merits a section in every party platform as well as incessant full page coverage in the UKs finest news media.

novakant: so THAT'S where they get the "page 3 girls" from.

Someone who, at 60, has cholesterol levels on the low (good) end of the range for 20 year olds. And who is fanatic about avoiding anything with fat in it. On top of having no signs of heart problems, and no family history of them either. Still they exercise obsessively and worry loud and often about heart disease striking them.

Yes I would mock them. There is a difference between reasonable concern and detatched-from-reality hysteria.

With the ever shifting opinions on nutrition, avoiding fat may now be considered a health risk.

Just as blocking (or even just massively restricting) immigration may be considered a risk to the economy.

And the parallels just keep on coming!

Where to start with UKIP ?

The current Conservative PM, David Cameron memorably and undiplomatically described them as "fruitcake, loonies and closet racists, mostly..."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4875026.stm
... which I have to say, IMO, is not entirely inaccurate.

On the other hand, I do have a slight degree of sympathy with their animus against the European project, its determination to erode national sovereignty, and it's democratic deficit.

I have to take issue with wj. While I wouldn't advocate leaving the EU (and it's a pretty unlikely eventuality), it would be far from the economic disaster he imagines, particularly as our European partners would have more to lose in any subsequent trade war than would we.

but what is the reasoning for the UK to get out of the EU, with the UK not being in the Eurozone?

Immigration is a big issue. While I don't have a problem with it, the levels of migration into the UK - and principally into England - both from Europe and outside of Europe since 1997 are historically unprecedented.
Social conservatives are naturally alarmed.

The encroachment of European law is an area of controversy.

Economically, European regulation is potentially a serious threat to the survival of London as one of the worlds dominant financial centres.

As far as the election itself is concerned, the most likely outcomes are either the Conservatives or Labour having the largest number of seats in Parliament, but neither having a majority.

A virtual certainty is that Labour will lose almost all their seats in Scotland to the SNP.
The Liberal Democrats (currently in coalition with the Conservatives) will probably lose a significant proportion of their existing seats, as being the junior partner in government is a difficult act to pull off for a party which thrived as a party of opposition.

What happens then is complicated as Labour have said they will refuse to go into coalition with the SNP (in left/right terms their natural allies), and the Lib Dems have said they will not go into coalition with a Conservative government committed to hold a referendum on our continued membership of the EU.
We are therefore likely to have a minority government propped up on an ad hoc basis from vote to vote by one or other (or a combination of) the minor parties.

Interesting times.

Nigel:

I don't understand. Why would Labour refuse to coalite with the SNP? What's the problem?

Cool. I've never seen "coalite" as a verb before, but apparently it has historical (= obsolete) precedent:


Verb

(third-person singular simple present coalites, present participle coaliting, simple past and past participle coalited)

(obsolete) To cause to unite or coalesce.
(obsolete, intransitive) To unite or coalesce.

Origin

Latin coalitus

Doesn't add anything to my knowledge (ignorance) of UK elections, but at my age, even trivia are worth learning.

The problem is that they don't wish to be portrayed as the pawns of the SNP (which has a more politically astute leadership).

Thanks to devolution, there are many issues over which English MPs have no say in Scotland, while Scottish MPs remain entitled to vote in Westminster on issues which directly affect only England.
(aka The West Lothian Question.)

While Labour was winning the majority of seats in Scotland, that was not a particularly pressing issue.
Now it seems likely that the SNP will take most, if not all of the seats in Scotland, the prospect of a party devoted to the breakup of the UK holding the balance of power has rendered the issue of rather more moment.

The Conservatives have portrayed Milliband as a potential pawn of the SNP, and he has therefore disavowed any alliance with them...

A few more FWIW observations...

This is the first election since the early 70s (when I was to young to have much of a clue) that I have had no real feel for how the election is likely to turn out.

UKIP's only real influence on the outcome, given that they will have fewer seats than the Lib Dems, or probably even the DUP, is the relative number of votes they take from the major parties in marginal constituencies.
While nominally a right wing party, they do appeal to traditional Labour voting social conservatives, so the picture is complicated.

The different post election scenarios (which party leader can command a majority in the House of Commons) are Byzantine indeed.

Another reason I omitted for Labours unwillingness to coalite (coalesce ?) with the SNP is the sheer bad blood between the two parties.
The bad tempered referendum on Scottish independence, and Labour resentment at their forthcoming electoral wipeout in Scotland will see to that.

And for those who enjoy historic irony, since Thatcher was prime minister back in the early 80s, the Scottish Labour Party have been peddling the line of the illegitimacy of any Conservative UK government in Scotland, given the lack of any significant conservative support there (currently a single Conservative Scottish MP).

That argument is now being turned on them with relish by the SNP, whose tactical brilliance one has to admire (for me it stops there).

And then there' s the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act, which was brought in under the last government to prevent prime ministers calling snap elections for their own tactical advantage - and to give some stability to coalition governments.

As it's not been in force for long, unintended consequences are possible, with the courts taking a role along the Bush/Gore lines...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11579467/Election-2015-Chaos-looms-as-party-leaders-seek-coalition-deals.html

While I wouldn't advocate leaving the EU (and it's a pretty unlikely eventuality), it would be far from the economic disaster he imagines, particularly as our European partners would have more to lose in any subsequent trade war than would we.

Sorry, but all the data points to catastrophic consequences for the UK in case of a EU exit and literally all major business leaders are strongly against it. The consequences for the EU itself would be bad as well, but to a far lesser extent.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-exit-would-hit-uk-economy-much-harder-than-neighbouring-countries-study-finds-10207704.html

One has to keep in mind that the UK economy is totally dependent on the service sector (almost 80%) and multinationals like to be based in UK as it gives them access to the EU market. If that is not the case anymore the financial sector could just decide to move to Frankfurt or somewhere else and the whole house of cards would collapse immediately.

Not being an expert, I can only refer to what I have read in newspapers. According to that an important sticking point is that the financial industry fears that Brussels will shut down their casino, i.e London, with regulations. In turn London pressures Brussels not to introduce any new regulations with warnings that it could lead to Britain leaving.
Short version: Banks tell London 'threat them with leaving or we will leave you'. From their point of view the ideal outcome is that Britain stays in and the regulations out. The threat is stronger than its execution, as the old chess rule goes.

Nigel:

You mentioned "traditional Labour voting social conservatives".

What counts as "social conservatism" in the UK? In the US, that means "no abortion, no same-sex marriage" -- basically, conservative or traditionalist about sex & gender roles. For Protestants, there's also prayer in schools, but Catholics & Jews have lots of reasons to be really unenthusiastic about that.

Sorry, but all the data points to catastrophic consequences for the UK ..

A single study by a not uninterested group does not constitute 'all the data' - and even their best case scenario (a cost of 0.6% of GDP) could hardly be described as 'catastrophic'.

I think Hartmut is more realistic in assessing this - a threat to quit (as the result of a referendum and all its uncertainties) is sufficiently credible to negotiate enough concessions to make the result of that referendum fairly safe.

What counts as "social conservatism" in the UK?

I'm hardly an expert, but it might include an uneasiness, if not rejection of multiculturalism coupled with a dislike of mass immigration (the former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, was famously caught unwittingly on microphone calling one of his own supporters a 'bigot' for this).

That Labour is somewhat detached from its base was neatly illustrated by a minister tweeting a picture of a house with white van parked outside, and displaying a couple of flags of St George (the national flag of England).
Although without direct comment, it was understood by all what was implied, and she was forced to resign.

Abortion and religion are not really issues (we are possibly one of the least religious nations in the world).

A rejection of PC would be part of it - though social attitudes to, for example LGBT individuals have changed dramatically over the last decade, and there is pretty well complete acceptance from most under the age of 25 - which points to another facet of UKIP: their appeal is largely to those over the age of 50.

Social conservatives in the UK typically: can be personally tolerant of gay people but against gay marriage and gay adoption; are concerned about abortion which takes place after x weeks (x varying according to the shade of conservatism); worry about political correctness (greater degree of worry in inverse proportion to IQ); can reject multi-culturalism without disliking foreigners; and on and on. We don't have much as crazy and damaging as the tea party, but UKIP comes closest. A lot of their current rhetoric, manifesto etc is purposely toned down and reasonable-sounding to try to appeal to voters in this election, but their grass roots members are still perfectly capable of saying e.g."I'm not racist, but I do have a problem with people with negroid features for some reason"> This is a very recent example - they did expel her, probably to try and dispel the perception of them as racists, but the general feeling is that many of their members have similar feelings.

When I was in Britain (Southampton) for a few days last year I was surprised HOW strong the presence of colonials*, in particular from the sub-continent, was. And at the airport in London working personnel seemed to be 100% Indian/Pakistani. And it was surprising to see that old church buildings were as likely as not to house not Christian but Muslim/Sikh/etc. congregations. The degree of integration also seemed much higher than e.g. that of Turks in Germany (where there is still a tendency towards ghettoization).

I mean that as a pure observation neither positive or negative.

Given the traditional English xenophobia reaching back to the Middle Ages, I'd call that quite an achievement. Again, my observations were at best superficial.

*I hope this term is not insulting. It is definitely not intended as such by me

Nigel: my link is not the only data available and, again, literally all major business leaders opposing a UK exit is quite a powerful data point in itself since these people generally know what's good for them. There is no rational reason for the UK to leave the EU.

a threat to quit (as the result of a referendum and all its uncertainties) is sufficiently credible to negotiate enough concessions to make the result of that referendum fairly safe.

It would seem to depend two factors.

First, assuming the referendum happens before the negotations, exactly how does the referendum get worded. It might give room to just renegotiate. Or, with different wording, it might simply force departure.

Or, if the government tries to negotiate before the referendum, can they lay out proposed special treatment for the UK sufficient to defer a promised referendum? And how long?

Second, on what special concessions the British government would be forced to demand in order to ignore/avoid a vote to leave. And whether the rest of the EU would be willing to go quite that far in giving the UK even more special treatment than it already gets. After all, many of the EU countries have significant constituencies which chafe at some or another feature of the EU. So there are limits to how far the other EU governments can go without generating a serious backlash for themselves.

P.S. It rather sounds like the UK ought to consider an amendment to the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act. One which at least considers how to deal with the possibility of a hung Parliament. After all, it is at least possible, given that the probably outcome of the election includes a half dozen parties, there might be no coalition formed for the whole length of the Parliament. Really ought to figure out how to go on in that case.

Are they anti-American too?

The key point about UKIP is that their leader, Nigel Farage, is a Russian agent, in the straightforward sense of his main source of personal income being Russia Today. Consequently his party's policies are strongly aligned with Putin's strategic foreign policy objective of undermining and ideally destroying the EU. He doesn't have the same vested interest in other areas, although he's happy to go along with commonplace low key xenophobia if he thinks there are votes in it.

As far as the UKIP is concerned, Putin's interests, as with all of the various nationalist parties, are far less anti-American than in damaging the EU as much as possible. If he can manage to break the EU, America is far less important to him than it is today.

The UKIP in power (even if only as a non-member supporter of a coalition), combined with a Greek exit from the EU, would be a huge step forward. If he can then manage to see Mr Le Pen part of the French government, he will be well on his way to (as he would see it) making his western border more secure and Russia's influence over Eastern Europe on the way to restoration.

First, assuming the referendum happens before the negotations

It won't.
There is a putative timetable for 2017.

AFAIK, Cameron is fairly strongly committed to staying in the EU, while at the same time recognising that resentment at the lack of democratic consultation on various dilutions of UK parliamentary sovereignty is a festering sore for a significant part of both his party and the country at large.

Should he be able to pull the exercise off, it will settle the issue for a generation, while at the same time bringing about reforms whose extent is rather unclear at the moment.

A straw in the wind is a recent speech by the previously obdurate EU chair Jean-Claud Juncker indicating a (limited) willingness to talk.

In any event, a Labour win won't make this go away.

Farage is on record as being a bit of a fan of Putin.
The rest of the country, not so much.

novakant, I believe that the study you reference showed 76% of UK business leaders opposing any UK exit, which isn't quite literally all...

Interestingly, the proportion of European business leaders doing so was considerably higher.

wj, any concessions need not be "special concessions" benefitting only the UK. A return of powers to the national members (what the EU poetically call 'subsidiarity') could apply to all.
Given the mild disfunctionality of the EU, reform negotiations need not be a zero sum game.

John Oliver's take
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnIbhYuTfRw

Thanks, Nigel. It hadn't occurred to me that Cameron might negotiate for general adjustments, rather than just changes for the UK.

And since that would likely help defuse some of the resentment we are seeing in other EU countries, I can see why Junker might want to go that way.

" If that is not the case anymore the financial sector could just decide to move to Frankfurt or somewhere else and the whole house of cards would collapse immediately."

Posted by: novakant

Don't worry for those who don't speak German; I'm sure that Dublin will happily welcome such companies. And they speak something which is really close to English :)

With all due respect to Frankfurt and Dublin, not a chance.

Most big business, quite understandably, want no change in the status quo.
Bit in the unlikely event of a 'Brexit', they would deal with it.
And 90% of the City would stay just where it is.

Dr S, wj

On Labor not coaliting, and hung parliaments.

From comments on Charlie Stross' blog -- the speculation is that Labour don't *need* to coalite with SNP because they can rely on them to vote for most things Labour wants to propose, as it's in SNP's platform (and those things SNP doesn't agree with the Lib Dems or even Tories should). So long as you don't get a majority voting no confidence, minority government can go along ok in an ad hoc, issue by issue manner.

Now, this wouldn't work in Australia, because the Liberals (our conservatives. I know, sorry) are clear their main interest is blocking anything Labor might get credit for, and Labor is clear their main interest is in blocking the Greens while piously wishing somebody would stop those terrible, terrible Liberals repealing all our social regulations.

Also, ISTM Harper in Canada recently did a number on minority government mores that all the UK parties will be considering to some extent.

Labour not Labor, on that first one.

Sadly, the election itself isn't actually very exciting. Everyone knows that the result will be a hung parliament with Labour forming a minority government and daring the SNP to bring it down.

There are several mildly amusing ironies to be noted, chiefly the silent conversion of the Lib Dems to the virtues of a system that now gives them more MPs than proportional representation would allow. One imagines that UKIP will be demanding PR once the election is over and they win a grand total of 3 seats, despite getting 13% of the vote.

Sadly, the election itself isn't actually very exciting. Everyone knows that the result will be a hung parliament with Labour forming a minority government and daring the SNP to bring it down.

Some of us clearly fall outside the category of everyone.

While that's a plausible outcome, I wouldn't want to put much money on it (or any other).

Re Brexit:

http://fortune.com/2013/01/31/what-brexit-means-for-londons-financial-center/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-08/london-banks-opposing-britain-exit-from-eu-see-u-k-loss

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/129f5c98-762f-11e4-9761-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3ZAn5f09x

The Lib Dems may be pragmatically not mentioning electoral reform, but that might also be something to do with the AV referendum they demanded and then lost last time around.

Do British conservatives maintain a "Big Tent", like their lying American brethren, or do they subscribe to the "speak flaccidly but carry a big tent pole" philosophy?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/james-duddridge-british-erection-day-flyer

I hope British conservatives keep a stiffie upper once elected so they can put it to the people really good and hard.

Sort of ram their agenda home, as it were.

None of this half-way snogging for a one-off, lads.

May every John Thomas rise to rally round the Union Jack, boys!

May the bishop anoint the winning tally-whacker.

Boy, you've been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down.

And thus providing the daft conservative agenda an entry point.


Somehow apposite:
http://www.xkcd.com/1521/

First through the door at the polling station this morning.

Expecting a reasonably high turnout.

Very brisk voting here. Talked to the polling officer, who I know slightly, and he said it had been a rush by normal standards from when they opened.

Wow, looks as though the 'shy Tory' phenomenon from 1992 might have returned...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32633099

Labour is going to have to seriously rethink their approach, if they are going to no longer have a solid base in Scotland to build on. That, or figure out some way to cut into support for the Scottish National Party. Because they don't seem to have a route to a majority any more.

Far more significant, I think, are the threat to the Union from the remarkable SNP performance (though I am less despondent about this than many commentators), and the evisceration of the Liberal Democrats.

Whether or not Labour have a route to a majority - and it's perfectly conceivable that they might if they move to compete for the political centre - is a secondary issue.

Looks like Labour had an electoral meltdown and the Tories are short just one seat for absolute majority.
So, will this result in them moving to the right, the center or have no major effect on their profile?

Or in a more amusing fashion
http://twitter.com/alexmclaughlan/status/596275265845764096/photo/1

Wow, Labour really got trounced. Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, lost his seat
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2015/may/08/election-2015-live-labour-and-libdems-crushed-in-shock-election-result#block-554c5e61e4b03ec20bdf8b81

I'm assuming that the UKIP voters who were originally Tories went with them while the UKIP people who were Labor stayed away and Labor additionally didn't pick up any Lib Dems.

I cannot see the Scots thinking that they've made their statement, and it will be business as usual. My prediction is that Scotland achieves some measure of independence, far beyond what it has now, by 2020.

I imagine that the Conservatives are going to try and assuage the business interests, but with the promised referendum on EU membership, Cameron is going to have a hard time putting all that nationalist sentiment back in the bottle.

I also wanted to say that Cameron, after looking at political death in the face, is going to be the beneficiary of all the post election bonhomie, which is terrible, because the guy is as crooked as a sack of snakes. This, from the Guardian's live blog, gets at it

And this is what he said in his speech:

I want my party, and I hope the government I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost, the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom. That is how I will govern if I’m fortunate enough to form a government in the coming days.

At one level this is a relatively commonplace Conservative platitude, although Cameron seems to be half-acknowledging that it was a mistake for the Tories to allow Ed Miliband to grab the one nation label for Labour.

But, in the light of the way that Cameron has been campaigning over the last few weeks, it is also an astonishing about-face. Cameron spent much of the election campaign warning about threat posed by Scottish MPs. If a minority government were dependent on the votes of the SNP, then the interests of the English would suffer, he argued, because the SNP would force the government to prioritise the Scots.

The Conservatives admitted that this message proved effective on the doorstep, but at times they laid it on so thick that it sounded as if they were saying the SNP had no right to pass UK laws. For example, Cameron told the Andrew Marr show.

Frankly this is a group of people that would not care what happened in the rest of the country. The rest of the United Kingdom – Wales, Northern Ireland and England – would not get a look-in, and that is the prospect we face ... The SNP do not want to come to Westminster to contribute to a government. They want to come to Westminster to break up our country.

Now, having fought a two nations election campaign, Cameron is presenting himself as a one nation prime minister. It is quite a U-turn.

But there is a precedent. During the Scottish independence referendum, Cameron urged the Scots to vote to no on the grounds that they were respected partners in the union. Less than 12 hours after the polls closed, he made a statement in Downing Street disclosing plans to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs.

So, will this result in them moving to the right, the center or have no major effect on their profile?

Difficult to say, but I suspect no great change. Cameron's reference to 'one nation Conservatism' in his constituency may/may not be significant in this respect.

I'm assuming that the UKIP voters who were originally Tories went with them while the UKIP people who were Labor stayed away and Labor additionally didn't pick up any Lib Dems

The results really don't bear that out at all.
UKIP's vote stayed very solid in both UKIP/Con and UKIP/Lab contests - just not quite high enough to win.
The real story was the weakness of the Labour vote outside of London (they lost several constituencies to the Conservatives), collapse of the Labour vote in Scotland, and collapse of the Lib Dem vote nationwide.

This is rather strange: one of the polling companies apparently conducted a poll a couple of days before the election which they 'decided not to publish'.

Would have been pretty close to the actual results;
http://survation.com/snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory/

Nate Silver would not approve, I suspect.

The UK badly needs electoral reform:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

The big issue will be the EU and cuts, cuts, cuts.

I think I'll move to Scotland, they seem to be sane and property is dirt cheap compared to London.

Well, to all the folks who were sure that we would see a hung Parliament and lots of faliling around to build a coalition: Oops.

I understand why, from the available polls, they had that expectation. But it sure looks like the failure of Labour to turn out their voters was impressive in its scope.

The UK badly needs electoral reform

Arguably true, but as we had a referendum on it (rejected) in the last parliament, it's unlikely to happen soon.
One has to consider cui bono - and unless either of the major parties undergo Damascene conversions, I can't see it happening.

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