Open thread on the UK election

by Harry on June 7, 2017

So, what’s going to happen tomorrow? And what will it mean for the future? Who have been your favorite and least favorite performers? Who will be leading the Labour Party in 6 months time? Who will be leading the Conservative Party? More amusingly and less consequentially who will be leading UKIP (will Farage come back yet again?). In making your predictions, bear in mind Jeremy Hardy’s comment on the News Quiz last week: “If you’d asked me three years ago which of my friends was most likely to become leader of the Labour Party I wouldn’t have put Jeremy Corbyn in the top 20, and he’d have been far below Tim Brooke-Taylor”. Personally I’m not sure Jeremy Corbyn would have been in the top 20 Jeremys most likely to lead the Labour Party at that point.

Please remember the comments policy—in particular, no personal insults. I’ll check in as well as I can to moderate comments, but for those of you who live in the country in question, remember I am 6 hours behind (maybe the UKers will approve comments in a more timely fashion). If you’re lucky I’ll open another thread when the polls close….

{ 77 comments }

1

novakant 06.07.17 at 10:03 pm

OK, I would vote Labour but find their Brexit policy at best incoherent, disingenuous at worst, i.e. I think Corbyn is quite happy to leave the EU – so I’ll vote LibDem, though I’m not a big fan.

Convince me otherwise, you have a few hours, thanks.

2

Lawman 06.07.17 at 10:06 pm

1. Outcome of election: Conservatives to win with a majority of 50. Not the ‘landslide’ predicted, but some improvement.
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2. Conduct of election campaign: Very badly managed by Conservatives. Surpringly good performance and manifesto by Labour. If Corbyn, Abbott, had not been the leadership; with the admitted Marxists McDonnell, Fisher, Milne, and Murray behind them, Labour would have won.
,
Best performers: Corbyn and McDonnell. Worst: Abbott and May.
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3. Liberals: a small improvement on last time; a failure.
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4. UKIP: finished.
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5. SNP: Loss of up to 10 seats. Their high water has passed due to their domestic performance in Scotland. Hence the desperate attempts to force another independence vote.
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5. Leadership of Labour: Mr Corbyn will stay until his cadre identify a like minded successor. The Autumn will give another (the last?) chance for traditional Labour to regain control.
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6. The future: bleak. The U.K. economy will weaken regardless of Leave EU. Society will feel increasingly disenchanted.
.

3

Dipper 06.07.17 at 10:07 pm

Tory win with majority between 50 and 100 seats.
Not clear what it means for the future – depends on Brexit details, whether May learns from the campaign mistakes, and how Labour responds.
No change in leader of either party within 6 months.
Favourite performers – Keir Starmer Labour, Amber Rudd Tory
Least favourite performers – Diane Abbott Labour, Theresa May Tory (there was scarcely any sign of anyone else in the tory campaign).

Scotland will be an interesting sub-drama. Interesting (and significant) to see if the Tories take seats off the SNP, and whether Labour are going backwards or forwards in Scotland.

4

peterv 06.07.17 at 10:37 pm

The Economist has tweeted a photo of two owl chicks, no doubt to remind us of Labour’s long-ago promise of a free owl for everyone. Labour seem to have forgotten this promise in the Manifesto.

https://mobile.twitter.com/TheEconomist/status/872570154512777216

5

Heliopause 06.07.17 at 10:38 pm

“Who will be leading the Labour Party in 6 months time?”

Being an American I don’t have a good sense of how these things get resolved, but Wikipedia tells me the following: If Labour gets 34%, which is their worst result in recent polls, that will be better than 2015, 2010, 1987, 1983, and about equal with 1992. If they get 36%, which is more like the midpoint in the recent polls, that would be better than 2005 (St. Anthony of Blair). If they get 38%, which a few recent polls suggest, that would be better than 1979 and 1974 pt. one. If they defy all odds and get to 40.8% that would be better than 10 of the previous 11 elections. If the impossible happens and they get 43.3% that would be Labour’s best result since the Beatles were still touring. So, obviously, Corbyn would have to go.

6

Thomas Beale 06.07.17 at 11:06 pm

Tough to call.

On the one hand we have a Labour Party we thought was in slow-burn self-destruct mode (and maybe still is), but has produced a pretty reasonable manifesto (I don’t buy that it isn’t costed, but it’s probably only vaguely costed) of things most people would actually like to have. If only they thought the party could credibly deliver. We have in Corbyn a leader who is more like a professor of Marxian economics and Rawlsian social justice with a bit of street protester thrown in, starting on single points ratings for PM … and yet he’s been calm, cogent and clear with only the very odd miss in every interview, stump speech and TV engagement. Even his enemies kind of like his style. You can disagree with things he says, but there’s very little BS. His huge weakness is that he equivocates when asked does he support the use of force (armed police for example) when push comes to shove, reverting to abstract non-violence lecturing. His history of love-ins with Hamas (a pretty execrable organisation) and the IRA (a different kettle of fish entirely) do him no favours among those for whom association with someone with the plague means you must have it yourself. His inability to say he would push a nuclear button is a problem because he has not chosen the right tack and forced the questioner to state the exact scenario they are thinking of, which would expose the issue properly. And then there is Diane Abbott.

On the other hand we have Theresa May, whom I can only describe as an empty vessel, literally devoid of ideas, whose only capability seems to be the chanting of meaningless slogans like ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘strong and stable’. She’s dreadful in every aspect of political engagement and thinking, with an awful track record in the Home office in the past. There’s nothing to recommend her at all. She leads a party that was in the majority pro-Europe, on a death march out of Europe with no discernible plan or even understanding of a framework of working (according to various experts). It’s truly hard to think of why anyone would vote for them, they look so utterly lost.

On the third hand, Tim Farron thought he would be a shoe-in in the polls by promising a new referendum on the final deal (not a bad idea), but it turns out that most of British voters have bought into the mass delusion that is Brexit, and being the pro-Europe party doesn’t matter anymore. But I think the LibDems will pick up seats anyway, as people relent on their student fees anger of last election, and realise that having some MPs literate in Locke and Montsequieu isn’t such a bad thing.

I believe a lot of us are voting tactically. I will vote Labour in my electorate, for a sitting MP who is actually very good, and for whom I would vote anyway. In certain other seats, Lib Dems would be the appropriate choice. Maybe Greens, at least to keep Caroline Lucas in, but she always gets in, because she’s cool and hot at the same time. There’s even a website for tactical voting.

My guess is that if younger voters turn out, Labour might just get enough seats to think about a minority government, although that’s not really the done thing here. They would probably have to get into a room with the SNP and LibDems and set up a proper coalition. If the young stay home to play Resident Evil 18, the Tories are back, and it’s a sad day. I suspect it will be by a modest margin, and I think May could be booted out soon after. Although the slew of tabloid anti-Labour hysteria today was something to see, and apparently such messages work with the obligatory nice pair of boobs on the same page. So maybe a landslide after all.

Corbyn will stay as leader either way, since getting rid of him means healing the SJWs versus old-skool Labour rift first, and that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Nobody could have scripted this, only reality could be such a mess. Let’s see where we are in 36h.

7

casmilus 06.07.17 at 11:44 pm

Brexit will be a disaster for reason expounded by Richard North, unless May or whoever takes over kicks out the delusionists like Redwood, Cash and all the other dregs. Things looked hopeful last September when it looked like she’d get a grip, but instead she just pandered to the NoSingleMarket imbeciles.

I have no enthusiasm for Corbyn and Corbynites but in this hour of national peril we have to take the least worst option, which incredibly means Jeremy. A military coup (to remove May and her party, of course) is a non-starter due to Tory defence cuts.

8

Finn 06.08.17 at 12:33 am

So, what’s going to happen tomorrow?

Conservative victory, increased majority.

And what will it mean for the future?

Disaster.

Who have been your favorite and least favorite performers?

Respectively: Jez, who has done tremendous work to narrow the gap; and May, who has not quite managed to fail hard enough to properly sink her lead.

Who will be leading the Labour Party in 6 months time?

Corbyn will have resigned or announced his resignation. Don’t know enough about the internal politics to name someone new.

Who will be leading the Conservative Party?

May will have underperformed relative to expectations at the start of the campaign, which will lead to some grumbling and rumours of a challenge, but she will successfully defend against this and will remain PM and party leader.

9

J-D 06.08.17 at 1:33 am

Opinion polls are not a perfectly reliable predictor of election results, but all other predictors are less reliable, so if I were compelled to make a prediction it would be ‘About what the final polls say, probably, I suppose’.

Has there ever been a successful challenge to an incumbent leader of the Labour Party? I can’t think of one. If anybody thinks one is more likely now (regardless of the election result), I would like to know why. Of course, it is also possible for incumbent leaders to resign. I can imagine Corbyn resigning if the election result is much worse for Labour than the polls predict, but if it’s about as the polls predict then it’s much harder to imagine.

I know there have been successful challenges to incumbent leaders of the Conservative Party, including one to an incumbent Prime Minister. If, despite the polls, the Conservatives lose, it’s hard to imagine May staying on as leader, but I have no idea who would replace her. However, if they do about as well as the polls predict (or better), it’s hard to imagine her being successfully challenged in the next six months.

So the probability of May and Corbyn still being the leaders of their respective parties in six months is very high. The probability of their both still being leaders in five years is another question.

The Economist has tweeted a photo of two owl chicks, no doubt to remind us of Labour’s long-ago promise of a free owl for everyone.

Did they promise free owls or free OWLs?

… having some MPs literate in Locke and Montsequieu isn’t such a bad thing …

I can agree with that if it means some MPs who know what’s wrong with Locke and Montesquieu, but not otherwise.

10

basil 06.08.17 at 1:38 am

If I may throw this back at the blog bosses, why exactly aren’t you supporting Corbyn, or standing up for Diane Abbott?

Given there was a pro-Hillary outpouring, and a giddy Macron! article up here, why not a single vaguely pro-Corbyn piece? If CT exists to attack the vicious right, what explains this aloof stance? The very worst right-wing smears are everywhere emboldened and affirmed by the silent bystander-ism of the liberals (centre-leftists, social democrats). In 2017, we have the planet teetering on the brink of no return, extreme and murderous inequality, nutters sitting on nukes, overt racisms and nationalisms resurgent, and the horror of the Middle East in full evidence. It is difficult to understand what it is that allows this resistance to stand up for justice, against the toxic ideas that have led us to our present predicament. How do we stay so studiously neutral when faced with an outcome that promises to be as disastrous as an emboldened May?

I see many people say Corbyn’s pushed the field of politics to the left, but they are all solid lefties who would say that. Unlike them I see that the very serious people who control what will be understood as left refuse to change their minds. Even the ‘exciting’ manifesto defers to them, and remains timid. That may be pragmatism but as Corbyn’s little group is pushed to the wall, the big beasts scheme and titter in the shadows. Where they should be standing up, you have their collusive silence on bombs for brown people, nuclear weapons, shoot-to-kill, immigration, Islamophobia, banksterism, fracking and racism. If only Corbyn were a meat-eating, hard man with a background in the military, the state or investment banking! instead of a girly, vegan pacifist enamoured with uppity swarthy types from the colonies.

This is the most important election of my lifetime. The choices and their consequences are stark, but the serious people play neutral.

11

basil 06.08.17 at 1:51 am

I’ve never understood those who are committed to support for the European project as a red line, but who won’t draw a line at the violence of a rapacious capitalism, the nuking innocents, ignoring climate change, or the terrible consequences of military interventions. It reads to me as an expression of limited solidarity, wholly restricted to a community of similarly privileged, well-placed Europeans?

12

BBA 06.08.17 at 2:36 am

Tories win everything remotely winnable. SNP becomes Official Opposition.

13

faustusnotes 06.08.17 at 5:11 am

I don’t like Corbyn’s voice but I really like the calm and deliberate way he has approached the campaign, and his refusal to be negative. I think he has shown a bit of what made Kevin Rudd successful in Oz despite huge media negativity, as well – finding ways to bypass national media and get his message out despite the negativity. I think he is a way better campaigner than he is a party leader.

However, it is imperative for the labour party that he lose. If they should somehow win today that means they will be carrying the can for the Tories’ Brexit madness. The Tories need to be nailed to the wall for this evil con they have pulled on the British people, and because the British people are too stupid to work out in advance how much they’re going to be rat-fucked by this party of traitors and wreckers, they need to learn the hard way. Perhaps in five years time the British will finally have worked out – after all these years! – that conservatism is always, everywhere, a treacherous, economically dangerous, socially destructive pox. Not, of course, until their economy is a smoking ruin and they’ve lost Scotland and Northern Ireland – but hey, they’ll still have trident right!?

14

Neville Morley 06.08.17 at 5:41 am

The whole thing is insane. Election supposedly called because of impending Brexit negotiations, and majority of rational observers see high risk of catastrophe even if things go relatively smoothly, and yet it suits both major parties to avoid any sort of sensible discussion of plans and prospects. Vacuous platitudes on one side, evasive waffle on the other, even before security and terrorism issues took over everything. We are either thoroughly doomed or totally doomed, with the election result making at best only a marginal difference.

15

Adam Roberts 06.08.17 at 7:39 am

Voted on my way to work this morning. My sense is: solid Tory majority; much larger Labour vote than many feared when Corbyn took the leadership but not distributed into the right constituencies to make much actual electoral difference. But the big takeaway from the campaign has been how fragile and awkward Theresa May has revealed herself to be, less effective leader than outright political liability. The Tories are not sentimental about their leaders; so, even though she’ll ‘win’ today, she’ll be out before the end of the year. That’s my prediction.

16

Mercurius Londiniensis 06.08.17 at 8:17 am

(1) Both the Tory and Labour high commands, who have access to canvas returns as well as polls, fully expect an increased Tory majority.

(2) More particularly, they both expect the Labour vote to hold up well in the large cities, in Wales, and in the South. They also expect, however, the Tories to take the Lion’s share of the UKIP vote at GE 2015. This is likely to lead to Labour losing many seats in the Midlands and the North. That said, the margins in some of those seats are fine. If Labour is able to squeeze what remains of the LibDem and Green vote in those areas, it may minimise the damage.

(3) In the medium term, it is probably for the best that the Tories win this one. Whoever is in charge of the Brexit negotiations will have to make compromises for which Leave voters have not been prepared. While Starmer might well make more intelligent trade-offs than Davies, the fact remains that the UK hand is very weak whoever is playing it, so Labour would be vulnerable to accusations of ‘stabbing Leavers in the back’. In the long run, it will be better if the Tories are forced to own the whole mess and face the consequences of a Brexit outcome which (because it will be much worse than the status quo) is likely to disappoint pretty well everyone.

(4) Best performer? There has not been much competition this time, but the winner is probably Corbyn. It has been refreshing to see someone campaigning on their positive programme for Government rather than just trying to sling mud at their opponents. He carries too much baggage to be palatable to traditional Labour voters in the Midlands and the North, but he has reminded people that left-wing campaigns go best if they convey a message of hope for the future.

(5) What will it mean for the future? It is probably silly to speculate ahead of the results. But IF the Tories get a good majority on the back of former UKIP voters, they will have to accommodate those voters’ interests if they are to keep them onside, a goal which will be in tension with the traditional strategy of pandering to well-off older voters in the South. The row over social care costs was a first skirmish in this battle. The fact that the manifesto policy was ditched so quickly suggests that, for the moment, traditional Tory interests will prevail.

17

Philip 06.08.17 at 8:35 am

Calling the election has been a major misstep by May. She said that she wanted to strengthen her position so there was less domestic opposition during Brexit negotiations. Her reliance on soundbites and lack of detail means that she won’t be able to say what she has a mandate for, apart from getting a good deal.

Corbyn has been able to get his message across well and with no vision set out by the Tories his position has been strengthened and he probably won’t step down if Labour lose, unless it’s by a landslide. The main question is how much his message has carried outside of Labour safe seats. It doesn’t really matter what perecentage they get if it is just by motivating their base in Labour strongholds. There is polling data suggesting some Labour seats in the North East could swing to the Tories. If the Tories don’t win by a landslide May will face continued challenges from her own party who will see her as weak and she won’t be leader for the next election.

UKIP have lost their purpose and they will either be gone after Brexit negotiations or will turn into a smaller anti-immigration and anti-Islam party. Lib-Dems will only make small gains but have managed to distance themselves from the Tories and the coalition government so can rebuild for the next election.

18

casmilus 06.08.17 at 8:43 am

I don’t object in principle to Corbyn staying on for a bit. One of the bad features of current UK politics is this presidential mode and the assumption that a leader only gets 1 shot at the target and has to go if s/he fails. It only came in in the last 20 years, Kinnock stayed on after 1987 and previously lots of Tory and Labour leaders continued after defeats.

Of course Corbyn isn’t very good, though I don’t know who’d replace him. I always thought Andy Burnham should have taken over in 2010. Never saw the appeal of the Milibands, though I warmed to Ed by the end. Like Corbyn, going on tour did seem to energise him. What’s happened to Corbyn, visibly, is that transformation that happens to hard lefties when they suddenly think “hang on, let’s try to really change things, instead of just going on marches.”

19

casmilus 06.08.17 at 8:49 am

@16 point (3)

I appreciate this reasoning, however the sheer scale of the damage that will be caused by trying to please the ConservativeHome muppets is too great to be passed off by “let the Tories own it”. They won’t own it anyway, they will blame it on the EU, on the Remainiacs in our midst, etc etc. Spoilt entitled boys who think they know it all and can’t take responsibility.

20

Chris S 06.08.17 at 8:51 am

I am somewhat bemused at the people on this thread who bring up Corbyn’s associations with Sinn Fein, and then ignore an actual Home Secretary giving actual material aid to actual terrorists.

Referring of course to this. This fairly cynical case of a government privileging foreign policy over domestic safety should have had a much greater profile.

21

Collin Street 06.08.17 at 9:47 am

The Tories are not sentimental about their leaders; so, even though she’ll ‘win’ today, she’ll be out before the end of the year. That’s my prediction.

Replaced with whom? The party’s been there before, and not that long ago: theresa may got elected because the party membership felt — and I agree with them — that she was clearly the best candidate available, and nothing that’s been revealed since really detracts from that assessment. Yes, she’s stupid, impulsive, a terrible negotiator: none of this is news, really, is it? It’s all stuff that was already known and visible.

Around the world, conservative parties have very thin talent pools.

22

Faustusnotes 06.08.17 at 9:49 am

I’m confused by the claim Corbyn isn’t popular with traditional labour voters. Dude favors nationalization! I would have thought hisnproblem is the opposite, that he can’t grab the fairweather friends who can get labor over the line (i.e. The south eastern middle class) because he is too Marxist. What exactly does he lack that “traditional” labour voters want?

23

kidneystones 06.08.17 at 9:51 am

I think this election is extremely difficult to predict. When it was called I argued that it would be much closer than many predicted at that time. I then backed away from that prediction and have seen little evidence to suggest anything but a Tory victory – simply because a great many seem to be fed-up with the back and forth on Brexit and I can’t see many Leave supporters changing their minds. There are hard-core Remain supporters who might back Corbyn, or vote Lib-Dem but not enough at this point to make the difference.

@16 seems very astute. I like Corbyn for many reasons, not least for refusing to be bullied into taking a position on the hypothetical use of Trident. The PLP has done more to burnish Corbyn than anything me might have managed alone. I’m not sure ‘best performer’ counts for Conservatives except in the most literal sense, and in that case it’s a close race.

I’ll go for a Corbyn Labour/Lib Dem coalition victory despite the long odds.

24

Z 06.08.17 at 10:01 am

I admit I share basil’s sentiment.

By now, I think it is pretty clear that a powerful democratic nation-state like the UK can very well
-Reduce inequalities and transition to a carbon-free, green economy
or
-Promote corporate friendly policies, lower taxes and a dynamic private sector for the top 10% (and soaring income for the top 0,1%)
or
-Make your country great again by stamping on immigrants (or anyone who looks like one)
but that it has to choose. I’m fine with whatever choice one makes, but I would have anticipated more explicit support towards group 1 from the CT crowd.

25

Steve 06.08.17 at 11:01 am

Until the last few weeks of the Scotish referendum, everyone “knew” it was a clear “no”, then it became far more interesting. Eventually it was a “no”, but much tighter than we all thought for a long time.
Until the exit poll from GE2015, everyone said that it would be a hung parliament. Then it wasn’t.
Until the Sunderland result came in for Brexit, everyone predicted that it would be a narrow “remain” victory. It wasn’t.
Until the results came in from the mid-West, the models all told us Clinton would beat Trump. She didn’t.
By induction: no-one – not you, not me, not the newpaper pundits or the pollsters – is any good at predicting election results. (Possible reply: Macron beat le Pen, as everyone said he would. Yes, but, even there, the margin was far more in his favour than predicted).
Don’t get me wrong: like everyone else, I am more than happy to play the prediction game, and I can give all sorts of reasons and evidence to back-up my views. But I also know that all of my reasons and evidence come, ultimately, from sources with really poor track records. Sorry to be so grumpy – I’m just annoyed by the uncertainty!

26

Ben Philliskirk 06.08.17 at 11:03 am

“IF the Tories get a good majority on the back of former UKIP voters, they will have to accommodate those voters’ interests if they are to keep them onside, a goal which will be in tension with the traditional strategy of pandering to well-off older voters in the South.”

Many UKIP voters ARE well-off older voters in the South. As this election will unfortunately demonstrate, UKIP always took more votes from the Tories than Labour.

27

chris y 06.08.17 at 11:25 am

The broad brush consensus above is certainly right. However, the massive emphasis on tactical voting in social media during the campaign means that there will probably be a few unexpected results here and there.

28

Mercurius Londiniensis 06.08.17 at 1:02 pm

Ad 19:

I am working on the assumption that May and those around her belong to the sensible wing of the Tory party who know they will have to face down Cash, Redwood, et al., and accept continued payments into the EU budget and some migration as the price for continued access to European airports, to having nuclear fuels, to avoid Kent turning into a massive lorry park, etc., etc. etc. I don’t see how they can avoid owning the deal, for they will have to make the case that it was the best hat could be obtained.

But yes: if I am wrong about this, and they are serious about walking out without a deal, then the damage will be truly catastrophic.

29

Harry 06.08.17 at 1:26 pm

Addressing basil and Z. Speaking for myself, I don’t actively comment much on UK politics on CT, because others have more expertise than I do, and I have lived outside the UK for a long time, so although I follow carefully and feel invested, it doesn’t sit well with me to be a strong advocate. That said, if you look back, you’ll see that I have (along with others) defended Corbyn and Labour when I have posted about the situation. I joined the Labour Party (successfully, for the first time) after Corbyn became leader. I’d add, though, that the peculiarities of the UK voting system inhibit me from a straightforward Vote Labour stance — I am a lifelong tactical anti-Tory voter and would always advocate that people vote LibDem, or Green, or Plaid (or even, these days, maybe the SNP) in constituencies where that party was more likely to beat the Tory.

I am sure I was one of the people who was pretty vocally pro-Hillary. There are many differences: a simpler voting system (because although both systems are winner take all, the two main parties have colluded to prevent any other party from emerging in the US); the fact that Hillary (or Trump) would be inheriting a successful economy whereas Labour would be inheriting a disaster, and I agree with whoever said that whoever ends up negotiating Brexit will pay for that, so I am ambivalent about the Labour victory; the fact that I haven’t been able to see how Labour could win, whereas Hillary could; but overwhelmingly, no doubt, the soft tyranny of low expectations for American politicians and voters.

Why does Brexit matter so much to some of us, whereas we concede to rapacious capitalism? Well, in my case, I see all the proposals including Labour’s as being about mild taming of rapacious capitalism (which would be great, don’t get me wrong), whereas fully staying in the EU was a real live option (still could be if enough people in the UK wanted it to be!), and one that, incidentally, mildly tames rapacious capitalism. And Brexit will not harm privileged elite CT authors much if at all — it will harm working class and poor Britons most and, unlike rapacious capitalism which does the same, a much better alternative was on the table.

As for ” the nuking innocents, ignoring climate change, or the terrible consequences of military interventions”: point me to the CT authors who don’t draw a line at any of those things and I’ll send them an email asking them to explain themselves.

Last thing, if anyone is reading — if you are in the UK, and you know any normal young people, please try to get them to go out to vote today.

30

Philip 06.08.17 at 1:40 pm

@Fautusnotes, I think this election has given Corbyn the opportunity to appeal to both the Brexit/Northern and Remain/London members of the party by challenging austerity. Where traditional safe seats might be lost it will be more to do about local issues and feelings of being let down by the local party, especially where the MP is seen as a Blairite or has not backed Corbyn. Corbyn’s problem will be in appealin to floating voters and winning marginal seats.

31

Marc 06.08.17 at 1:59 pm

I’d love to see a Labor win. The biggest concern that I have is that Corbyn seems more interested in running up the score in safe districts (to get his vote share high enough to protect his position) rather than contesting the marginal seats that he actually needs to win. Given this, the most likely prospect is a decent vote percentage for Labor and a large gain in seats for the Tories. I hope I’m wrong.

32

Z 06.08.17 at 2:32 pm

Thanks a lot Harry for that long and patient explanation. Before I push back on a couple of points, let me first register that I agree with many points and very well understand many others (for instance the reluctance to openly comment on a country you left long ago).

Labour would be inheriting a disaster […], so I am ambivalent about the Labour victory

On the other hand, won’t a victory by the architects of the disaster be interpreted as a democratic vindication of their policies and the admission that the situation is not disastrous? Obama inherited a disaster, did that make anyone ambivalent about him winning?

Why does Brexit matter so much to some of us, whereas we concede to rapacious capitalism?

That is precisely what I don’t understand about the current state of the Left in the UK. In the French situation with a choice between a pro-rapacious capitalism and pro-EU candidate (Macron) and an anti-rapacious capitalism and anti-EU candidate (Mélenchon), I understand how a left-leaning voter deeply committed to the European Union might choose Macron (not my choice, but I understand the dilemma). In the American (or French in the second round) situation, in a choice between rapacious capitalism and xenophobia, I of course understand the choice of rapacious capitalism (though I also understand those who chose to abstain).

But in the UK, the very same people are the most active defenders of rapacious capitalism, the direct organizers of Brexit and the xenophobia profiteers, so I don’t understand the lack of passionate calls for unity in defeating them (though I have duly noted your own commitment). To me, it is almost as if the centrist or even left-leaning establishment is running the Clinton/Trump election but in reverse (we understand that May and Brexit are very unpalatable, but you understand, the alternative is Corbyn; just impossible).

the fact that I haven’t been able to see how Labour could win

This I think is the most frustrating point to me.

Sanders was doomed: out of touch, unserious, decrepit, isolated, running on a radical left-wing platform, a socialist who honey-mooned in Soviet Union… Yet his campaign obviously resonated, young people voted en masse for him and he got a real chance despite very adversarial media coverage and precious few vocal supporters among anyone with a platform (including academics). Mélenchon was doomed: unserious, aggressive, decrepit, isolated, running on a radical left-wing platform, a trotskyist who admired Chavez… Yet his campaign obviously resonated, young people voted en masse for him and he got a real chance despite very adversarial media coverage and precious few vocal supporters among anyone with a platform (including academics). Corbyn is doomed: out of touch, unserious, decrepit, isolated, running on a radical left-wing platform, a vegan leftist who hangs around Hamas and IRA… Yet I read in this very thread that his campaign was successful, young voters are apparently poised to vote en masse for him, and the opinion polls are in fact far from catastrophic despite… you know the rest.

Seems to me young people have understood something and that the rest of us (i.e older left-leaning voters) might very well learn from them.

33

engels 06.08.17 at 2:49 pm

I see all the proposals including Labour’s as being about mild taming of rapacious capitalism

For where I stand two of the big changes of direction concern the PLP’s militarist agenda abroad (Iraq through Libya etc) and neoliberal agenda at home (tution fees, workfare, …). Corbyn has been unremittingly opposed whereas if I recall correctly sections of CT have offered vocal (if sometimes critical) support for much of both. So I find the idea that he went under the radar by being insufficiently radical to be a little odd.

34

Harry 06.08.17 at 2:55 pm

Thanks Z, and thanks for being (typically) charitable and understanding.

Responding, and I can only respond for myself:

First, actually I was somewhat ambivalent about Obama winning for exactly that reason. It seemed to me a poisoned chalice, and it still seems like that. Of course, I was pleased he won, and would have voted for him (just as I joined Labour, and would vote Labour in the right constituency!). And if by some chance Labour wins tonight I’ll be delighted. But with ambivalence!

Second, re “To me, it is almost as if the centrist or even left-leaning establishment is running the Clinton/Trump election but in reverse (we understand that May and Brexit are very unpalatable, but you understand, the alternative is Corbyn; just impossible).”

Well, as I say I certainly don’t feel that way, despite that fact that I often seem like I am friendly to the left-leaning establishment. And my impression from reading stuff is that the left-leaning establishment has become more friendly to Corbyn, impressed with his campaigning, etc. The people I know in that establishment are all voting Labour (in the right constituencies) with enthusiasm. But of course they’re not representative! We have, I think, 3 denizens of the UK on the roster, and really they should speak for themselves, but my impression is that they are broadly aligned with me on this.

Not being able to see how Labour could win:

Well, yes. And fwiw I’m involved (and with much more work, my wife is providing real leadership) in an effort to generate something lasting and worthwhile from out of the Sanders campaign in my state (and would add that the first political meeting I attended in the US, 31 years ago, was a fundraiser for Sanders, held in LA, and sponsored by trotskyists among others). So, yes, I agree, young people seem to have picked up on something. Still, the electoral arithmetic has made it seem very unlikely (and, until recently, impossible), so for me at least it has been hard to get excited about it. And I have to say that I hope that the people inside the Labour Party who spend the first 15 months of Corbyn’s leadership trying to paralyze him are feeling pretty stupid right now — they may turn out to be as responsible for this Tory victory (which I anticipate) as the splitters in the SDP were for the disaster of 1983. (The difference being that it is harder for me to blame the SDPers, who really did have a different view, and took the risk of forming their own party).

35

Harry 06.08.17 at 3:14 pm

“For where I stand two of the big changes of direction concern the PLP’s militarist agenda abroad (Iraq through Libya etc) and neoliberal agenda at home (tution fees, workfare, …). Corbyn has been unremittingly opposed whereas if I recall correctly sections of CT have offered vocal (if sometimes critical) support for much of both. So I find the idea that he went under the radar by being insufficiently radical to be a little odd.”

Well, again speaking for myself, I have opposed all the interventions since (but not including) Afghanistan. And as you know we disagree about whether the tuition fees policy is radical (or at least, I suppose it is radical, just radical wrong direction — a gift to the rich). I’m not going to play that discussion out yet again, though.

Again, I’m not speaking for the whole of CT, none of us can do that, just for me (since I wrote the OP).

36

engels 06.08.17 at 3:32 pm

we disagree about whether the tuition fees policy is radical (or at least, I suppose it is radical, just radical wrong direction — a gift to the rich

Like free school meals?

37

engels 06.08.17 at 3:35 pm

(Very happy not to debate tuition fees again today but it is one of his signature policies and a big break with old new Labour.)

38

Harry 06.08.17 at 3:53 pm

I know — it was also one of Bernie’s signature policies, and in the US context it is actually a worse policy, that I think would seriously damage public higher education over the not very long term (although its redistributive effects are less predictable).

Completely support free school meals for all state schools at primary level. Worth remembering that the richest 7% won’t benefit from that policy at all. The iea is oddly silent about that.

39

novakant 06.08.17 at 4:12 pm

Abolishing tuition fees is a “gift to the rich”?!

That sounds rather odd to put it mildly.

40

Lawman 06.08.17 at 4:36 pm

Faustusnotes #22: The answer to your question is in 3 parts:

(1) traditional working class Labour supporters hate communism/ Marxism. Socialist parties on the mainland had Marxist influences, but Labour is based “more on Mthodism than Marxism”. This was affirmed in the 1930s when Labour rejected any alliance with Marxist inclined parties on the mainland. Apart from an attempted insurrection in the 1980s, this has remained the case until 2015.

(2) traditional Labour is patriotic. In the late 1940s Labour was a major influence on the creation of NATO and built the first British A bomb.

(3) a significant part of Labour support are social conservatives. The “PC” liberal influence on Labour – more in the New Labour Blair years – is unattractive to them.

I am not arguing which is right or wrong, but explaining.

41

Harry 06.08.17 at 5:00 pm

“Abolishing tuition fees is a “gift to the rich”?!
That sounds rather odd to put it mildly.”

To clarify — compared with the current arrangements. But — I promised engels not to rehash this, so that’s my last word.

More repsonses to OP welcome! I’ll open another one as soon as I can after the exit poll is reported!

42

Sheprarick 06.08.17 at 5:06 pm

As just an observing American, whose own country I thought was turning into an oligarchic dictatorship last November 8, only to see the forces of darkness stymied by their own stupidity, I must admit that after all the nasty surprises of the last year, perhaps a pleasant surprise (a lower Conservative vote and higher Liberal Democratic vote, with a better Labour performance then expected), would be welcomed. A hung parliament with Labour minority Government supported by the SNP, Greens, and LibDems would be a delightful surprise.

One thing I have not be able to figure out is what do the billionaires who funded LeFarge, the UKIP, and who own the mass dailies and tabloids what they expect to gain by Briexit? That the Tories would turn England into a “Galt Gulch” off the coast of Europe, with low taxes and no welfare state? Is that the business plan?

43

Val 06.08.17 at 5:18 pm

Continuing a discussion from the US ‘Hypothesis about 2018’ thread, because it’s relevant here:

Polly Toynbee has an article in the Guardian calling for Britain to get rid of First Past the Post https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/08/electoral-reform-grotesque-first-past-post-system-votes

I’ve gone on about this quite a bit on CT, and am now trying to say it more strongly – I think it’s a sign of ignorant or apathetic citizenry that any countries still have FPTP (at least in countries where most citizens are educated). It’s such an undemocratic system.

44

novakant 06.08.17 at 5:57 pm

OK, sorry.

Regarding the OP: it is scary to see how both major parties have been avoiding the topic of Brexit like the plague and I am pretty certain that they really don’t have any idea how they are going to proceed. The Tories have used the issue to capture the Little England vote without producing anything substantial beyond soundbites. And the discrepancy between the Labour party and their Brexit voting electorate is so great that the former have put fingers in their ears and pretend it’s not really happening, e.g. that there can be single market access without free movement etc.

So the UK is woefully unprepared for the Brexit talks starting next week, the process will take much longer than advertised and since the UK economy is completely dependent on foreign labour and capital it will become second rate very soon – unless someone at some point has the guts to say: let’s stop this nonsense, we were wrong. This is the defining question of our time and everybody seems to prefer to talk about something else.

http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21723156-new-government-faces-daunting-negotiation-brussels-after-election-real-test

45

eddie 06.08.17 at 6:04 pm

Oh dear. I’ve not been here in a while and am reminded of why I left. What price a comment policy when corbyn bashing is not considered personal attacks? Why is willful ignorance not treated, as it should be, as more offensive than swearing?

46

engels 06.08.17 at 6:27 pm

Polly Toynbee has an article in the Guardian c

Speaking of the SDP!

47

basil 06.08.17 at 7:13 pm

One of the most upsetting memories about this campaign will be the viciousness of the wildly racist and misogynistic attacks on Abbott. It was not just the right that colluded in cutting one of the most confident defenders of the poor to shreds.

Does anyone remember any other Western European politicians getting a comparable monstering in mainstream media? Comparable to what Abbott and Corbyn have been put through I mean. One of the most upsetting memories about this campaign will be the viciousness of the wildly racist and misogynistic attacks on Abbott. It was not just the right that colluded in cutting one of the most confident defenders of the poor to shreds.

Does anyone remember any other Western European politicians getting a comparable monstering in mainstream media? Comparable to what Abbott and Corbyn have been put through I mean.

Regarding the racist British centre.
https://cookingonabootstrap.com/2017/06/07/we-need-to-talk-about-diane-abbott-now-explicit-content/

Regarding the racist American centre, please see the Twitter hashtag – #SlaveQueen. Yes, that Hillary Clinton.

Common sense tells us Diane Abbott is the enemy, the one afford solidarity by just about nobody in their PLP, nobody in the establishment media. No, that weird Hinsliff piece doesn’t count.

48

engels 06.08.17 at 7:21 pm

49

gastro george 06.08.17 at 7:34 pm

@Lawman – “Surpringly good performance and manifesto by Labour. If Corbyn, Abbott, had not been the leadership; with the admitted Marxists McDonnell, Fisher, Milne, and Murray behind them, Labour would have won.”

If Labour had any other leader than Corbyn, the manifesto would have been completely different, and the campaign would have contained more obscenities like Miliband’s anti-immigration mug. Party membership would have been much the same, i.e. small, and unmotivated. With another Tory-lite manifesto, Labour would have lost, and lost badly. IMHO.

50

hellblazer 06.08.17 at 7:41 pm

So, what’s going to happen tomorrow? And what will it mean for the future?

nothing ever happens

nothing happens at all

the needle returns to the start of the song

and we all sing along like before

51

Jonathan 06.08.17 at 8:09 pm

Larger Tory majority despite higher Labour vote %.
Anyone maintaining Labour would have won under a different leader is invited to cite an opinion poll showing Labour winning under anyone else (the notion that, say, Yvette Cooper would have appealed to the young voters enthused by Corbyn and millions more besides doesn’t strike me as remotely plausible)
Presumably CT can’t be bothered to ask who will be leading the Lib Dems next, but it is somewhat interesting to ask why they have done quite so badly with Brexit and the perception at least that Tories have shifted right and Labour have shifted left. If there is a centre ground where British elections are fought and won then where and what is it now?

Engels #46 – The SDP (or some tribute band version of them) are fielding candidates in Sheffield. 80s nostalgia is alive and well in South Yorkshire

52

engels 06.08.17 at 8:15 pm

Surprisingly good performance and manifesto by Labour. If Corbyn, Abbott, had not been the leadership; with the admitted Marxists McDonnell, Fisher, Milne, and Murray behind them, Labour would have won

This is completely insane.

One of the most upsetting memories about this campaign will be the viciousness of the wildly racist and misogynistic attacks on Abbott.

Agreed.

53

harry b 06.08.17 at 8:32 pm

I think that’s probably right about the level of mainstream media attacks on Corbyn and Abbott. Though, Corbyn is by far the most leftwing politician to have led a major party in the UK since… well, since Attlee (who had the good fortune of having just been instrumental to winning WWII, and the greater good fortune of running in the wake of WWII). If you remember the way the media used to treat Benn — and, actually, Foot — similarly. And in Benn’s (but not Foot’s) case, actual media exposure had the same effect as for Corbyn — people liked him when they saw him as opposed to what other people said about him.

54

Ben Philliskirk 06.08.17 at 8:35 pm

@ gastro George

“With another Tory-lite manifesto, Labour would have lost, and lost badly. “

Exactly. One of the main reasons for the tirade of anti-Corbyn abuse from the Labour centre and right has been to put the focus on ‘leadership’ in the abstract and take the focus away from their complete lack of ideas, strategy and, one might say, principles. As with the issue of Brexit, when you scratch the surface you find there are 57 varieties of response within the PLP, very few of them coherent in any sense.

For someone up against it so much, Corbyn has done a great job campaigning.

55

Harry 06.08.17 at 8:36 pm

OK, I’ll ask it — who will lead the Lib Dems in 6 months time? Seems to me that the chances of someone being right by just picking an MP’s name are pretty high.

Agreed about actual alternative leaders. There’s a reason Corbyn won the leadership — twice — and it has nothing to do with Trotsykist entrism.

That said. I can imagine either Alan Johnson or David Miliband doing well. But if David Miliband were leader, Labour wouldn’t be having to deal with Brexit (since they’d have won, or at worst the Tories wouldn’t have won, in 2015).

56

Lawman 06.08.17 at 8:40 pm

George # 49. You make a good point:

(1) a manifesto which includes some distinctive, and to some attractive, policies; but with a leadership distrusted by most; or

(2) a mediocre “Conservative light” manifesto; with a more credible shadow cabinet.

For the future, I hope we can take the best of each.

57

gastro george 06.08.17 at 8:41 pm

Alan Johnson. Over-promoted as Chancellor and he admitted it and reversed out.

David Miliband. Give me a break … Continuity Blairism is dead in the water.

58

Lawman 06.08.17 at 8:45 pm

Engels #52: Thanks for the thoughtful, reasoned, response to the first.

59

basil 06.08.17 at 8:48 pm

Sorry that was a mangled. I was typing through heartbreak.

60

Lawman 06.08.17 at 9:38 pm

Just seen the exit poll. Conservatives lose their majority, and Labour gain c. 34 seats; SNP lose 22 seats. Not quite enough, but a very creditable performance.

Now we await the haggling as to whether Conservatives can run a minority government – but even that will curb the worst of their policies.

It seems likely there will have to be a further election within 12 months: which gives Labour a great chance of winning.

How does this leave the Leave EU negotiations? Great uncertainty. Wild (very wild) guess – we stay in the single market under an EFTA type regime?

61

Andre Mayer 06.08.17 at 9:41 pm

So – possible hung Parliament. If first projections hold, is there any possible coalition? The Lib Dems can afford to join the Tories again, can they?

62

Hidari 06.08.17 at 9:42 pm

63

engels 06.08.17 at 9:46 pm

JK Rowling, Gaby Hinsliff, Jonathan Freedland, Martin Kettle, your boys took one hell of a beating
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2017/results

64

gastro george 06.08.17 at 9:54 pm

If the exit polls are right, Corbyn is the man.

65

Joseph Brenner 06.08.17 at 10:31 pm

Maybe British conservatives will stop calling for elections for a while.

66

Moz of Yarramulla 06.08.17 at 11:31 pm

Lawman@56:a mediocre “Conservative light” manifesto; with a more credible shadow cabinet.

I strongly feel that the entire reason the conservative-lite politicians are promoted and treated as more serious and credible is that they are right wing. The media and powerful people would very much like a political contest fought strictly between the pro-oligarch right and the free-market centre-right. You’ve had that in the UK for 30 years, how’s it been?

The moment they stop the centre-right politics is the moment they become untrustworthy raving looney nutcases[sic] like Corbyn. Unless they have the misfortune to be other than middle-aged white men, of course, in which case they become either hysterical or primitive… raving lunatic nutcases. I admire Mhairi Black for somehow managing to thread that needle, possibly however by being irrelevant.

Like Val I really enjoy political systems like the ones we have in Aotearoa and Australia because they let voters express opinions other than Major Party #1 and Major Party #2. I’ll take Pauline Hanson over John Major any day.

And speaking of consorting with terrorists, how’s the arms trade with Saudi Arabia going? Are you all convinced that the Saudis are not involved in any way with the terrorism and war crimes in Yemen and Syria? I’m not.

67

Moz of Yarramulla 06.08.17 at 11:35 pm

And speaking of consorting with terrorists, how’s the arms trade with Saudi Arabia going? Are you all convinced that the Saudis are not involved in any way with the terrorism and war crimes in Yemen and Syria? I’m not.

To be clear, I would love to see the media or someone, anyone, respond to the nonsense about Hamas or Sinn Fein with questions about Saudi Arabia or Israel. “It’s not terrorism because a nation-state is doing it” is the weakest of all weak excuses. As I suspect (hope) everyone on CT agrees. But we almost never see that in the media, and I suspect that if one of the left-wing leaders used it they’d be treated even worse (and no doubt force to apologise).

68

hellblazer 06.09.17 at 1:05 am

Re my previous comment: what do I know…

69

Sam Bradford 06.09.17 at 3:16 am

Val, Moz: absolutely with you regarding the need for electoral reform.
Both the UK and USA are reaching terminal dysfunction politically, but given the quasi-religious attitude of the Americans towards their system I guess it’s unlikely to change. I understand the UK had a referendum on it, but with both major parties (unsurprisingly) running negative campaigns.
When you’re used to coalition governments, the attitude of UK politicians and press towards minority governments really does seem bizarre and childish. There’s never ever any explanation of why it would be so terrible, just white-faced horror at the prospect of it ever happening. It would probably be good for Labour to back PR in the long run — I wonder if there are enough long-term strategists vs short-term careerists in the party to realise that.

70

dust 06.09.17 at 4:45 am

Pulled from previous comments.
YouGov won. Like Nate Silver in 2012. Always the defeat next time.
Given the YouGov poll, why anyone would think Tory will hav an increased majority is beyond me.
Mark Blyth also won, since he called Corbyn a left Trumpist.
=========
Lawman:
1. Outcome of election: Conservatives to win with a majority of 50. Not the ‘landslide’ predicted, but some improvement.

Dipper:
Tory win with majority between 50 and 100 seats.

Jonathan:
Larger Tory majority despite higher Labour vote %.

71

Lawman 06.09.17 at 9:55 am

Moz # 66. You make perceptive comments.

Since May 12th 1992 (death of John Smith) until 2015 we have had 3 main parties chasing the ‘centre’ ground. The current Labour manifesto was excellent (the Conservative one poor) offering a different approach. The voters responded well to it.

Having given such (deserved) credit, there remains concern at the character and Marxist influence of the Labour leadership. We shall watch with interest how this develops.

Relations with ‘terror’: indeed both sides are guilty. The conduct at the Australia -V- SA football match is a small symbol of the contempt in which SA holds us; and the failings of US/ UK appeasement.

Electoral system: I do not know enough about the alternatives to ‘first past the post’. I would like to retain a single accountable MP rather than a nomination from a party list. In short, we should be willing to learn from systems such as that in Australia.

Dust # 70: Yes, I lost my £5 bet on Con 330-359 seats (outcome 318) by 12. I recognised the poverty of the Conservative campaign, but underestimated the reaction of the electorate – well done fellow voters.

72

casmilus 06.09.17 at 10:56 am

Good to see the Dippers having their nose rubbed in it, after all their tedious “voice of England” posturing. Will they now object to a Tory/DUP deal since they claimed Lab/SNP was unacceptable?

73

J-D 06.09.17 at 11:48 pm

dust
You missed this one:
‘Tories win everything remotely winnable. SNP becomes Official Opposition.’

Lawman

I would like to retain a single accountable MP

You can’t retain a single accountable MP because you don’t have a single accountable MP.

74

Barry 06.11.17 at 2:32 am

Jonathan 06.08.17 at 8:09 pm

“Presumably CT can’t be bothered to ask who will be leading the Lib Dems next, but it is somewhat interesting to ask why they have done quite so badly with Brexit and the perception at least that Tories have shifted right and Labour have shifted left. If there is a centre ground where British elections are fought and won then where and what is it now?”

As I understand it (a Yank), the LibDems spent several years working for the Tories, and gaining nothing for their members except Tory policies (I’ll bet that the leadership was handsomely rewarded).

So what ‘centre ground’ is there for the LibDems to offer? ‘Vote for us and we’ll help the Tories, and claim that it could be worse’?

75

Uwe Kerkow 06.11.17 at 9:59 pm

Thank you all guys! I learned more about British elections from this thread than during the last six weeks following German press emission.
However, one thought to add: There is no “centre ground where British elections are fought and won” neither in British, nor in any other election. The “centre ground” or in German “die Mitte” is nonexistant. There are interests and ideas. And people like to follow fresh ideas (or at least ideas, they think are fresh). Thats why so many young people today follow politians like Corbyn, Sanders and Melenchon. They haven`t witnessed the demise of the socialist regimes. And they haven’t (yet) been brainwashed by the neoliberal mainstream as we have.

76

derrida derider 06.12.17 at 5:58 am

Uwe hits a good point here – the attraction of Sanders bros and Corbynites to the young is precisely because they were born after the demise of the USSR on the one hand and Thatcher/Reagan on the other. They simply don’t carry the baggage oldies – including old lefties – do. The irony is, of course, that both Sanders and Corbyn are quintessential baggage carriers, formed in the 70s and 80s.

Some oldies no doubt would uncharitably retort that the young ‘uns are rejecting both centre-left and centre-right because they’ve no personal experience of the drawbacks of departing from that centre.

77

Moz of Yarramulla 06.12.17 at 10:43 pm

Some oldies no doubt would uncharitably retort that the young ‘uns are rejecting both centre-left and centre-right because they’ve no personal experience of the drawbacks of departing from that centre.

The obvious response is to question why the oldies have departed the centre, and in such a vicious way.

At what point did mainstream elder people decide that “fuck young people” was a desirable politics? As seen quite dramatically in the UK election, the older cohorts voted to have austerity for the young, largesse for the old. And the older the cohort, the more enthusiastic they were in that direction. Are they really so certain that there will be no push-back? I note on the other UK election thread someone described land tax as “will simply take the entire value of their houses over a period” (dipper@78). For someone unable to buy a home, forced to live forever in short-term tenancies, that seems perfectly fair and just. Why *should* an accident of birth dictate that you have a secure home while I’m never more than two weeks away from an urgent search for a new place to live? (Admittedly I say this as someone who at 45 has finally manage to buy a house that I can actually live in).

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