Since we woke up on Friday 13th December many of us have been scratching our heads to understand how hapless Boris who ran a lacklustre campaign, generally avoiding scrutiny from the media or the public, managed to pull off a landslide victory for the Conservative party securing a majority of 80 seats. Who were all these people who voted Conservative? The northern turncoats were given prominence given that so many of the new seats came from Labour’s red wall and no doubt they will carry the can if, and when, the newly elected government lead us into a damaging Brexit.
One reason we are unable to comprehend this ‘landslide’ victory for the Tory party
because it didn’t actually happen.
The Conservative party increased their vote share by just 304,402 votes, less than 1% of the total vote share. Hardly a landslide. Under strategist Dominic Cummings, the brains behind Vote Leave the Tory campaign was painstakingly designed not to win votes for the Conservatives but to take votes from Labour. They were trapped in a pincer movement losing both leaver and remainer votes. If we follow the money we can start to join the dots.
In 2019, Labour were the only party offering an alternative to the neoliberal agenda Instead of shrinking the state through austerity cuts and allowing increased profit for private companies by cutting taxes and regulations the Labour party were offering to reinvigorate the economy by spending £143.5 billion on re-nationalisation of key industries bringing profit back into the treasury, boosting public services such as education and the NHS and increasing the minimum wage. This fiscal stimulus, after a decade of austerity, was supported by 163 economists The plan would be paid for partly by borrowing and by raising money through an increase in corporation tax, raising taxes for those earning over £80k and taxing multinational firms on a percentage of their global profit dependent on their presence in the UK. So there were clear winners and losers in Labour’s manifesto promises.
We all recognise that the Conservatives benefit most from large private donations and in the 2019 election they raised 26x more than the Labour party who received their money mainly from the unions or smaller, individual donations. In the first week of the election the Conservatives received £5.67 million compared to £218,500 secured by the Labour party. The list of donors indicates the types of profitable activity likely to be generated by a majority Conservative government.
Private hospital owners, the family of a Russian oligarch, and numerous property developers are among donors who flocked to fill Tory coffers in the first week of the campaign. Property developers and landlords in particular showered the governing party in cash. Electoral Commission figures show Countrywide Developments Ltd donated half a million pounds in the first week, while European Land & Property Limited gave £200,000. Others included Broadland Properties Ltd and Edwardian London Management Services, which both donated £50,000 each.
But as we have seen, this vast sum of money didn’t deliver a significant increase in votes. In contrast the Liberal Democrats increased their vote share by over one million from their 2017 result (2,371,861 to 3,696,423) and the Brexit party, from a standing start, doubled the number of votes gained by the Tory party securing 642,303. As confirmed by the same Independent article, in the first week of the campaign the Lib Dems received £275,000 and the Brexit Party £250,000. Both of these parties are reliant on private donors so who funded them and why?
An article in the Financial News on 19th October 2019, revealed that the Lib Dems received a significant financial boost from the City.
The Liberal Democrats are on track to raise their largest-ever amount of political donations, with City grandees including Sir Mike Rake, the former deputy chair of Barclays, throwing their weight behind the anti-Brexit party.
According to figures given exclusively to Financial News, the Lib Dems have raised £5m in just two months ahead of a possible snap election, and as fears mount of the UK leaving the European Union without an exit deal.
The money was raised from 15 members of the Liberal Business Alliance, a newly launched campaign run by the Lib Dems to support UK businesses. Each member donated a minimum of £300,000 to the centrist party, according to Andrew Dixon, an angel investor leading the initiative and a former executive at Goldman Sachs, the US bank.
The Liberal Business Alliance, which includes representatives from investment managers, hedge funds and insurance companies among others, has been reaching out to the City, offering an alternative to Brexit or a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Dixon said a third of the leaders he had spoken to were from the financial sector, including executives from Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, KKR, Citibank and Phoenix Equity Partners.
Banks, hedge funds and insurance companies would be the natural backers of the Conservative party so why were so many of them putting their money into the diminished Liberal Democrat party who had no hope of gaining power? The argument given was to stop a no-deal, damaging Brexit.
“A no-deal Brexit could be extremely damaging,” said Rake, the former chair of KPMG Europe, the auditor.
But Labour were the only party who could actually prevent a damaging Brexit, promising to renegotiate a much softer deal and to put that back to the people for final confirmation. A decision made at their party conference in September 2018. If the real intention was to protect the financial industry from Brexit loses then backing Labour was the obvious choice. They argued that there were ‘damaging’ aspects to Labour’s policies and no doubt that included the tax increases which would impact on them as companies and individuals, but in terms of risk analysis, the policies put forward by Labour would also stimulate the economy and provide growth.
The Brexit Party, campaigning on a clean break Brexit with no extension to the transition period leaving no-deal firmly on the table were also funded by the same financial organisations who supported the Conservative leave party and the Liberal Democrat remain party.
THE latest figures are out from the Electoral Commission. They show the Brexit Party got about £1 million after its launch, from tycoons who are former Tory donors, right-wing millionaires with offshore interests and anti-union bosses. Although it was only founded this year, it needs a lot of cash if it is really going to field candidates in every constituency in the forthcoming election. Luckily for them, the money is coming forth, because a lot of rich folk like the Brexit Party. What the donations show is that the money-men behind the party are often the same guys who funded the Tories and their allied right-wing campaigns. It is a clear indication that the people at the centre of the party see it as a way of pulling the Tories harder to the right, and see Brexit as way of creating a fresh, neo-Thatcherite slash-and-burn of regulations and social spending. Morning Star on-line Sept 2019
Once Labour backed a second referendum they became the only party who could actually stop Brexit and their policy of renegotiation would in any event lead to a much softer deal with access to the customs union and single market. This was the best deal in town for remain voters, consequently, they needed to be tempted away from voting Labour by tactically voting for the Lib Dems who, it was promised, would hold the balance of power and secure a second referendum from a minority Conservative government. Labour lost over 2 million votes in the 2019 election and the majority of them went to the Lib Dem remain option. If we consider that both Conservative and Lib Dem gains came primarily from Labour then approximately 300,000 votes were lost to the Conservatives while a whopping 1,300,000 were lost to the Lib Dems.
Using the Lib Dems to split the remain vote was pivotal to
securing the Conservative landslide.
Funding for the Brexit party also ensured that the leave vote would be split but only in safe Labour seats. Labour voters who could not bring themselves to put a cross by the Conservative candidate had the option to vote for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, and many of them did, as this party secured over 640,000 votes.
The Conservative Party, the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party all funded by those who have the most to benefit from the continuation of the neoliberal agenda, enhanced by the opportunity to rewrite the regulations as part of the Brexit realignment.
For belt and braces, particularly in those northern seats which fell with such small majorities, control of the postal vote could see your man first past the post. Private firms contracted to count the postal votes would have access to historic data. They would know the names of those who are registered but don’t vote which would explain the instances of people turning up to the polling station only to be told they had already voted They would know the names of new applicants without a voting history, which would explain why students were told there were issues with their application which made them ineligible to vote. And they would know who were expats which would explain the reason why a significant number of them fail to receive their postal votes in time
We have known for some time that postal vote is open to fraud and yet in each election more people are encouraged to take up this option without giving any just cause resulting in postal votes accounting for 18% of the vote in 2017. From an article published in March 2014, a warning of postal vote fraud from Judge Richard Marvey. Daily Mail 2014
Mr Mawrey, a deputy high court judge, said the introduction of ‘on demand’ postal voting had failed to boost turnout. But he warned it had made Britain’s electoral system vulnerable to fraud on ‘an industrial scale’. He told Radio 4’s File on 4 programme that in one case last year he had come across 14 different ways in which postal votes can be manipulated.
In all the analysis and condemnation of the way in which Corbyn and the Labour party fought the election the truth is that no strategy could out-manoeuvre the money carefully invested to lure voters from the Labour party. Combine this with the repeated condemnation of Labour policies and of the leadership qualities of Jeremy Corbyn himself; driven home by a hostile media under the control of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. This was not an election but a right-wing power grab, initiated jointly by Farage and Johnson, enabled by the referendum and delivered by the Liberal Democrats who converted sincerely given remain votes into hard Brexit outcomes. The UK has now joined countries such as India, Brazil and Turkey who have seen a hard-right takeover under suspicious circumstances. George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian terms this global movement ‘demagoguery’. A movement which serves the global elite at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable.
Something has changed: not just in the UK and the US, but in many parts of the world. A new politics, funded by oligarchs, built on sophisticated cheating and provocative lies, using dark ads and conspiracy theories on social media, has perfected the art of persuading the poor to vote for the interests of the very rich. We must understand what we are facing, and the new strategies required to resist it. Guardian 18.12.19
Socialist Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn offered the only escape route from the suffering such demagoguery will inflict on the general public. History will be kinder to Mr Corbyn than to those crowing now in the aftermath of the dirtiest election in our political history and heaping blame upon his shoulders. But for now, it’s payback time and all those who put their money into the pot will be handsomely rewarded. Expect new housing developments coming to a field near you as the developers cash in on relaxed planning restrictions – able to build on prime greenbelt land; charges placed on healthcare provision as a result of NHS privatisation and rises in transport costs and utility bills. They don’t put their money in without first calculating the return.