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Mazda's Maps and Mwikiboxes

Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#6
Which puts a bit of pressure on this last one: the Maori Party, of blessed* memory.

Turns out they do really well in Maori electorates and exceed 1% in general electorates where large communities of struggling Maori live.

I have no fucking idea what's happening in Christchurch East - they got 0.4% last time and didn't even have an electorate candidate there this time.

Botany fans may be interested to hear that their candidate in that electorate, Wetex Kang, gathered a grand total of 195 party votes for the party he had joined a few days before. He attracted headlines for, well, not being Maori but Malaysian-Chinese. The reason he stood for the party was partly because the Maori Party wanted to attract headlines, partly because they were desperate for donations and votes from the Chinese community, and partly because he's the only Asian person Tame Iti knows. He is Tame Iti's nutritionist. Tame Iti, a former Communist who has been raided on suspicion of hoarding weapons for terrorist purposes, has a nutritionist. This is the world we live in.

Oh, and Wetex Kang also hit the headlines for buying votes with WeChat coupons, because why would that not be a thing that happened.

NZ GE 2017 (Maori).png
 

Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#8
Transferring a load of stuff from the Lifeboat for dem likes.

---

East Midlands European By-election, 2018

The death of Roger Helmer was a body blow not only to his friends and family, but also to the Exchequer, who now found themselves in the invidious position of having to pay for a by-election covering the whole of the East Midlands region just to fill Helmer's vacated seat for the final months of the European Parliament.

Under normal circumstances, Helmer would have been replaced by the next person on the UKIP list - he had been a Conservative MEP from 1999 to 2012 but had most recently been elected for UKIP - but this was now legally impossible, for Henry Bolton's successor as leader, Paul Oakden, had deregistered the party and put its assets into administration due to the fact that biannual leadership contests had now put the party deep into the red. The party's MEPs (previously UKIP's only remaining source of revenue) continued to sit in Brussels as Independents in the EFDD group. Apart, that is, from Helmer.

Immediately after his death, allegations were brought to light regarding corruption in his expenses claims, and this discouraged Oakden from putting himself forward as an Independent 'Continuity UKIP' candidate. Those who did stand were a mixture of local personalities (Natascha Engel was a Labour MP who had lost her seat the previous year, Cathy Duffy was a former BNP Councillor, and Nick Clegg had been an East Midlands MEP before he entered Parliament) and incomers from further afield. Stewart Jackson, the Conservative candidate, had recently been defeated as MP for Peterborough while Chris Ash, a Councillor in Peterborough, raised his profile by reminding the electorate why exactly Jackson had been defeated. Other carpetbaggers included John Rees-Evans, the leader of a party which was attempting to replace UKIP (in fact it was Ash who did best out of the Eurosceptic vote), and Amelie de Montchalin, an En Marche! deputy who was attempting to stop Brexit.

In fact, the only candidates who didn't treat the contest as a referendum on Brexit were Bob Mumby from the new, agrarian Centre Party, the Monster Raving Loonies (who utilised the fact that the election was technically under Proportional Representation to put up a list of six hilarious candidates) and David Hoggard, who got one vote and was subsequently subject to a heated election court case when it was discovered that he hadn't been resident in the UK for two years.

Finally, Europhile Labour candidate Natascha Engel was victorious by a shade, and declared victory for campaigners for the reversal of Brexit. However, Europhile candidates had not won a majority of the vote between them, and the debate was therefore inconclusive.

Little did the electors of the East Midlands know that they were witnessing the first rise to prominence of Britain's future totalitarian dictator, Bob 'mumby' Mumby.

 

Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#9
Davide Acciaio

David Steel's British career is well-known to his compatriots, but few are aware of his Indian summer in the Mezzogiorno. After his retirement as Leader of the Social and Liberal Democrats in 1988, he was at a loose end, and therefore jumped at the offer of the Italian Liberal Party to head their list in Central Italy in the 1989 European election - this was a combined list with the social liberals of the Italian Radical Party and various ex-members of the left-libertarian Italian Radical Party. The Italian Liberal Party itself was a more conservative, market liberal party.

In any case, Steel was elected and his story was latched onto by the Italian tabloids, who dubbed him 'Davide Acciaio', the literal translation of his name. He brought to Brussels, and to Italy, a humble charisma, an otherwise lacking British Liberal point of view (this being before the introduction of STV for European elections in the UK), and most importantly a remarkable tendency not to be utterly corrupt.

His sojourn in Brussels was to be cut short, however, by another deputation from his new Italian Liberal friends, who offered him a seat in the Italian Chamber of Deputies - Steel having become fluent in Italian over the previous three years. In 1992, therefore, he was elected as a backbencher (as one of the few people ever to sit in two unrelated national legislatures).

1992 was already an exciting time to be involved in Italian politics: the long-standing 'Pentapartito' coalition between the non-extreme parties had been shaken the year before by the departure of the Republicans when they were refused the Posts and Telegraphs portfolio; meanwhile the fall of the Soviet Union had split the Communists (hitherto the main party of opposition) in twain, and the Lega Nord surged into the Chamber with 9% of the vote. These were the early warning signs of the political revolution that was to come: the Tangentopoli scandal, which implicated the personalities and structures of almost all the parties in a quagmire of corruption and bribery. At one point, over half of the members of the Italian Parliament were indicted.

David Steel, of course, was not one of them, and despite being passed over for ministerial office during the dying stages of Pentapartito under Amato, the technocratic government which followed (with the confidence of almost every party) appointed Steel as Minister of Foreign Affairs in order to take advantage of his domestic and international profile, while also keeping him away from any portfolios involving complexities of policy, which had never been his strong suit. To tell the truth, Steel made little permanent impact in the one year in which he held office.

His main distraction was the downfall of his new political home, the Italian Liberal Party. Holed beneath the waterline by Tangentopoli, the party dissolved itself in February 1994, and the rats fled the sinking ship towards the new lands of Berlusconi's populist opposition and the centre-left Olive Tree coalition. Equally unwilling to co-operate with the neo-fascist elements of Berlusconi's brigade and the minority of unreconstructed Communists in l'Ulivo, Steel had little choice but to remain in the official successor of the Liberals, the Federation of Liberals. But even this grouping lacked the confidence to stand in the 1994 elections, merely inviting the scattered ex-Liberals to sign a document containing a few common principles.

Most of the Federation, however, stood on the lists of the Segni Pact, a centrist coalition representing the successors of the erstwhile Pentapartito parties - the voters were out for blood, though, and Steel was one of the few candidates to survive into the first legislature of what is called the 'Second Republic'. Berlusconi formed a government initially, but this fell the following year and Steel was not considered for office in the subsequent technocratic government. In truth, he was despondent at the failure of the centrist alternative in Italy, which closely mirrored that of the British Liberals in the 1950s. With even Segni's group co-opted by right and left for the 1996 elections, David Steel stood down from the Italian Parliament and sat out his days in the House of Lords - his one experience of Government having been forgotten almost as soon as it was over.

Click on image for full size. EDIT: forgot to change his dates as a British MP, he in fact takes the Chiltern Hundreds in 1989.

Davide Acciaio.png
 
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Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#10
RESPECT - The Unity Coalition

Now that Tony Blair has resigned and been replaced by the more left-wing Gordon Brown, many are asking what the point of Respect is.

Founded by Georges Galloway and Monbiot, and Salma Yaqoob, in the aftermath of the intervention in Iraq, Respect immediately shot to prominence - thanks more to the existing profile of Galloway than whatever organisational skills the Socialist Workers Party brought to the table. He was directly responsible for their first electoral successes, in the 2004 European elections and the simultaneous London Assembly elections. Galloway came down from his Glasgow constituency to contest the European election in London, and made hay out of the pictures of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib which had been released just weeks before. In both the European and the Assembly polls, Respect reached 8% in London, thus sending George Galloway to Brussels and delivering two List seats to the coalition in City Hall. These seats were taken by Lindsey German, of the SWP, and Oliur Rahman, a community leader in Stepney Green.

Controversially, Galloway did not resign his House of Commons seat upon election to the European Parliament. This would have been illegal in any other EU member state, but the UK had negotiated to delay the end of 'double-jobbing' until 2009. Eventually, he caved into pressure to give up one of his pulpits, and after being elected for Bethnal Green and Bow in the 2005 general election, Galloway handed his European seat to the second person on the List, Unjum Mirza. Mirza was formerly an RMT shop steward and long-time member of the SWP. The following year, Galloway similarly flirted with the idea of gaining political airtime by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother, but was again persuaded to focus on Parliament.

Joined in the 2005 general election by Salma Yaqoob, who was elected for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath after allegedly blackmailing Iain Bowen into acting as her campaign manager, George Galloway has, in the years since, consistently criticised the crimes of New Labour against the working class and, more importantly, the Palestinians. However, success outside the redoubts of Birmingham and East London has been extremely limited, with the party flopping in most local elections and the Welsh Assembly polls of 2007. One bright spot was an electoral alliance with Solidarity in Scotland, which enabled the latter party's leader, Tommy Sheridan, to retain his seat in the Scottish Parliament despite being at that time under investigation for perjury.

However, since then, the surge in Labour support under the new leadership has hit Respect hard, and SWP members who have so far been kept satisfied by electoral success are beginning to make their dissatisfaction with Galloway's Muslim-focused electoralism and leaderism known. Tower Hamlets, the only Council controlled by Respect, is in the throes of bitter factional struggles and is constantly in the pages of Private Eye. It is considered doubtful that the London Assembly seats will be retained in 2008, although some blame for this must rest on the absurdly high threshold of 5% for top-up seats.

 

Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#11
NZ Country Party

New Zealand First had, as the pundits had predicted, been polling well below the 5% threshold since the first Hundred Days of the Ardern Government, when Winston Peters resigned from the party leadership and from Parliament in order to take up a new position as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in early 2020. Twenty-seven years after the party's formation, it was to have its first contested leadership election between Winston's Diadochi.

That was the theory, anyway: the Deputy Leader, Fletcher Tabuteau, announced almost immediately that he was happy in his current role, while Shane Jones quickly fell in behind the respected Minister for Internal Affairs, Tracey Martin. The other touted challenger, Ron Mark, took a different path. Ever since his humiliating defeat as Deputy Leader by Tabuteau in early 2018, he had seen that he would not have the caucus votes to become Leader, and probably wouldn't be placed high enough on the List to get into Parliament again - even if the party did.

Mark split off. He had supporters: two of the NZ First MPs who had been the least impressed with the coalition with Labour and the fruits thereof. Mark Patterson was a former National member who had quixotically attempted to replace Bill English as Clutha-Southland candidate, and - after defecting to NZ First in 2015 - was subsequently linked to the leaks surrounding the behaviour of Todd Barclay. Clayton Mitchell was another, less recent, National convert, but had been disappointed by being snubbed for ministerial office and had weathered severe criticism from Labour and Green members over his failed private members' bill to make English an official language of New Zealand. The three of them viewed their personal loyalty to their party as null and void now that their captain had left them in the lurch.

There was a problem with splitting off, though. One of the coalition's first achievements was passing a Waka-jumping bill which would declare vacant the seat of any MP defecting from their party, designed for exactly this situation. As such, the Ron Mark clique were forced to engage in ignominious negotiations with Tracey Martin's party. The upshot was this: the dissident MPs would be allowed to officially retain the NZ First whip but could rebel at will, and would receive one third of the funding and speaking time allocated to NZ First as a whole - a similar arrangement to that enjoyed by Jim Anderton when he formed the Progressive Party in 2002. And like that situation, this split cost Labour their majority. Mark resigned as Defence Minister immediately, to be replaced by NZ First loyalist and former Army officer Darroch Ball - who had been in negotiations to leave with Ron Mark and his friend Mitchell until he realised that he was first in line to receive Mark's portfolio.

Not wishing to cause early elections and thereby lose substantial funding, Mark's group voted on a tiresome issue-by-issue basis for the last months of the parliamentary term. This slowed down the process of government, of course, but it allowed Mark to chalk up some policy wins such as keeping Agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme and the purchase of two new planes for the RNZAF.

You see, Mark, Patterson and Mitchell were in the process of forming a new party, and needed some high-profile victories. Their chosen vehicle was to be a Nordic-style agrarian party - a concept that Mark had come across on Wikipedia - which would argue that both National and Labour had neglected regional communities and primary industries, that much greater powers should be devolved to local government, that farmers needed access to Reserve Bank funding and that the only good immigrant was a kiwifruit-picker who would return home in August. Most importantly, it would also claim to be centrist (agrarian parties in Scandinavia have governed with both right and left at various points) and therefore inherit Winston's favoured kingmaker role.

They also claimed to be environmentalist, but came under fire for their opposition to preventing farmers from dumping cow shit in rivers.

Country NZ, therefore, was launched in April, harking back to the Labour-aligned, well-respected Country Party of the 1930s, and definitely not the fascisty Country Party of the 1960s. Time will only tell whether they will be re-elected in September - while both NZ First and the Country Party are polling beneath the threshold, Labour have stood aside for the former party's Shane Jones in Whangarei and the latter's Leader Ron Mark in Wairarapa, in an attempt to prevent centre-left votes from being wasted in this very tight election.


When asked for comment on the new party, Sir Winston replied "I'm sorry, I misheard - I thought you said Country".
 

Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#17
The Ulster Unionist Party, currently led by the third Lord Brookeborough, has been in power in Northern Ireland since 1921. Although it is very much the party of the Establishment, the slow and steady reforms of O'Neill, Long and Mills advanced the the civil rights of Catholics from the mid-60s onwards, and since then they have erred to the right and to the left on both economic and social matters, as and when it suits their electoral interests. They have a broad base of support among the Unionist population, especially in rural areas, and are aided by anti-Nationalist tactical voting.

The main opposition party, which has spent long periods abstaining from the NI Parliament, is the National Democrats, a merger of the network of clientelist machines known as the Nationalist Party, the rather more organised National Democratic Party, and the trendy People's Democracy grouping of civil rights campaigners. Although the Nationalist vote is split by various left-wing Republican parties such as Republican Labour, the Connolly Clubs and Sinn Fein! the Workers' Party, the Nat Dems are the only pro-Irish party that has seen any degree of success, and mix socially liberal ideals descended from the social movements of the 60s with rural, centre-right populism in an attempt to be all things to all Catholics.

Stormont is also home to a few minor Unionist parties - most notably the Protestant Unionist Party, a hard-line vehicle for the Paisley family. But the PUP barely exists now outside of a few constituencies and can only depend on the votes of Free Presbyterian churchgoers and the fact that the UUP stand aside for Paisley Jr. in North Antrim. On the other side of the spectrum is the centrist, non-sectarian Ulster Liberal Party, which looked to be in grave danger until Naomi Long turned Belfast Willowfield into a Liberal stronghold.

Finally, there is the NI Labour Party, an arms-length branch office of both the UK and Irish Labour Parties, which tends to appeal to secular liberals and students more than the working classes. They tend to contest almost all of the 52 seats on offer, unlike the two main parties who don't like to cause too much of a ruckus by arguing with each other, but very rarely do they actually win - the Foyle Central seat has been at risk of falling for years, not least due to vote-splitting by Eamonn McCann. Claire Bailey, though, is still reasonably safe in Belfast Balmoral.

It is, of course, unclear how the UUP are ever to be toppled, while the dominance of the UUP and the ideologically broad natures of both main parties have incited cynical comparisons to matters south of the border. Some have suggested that these issues could be solved by implementing some sort of PR - maybe STV - but this seems unlikely.

NIFPTP2017.png
 
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Uhura's Mazda

L. Ron Hoggard
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#19
Worth the effort, David! Is the NI Labour Party officially neutral on the constitutional question?
They subscribe to the position of 'no change to the status quo without a border poll but the status quo is really shit, guys', which effectively limits their appeal to Unionists, and leaves the Catholic working class to the Nat Dems and assorted minors.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#20
They subscribe to the position of 'no change to the status quo without a border poll but the status quo is really shit, guys', which effectively limits their appeal to Unionists, and leaves the Catholic working class to the Nat Dems and assorted minors.
What sort of support do the three minors mentioned have nationally? Enough to get them a seat or two under a PR system?

Also, are any of them organised in the Republic? I'd probably guess SF! but if so do they have any better success in the south?