A New Britain - A British Political TL (1995-)

1995-1997
1995 Tory Leadership Election

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John Major had decided to call for a leadership election, with the conservatives behind by 25%, Major had told his freinds that if he could not get 220 of his 329 colleagues he will step down. Peter Lilley was his only opponent. Lilley who was on the hard right of the tory party had decided to challenge him over his pro-europeans credentials. The first Ballot went like this.

John Major - 209
Peter Lilley - 91
Abstentions - 19

Major had imeediatly decided to stand down, announcing he would not contest the second ballot for the leadership of the tory party. There were a few frontrunners by securing 91 MPs, Lilley carried his campaign on. Micheal Portillo announced he would stand for the leadership of the party. However for the moderate wing of the party, there was a choice of three candidates. Ken Clarke, Micheal Heseltinr and Douglas Hurd. The three most senior members of the government had a meeting and it was concluded that Heseltine would run for the conservatives and would be the banner for the centrists. Hoping that he could secure the 165 MPs to win the election.

Second Ballot

Micheal Heseltine 193 MPs
Micheal Portillo 90 MPs
Peter Lilley 46 MPs

It was a landslide for Tarzan winning 58.6% of the vote being Portillo who had only secured 27.3% of the vote. Heseltine was Prime Minister and had campaigned mainly on how compassionate toryism would win them the election.

Prime Minister Heseltine

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Heseltine had won the election and was the Prime Minister, though some of the cabinet was already known mainly Ken Clarke staying on as chancellor, some of the positions were interesting as shown by the actual roles.

Prime Minister- Micheal Heseltine
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Ken Clarke
Foreign Secretary - Micheal Portillo
Home Secretary - Malcolm Rifklind
Defence Secretary - Lord Clark of Saltwood
Education Secretary - Gillian Sheppard
Health Secretary - John Gummer
Minister of Sport - David Mellor

The Cabinet was across of the part's factions, moderates like Malcolm Rifkind, Ken Clarke and David Mellor. Whilst figures of the right such as Lord Clarke of Saltwood. (I know Alan Clark isn't a lord but I imagined that he would make an interesting defence secretary).

First 100 Days
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Heseltine's first 100 days were intense, within day 10 the IRA had blown up a restaurant in Manchester. Heseltine was praised by all sections of the media for his cool and calm leadership. The flooding of Cornwall and the south west, there were good photographs of Hezza cleaning up the ruin along with the front Line workers. Heseltine had been the most popular man in the tory party for years for his ability to show compassion. Though the country was still in a deep recession there was a boost and Heseltine had gained the image of farther of the nation which was shown by the polls.

Polls - 2/08./95
Labour 40%
Conservatives 36%
Liberal Democrats - 21%

Yep, that was right in 100 days, due to pragmatic and calm leadership, Hesetline had received a huge boost in the polls, though he knew it wasn't going to last. He had closed down the average labour led from 25-30% to 2-4%. Though Tony Blair polled well it was known in. the inner labour circles that Heselitne would be the hardest opponent they would ever face.

Ermergencey Budget 1995

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Ken Clarke had been chancellor now for two years and had done some cuts in expenditure, This was to be different much different. Instead of announcing huge and radical long term cuts as the backbench wanted him to do. Clarke announced expenditure increases they were going to spend themselves out of the recession. They were going to put an extra £6 billion for the NHS year on year for the next four years. They announced they were going to put in £5 billions year on year. These huge investments in front line services allowed to change the perception of the tory party. Clarke also announced They promised to half unemployment by the end of the decade with Clarke renarking 'Times are tough and we have to be tough but, we will always look after those vital public services and Unemployment is never a price worth paying.



Opinion Polls

PartyResult
Labour43%
Conservatives34%
Lib Dems23%


Who would make a better Prime Minister?


LeaderResult
Micheal Heseltine45%
Tony Blair35%
Paddy Ashdown20%



LeaderApproveDisaprove
Micheal Heseltine65%29%
Tony Blair56%39%
Paddy Ashdown69%27%





Though all three leaders had strong approval ratings. The Conservative party were still in an incredibly bad position in the polls because they were perceived as uncaring party and though Heseltine and Ken Clarke were seen as partical man who knew how to run the country and therefore they had credibility and the government were helped with latest inflation figures which showed that the inflation rate for 1995 was 2.1% along with Unemployment at 2.6 million. Which was down from the 3.2 million the year earlier. Clarke hailed these economic figures and said that he could forecast Unemployment coming down below 2 million by the end of the parliament.

Tory Confrerence 1995- Brighton - 28/09/95-1/10/95

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As Heseltine became PM he came in after the best summer which saw the tories have a revival in the opinion polls and therfore Micheal Heseltine was abler to come to the tory conference a hero knowing that he was going to have a fighting chance to winning the next general election. So as Heseltine gave his speech, knowing that there is one part that was going to stand out.

'Conference, this party is the party of prudence, we don't make spending pledges we can't keep or we can afford. However in the last few months we have gone from being 24% behind in the polls to being 5% behind in the polls. The respect and pragmatism that is shown for the conservatives now, shows why we can win the general election. So, when the starting gun Is fired we are going to take the Labour Party apart like we have never done before. Not by becoming like them but by reaching out to everyone and say that in this new modern compassionate Conservative party that we can take this country forward'.

Labour Conference 1995- Liverpool - 2/10/95-6/10/95
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Tony Blair had led the party for over a year now, the Labour Party had modernised and had began to change and there were strong positive approvals and therefore there was a growing lead for Labour in the opinion polls. The changes that the country have seen throughout the 1980s and the 90s where the conservatives have began to change their politics and therefore by electing Tony Blair had changed the way people think, this led to the speech from Tony Blair it was 63 minute speech with an interesting part.

'So as we sit here and prepare for the next government we have to make sure it is a Labour government and on Labour terms. This party has changed and has radically changed, we have ditched the old ideas which can not be implemented in a new age and replaced it with policies which say that whilst the values are unchangeable. the means have to be. We can win but only if we change so let's us get out there and do it'

End of 1995
As 1995 came to an end, the polling hype had died down, Labour were back to having 12% leads in the polls but the tories were back to polling in the low 30s, the economy was reviving quite considerably and it looked like Unemployment will fall below 2 million and with Inflation down to just 3.9% . Micheal Heseltine and Ken Clarke were very popular however the Labour Party would regular be poking fun at the other members such as Peter Lilley and Micheal Howard who were fair to say not very popular at all and were posing a threat to the government but they could not be got ri of.


Budget November 1996

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The budget was an interesting one, Clarke had maintained his reputation for prudence and not running the nation's finances into the ground as he announced that the deficit in 1996-97 would be £9.3 billion, followed by a surplus of £3.2 billion in 1997-98 , £7 billion in 1998-99, £10.5 billion in 1999-00 , £13 billion in 2000-01. He also announced buoyant economic growth of 2.3% in 1996-97 , 1.8% in 1997-98 , 2.6% in 1998-99 , 3% in 1999-00 , 2.9% in 2000-01. These were good economic indicators that allowed Clarke to hail his economic miracle in reducing Unemployment to 2.1 million . The back to work programme which Clarke and Heseltine launched had brought 1 million people back to work.

As for front line services, Clarke announced that the £5 billion a year for the NHS and schools will be going ahead in order redevelop the nations front line services. Clarke announced that they can rebuild the 30 new hospitals and 50 new schools by 2001-02. It was clear that though they were 16% behind in the polls, Clarke was going to reach out to everyone. He also announced that the basic rate of tax would come down to 22%.

1997 Election is called

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After 5 years since the election the Tories were finally forced to call the election. Heseltine had a successful 2 years with the adoption of some the third way concepts and with genuine increases in front line services mainly the NHS but overall the country was in a better place however the popularity of the Tory Party was at 29% they were 19% behind in the opinion polls. Labour were at 48% and the Liberals at 23%. The tory infighting over the euro and cash for questions had scarred them. So on the 18th March 1997 the election was called for May 1st 1997.

UPNEXT

1997 Election
Final PMQs
Tory Manifesto
Labour Manifesto
Liberal Democrat Manifesto
Leader's Debate
ITV 500
Final Day
Election Night
Quick Update on Who Governs Britiain

In case you were no aware there has been a temporary hiatus with that timeline, shads is busy and therefore I think the timeline has been stalled thanks for all the warm words and support hat was given throughout that timeline. Shads is a great graphics designer and personally he is a really nice person and I hope that this timeline can be resumed as soon as possible but in the meantime I have decided to write a new timeline based of this so hope you Enjoy. Also though I will try to upload 2 a week, I can't be sure since I will be back in college but I will do my best. So thanks for reading Part One
 
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1997 Election
Final PMQs-20/03-97

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Being the final PMQS it was one of the most fiery ones yet. Heseltine had come under fire as a result over the cash for questions scandal and though Heseltine had wanted to release the Downey report. Heseltine had concluded on report that it should not be released. Tony Blair called the tory government 'A government in the past with views that are in the past and it's view of people in the past' He condemned the tories for lying on VAT on Fuel. Saying 'That when this government have lied on VAT on Fuel why should people ever trust them again'. Heseltine having a reputation for being the master of the house reminded people what they were going back to saying 'The right honourable gentleman says they are New Labour, well let's just remind people about the Old Labour Party, the Old Labour Party that made us go on our knees to the IMF, The old Labour Party that gave us 26.9% Inflation , the Old Labour Party that gave us the winter of discontent and the Labour Party that gave us a 36% basic rate and a 83% top rate'. He then went on to list his record saying 'Today we have a budget surplus paying down the debts, Inflation at 2.2% , The lowest amount in strikes in our history, a 23% basic rate and a 40% top rate of tax and more money in our education , health and the police than the Labour Party could ever dream of yes Mr speaker we have a record to stand on and be proud of'.

Opinion Polls

PartyResult
Labour48% (+13.6%)
Conservatives29% (-12.9%)
Lib Dems23% (+5.8%)

(The change in seats and percentages is all based of the 1992 election)

PartyResults
Labour444 (+173)
Conservatives122 (-214)
Lib Dems63. (+43)

Who will make the Best Prime Minister
LeaderResult
Micheal Heseltine40%
Tony Blair36%
Paddy Ashdown 24%

The Polls weren't surprising Heseltine was well liked in the country, Though Labour were seen by the public as ready and the public's favourability of the conservatives were very low, what was keeping the tories at 35% was the personal popularity of the Prime Minister. Heseltine had gone into the election with an approval rating of 59%, Tony Blair with 63% and Paddy Ashdown with 47%. But for a PM an approval rating of 59% coming into a general election was more than helpful it was an asset.

Conservative Manifesto 1-04-97

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The manifesto was an interesting one, Heseltine was a one nation conservative and had fundamental differences to Thatcherism. Heseltine was more of a heathite in his views what some would call social democracy. He was helped knowing that his chancellor had basically the exact same economic outlook and therefore it worked. But also Ken Clarke was another strong asset to the Tory Party as he not only presided over a booming economy but his personal charisma was benefiting the party. The pledges went like this.

  • A 3% rise in real terms for the NHS year on year
  • Introducing a new threshold that says anyone with assets less than £50,000 does not have to pay for social care and the asset does not include the price of your home
  • Reducing Waiting lists by 250,000
  • Developing more choice and competition within education
  • Building 50 new schools
  • Allowing Grammar schools to be built
  • Not Introducing student tuition fees
  • 25,000 new police officers
  • 30 new prisons
  • Linking pensions to Earnings and prices
  • A £100 cut in the council tax
  • Reducing the basic rate in tax to 20%
  • increasing the top rate threshold to £32,000 by 2002
  • Increasing Stamp duty threshold to £200,000
  • Abolishing Inheritance tax by 2000
  • Reforming the Pensions system to allow by 2040
  • To create a new pensions system so that people can raise their own pension with the govemrent putting in £9 a week
  • Referundum on the Euro by 1998
  • A free vote on the EU social chapter
  • 5 months paid maternity leave
  • 50% of carbon emissions to be reduced by 2020
  • Introducing free transport for under 21s and the over 50s
The expenditure proposals were in effect a manifesto commitment by raising expenditure on front line services would be a clear for form a compromise. He had tried to come back to the centre ground if Thatcher was 8.3 on the conservatism scale and Major was 5.2, Heseltine was 2.1 and Ken Clarke was 1.5. The moderates were running the country and therefore the manifesto had actually gained positive traction. Heseltine had called the manifesto 'A pragmatic revolution'.

Opinion Poll- 2/04/97
PartyResult
Labour42% (+7.6%)
Conservatives36% (-5.9%)
Lib Dems22% (+4.2%)

Seat Forecast
PartySeats
Labour379 (+108)
Conservatives202 (-134)
Lib Dems48 (+28)

Who was would make the Best Prime Minister
LeaderResult
Micheal Heseltine47%
Tony Blair32%
Paddy Ashdown21%

Labour Manifesto 03-04-97

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  • Cutting the waiting lists by 250,000 by abolishing the NHS Internal Market
  • Allowing GPs to be paid per patients
  • Cutting class sizes for all 5,6,7 year olds by abolishing the Assisted places scheme
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Dearing report in regards to student finance
  • Reducing the time it takes for someone to be arrested and thrown into prison for the young offenders
  • 10,000 new police officers
  • Having a review into the funding of the pensions system with a prudent way of linking pensions to prices and earnings
  • NO Rises in the Basic or Higher rate of Income tax
  • NO Rises in National Insurance and VAT
  • 10% starting rate of tax for Incomes between £5,000-£19,000
  • A Referundum on the EU Single currency providing the 5 economic tests are met.
  • The custodian of those economic tests will Be Gordon Brown
  • Implementing the social chapter and therbywhich the minimum wage and maximum working hours
  • Intoducing a Windfall tax on the excess profits of the Utility companies to get 1 million people off welfare to work.
  • Working to reduce Carbon emissions by 75% by 2020
The Manifesto was cautious however the main proposal of getting 1 million people of welfare and into work was welcomed by those on the left also the plan to cut carbon emissions by 75% was welcomed. Those on the right did welcome the clear pledge not to raise Income tax, VAT or National Insurance. However there was strong criticism on the health service with the perception that the tories were more pro-nhs than Labour. Due to the pledge in real terms increases for the NHS.

Opinon Poll 3/04/97
PartyResult
Labour47% (+12.6%)
Conservatives30% (-11.9%)
Lib Dems22% (+4.2%)

Seat Forecast
PartySeats
Labour434 (+163)
Conservatives133 (-203)
Lib Dems62 (+42)

Who would make the Best Prime Minister?
LeaderResult
Micheal Heseltine41%
Tony Blair36%
Paddy Ashdown23%

The First two weeks of the campaign were interesting. Though Heseltine was doing well personally, the Conservative party. The Labour Party had still got a 17% lead and now for the Lib Dems there manifesto was going to be an interesting one.

Lib Dem Manifesto 5/04/97


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The Liberal Democrats were the one party that had not decided to adopt quasi market solutions. Ashdown who was a social democrat had decided to create a manifesto that was just that a social democracy.

  • Free eye and dental checks funded by 8p on the price of ciggerets
  • Reducing the NHS waiting lists by 500,000 by 2002
  • Ban on smoking in public places
  • Cut class sizes by 10 by scrapping the assisted places scheme
  • Putting 1% on the basic rate of income tax to fund education
  • Not Introducing University Tuition Fees
  • 10,000 new police officers
  • Boosting the state pension to £100 a week by 2002
  • Introduce free social care funded by increasing the top rate of tax to 50% for incomes above £100,000
  • 80% reduction in C02 Emissions by 2020
  • Renaitonlsing water,electricty,rail and gas
  • £2 billion extra for Local councils.
The Manifesto was called 'A manifesto for common sense'. Ashdown stated that the systemic underfunding of the National health service and of Education is a disgrace and they will improve the funding of education and health. The Lib Dems called it a manifesto for everyone.

Opinion Polls
PartyResult
Labour44%
Conservatives29%
Lib Dems27%

Seat Forecast
PartyResult
Labour421 (+150)
Conservatives121 (-215)
Lib Dems87 (+67)

Who will make the best Prime Minister
PartyResult
Micheal Heseltine38%
Tony Blair37%
Paddy Ashdown25%


Leaders Debate-BBC ONE-On the Record - 15th April 1997


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This was an interesting debate watched by 9.2 million people where the two leaders had decided to fight it out on health, Education,Europe and the economy. The two leaders were going head to head. They fought several times on health.

Health

Heseltine had talked about the four fold increase in the funding of the national health service. Stating that in 1995 NHS funding was £21 billion and it was now £32 billion. Heseltine detailed that his 3% increases in real terms which is above the levels of inflation would give the NHS an extra £8 billon. Heseltine also pledged that if there was room to increase that figure to 5% in real terms he would. By saying 'We are deeply concerned about the funding and it being so low and whilst we have raised it by £11 billion since 1995 and if we are given another 5 years we will raise it by a further £8 billion if there is room to raise it more than of course we shall' He turned the attention to Labour by saying 'Whilst we are committed to the NHS we are still yet to hear will Tony Blair met this pledge he has not put in his manifesto and I want to know'. Blair committed that he would raise health spending and he would cut waiting lists by abolishing the NHS Internal Market. Blair also said 'I want to help the NHS in the long t4erm not introduce crowd pleasing election stunts but we have pledged to cut the NHS Waiting lists by 250,000 and to improve personal care services'. When social care was brought up Heseltine focused on his plan to increase the threshold of which people start paying for their healthcare from £10,000 to £50,000 by 2002. He said 'There must be a radical plan to re-finance social care'. Heseltine had undoubtedly won the section on Health with their being a clear implication that the tories were almost being to the left of Labour.

Education

On the issue of Education there was more of a debate there, Blair had started by saying 'Whilst we are prudent we can guarantee that should there be a Labour goverment we will never return to selection and a three tier education system'. This signalled Blair ruling out the introduction of Grammar Schools. Heseltine mentioned how 'Grammar schools gives more levels of choice and allows parents to send their children to a grammar school should they wish' he also said 'Where there are Grammar schools Parents approve them and we must continue them'. Blair had re-ittereated his pledge to cut class sizes to 20 by scrapping the assisted places scheme. He said 'My three priorities are Education, Education and Education and we must change the way our education system is done in the country' . Blair had won this section as his constant need to focus on education and his focus on rebuilding education had proved to be effective.

Europe
Both leaders were untied in principle on Joining the Euro but there was a distinction in approach. Tony Blair had said 'Of course it will be good to be in the Euro but there are the 5 economic tests that must be met unlike this government we only commit to decisions when the time is right'. Blair was asked specifically when he could see a Referundum on the Euro and he didn't give an answer he said 'When the circumstances of the 5 economic tests have been met then we will have the referundum'. Heseltine did emphatically state that we must be part of the first wave so therefore there will be a Referundum in August 1998. Heseltine said 'This is an issue which has to be resolved and here Is our solution In August 1998 we will have a referunudum on wether or not we will join the Euro'. Heseltine said that there will be a free vote on Joining the Euro. When talking about the social chapter, Blair mentioned that 'In every developed country have a minimum wage it is an injustice of the highest proportion that somehow that in the third richest nation on earth that people are paid £1.20 an hour it is just wrong'. The Europe section of the debate was half and half.

The Economy
The Economic Affairs of the nation was the tories strong point, Inflation had fell to to 2.1% according to the latest figures, the economy had grown in 1996 by 2.9% and Unemployment had yet to be published for the first quarter of 1997 but in 1996, Unemployment had come down to 1.9 million. Heseltine had said 'It will be the duty of the government I lead to get Unemployment below 1 million by 2002, We have cut it by 1.5 million and we can cut it by 1 minion in a parliament'. The gutsiness of the conservatives pleading to cut Unemployment had taken another wind out of Labour's sail. The interesting part was that the Unemployment commitment was not in the manifesto and Blair looked startled. Blair mentioned how 'Through our scheme of the Windfall Tax on the Utility companies we can get 1 million people off welfare and into work'. The economic pledges had been focused mainly on Unemployment. Heseltine had finished this section with another pledge that stunned everyone 'Should we become the govemrent I will pledge that public spending as a proportion of GDP will be 43% by 2002'. This had signalled Heseltine's huge spending comittment to an extra £60 billion. Blair looked stunned again. Heseltine had agreed privately with his chancellor to this one comittment which he hoped would win back social democrats. It was undoubted that Heseltine beat the normally brilliant debaterTony Blair on live TV.

Opinion Poll - 17/04/97


PartyPercent
Labour41% (+6.6%)
Conservatives36% (-5.9%)
Lib Dems23% (+5.2%)

Seat Forecast
PartyResult
Labour371 (+100)
Conservatives206 (-130)
Lib Dems52 (+32)


Who will make a Better Prime Minister?
LeaderPercent
Micheal Heseltine40%
Tony Blair35%
Paddy Ashdown25%

Who won the Debate?

LeaderPercent
Micheal Heseltine57%
Tony Blair 43%

ITV 500 - Chancellor Interviews

Ken Clarke Section

Ken Clarke had been an interesting chancellor after taking over from Norman Lamont after Black Wednesday. Clarke had enacted three years of cuts however by 1996 with the clear improvement in the economy and with the preservation for he budget deficit him and the Prime Minister were finally allowed to take the tories back to the centre ground. During the ITV 500, Clarke was asked how he could finance the Prime Minister's new spending comittment made on public spending. Clarke said 'Because of the new growth within our economy and due to the ever growing budget surplus we have made it clear that we will spend half of the surplus on reducing the debt, a quarter on expenditure and a quarter on tax cuts..Providing the surplus grows we will most likely have a rising public spending'. Clarke's avuncularity and charisma had helped.

Gordon Brown
Brown was ideologically more left wing than his leader but he was prudent. Brown announced that he would stick to tory spending plans on the surplus which implied that he would be matching the commitment of the PM. Brown also talked about how he wanted to boost Education and Health spending but said 'We need to run a strong economy and if we do this then of course we will rise public spending but we need to secure the fundementals'

BBC News 27 April 1997

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Good Evening, Today has been one of the ferocious days for the campaign with the Labour Party saying the tories will abolish the state pension, the conservatives called it 'A bunch of lies', earlier today the prime minister Micheal Heseltine stated 'There is simply no proposal to abolish the state pension'..Robin Oakley has more

'In what has been of the most confrontational days today the two leaders fought against each other on the issue of pensions, the Labour Party have accused the conservatives off wanting to sell of the basic state pension..'

Cuts to Gordon brown

'Look they want to sell of the state pension, they have this scheme which they require the individual to pay towards their pension but they do not state which years would be permitted and then they mention older people but they refuse to specify and remember they could rule it out but they won't and even if they do this is the party that said there would be tax cuts year on year and they have done 22 tax rises and they said they would not need to extend VAT on Fuel and they did and we should not trust them'

'But today the Prime Minister fought back in his daily press conference and his raw one nation toryism was shown as he said'

'There is simply no proposal to abolish the state pension , these disgusting bare faced despicable lies from the Labour Party are truly horrifying. I would never support any proposal to water down or abolish the state pension, this one tory goverment has come to the centre ground and frankly I'm sick to death of a Labour Party who say they want to fight a positive campaign but then they scare old people into believing in a proposal that is simply not true and let me make it clear NO conservative goverment would abolish the state pension full stop.


Final Day of the Campaign

Conservative Campaign

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The Tory Campaign had been rather successful. Heseltine had decided to win the centre ground. His personality and avankularness had polled well, his approvals had remained in the low 60s and he had kept the tories in the low 30s and kept the liberals I the low twenties. However he knew that there wasn't a strong chance of being re-elected so he decided to go back to Henley and give his final speech it was 32 minutes and it was televised with this remark being prominent

'We are a great nation, this campaign has been good and we have done well, the conservatives have had 18 strong years of economic growth, interest rates at 6% down from 18% in 1979, Inflation at 2.2% down from the 26.9% that labour created, Health spending up from £7.8 billion to £32 billion. We are a one nation party not just because we want a United Kingdom but because we are prudent sensible people who run the country in a prudent way. Tony Blair and the Labour Party might look nice and sound nice but they have not changed their minds they are simply wolves in sheep clothing. We can not and will not sell the state pension and should we be re-elected we will change the country so let's win the eleciton'

Labour Campaign


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The Labour campaign was fought on a slick and sensible means. Blair had fought the campaign on being pragmatic in decisions. The interesting part was the Blair was arguable more to the right than Heseltine on Health but firmly more on the left in regards to Education. The Labour campaign had an extraordinary team behind it. Gordon Brown was the campaign manager, John Prescott went round the country talking to Labour voters, Peter Mandelson was working with Blair and Alastair Campbell was running the media operation. They knew that though they were going to win it and it would probably be a threee figure majority. Blair knew that Heseltine was going to be their hardest opponent to beat. He had said in his final rally.

'New Labour wants to end division, ending division and a divided society, to unite this country is more important than to divide this country, we are common sense social democrats, these tories they have ran out of time, we have new plans for the NHS and Education and let's enact them together because we can rebuild this country but we can only do it together we can do it on our known so with just under 15 hours open let's go out and win'.

Final Poll
PartyPercent
Labour43%
Conservatives34%
Lib Dems22%

Seat Forecast

PartySeats
Labour402 (+131)
Conservatives175 (-161)
Lib Dems52 (+32)

Who would make the Best Prime Minister
LeaderPercent
Micheal Heseltine40%
Tony Blair38%
Paddy Ashdown22%


Election 1997


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DD-David Dimbelby
PS-Peter Snow
JP-Jeremy Paxman

9.55 DD- Good evening well the weeks of campaigning are finally over and tonight we will know who is running the country for the next five years, wether Micheal Heseltine will produce a miracle and secure the conservatives a fifth term or will Tony Blair win the first Labour victory since 1979. Could the Lib Dems and Paddy Ashdown become the kingmakers and up there Jeremy Paxman will be interviewing our politicians.

9.57- Yes up here I will be interviewing our politicians to see what right and what went wrong and knowing that in 8 hours time they might not have a job.

DD- And no election will be complete without Peter Snow to show us the graphics, Peter.

PS- Yes right you are David, well here were are the swingometer and how far will that swing tonight and of course lets go inside downing street and here are the potratits with Margret Thatcher,John Major and Micheal Heseltine, will it be Micheal Heseltine or will it be Tony Blair.

DD- And here is our exit poll.. We Forecast a Labour goverment and a landslide is likely, Yes here we are Labour 42%, Conservatives 33% and the Liberals 24%. This will gave Labour 398 MPs, the tories 166 and Lib Dems 65.


Final Result
PartySeatsVotesPercent
Labour402 (+161)14,181,56446.9%
Conservatives165 (-171)10,012,98333.1%
Lib Dems63 (+43)5,987,43219.8%
30,181,999 - 75.3% Turnout
UP NEXT
Blair cabinet
Tory Leadership Election
Budget 97
Foreign Conflicts
Budget 98
Euro
NHS Reform
 
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1997-1999
Blair's Cabinet

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As Labour came into office with their 137 seat overall majority there was a sense of hope that somehow things will get better because after 18 years of tory rule there was at last an optimism. The cabinet that Blair had was going to be uniting for the country.

Prime Minister - Tony Blair
Deputy Prime Minister- John Prescott
Chancellor of the Exchequer- Gordon Brown
Foreign Secretary - Robin Cook
Home Secretary - Jack Straw
Health Secretary- Frank Dobson
Education Secretary- David Blunkett
Trade and Inudstry Secretary - Margret Beckett

The main ministers was by no means a suprise it was trying to unite the Labour Party with moderates such as Jack straw but equally more traditionalists such as John Prescott and Frank Dobson who were considered to be on the left. The unity cabinet that Blair had created was a deeply effective one.


Bank of England Independence

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The Bank of England were given 'operational responsibility' what this gave in effect the Bank of England the right to set interest rates this was a massive change as the chancellor will no longer be allowed to set the rates of interest but instead the bank of England would be allowed to set up the rates of interest. The chancellor does cut the rate of interest from 7.2% to 6.1% and then from now on the bank of England would be able to set out the rates of interest.

Budget 1997

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The Ermegency Budget was written by Gordon Brown, Ed Balls and Ed Milliband and it was told to the media that there was going to be a budget on the 4th June 1997. The Budget was going to be focused on two main aspects the first is the windfall tax on the utility companies which raised £4 billion to fund the welfare to work programs to get 1.4 million people off welfare and into work this was a bold iniaitbve and it was going to bring Unemployment below 1 million but it was known that the model they are doing interns of hiring workers would be based of the Heseltine/Clakre model.

Interms of the public finances there were extremely good figures with growth rates of 2.5% in 1997 , 2.4% in 1998 , 2.6% in 1999 , 2.7% in 2000 and 2.7% in 2001. This was a strong benefit but also the announcement of a budget surplus in 1997 of £9 billions followed by a further £19 billion in 1998 and then £27 billion in 1999, £38 billion in 2000 and £46 billions in 2001. These were strong budget figures and therefore the Unemployment figures were also announced with that due to the effect of the Windfall tax will see the rate of Unemployment will come down from 1,912,541 in 97/98, 1,706,512 in 98/99, 1,431,697 in 99/00 , 1,264,832 in 00/01 , 1,031,541 in 01/02 and 841,000 in 02/03. This was. a huge declining rates of Unemployment which is based of not only the Windfall Tax but the Heseltine plan allowed this reducing rate to take place.

On state spending there were to be mild increases now with Gordon Brown announcing that Education will receive an extra £1.2 billion but announcing that when the debts come down and when its clear that the surplus will not be affected there will be a fundamental review into health and education spending which will see substantial rises. Health Spending is set to rise by £3 billion this year. But it was Clear that for now there to be mild rises in expenditure.

Conservative Leadership 1997
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Heseltine did immediately resign the leadership however there were some clear alternatives which was Peter Lilley , Ken Clarke and Micheal Howard and John Redwood These were the four main candidates for the leadership fo the Conservative party,

First Ballot
Ken Clarke 61 MPs (36.9%)
John Redwood 54 MPs (32.7%)
Micheal Howard 30MPs (18.1%)
Peter Lilley 20 MPs (14.3%)

By the end of the first ballot Peter Lilley immediately drops out and it leads to the endorsement of anyone but Ken Clarke.

Second Ballot

Ken Clarke 63 MPs (38.1%)
John Redwood 59 MPs (35.7%)
Micheal Howard 43MPs (26.2%)

Micheal Howard had decided to endorse his old Friend Ken Clarke

Final Ballot
John Redwood 89 MPs (53.9%)
Ken Clarke 76 MPs (46.9%)

The victory for John Redwood had showed an ideological move in the party politics under Heseltine they had moved towards social democracy however there would be a turn in direction or so they thought.

Shadow Cabinet of John Redwood


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Leader of the Opposition - John Redwood
Deputy Leader- Peter Lilley
Shadow Chancellor - Micheal Howard
Shadow Foreign Secretary - Bill Cash
Shadow Home Secretary - Brian Mahwinney
Shadow Health Secretary- Ian Duncan Smith
Shadow Edcucation Secretary - Gillian Sheppard

The cabinet had a clear idelogical shift in that they have moved further to the right than the Heseltine moderates cabinet. However the shadow cabinet were based on the right wing and Redwood had offered Ken the Job as shadow Chancellor which he rejected.

1998 Budget

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The Budget continued with more economic growth with rates of 2.3 in 1998 followed by 2.5% in 1999 and 2.6% in 2000, 2.7% in 2001 and 2.7% in 2002. These were relatively strong economic growth rates which proved that the economy was strong and therefore the budget had also reported strong surplus figures of £19 billions in 1998-99, £27 billions in 1999-00 , £38 billions in 2000-01, £45 billions in in 01-02 and £51 billions in 02-03. These were very strong economic forecast points for the Labour Party could lean on. Also with there being clear Unemployment figures with 1,701,291 In 1998 , 1,615,831 in 1999 , 1,509,618 in 2000, 1,318,533 in 2001 , 1,151,652 in 2002. Though the Unemployment figures were not going to go below 1 million yet it was a clear and evidential that the Unemployment was on the downward trend.

Brown announced greater levels of cash for front Line services with an extra £4.5 billion for the health service and an extra £4 billion for Education and £1 billion for the police. Brown announced that providing the surplus is maintained then we will be able inject greater levels of cash providing the economy grew and that the first job of the government was to keep the economy strong but once it remained strong then they will be able to give prioritise strong investment in the NHS and front line services.

Kosovo Conflict

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After the genocide done by the leader Malosvic there was a clear desicison and Blair had concluded that the military force must be used until malosovic complies there was an agreement with President Clinton to reply 65,000 troops (45,000 British and 20,000 American ). The Military incursion that the British had launched had been a huge success in removing the opposition in 2 and a half weeks and therefore Malosovic had done a full and unconditional surrender and allowed the Muslims to return. Blair had taken a victory call within Kosovo and was popular in the UK as he had won a military victory.

Tuition Fees Vote
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`The Labour goverment had decided to solve the university funding proposals with there being a clear £4.3 billion deficit so the labour goverment decided to come up with a series of proposals.

  • A £2,000 a year tuition fees​
  • No one with Household incomes under £25,000 will have to pay Tuition Fees​
  • The Interest rates would be controlled to 1%​
  • There will be no form of Variability on fees​
  • In 2002 there will be a review on the finances.​

To say this vote was controversial would be a huge unederstatemetment there were plenty of those who were on the left who called the plans a disgrace with Labour MP Bob Marshall Andrews branding the plans a 'fucking joke' it was clear to those within the leadership that they usually huge majority of 135 and with the Lib Dems 210. That Majority was threatened on a key piece of legislation. There were known to be 73 MPs who were against the legislation in all circumstances and would emphatically vote against it along with the liberals and the tories who had sided against it the plans would get 319 votes. However Blair thought he would win.

PartiesAyesNoesAbstentions
Labour3137811
Conservatives614316
Lib Dems0630
Others0300
Total31931431

The Vote was won but the margin was horrifyingly close the last minute abstentions secured Mr Blair's policy but a rebellion of 93 MPs isn't exactly a vote of Confidence. The Tories incidentally had also saved Mr Blair by voting with the motion indeed had the tories who walked into the Aye Lobby not done so He would have lost the motion but in all the motion was carried.

Budget 1999

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The 1999 Budget led to a set of good economic figures with there being 2.5% in 1999 , 2.6% in 2000 , 2.5% in 2001 and 2.5% in 2002. The surplus forecasts will be £24 billions in 1999 , £34 billions in 2000 , £40 billions in 2001 , £48 billions in 2002 and £54 billions in 2003. These were strong economic forecasts with the Windfall tax having a clear economic effect it allows the rate of Unemployment to come down and Brown forecasted that Unemployment will be able to go under 1 million by 2002/03.

There was a strong surplus that allowed an extra £6 billions for front line services with the Health Service being given an extra £4 billion and Education would receive an extra £2 billion. The budget of the NHS had risen from £36 billion to to £44 billion. This is the reason why the labour goverment had receive credit and therefore because the economy had recovered it allowed there to be grater levels on investment in front line services. But Brown was fully aware that in the next parliament there would have to be a fundamental review of spending which would see certatnly too increase.

On tax, the 10% rate was brought back for incomes between £6,350 and £20,000. The 10% starting rate of tax was pledged in 1997 and was delivered on a much bigger scale than expected. The 40% threshold was extended from £36,000 to £40,000 and the basic rate of tax will come down from 23% to 22%.


1999 Scottish and Welsh Elections

As the campaign started it was clear that there was going to be a diversion of opinions with the Labour Party though moving to the centre had decided to fight with some traditional beliefs allowing Gordon Brown to lead the charge in Scotland alongside with Donald Dewar. Alun Micheal had promised to make Labour pure in sticking to it's core and fundamental values. The tory Campaign had been beyond useless, the stunning ability of their failure to reach out to the people of Scotland and Wales was shocking. For the Lib Dems well under Paddy Ashdown the Lib Dems had gone from 9 to 15 in Scotland and in Wales from 1 to 2. Here is how the results looked.

Scotland
Labour 54 MSPs, 41.2%
SNP 30 MSPS 26.2%
Lib Dems 28 MSPs 23.1%
Conservatives 12 MSPs 5.9%

The Labour-Liberal coalition had worked to be effective and therefore it was a clear promise that the liberals would go into a clear coalition so long as Scotland would not have to Introduce Tuition Fees or any of new labour's marketer reforms. This showed that Scottish politics would be going to the left and not being a deliberate version of New labour.

Wales
Labour 29 AMs 43.8%
Lib Dems 13 AMs 21.9%
Plaid Cymru 8 AMs 14.2%
Conservatives 7 AMs 10.9%
Socialist Party 3 AMs 8.3%

The coaltion agreement between the Labour and Liberals provided.a strong 24 seat Overall Majority and in total the Labour and the Liberals controlled 70% of the chamber.


 
2000-2001
Fuel Crisis
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For 5 days in September Britain was simply brought to it's knees the government had decided to retain the fuel duty escalator with a 5% increases above inflation equating to a 10p rise per litre on petrol which had eventually forced the country to snap with rage as the protesters had decided to block of the key points which forced a shortage of Petrol and the entire dispute had come to one simple question who would blink first. Luckily for the government the unions did blink first and therefore the fuel supplies did return relativley back to normal,

NHS Winter Crisis of 2000
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The Winter for the Health Service was a bleak winter with the health service grinded to a halt with there being no beds left due to a flu outbreak it did lead to people waiting up to 6 and a half hours in accident and ermergency and therefore the government were absolutley lambasted for the under funding of the NHS however the conservatives coudln't make any poltical capitol since they had proposed of 1%. So therefore at the end of 2000 here is how the polls looked like.

PartyResult
Labour35%
Conservatives30%
Lib Dems32%

The Labour leads of 20-25% had gone after a torcherous 5 months for the government but the Lib Dems had benifited massivley due to their pledges of investing an extra £10 billions for the NHS and introducing a 6p cut in fuel duty. But in terms of Personal Approval Ratings for the leaders.


PartySeat Forecast
Labour386 (-16)
Conservatives150 (-15)
Lib Dems 93 (+30)


LeaderApproveDisaprove
Tony Blair47%39%
John Redwood41%56%
Paddy Ashdown68%24%

The party leaders has varying degrees of popularity with Tony Blair having a +8% approval rating, Redwood with -15% approval rating but Paddy Ashdown had a +44% approval ratings. With an eleciton on the horizon there was a prospect that the election would be delayed till 2002 to see a boost.

Budget 2001

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After a brutal winter, Gordon Brown had known this was the budget where he would be able to persuade people to come back to Labour. There were strong economic indicators with there being growth rates of 2.6% in 2001, 2.7% in 2002, 2.9% in 2003, 3.1% in 2004 , 3.2% in 2005 and 3.1% in 2006. The surplus forecasts reaching £46 billions in 2001, £54 billions in 2002, £67 billions in 2003, £80 billions in 2004, £86 billions in 2005 and £91 billions in 2006. These were clear and strong economic indicators.

Gordon announced that NHS Spending will meet the EU Average by 2006/07 inline with Tony Blairs promise on Breakfast with Frost. The promise would ensure the NHS secured at least an extra £65 billions over the next 5 years. Brown also announced an extra £4 billions for Education creating a new Education lock with spending on education rising by at least £4 billions no matter what the circumstances. The main tax cut was done on the personal allowance which rise from £6,300 to £7,000.



Opinion Poll- 24th March 2001

PartyResult
Labour45%
Conservatives30%
Lib Dems25%

Seat Forecast

PartySeat Forecast
Labour420 (+18)
Conservatives143 (-22)
Lib Dems 66 (+3)

Leaders Approval Ratings
PartyApproveDisaprove
Tony Blair58%39%
John Redwood37%61%
Paddy Ashdown68%25%


Let the campaign begin
As the 2001 election began the Labour Party were having double digit and commanding leads within the opinion polls and in contrast to the bleak and miserable winter that the goverment had been forced to suffer, the goverment had come out well in March with the budget being popular, Tony Blair had decided to call the election for the 7th May 2001, it is going to be a 6 week campaign and a Labour victory looked near certain

Labour Manifesto - 02/04/01

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  • Reaching the EU Average for NHS Expenditure from 3.1% to 8.7% of GDP ensuring an extra £100 billions over the next five years
  • Raising the threshold of social care payments to £25,000 so that people who have assets less than £25,000 would not pay
  • £2.3 billions an extra for mental health.
  • Cutting the Waiting lists by 250,000 by 2004
  • Cutting class sizes in all Primary schools down to 20.
  • Cutting class sizes in all Secondary Schools down to 25.
  • Providing an extra £3.5 billions to education ad giving direct payments to schools.
  • No Introduction of Top Up Fees and there will be legislaiton to prevent them
  • 10,000 more police officers.
  • Ensuring an extra £8 billions for the Police.
  • No rises in the basic or higher rate of income tax
  • Expanding the 10% threshold to incomes between £8,000- £28,000
  • Cutting fuel duty by 6p by 2005
  • A £4.65 minimum wage up from the £3.85 now
  • Introducing child and working tax credits.
  • Should the five tests be met there will be a referendum on the Euro
These reforms within the Labour manifesto was seen by many as building on the achievements of the last four years with greater levels of money for front line services and therefore with a growing economy and Labour were able to take a vast proportion of the credit for the economic growth and though the winter had been torrid for the government they had managed to stay ahead in the opinion polls.

PartyResult
Labour48%
Conservatives29%
Lib Dems23%

PartySeats
Labour438 (+36)
Conservatives129 (-36)
Lib Dems 64 (+1)

Conservative Manifesto 4.04.01


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The tory manifesto had decided to go further to the right and here they were
  • Cutting fuel by 10p a litre
  • Reducing the basic rate of income tax to 18%
  • Cutting Corpration tax to 26% by 2006
  • Raising NHS Spending by 1.5% in real terms
  • The NHS will pay for 25% for private medical treatment.
  • Allowing pensioners to use the winter fuel allowance and the free tv licence to merge into the state pension.
  • A 1 in, 1 out approach to regulation of businesses
  • NO Referendum on joining the Euro
  • Greater levels of school freedom
  • Abolishing the Independent Appeals Panels
  • 20,000 more police officers
  • Cutting the number of MPs from 659 to 600
The Manifesto was not as right wing as some had feared it might have been but there were proposals which the labour party were more than happy to attack mainly the proposal to allow the NHS to pay a quarter of all health costs which labour were able to effectively charecterise as the beginnings of the privatising of the NHS which though Redwood denied it made good attacking material.



PartyResult
Labour46%
Conservatives31%
Lib Dems23%

Far from dragging support the manifesto had only gained 2 points in the polls and the seat forecasts looked like this

PartyResult
Labour421 (+19)
Conservatives148 (-17)
Lib Dems 60 (-3)


Lib Dem Manifesto - 6/04/01


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  • 30,000 nurses and 10,000 more doctors by 2005
  • 15,000 hospital beds by 2004
  • Free eye and Dental Checks
  • Hiring 10,000 new secondary school teachers
  • Cutting class sizes for both primary and secondary schools to 20
  • Abolishing University Tuition Fees
  • Increasing the basic state pension by £15
  • Introducing a new triple lock on pensions to make sure they go up by earnings, prices or 3%
  • Raising the Basic rate of tax to 24% to raise £8 billions for Health and Education
  • 50% top rate of tax for incomes above £80,000
  • 8,000 more police officers
  • Royal Comission on Drug Reform
  • Free bus Passes for the over 65s and Under 21s
  • A eferundum on Joining the Euro in 2002
Far from detracting people the Liberals had actually gained lots of support through their bold and common sense manifesto as their leader Paddy Ashdown described as a bold and reforming manifesto that will help Britain.


PartiesResult
Labour43%
Lib Dems29%
Conservatives28%


PartiesSeats
Labour417 (+15)
Conservertives130 (-35)
Lib Dems82 ( +19)

Question Time- Paddy Ashdown 12/04/01

As Paddy Ashdown did a question time preformance which proved the man in the storng centre, Ashdown didnt get the chance to take part in the debates in 1997 but he was going to make his pitch since the liberal democrats had 63 MPs and with the tories going into complete freefall there was a possibility that the Lib Dms would not only gain seats but might get over 80 MPS.

Ashdown was asked about Taxation and he did mention that we did need to raise the money needed in order to properly funding our vital public services then we are going to have to raise tax. He also mentioned how since the NHS and Education will always be the nations priorities then we are going to have to create a tax system which is fair and progressive. Also he mentioned about how he anted to properly financed education and the police.

PartyResult
Labour42%
Lib Dems32%
Conservatives26%

PartyForecasts
Labour420 (+18)
Conservatives108 (-57)
Lib Dems101 (+38)


Question time John Redwood-16/04/01

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As he came on Question time John Redwood knew that he came in as the underdog being 16% behind in the opinion polls. The Question time episode was mainly focused on the domestic issues of the day such as the Health service and Education and why was this.Because the Redwood campaign had decided to focus on Europe. a new focus would have been interesting.

Redwood completely imploded because he could not match Labour's spending plans for the simple reason that he didn't believe strongly in public services and the conservatives shifting to the right had done no good for its public standing. Int the last 4 years the tories had led in only 3 opinion polls all during the fuel crisis. Redwood did promise more money for public services but coined the phrase 'We trust the people not the government'

On Education he mentioned how he wanted greater levels of school discipline and though his position on the Euro was popular Redwood did come across as out of touch and not focused on peoples values. And therefore he knew when Tony Blair had his Question Time in 5 days time he would have a fair chance of wining.

PartyResult
Labour41%
Conservatives30%
Lib Dems 29%

PartySeat Forecast
Labour410 (+8)
Conservatives140 (-25)
Lib Dems79 (+16)

Question Time-Tony Blair 20/04/01

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Coming into the final question time Tony Blair knew that this would be his chance to explain his record of economic stability and greater levels of funding in health and education services he could hail the record of 50,000 new nurses and 20 new hospitals, the NHS Waiting lists had come down from 3.4 million in 1996/97 to 3 million in 2001/02. Blair made a solid comitment to cut the NHS Waiting Lists by 750,000 over the next five years and to introduce the new 18 week maximum waiting times for health service care.. This was an extremely gutsy pledge as by reducing the waiting lists along with he building of new hospitals. Tony Blair had promised to boost NHS Funding to EU Average which was a huge pledge.

In regards to Education the government had pledge to raise the funding in line with the NUT requirements. But Blair decided to develop what he called a fundemental revolution in education by changing the way we educate so that coursework takes half of a GSCE or an A-Level. This would also ink to the money being given to schools which would be the equivalant of £210,000 per year, Blair had known that was vital was strong investment in front line services. On Transport Blair had promised to implement the policies of the Haven Report which recommended that the Transport Budget goes up from 0.6% of GDP to 1.5% of GDP (£13.8 billion to £34.5 billion). Throughout the entire Question Time Blair came across as calm and pragmatic. Someone who could be cool under pressure.

PartyResult
Labour46%
Conservatives30%
Lib Dems24%

PartySeat Forecast
Labour425 (+23)
Conservatives140 (-25)
Lib Dems64 (+1)

Final Day of the Campaign

As the campaign ended a couple of things were clear the conservatives were not going to win the election and that they would proably get less seats than the last election. But they would remain as the official oppisition as the Lib Dems had not kept the early surge but the Lib Dems had peterd out but it looked possible that they might get upto 25% of the vote in the election. And as for labour well there sucess was only constant they had never had less than a 10% lead and though they were possibly going to recieve a lower share of the vote it looked possibly they might get more seats.


Election 2001-7/06/01

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DD-David Dimbelby
JP-Jeremy Paxman
PS-Peter Snow

DD-Good evening well here we are eleciton night it has been a long campaign wether labour will be back with a landslide or will the conservatives will come to office and throughout that night we will hear it from Jeremy Paxman who will be up there talking to our polticians.
JP- Yes up here we will be talking to poltiicans to understand what went right and what went wrong knowing that by the time the sun comes up there will be a goverment.
DD- Well and no election night could ever be clear without Peter Snow
PS- Yes and thank you David we will be able to see how the tory attack has gone along with our great swingometer.
DD- And now for our exit poll this is decided by 25,000 people being asked how did you vote and here is it.10 oclock and we are suggesting it will be a labour landslide. Labour will have secured 439 MPs, the Conservatives 130 MPs and the Lib Dems will be on 60 MPs.

Final Result
PartyLeaderSeatsPercentVotes
LabourTony Blair420 MPs (+18)44.2% (-2.7%)13,432,581
ConservativesJohn Redwood139 MPs (-26)29.2% (-3.9%)9,983,534
Lib DemsPaddy Ashdown70 MPs (+8)26.1% (+7.0%)8,452,689
Next UP
Post Election Reaction
NHS Reform
Euro Debate
IRAQ
2003 Scottish Election and Wales
And much more
 

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2001-2003
Post Election Reaction
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After the election which had stunned nobody, Labour had increased their majority form 155 to 181. As coming back to MillBank Labour came back as conquering heroes not only winning a second term but winning it with such a huge majority that it is near certain that they could even within a third term.As Tony Blair came back to Millbank Blair said 'From today onwards the work goes on so let us get out there and continue to change'. The Conservatives were horrified they knew this election was going to be hard for them but they had lossed 26 seats and were now even further away from getting an Overall Majority. The tories would need to gain 187 seats in order to win next time which looked near impossible. The Lib Dems looked happy knowing that they had gained 7 MPs from their high point to now where they are at 70 MPs.

Conservative Leadership Election 2001


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After crashing down to a dismal defeat the conservatives didn't know where they were going ideologically. There were moderates like Ken Clarke who believed that had they gone to a more moderate position it looked probable that they would win a general election. As Clarke put it 'The further right we go, the further the public reject us'. Micheal Portillo had concured the similar view. Portillo who had been a bastion for the right had lost his seat in 1997 and had a conversion to the centre ground. However Iain Duncan Smith who had been the shadow health secretary had said 'The public didn't know what we stood for'. Bill Cash who had been the shadow foriegn secretary had believed it was about Europe. They all stood. David Davis who didn't serve under Redwood believed it was because there was no direct appeal to the working class. And Micheal Fabricant the Flamboyant , eccentric but modernising Party Chairman had believed it was because 'We had the right economic ideas but we come across as a bunch of bigots'.

As all the candidates stood for the leadership here is where they ranked on the Ideological scale.

(0- Pure Centris, 10- Pure Thatcherite)

Micheal Portillo 1.8
Ken Clarke - 2.5
Micheal Fabricant 3.9
David Davis 5.1
Bill Cash 7.2

Iain Duncan Smith 9.1

As the contest heated up the panel all went on a special question time episode for the tory leadership, It was agreed that there would be 2 debates and 1 question time. The 2 Debates would come on the third ballot and the second would come on the final ballot. But on the Question time Episode. The varying views came across clearly. When asked about why they lost, Clarke had cited the main reason as 'The party had gone further to the right and the country hadn't'. Micheal Portillo had cited the reason as 'A lack of sympathy with those who are suffering'. Fabricant said 'It's because we came across as a bunch of heartless bigots'. Davis said it was because 'we didn't look like we cared'. Bill Cash believed it was because of a 'lack of principle' Duncan Smith believed it was 'Because there was no differences between the parties'.

First Ballot
Ken Clarke 45,32.3%
David Davis 26,18.7%
Micheal Portillo 25,17.9%
Iain Duncan Smith 16,11.5%
Bill Cash 15,10.7%
Micheal Fabricant 12 ,8.6%

The first ballot hadn't gone well for the right as nobody got the 70 votes needed. Micheal Fabricant dropped out and endorsed Ken Clarke.

Second Ballot
Ken Clarke 54, 38.8%
Micheal Portillo 28, 20.1%
David Davis 25, 17.9%
Bill Cash 18, 12.9%
IDS 13, 9,3%

IDS was eliminated and was kicked out and immedialty endorsed Bill cash.

Third Ballot
Ken Clarke 55 39.5%
Bill Cash 31 22.3%
Micheal Portillo 27 19.4%
David Davis 25 18.8%

The third ballot had led to end of David Davis candidature however he was stuck between endorsing Ken Clarke who would win a General Election or Bill Cash who had his principles. In the end he reluctantly came down for Bill Cash.

Fourth Ballot

Ken Clarke 59 42.4%
Bill Cash 53 38.1%
Micheal Portillo 26 19.5%

Micheal Portillo was eliminated and therefore Portillo had decided to endorse Ken Clarke. By the time of the membership Ballot, Ken Clarke was in a spot of bother because the party membership did not allign to Clarke on social issues or on Europe. And by the way the entire contest was dominated on Europe. Bill Cash during one of the News night Debate Cash pledged to have an IN/OUT referundum on membership of the EU which made the membership blush.

Final Ballot-Membership Vote
Bill Cash 102,562 53.87%
Ken Clarke 82,183 46.13%

Shadow Cabinet of Bill Cash

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Bill Cash had become the leader which was stunning but the cabinet had become a cabinet of ideologs. Ken Clarke had announced that he would not join the cabinet and therefore there was an ideological shift to the right.

Leader - Bill Cash
Deputy Leader - Iain Duncan Smith
Shadow Chancellor - Iain Duncan Smith
Shadow Foreign Secretary - Sir Peter Tapsel
Shadow Home Secretary - Micheal Howard
Shadow Health secretary - Peter Lilley
Shadow Education Secretary - Gillian Shepard.
Shadow Defence Secretary - Alan Clark.

The Cabinet had taken an ideological shift to the right in order to believe in their principles, many had assumed that there was no chance that they were going to win the 2005 General Election so therefore they might as well believe in their principles. Which makes people want to contemplate keeping them out. And the public were not interested in the Conservative party with a rightwing leadership and therefore Bill Cash had an approval rating of 29%.

NHS Reform

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After the winter of 2000 which had been dominated through the swine flu epidemic which brought the NHS to its knees. So therefore in order to prevent there from being a fundamental dislike Tony Blair announced that by 2006/07 Britain's NHS funding will be at the EU Average but then after the election. Gordon Brown concluded that there needed to be more and comprehensive reform than that.So here is what the government proposed:

  • To raise the NHS funding to £116 billions by 2007/08​
  • Increasing Mental Health funding by £2 billions every year.​
  • Cutting the NHS Waiting lists from 3.6 million to 2.4 million by 2006/07.​
  • Reducing the maximum time for an appointment from a week to 3 days by 2005/06​
  • 50,000 more doctors by 2004/05.​
  • Increasing the threshold for social care payments from £10,000 to £50,000 by 2005/06.​
These Reforms to the National Health service by giving it cash boosts of £10 billion every year and the reforms to social care and the reforms to the waiting lists showed how the Labour Party were prepared to go to the left when it was popular. The tory leader Bill Cash had decided to issue a three line whip against it. And here is how the vote went

PartiesAyesNoesAbstentions
Labour403017
Conservatives2710210
Lib Dems6802
Others2136
Total51910555

The reforms had been passed by a huge margin of 414 votes. And therefore the abstentions were not surprising because since the government knew that there was no chance of losing the vote there were allowed to be abstentions for MPs who were Old or Ill but the stunning part was that so many people came. But the shocking part was 27 MPs had openly defied the line of the conservative party which has made Bill Cash look weak.


Euro Referendum

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By 2002 the Labour government had wanted to hold a referendum on the Euro. However they had pledge to not hold one until the five economic tests were met however Blair knew that the chance of getting the five economic tests verified were to be unlikely. Gordon Brown had told his friends that he was not in favour of Joining the Euro. So therefore he stalled the process of verifying the five tests. So Blair decided to ask his closest advisors Jonathan Powell and Alastair Campbell about what to do.

TB-Tony Blair
JP- Jonathan Powell
AC- Alastair Campbell

TB- Ok so what do we do in regards to the Euro, Gordon isnt going to let us join so what do we do.
JP- Well me and Ali knew that this would happen well here is our solution, we hold the referendum for April 9th 2002. Which will allow us to have an 8 week campaign, In return everyone will be allowed to campaign according to concscience and if we do win then in return Gordon will be completley allowed to run the domestic policy.
TB- Ali?
AC- I think this plan will work mainly because if we win, we cant make NO.10 focused on foreign policy and if we lose and if it's by a close margin then we can fight after our thrid victory and if we lose it by a huge margin then we can just blame the left.
TB- Ok Fine I will put the idea to him

Meeting between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair

TB- Tony Blair
GB- Gordon Brown

TB- Hey
GB- Hello
TB- Ok I need to talk to you
GB- Whats Up?
TB- Gordon what will it take for us to have a referendum
GB- Well when the five economic tests are met
TB- Yes but Gordon you know they will never be met
GB- Quite,
TB- What will it take for a referendum this year?
GB- Hmm, a trip to space
TB- Seriously?
GB- I want complete control of domestic policy.
TB- OK
GB- Fine when is the date you have in mind
TB- April 9th 2002
GB- Fuck sake that's 10 weeks from now
TB- Yeah
GB- Ok, Ok if we have this referendum and you lose then what?
TB- If the NO Campaign win by 55% of the vote we wont talk about it ever again.
GB- And what about you?
TB- Gordon I want to fight the election.
GB- Why?
TB- Because then I be the only labour leader to win three terms
GB- OK we need to talk about this in the future but OK.

Referendum Campaign

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As the campaign kicked off on Febuary 7th 2002 a referendum was cued for the Euro. Imediatly out of the gate there was bi-partisan support for both campaigns on both ideological wings. So Tony Blair and Ken Clarke who were moderates in both parties had decided to join the YES campaign in favour of the Euro. Whilst Dennis Skinner and Bill Cash united agains the Euro in the SAVE UK Campaign. And that campaign had made a huge scalp by getting Gordon Brown to join the campaign against the Euro. In terms of funding the YES campaign had £25 million and the Save UK Campaign had £11 million.

But one of the core differences is that the campaign who were opposed to the Euro. They decided to go and talk to labour voters who would be following the views of their leader instead they went to go to areas that are though Ideologically Labour and on the left they were heavily eurosceptic and therefore would be easily to win over. So thats who they went to target. And it was beginning to work the YES campaign had started ahead but overtime they had fallen into the abyss and then there was a breif moment of hop.e

On the 6th April 2002, this was the final day of campaining it was the final debate and was watched by 16.8 million people. The debate over the Euro had got people interested in politics. Gordon Brown had decided not to take part in the debate though he had taken a huge role within the campaign and stumping around the country had helped he did not want to be seen as slagging of his own Prime Minister. In fact one of the most remarkable acheivements for the SAVE UK campaign is that they had not made it about personalities because they decided to operate on the Love for the Pound.

As the debate started throughout the entire period it was focused on two things the economic cause for the euro and the cause for keeping the pound. But also the future of the nation. Ken Clarke and Tony Blair were brillaint debaters but Dennis Skinner and Bill Cash were Brilliant as well. Skinner who was a great heckler and quipped 'Clarke and Blair selling the country out' but the debate was won by the Anti-Euro Campaign due to the focus on soverignty.

The Result was inevitable:

Joining the Euro - 13,281,563 - 43.2%
Keeping the Pound - 19,465,297 - 56.8%

Scotland- 63% Joining the Euro, 37% Against the Euro
London - 61% Joining the Euro , 39% Against the Euro
South West 57% Joining the Euro, 43% Against the Euro
Northern Ireland 54% Joining the Euro, 46% Against the Euro
Yorkshire/Humber 52% Joining the Euro , 48% against the Euro
West Midlands - 53% Against the Euro , 47% Joining the Euro
North West - 54% Against the Euro , 46% Joining the Euro
Wales - 56% Against the Euro , 44% Joining the Euro
East Midlands- 60% against the Euro , 40% Joining the Euro
North East - 62% Against the Euro , 38% Joining the Euro
South East - 67% Against the Euro - 33% Joining the Euro

The referendum was shocking as though they had thought a victory wasn't totally likely the margin was stunningly small with losing by 13.6% or 6.1 million votes. It was due to the landslide in the defeat which then caused Tony Blair to have a talk that he dreded he had it with his oldest freind. Alastair Campbel.

TB-Tony Blair
AC- Alastair Campbell

TB- Well what do we do?
AC- What do you want to do?
TB- I could go.
AC- No you wont, look this is a bad situation but you can' go
TB- Ok fine lets continue.

Budget 2003

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The 2003 Budget was interesting as the economy had recoverd quite quickly with a growth rate of 2.8 in 2003, 3% in 2004 and 3.2% in 2005 and 3.1% in 2006 and 3.1% in 2007. The Surplus forecasts were £62 billions in 2003 , £71 billions in 2004 , £ 82 billions in 2005 , £91 billions in 2006 , £100 billions in 2007 and £108 billions in 2008. These surplus forecasts were monumentally high and therefore it showed how labour had ran the economy well. One of the main reasons Labour were polling at 42% was because the economy was incredibly strong and Living standards were on a constant rise.

As for front line services the NHS recieved another £10 billion cash increase. Education also recieved an increase of £6 billion. The radical and positive reforms to front line services had bene welcomed but also the Transport recieved a susbtantial cash boost in order to reduce prices. As it had became vital to reduce the prices. They also introduced tax cuts by expanding the 10% rate for incomes between £7,500 to £23,000.

Local Elections 2003

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As the Campaign started Labour had ground to defend as even 6 years into power there was simply no way for the conservatives to look like they were going to storm back since the conservatives were still polling at 27%. In the local elections the Conservatives lossed 3 councils to put into context they only had 12 councils to defend. Labour had lossed 5 councis and to put that into context they had 55 councils. The Lib Dems had gained 5 councils up from the 22 councils they had.

PartyCouncilsCouncillorsPerecentage of the vote
Labour50 (-5)11,481 (-1,181)41.3%
Conservatives9 (-3)4,381 (-53)30.8%
Lib Dems27 (+5)5,813 (+359)27.9%
No Overal Control13 9+3)

If the Local Election results were to be taken into the share of the vote this is what it would look like

Labour 412 (-8)Conservatives 149 (+10)Lib Dems 76 (+6)

Yep, basically no change Labour would came back with a majority of a 165 seats or let me put it this way, even if the tories were to double their seats they would still not have their majority. So the Labour Party were in office and with a seeming grip on power what happend next was about to divide the Nation.

Scottish and Welsh Elections

Scottish Election

And as the election kicked off it looked clear that the Labour Party were going to win the eleciton, the tories had made no effort to campaign in Scotland because they had gone so far to the right and therefore didn't think that they could win. The Labour party had campaigned on their four years of success including the abolishing tuition fees. These reforms along with the Lib Dems had proved popular so here is how the election went.


PartySeatsResult
Labour62 (+6)40.3% (+3.1%)
SNP27 (-3)23.2% (-1.2%)
Lib Dems25 (+2)22.1% (+0.3%)
Conservatives11 (-5)8.6% (-3.3%)
Greens4 (NC)5.3% (+1.1%)

The Election was unspurising the Labour party had won yet another election in scotland and they were only 7 seats short of a majority the Lib Dems did automatically renew the deal that they had with Labour and therefore the coalition talks only lasted 5 hours as the deal was already in place from the first negioations.

Welsh Election
As Wales went to the polls it had been benificial for the labour Party they had ran the country for four years already and wales was tribally Labour and therefore the result was ineviatable.

PartyResultPercentage
Labour30 (+2)38.1% (+2.1%)
Lib Dems11 (-1)24.1% (+0.3%)
Conservatives8 (-3)22.1% (-1.3%)
Plaid Cymru6 (+1)9.9% (-1.1%)
Welsh Socialist Party5 (+1)6.3% (+0.6%)

Labour did renew their deal with the Lib Dems like in Scotland Pretty easily because they had already had a coalition before hand.

Iraq

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After 9/11 the Gore Adminstration had decided to invade Iraq and Overthrow Saddam Hussein but before they were to overthrow hin it would lead to a huge debate in the UN. Both leaders needed and wanted as second resolution. Knowing that the Approvals for a conflict with a 2nd resolution would be 77%. So for 6 days straight there was a solid determination for another resolution. So the UK/US made a deal in return for the two UN Mandates the Allied forces would be comprised of the G7 nations and they would not seek to dismantle the Iraqi State. So they got their second resolution.

But to get the public fully behind them they also seeked the will of Parliament. Contray to the expectations Blair had wanted to win over the core supporters of the Labour Party by making a core pledge once Saddam was overthrown and their was a clear goverment we would be out of Iraq. So therefore he decided to make a speech before the vote and here is how the closing remarks went.

'Mr Speaker, this is a chance to get rid of a man who has slaughterd his own people who has constantly breached human rights, this is a leader who started 3 wars and might start another. This man is the enemy of freedom he is a man who we must destroy , we have gone out of our way to secure the two UN resolutions because we do want this to be respected by all. But we have come to parliament to make sure that this house agrees with us that we want to help the Iraqi people but in order to change their lives we are going to liberate and help the Iraqi People but we must do this together so let's do it'

The Interesting part was that the conflict had a 74% Approval rating because of that second resolution and the concessions. And Parliament voted for it.

PartiesAyesNoesAbstentions
Labour361554
Conservatives12829
Lib Dems6541
Others2037
Total5736421

The Landslide with a majority of 509 votes and commanding the support of Parliament along with the International Comunity had led to the polls looking like this.

PartyResult
Labour39%
Conservatives30%
Lib Dems28%


PartySeat Forecast
Labour406 (-14)
Conservatives144 (+5)
Lib Dems78 (+8)

LeaderApproveDisaprove
Tony Blair57%43%
Bill Cash43%57%
Paddy Ash down74%26%

With an Election two years away the Labour party were in a good position to win the next election they had continued to path the left of centre path for the labour that continued to value the politics of the centre ground and the tories were drifting further to the right but the key part was that 6 years within a labour goverment and a clear 9% lead and a landslide on the horizon what will hapen next.


UP Next
Tuition Fees
Budget 2004
London mayrol Election 2004
Tory Scandals
US Election 2004
 

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2004
Tuition Fees

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This would be one of the biggest disputes in the Labour party as the disputes had not been huge until this one. Tuition Fees had been set at £1,000 though most students were exempt from paying fees. The Labour goverment had made a comitment saying 'We will not introduce top-up fees and have legislation to prevent them'.The key pledge had to be discussed which was how could universities be re-financed. There was a split between three policies. Blairites such as Blair and Alan Milburn who was the health secretary along with Charles Clarke favoured raising the fees to £3,000. Equally there are those who are in the Brownite faction such as not only Gordon Brown but Jack Straw and Ed Balls and Ed Milliband favoured the idea of pure graduate tax to be levied at 2% for incomes above £30,000. Left wing ministers such as Robin Cook and Claire Short favoured the complete abolition of tuition fees.

Though Blair knew that the reform would have to be done. He decided to have a debate in the cabinet and then he would go on NewsNight and debate the reforms with students. The Cabinet Meeting was held on the 8th January 2004.

Cabinet Meeting

TB-Tony Blair
GB-Gordon Brown
RC- Robin Cook
CC-Charles Clarke

TB- Ok so in order to refinacne student education we have to reform and I am aware that we cant be able to ram it down the throats so I wont to hear everyones views let's start with Gordon.
GB- Well Tony as you know I beleive that we should have a pure graduate tax of 2% for incomes above £30,000 it will be levied for 30 years and would bring in for the treasury £3.2 billion a year. This tax would allow us to to abolish fees and will still allow universities to have a continuing and permernant source of university funding.
TB- OK Robin
RC-Well I think that this Labour party who want to implement their traditional values but in a modern setting. Which is perfeclty fine because we do have to live in the real world but we have to remember this is the Labour Party not the tory party. We do not believe it is right that we start charging students for going to unviersities it has to be free so we have to abolish university fees.
TB- Ok, Charles?
CC- Well what I believe is from what I have heard from universietes is that we cant go on like this there is a clear deficit within funding and therefore they need to use the exisiting system rather than reverting to any new systems which wont work. So therefore we propose that tuition fees is raised to a maximum of £3,000 and with a maintanace grant of £3,000. But these reforms will not take in effect till 2006.
TB- OK let me sum up how I feel right now. Of course there is a university funding crisis but we have to be pragmatic in how we do it. A Graduate tax does have a lot of merit but it does seem like a bit of a compromise. We cant have free tuition of course we would like to but we don't have £5.9 billion. Also there is still yet to be any adequate plan to replace fund free tuition. I think the Education secretary has a lot of logic to his theory as we don't have the money to reform without causing the universities more crisis but we do need to reform so I believe a £3,000 maximum university fees charge would be a good idea. But we do need to bring back Maintanance Grants up to £3,000 and extend the income period.

Blair on NewsNight

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Tony Blair knew that he was in a deep problem this was a policy which was not going to be popular as it seemed that a Labour goverment was no longer interested in helping out the poorer students and therefore with a chance of being defeated in the house of commons due to extremley sceptic labour MPs so therefore Blair decided to answer the questions. When he was asked about why is he raising tuition fees he said 'There is a funding crisis within our universities and if we do not solve it your lives will be worse so therfore we decided to change the way we fund our systems and I have three solutions, the first is to make it free but that would involve us to raise the basic rate of tax to 24%. Or to introduce a pure graduate tax which Has merit but would give £3 billion less to our universities or we could do this and it is painful but it is neccessary.

When asked about his personal view of fees he said 'Look in an ideal world I dont think we would introduce these reforms but we need to radically increase our university funding and the way we can do it is by increasing the fees'. But when asked could he countance any circumstances in which the maximum £3,000 would not be charged he said 'Should the university not be fullfilling it's purposes on quality then it should not be charging the £3,000'. Blair had continued to mention the promise not to force anyone to payback until they are earning above £25,000. Overall It had been a good 60 minutes as though the pledge had been unpopular the newsnight programe worked.

Tuition Fees Bill
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The Government had planned to reform the university system but they also knew that they would have to properly fund universities in order to prevent a funding crisis.But they also knew that whilst they had a 181 majority the Labour MPs who voted against tuition fees 6 years ago were not going to change their minds and therefore the government had a proper fight on their hands. So here is what the bill proposed.

  • The Headline maximum rate of tuition fees will be £3,000
  • No-One will have to start paying back until they are earning £25,000
  • You will only pay 7% of what you earn above £25,000
  • There will be maintance grants of £3,000The reforms will not be implemented until 2006
  • There will be a review in 2009 about the future of higher education funding
  • Universities will be required to make sure that at least 40% of students come from working class backgrounds.

The Bill wasn't as contraversial as feared but there was a deep anger over the fact that they were openly breaking a pledge which said 'We will not introduce Top-Up fees and have legislated to prevent them'. And therefore with the tories and lib dems opposed to them along with 80 Labour MPs there were some concessions made but would it be enough. But then a huge game changing moment. On the vote of 28 January 2004 the vote was going to be held. The Chancellor Gordon Brown had delieverd a speech in which he promised two things that the £3,000 figure can only be charged if there is a 'clear evidence that students are preforming well with good quality of services' plus that 'Should the reforms not be effective then all things including abolition will be considerd'.

PartiesAyesNoesAbstained
Labour3158619
Conservatives21334
Lib Dems0682
Others3207
Total32031730

The Goverment had won the vote but by an extremley close margin the 3 SDLP (Socially Democratic Labour Party) MPs in Northern Ireland along with the 2 tories (David Mundell and Peter Tapsel) among with the labour MPs had kept the government in power. But the key thing is that 86 Labour MPs had openly voted against and 105 Labour MPs had defied a three line whip. But the government had shockingly won the vote in contrast to what had been thought.

Budget 2004
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As coming back into the budget, the goverment had to use this as a core policy explanation. But the economic growth figures were undoubtly high in 2003 the economy grew by 2.9% and by 2004 it will grow by 3% and in 2005 by 3.1% , 2006 it will grow by 3.3% and then 3.2% in 2007 and 3.2% in 2008 and then 3.3% in 2009. These were extremley good economic growth figures and therefore they had good reason to be happy. But also with a budget surplus figures of £72 billions in 2004 with £83 billions in 2005, £90 billions in 2006, £98 billions in 2007 , £105 billions in 2008, £113 billions in 2009. These were strong figures along with Inflaiton figures of 1.1% in 2004, 1.0% in 2005, 1.3% in 2006, 0.9% in 2007 , 0.6% in 2008 and 0.8% in 2009.

As for Public services there were the continuing rises in NHS spending of £10 billion were welcolmed and the education also recieved an extra £6 billions and these were huge increases in the funding for front line services and therefore was there was greater levels of spending and the reason the huge and rapid increases in the expenditure of front line services were not only popular but effective. There were no major tax cuts.

London Mayrol Election 2004

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The Mayrol contest was impending with Ken Livingstone who had been brought back to the Labour Party, Livingstone had a very effective first term as the mayor of London in reducing the fares and building 40,000 homes a year, half of them being council houses. His weekly town halls of 'Asking the Mayor' had been effective as every Friday for 90 minutes Ken Livingstone would answer the questions of the public. The main attempt had been focused on modernising the transport system which had been effective in not only creating new busses but also cleaning up and modernising the old busses. There had been a substantial benifit. It got to the point where Tony Blair had admitted Livingstone back into Labour so he could take back London for the Labour party.

As for the tories well they were in deep trouble for a simple reason they simply couldn't nominate anybody who could win over Labour voters or left wing voters in general, There had been talk of nominating Ken Clarke who would have been a formidable oppoment and instead they nominated Steve Norris (yet again). Norris was a traditional thatcherite and therefore didn't have the ability to connect with Labour voters. And throughout the election there was a key scandal of Norris sending illicit messages to his assistant, now why was that so bad because the man was married and had been banging on about family values throughout the campaign.

And with the campaign being focused on transport fares and the homes.The Election result was foregone

CandidatesFirst BallotSecond Ballot
Ken Livingstone (Labour)46.24%63.56%
Steven Norris (Conservatives)29.43%36.44%
Simon Hughes (Lib Dem)17.91%
Duncan Hanes (Green)6.32%

The result was compltely foregone but the margin was simply stunning Labour had secured another four years with a lead of 27% and therefore it looked likely that Labour would be given another eight years as a defeat in 2008 looked near impossible.

European Elections 2004

As the Campaign kicked off the elections were odd, though the tories had done very well in the 1999 European Elections they had won it mainly on the Euro because the public were oppposed to the joining of the Euro. However since the public had rejected the joining of the Euro, The campaign had seem rather lackluster. As for labour well they had decided to make it like a local eleciton in campaining here was the result.

PartySeatsPercent
Labour40 (+9)43.2%
Conservatives21 (-14)29.1%
Lib Dems17 (+5)27.7%
Summer of Sleaze

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The Summer of 2004 had been one of the most miserable summers in 10 years because the summer had shown tories having affairs and being corrupt. MPs like Crispin Blunt who had been comiting adultery and therefore had to leave other MPs like Adam Ayfrie had been accused of taking £25,000 to ask questions about a construction project.Others Like James Gray MP for North Wiltshire had been accused of having multiple affairs. These allegations included 25 other MPs. 28 MPs out of 139 was damming. Utterly damming. And as a result the tories had crashed and crashed badly.

Who would you Vote For?

PartyResult
Labour43%
Lib Dem29%
Conservatives26%

Leadership Approvals


LeaderApproveDisaprove
Tony Blair58%40%
Bill Cash31%62%
Paddy Ashdown76%18%


Who Would you Trust?

PartyResult
Labour39%
Lib Dems38%
Conservatives21%


The Labour leads had recoverd and the tories by the start of september had plunged into third place due to the summer of sleaze knowing that they were not going to win the election they had spent a majority of the last three years supporting the base which had just turned more people off. But these scandals were the clearest indication that the tories didn't change and more to the point didn't want to change.

US Election 2004

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As the campaign kicked off it looked certain that Al Gore was going to be re-nominated as the democratic nominee for the Presidency. After four years of continuing the Clinton Agenda there was an extreme booming economy with the economy growing by 5.1% in 2003 , Unemployment was coming down and President Gore's focus on Education in securing free education till 18 was exceptional also the greater emphasis on the head start program for young people had been effective. Also the tax credits iniative had worked in lifting people out of poverty and a growing budget surplus of $280 billion. The Gore Adminsitration had a strong economy and the war In Iraq was popular because of the international backing. So therefore coming into the Convention in July 2004 with an Approval rating of 59% with his VP Howard Dean who had championed parts of the domestic agenda being very popular as well by the time the convention came Gore could give a speech which was 43 minutes long with a great closing.

'So as we gather here today after 12 years of democratic rule we have a strong economy and falling unemployment, increasing education standards and the lowest poverty since 1951 my friends we are at a crossroads and now we have a choice we can keep going with the team that is giving that economy and that education and that enviroment and helping the next generation or we can trust the republicans and make no mistake give them keys and they will mess it up. We have come so far so my fellow Americans let's keep moving'.

As the Democrats had a great convention what about the republicans well they were still suffering from the 12 year long identity crisis between wether they want to be a bunch of stateless anarchasists or progressive conservatives. George Bush had come close wining 238 Electoral College Votes. But he had not won, there was talk about Dick Cheney but he stood down instead Newt Gingrich the former house speaker decided to run for President and he secured the nomination with Trent Lott. But the interesting part was that Congressman Peter King of New York who had the highest record for Bi-Partisanship had won 46.1% of the vote Gingrich's acceptance speech did certainly fire up the convention but it didn't exactly win over moderates.

'Fellow Republicans we are here today to discuss the future of of our country and wether we trust the people or we trust the government we trust the people to make their own desicisons, to change their lives, Government should not be there on your backs'.

By the time of the first and only debate it was accepted that Gingrich got destroyed by Gore. Gore had a record to stand on which saw an expanding and growing economy which allowed the country to keep going also with the Increase in Medicare subsidise along with the radical increases in the funding of education and the fight of climate change and Gingrich didn't have a solution to any of these fundemental problems. By the time the debates came to an end. Gore had sealed the deal.


President AL Gore (D-TN)/VP Howard Dean (D-VT) 397 Electoral Votes- 54.8% 61,523,461Fmr Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) / Fmr Sen Trent Lott (R-MS) 131 EVs - 45.2% 51,281,531

End of the Year

As the year came to an end, With a General Election looking likely in May 2005. Tony Blair had every reason to be cheerful being 17% ahead and a tory party looking to the point of near collapse and with sleaze dominating the tory party and therefore a Labour government are in a good place to win the election.


UP Next
Budget 2005
Election 2005
Labour, Tory and Liberal Manifesto
Question Times
Paxman Interviews
Election Night
 
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Lib Dems unseating the Tories as second party potentially?
I think it could happen and right now Im drafting the next part but the only thing that is stopping me as that right now im seeing the tories in pretty much the same positon Labour were in throughout the 1980s. Too weak to lose but to prominent to be simply excluded. But I have taken that good suggestion into account
 
I very, very much doubt that the 'Southwest' region, which I'm guessing is supposed to be the Westcountry, would ever vote in favour of joining the Euro. It's always been one of the most Eurosceptic regions of England.

I also doubt even this horrendous (just my opinion!) Labour government, clearly more in love with the EU than OTL, would dare to name the regions like that. That would SERIOUSLY piss off a large part of England.
 
I very, very much doubt that the 'Southwest' region, which I'm guessing is supposed to be the Westcountry, would ever vote in favour of joining the Euro. It's always been one of the most Eurosceptic regions of England.

I also doubt even this horrendous (just my opinion!) Labour government, clearly more in love with the EU than OTL, would dare to name the regions like that. That would SERIOUSLY piss off a large part of England.
Firstly I do take the point about the southwest except that do remember that until 2015 the Lib Dems did get a substantial ammount of seats in the southwest but fair point. Secondly the goverment didn't name the regions like that I did. And I did that as the media do interms of regional breakdown after an election.
 
Firstly I do take the point about the southwest except that do remember that until 2015 the Lib Dems did get a substantial ammount of seats in the southwest but fair point.
Before 2015 the Lib Dems were not the arch-Europhiles they've since become. In fact in 2007 they even called for a referendum. For a little while around that time I even considered voting for them!
 
Before 2015 the Lib Dems were not the arch-Europhiles they've since become. In fact in 2007 they even called for a referendum. For a little while around that time I even considered voting for them!
Well in 1997,2001 and 2005 they pledged that they would recommend that the UK should Join the Euro
 
Before 2015 the Lib Dems were not the arch-Europhiles they've since become. In fact in 2007 they even called for a referendum. For a little while around that time I even considered voting for them!
Speaking as a active Lib dem throughout the period That's not true the party has always been pro European, being pro a referendum was more a question of trying to shape the question themselves rather than letting the their opponents do that as Cameron frankly did (unlike Wilson)..
 
2005 Election
Budget 2005

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It was going to be a Pre-Election budget ready for the Labour Party to present their case to win a historic third general election. The impending third term for the Labour party looked more likely than ever for one simple reason the conservatives had imploded.As the budget began Gordon started with the economic figures with growth rates of 3% in 2005 , 3.2% in 2006, 3.1% in 2007 , 3.2% in 2008 and 3.3% in 2009 and 3.2% in 2010. He reported budget surpluses of £73 billions in 2005 , £80 billions in 2006 , £89 billions in 2007 , £95 billions in 2008 , £102 billions in 2009 , £110 billions in 2010. The Economic state of the country was one of a constant expansion.

Front Line services were the key part, then here was this the NHS Budget rose by £15 billion. This was to be directed in to the maintaining of the front line care. With NHS funding at £86 billions there was a genuine feel good factor along with the doubling in education funding from £44 billions to £88 billions.Brown pledged an extra £7 billion for education. The higher levels of spending on front line services was benifical and people did feel that their school was better and that their hospital had improved also the radical regulation of the rail and bus industry in reducing fares had helped.

The Taxation system had hardly been changed since 1997, the basic rate had been brought down fro 24% to 22%, The 10% lower rate of tax had been vital in being able to cut taxes for the lower paid. The Personal allowance had been raised to £8,500 and the 20% starting threshold would be raised to £25,000 but also the raising of the top rate of tax threshold from £45,000 to £50,000. It was a Pre-Election Budget that could very well win them the election.

Final PMQs- 23/03/05

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It was the Final Prime Ministers Question before the Election, the 4 years that Bill Cash had been leader had been a torrid period with there being constant disputes over the policies and mainly there being fights on Europe, But the PMQs had never been his strong point though he had been a debater than many had thought. The Debate went like this. 'Mr Speaker in the last election the Prime Minister pledged not to raise National Insurance contributions, he then raised National Insurance contributions, so why should anyone believe him ever again' Blair robustly stood up and said 'We made specific pledges on Income tax and we have kept to that, his plans would to be paying for the NHS his plans would involve paying half of the costs there is no plan more absurd than that and we are proud that the money that goes into our NHS and at least under this government the National Health service is safe' Cash Stood up and asked his second question 'In 1997 they pledged not to introduce tuition fees and then they introduced tuition fees and in 2001 he pledged we will not raise tuition fees and have legislation to prevent them and then he raised tuition fees, so once again why should the people trust them ever again' . Blair fought back by saying 'It's perfectly true we did raise fees in order to allow us to meet the pledge of allow half of students to go into university in contrast to the 30% in 1997. But let's just remind these tories if they cared about education they wouldnt have voted 16 times against the rises in education funding'.

Cash continued by focusing on the record for Crime by saying 'Well he was asked about his broken pledges on top-up fees and national insurance and he says nothing about them in 1997 he promised to get a firm control over Immigration but since then Immigration has tripled so why should people ever trust them again' Blair fought back by saying 'Immigration controls are vital but lets look it this pragmatically that's if the right honourable gentleman the leader of the oppisition can do any form of pragmatism that the amount of immigration we must have must be how much our economy can take and I say on Immigration yes it is an issue and it should be taken seriously but it should be debated not exploited'. Cash continued by saying 'So here they are again in 1997 they promised to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime and since then crime has doubled so what's happend there' Blair was very pissed at the sugesiton that crime has risen so he decided to stick it to him 'Let me just remind him what the chief comissioner of wales said about the conservative party ad quite improperly seeks to say that there is rising crime when there is a clear fact that both crime has been falling locally and nationally for many years so we have the strongest economy, falling unemployment and investment in our NHS and our schools and that is in contrast which will put our economic stability at risk and have cuts in public services once people get that choice then I will know how they will choose'.

Cash went back saying 'He talks about his record but his Deputy chief election co-ordinator (Alan Milburn) says that his biggest fear is that this election will become a referendum on the labour party is that what the Prime Minister thinks to' Blair fought back saying 'I think it's a choice between a conservative party that wehn it was office had unemployment at 3 million, had interest rates at 10% for four years, had boom and bust recessions twice, that ended cutting spending our NHS and schools and I think eh choice and a labour government that has deliverd over the last 8 years economic stability , low morgatges , low inflaiton and record investment in our NHS and schools and when I think the public look at the record of the conservatives and the fact that there pledges are exactly the ones they rejected in 2001 then they would be able to look at the record and I know what choice they would choose'.

Cash starts back on his final question by saying
'The Prime Minister talks about his record I will tell him about his record 'Taxes Up, Crime Up, Immigration Up, MRSA Up, Waiting Times Up and now lets have a look at what's gone down, Take home Pay Down, Pensions Down, Productivity growth Down, Manufacturing Employment Down. Detection rates Down after eight years of Labour government we are locking up teachers not yobs and NHS system so bad that pensioners who can't wait for an NHS dentistery are pulling out their own teeth, Isn't it clear that the choice is clear between a out of touch Labour Government or a government that will care for hard working Britains'. The Final remark Blair made before the election campaign it went like this 'I think it's a choice, people remember the years before 1997 people remember the people that lost their homes in the recession, that lost their jobs in the recession. Who ended up paying on morgagtges that they couldn't afford. They remember the winter crisis ever year in the National Health Service, they remember the outside toilets and creaking classrooms in the schools. And what we will remind them between now and polling day is what we have now and what is therefore at risk because what we had now is the economic stability, the low inflation greater investment in our national health service and in our schools. And what I say to the British people is this economic stability is at risk you job is at risk the economy is at risk and therefore when you make that desicison on May 7th realise what you haev uner 18 years of a Labour goverment and realise that if these tories get back in they will destroy Britain'.

The PMQs had been the most fiesty yet with both leaders just fighting each other but with an election looking near certain it looked certain Labour will win.

Labour Manifesto- 03/04/05

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The Manifesto was the third term and therefore the manifesto showed that they were capable of self renewal in order to change the Labour party and to win the next election:

  • To meet the NHS Funding Target by 2007 and reviewing the NHS Spending
  • Building 100 new hospitals by 2010
  • A new 16 week maixmum waiting targets.
  • 250 new city academies by 2010
  • Uprating the Education Maintance Allowance to £40 a week by 2008
  • Re-Introduction of Maintance Grants of £3,500
  • A fundemental review in the University Education financing.
  • 35,000 community support officers.
  • Tripling the Investment in drug treatment and rehabiltion centres
  • £4 billion more on defence spending
  • Introducing a new double lock on pensions to make sure they rise by Prices or 2% whichever is higher.
  • No rises in the Basic or Top rate of Income Tax
  • Raising stamp duty threshold to £150,000
  • Raising the number of sure start centres from 130 to 390 by 2012/13
  • Cutting Transport fares by 10%
  • 65% cut in CO2 Emissions by 2025
  • Abolishing Hereditary Peers in the House of Lords
The Labour Manifesto was a logical path on building what a third term labour goverment will do for the country to an extent they did play it safe knowing that they were going to win the next election they could promise what they liked.

PartyResult
Labour48%
Conservatives28%
Lib Dems24%



PartySeat Forecast
Labour423 (+3)
Conservatives134 (-5)
Lib Dems61 (-9)

The Manifesto with just a month till polling day presented a clear narrative that the tories were not going to win this election and that the question was on the size of the Labour Majority.


Conservatives Manifesto-6/04/05

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The Conservatives knew that they were starting from an incredibly weak position they were polling between 26%-33% and therefore though they had come from n exceeding low point of 139 MPs and it looked certain that they would gain the tories had an insanely bad 11 months since the summer of sleaze and nobody knew what would occour but as the manifesto was released. Bill Cash declared it a 'bold document'. Knowing he was gone in a month he decided to create a manifesto he would beleive in.

  • People should be allowed to go private and the NHS should pay 60% of the private costs
  • All Whitehall targets would be scrapped in relation to the Waiting targets and maximum waiting times
  • Introducing financial indepdence for all hospitals
  • 1 million new school places by 2010/11
  • The abolsihing of the Independent Appeals Panels in order to enforce school discipline
  • No Student Fees but No Maintance grants
  • 50,000 extra police officers
  • A 500% increase in drug treatment centres
  • The Introduction of Mandotary Minimum sentences
  • A state pension linked to earnings and prices
  • Private Insurance to fund social care
  • £1,000 cut in council tax
  • Cutting the top rate of tax to 30% by 2011
  • A In/Out referundum on the EU
  • Limiting Immigration to 50,000
  • Cutting the benifits on single parents
  • Cutting the number of MPs to 500
The manifesto had some good policies such as the relinking of pensions with prices and earnings, the hiring of 50,000 police officers and with a five fold increase in drug treatment centres. But there were policies which were abused the EU Referundum, the private social care insurance along with Labour called the 'Single mother tax' which was condemed as tory bigotry.

PartyResult
Labour 44%
Conservatives29%
Lib Dems27%

PartySeat Forecast
Labour392 (-28)
Conservatives153 (+14)
Lib Dems72 (+2)

The Labour Majority would come down but it would still be 138 seats. But the tories look no where near from coming into power.


Lib Dem Manifesto 9/04/05


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Paddy Ashdown announced that this was going to be his final election though his ressurection of the Lib Dems had been monumental taking the part from 18 MPs in 1992 to 70 MPs in 2001. He decided to go out on a high with his final one.

  • Introducing new 12 week waiting lists by 2009
  • A new National Care service to make social care free
  • Free eye and Dental treatment
  • Reducing Presciription Charges to £5 and abolshing them
  • Cutting class sizes to 20
  • Making coursework the dominant factor wihin GSCEs and A-Levels
  • Abolish Universtiy Fees
  • 15,000 more police officers
  • The legalisation of cannabis
  • No Introduction of ID Cards
  • Raising the state pension to £250 a week by 2015
  • Abolsihing the Council tax in favour of the Local Income tax
  • 50% top rate for incomes above £100,000
  • £200 a week maternity pay for 12 months
  • 75% cut in CO2 Emissions by 2025
  • Cut transport fares by 8%
  • Free transport for the Over 60s and Under 21s
  • New Single transferable vote system for electoral reform

PartyResult
Labour43%
Lib Dems30%
Conservatives27%


PartySeat Forecast
Labour391 (-29)
Conservatives141 (+2)
Lib Dems85 (+15)

Question time

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Paddy Ashdown
Over the course of the next few weeks they are going to be very few opportunities for the leaders to reach a mass audiuence but this was one of them. All three leaders were going to be question for 40 minutes a piece lasting the full 2 hours. First up the leader of the Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown. Ashdown was going to fight his last election as the Leader of the Lib Dems. Ashdown was questioned on the issues of Tax, Health,Education,Crime and this is how it went.

When asked about tax, Ashdown was mainly asked about an increase in taxes with the top rate, Ashdown made a simple point he said 'Yes Labour have radically increased the funding for public services which by the way we voted for and the tories voted against. But in order to fully rebuild not just the NHS but our schools but our police and the welfare state then surely it is right that we then say ok those who can afford to pay more should pay more. And by the way you see we are Anti-Aspiration the tax rate we are proposing for the six figure earners is less than what Margret Thatcher had throughout the first 9 years of her time as prime minister'.

When It came to Health Spending the Liberal Democrats had pledged to invest an extra £13 billion a year saying 'Look in this country we have had underfunded health service and yes Labour have spent time properly funding it but we have hospitals that have not been refurbished in the last 20 years, we have doctors who are underpaid and overworked and we must reform the NHS but not just the whole physical element of it but also the entire social care element so that we have a properly funded social care system so that nobody has to pay for their social care',

When Moving onto Education the Lib Dems had promised to abolish tuition fees and re-invest substantially in secondary education, Ashdown did say that 'With education being the silver bullet to everything surely it would be vital for all of us to make sure that whilst we cut unemployment and re-invest highly in our public services but by radically increasing funding for our education system that would do a great deal to increase our education funding and solve the long term issues'.

When It came to crime policy, Ashdown had decided to focus on the concepts of rehabiliation whilst promising an extra 15,000 police officers. The use of the extra police officers along with the rapid increase in rehabiltaiton services Ashdown will allow us 'to tackle crime completley'

Bill Cash
As Bill cash came up he knew he was up against some serious odds against him, Cash was a hard right tory and therefore wasn't very keen on the pure one nation doctrine.And therefore decided to keep being asked about the quality of life issues which domianted the country what had been effective of the Labour Campaign is that they had made the election focused on the issues of health and education. The key points of this discussion between the audience and Mr Cash were health and Education and here is how it went.

When asked about how much money he would provide for the NHS, Cash didn't want to specify an actual figure saying ' health spending will rise but we will be far more economical in the way we spend it because we have pledged to make Britain far more economical in the way we spend money' asked about why he hadn't specified a cash figure he says 'Because cash figures have always risen and the event is to make sure that the spending is less than the growth in the economy' and David Dimbelby asked would you support real terms increase in the NHS he said 'Of course i would' and then he was caught out because he had just pledged two fundementaly contradictory things. Which Labour would exploit in the campaign.

The tories had also pledged to make people pay £10 for a GP appointment which had been 2 days after the manifesto, If there was a closer thing to political stupidity no one had come across it. Because this would be in effect dismantling the NHS when he was asked he then remarked an authentic view 'We need to recover from the sloppy socialism'. That was widely interperted as a means of dismantling the NHS and would be the key part of dwindling position of the conservative Party.

And as for Education well the main issue was over Grammar schools, the entire debate had been around the new tory policy to bring back more grammar schools. Throughout the last week the tories had made several policies on the go. The campaign had been atrocious and Cash had pledged to lift the ban on Grammar schools but the entire question time for him was a complete disaster.

Tony Blair
After running the country for 8 years, Tony Blair was still popular because of the growing living standards and the growing economy the use of the strong economy along with the rising expenditure in the front line services had helped in boosting his popularity but also a conservative party that was completely dominated by sleaze and hypocrisy and by shaping the election on labour terms on health and education which had helped Labour massively.

When it came to Health tony Blair was asked what can he forsee the future reforms to the NHS being dominated with Money or private reforms. He said 'Well look you cant simply change the NHS without cash, thats why we are investing £10 billion extra a year which has led to the hiring of 80,000 new nurses and 50,000 more doctors. And therefore we have to keep going in properly investing in our health service but though we have to keep the investment coming in unlike the toires which seem dedicated to the stupid concept of forcing people to pay for their healthcare which is utterly absurd and shouldn't be done (long applause) but when it comes to the reform let me explain with the walk in centres where people with less critical illness can be treated and this has cut the waiting lists by over a million so we can try and reform the NHS and put money in it'. The solid raise in NHS Expenditure had helped in radically raising the spending on front line services had helped in boosting the popularity of the government.

When asked about Education, there has been a key moment for years with the development in substantial of amount of cash in the state sector and he says in regards to education
'The reforms we have made over the last eight years in raising the funding for the state education system we are the party that also believes that in creating a society that has genuine opportunity for all because in that society of opportunity for all and by levelling up the entire country once and for all surely this is the best way of ensuring a greater level of economic stability and through greater levels of jobs is by creating an educated society'. The Domestic quality of life issues had been labour's strong point which is why they were still leading in the polls by substantial margins.

There were the two main discussion points which were the highlights and the Lib Dems had come out of that pretty well,Labour had come out well and the tories might as well have not shown up. Here is what the public made of it.



LeaderResult
Tony Blair42%
Paddy Ashdown37%
Bill Cash20%


PartyResult
Labour43%
Lib Dems32%
Conservatives25%

PartyResult
Labour391 (-29)
Conservatives113 (-26)
Lib Dems106 (+36)


Paxman Interviews

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Over the course of the final week the leaders were all interviewed by Jeremy Paxman. The first was indeed Paddy Ashdown, Ashdown was very good having talked about the NHS and Education and focusing his policies on winning over people who were on the centre left. However the momentum he had secured had faded a bit but they were still poling at 28%. The Conservatives had a torrid campaign constantly batling for second place. And Bill cash was far better at the interview but the polciies were still toxic and sleaze was still prominent. And as for the Prime Minister well he had successfully remained at the top of the polls throughout the last 11 years but this campaign had been fought on the traditional labour topics of health,education and Unemployment and he was defending well the record of the Labour Goverment.

PartyResult
Labour44%
Conservatives28%
Lib Dems27%

PartyResult
Labour 393 (-27)
Conservatives150 (+11)
Lib Dems74 (+4)

Election Night

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DD-David Dimbelby
PS-Peter Snow
JP-Jeremy Paxman
AM-Andrew Marr

DD- Well Good evening and it's all over at last we will know wether or not if Tony Blair will be back in No.10 with a third term or will Bill cash win the election and defy the polls or will Paddy Ashdown finally be a kingmaker. Up there is Jeremy Paxman who will be interviewing the politicians as the results come in.
JP- Yes well up here we will be interviewing politicains and asking them what went right and what went wrong knowing that in 8 hours time they might not be in a Job.
DD- And up there is Peter Snow who will be looking at the results asz they come in and using his graphics to show what it means..
PS- Yes, David this time we will be more adventrous than we have ever been before showing how th evotes have changed in hour house of commons but also our traiditonal swingometer to show who is going to win the election and much more.
DD- And now to our exit poll, this was comisisoned by asking 33,000 people not how they intended to vote but how did they vote and here it is. 10 o clcok and we are predicting another labour landslide. And here it is, Labour have won 401 seats that is down 19 . The tories have 125 seats thats a. decrease of 14 seats . And the Lib Dems have got 91 seats that's up 21. And so a Labour Majority if our exit poll is right of a 156 . Andrew
AM- Well David If this poll is right and that is an IF, Labour will be celebrating an unprecented third victory in a row. With another three figure majority and therefore would be beaitng Mrs Thatcher's record on aggregate. But for the tories well once again they have lossed seats but this is atrocious because if these vote share figures are right they might actually have less votes than the lib dems. And if this Paddy Asdhown's final campaign well he's leaving it on a huge high with 91 MPs the Liberal Democrats have not only gained seats but also obtained their highest seats since 1923 and the highest share of the vote in 95 years.
DD- Thank you for that, Peter what have you got for us.
PS- Thank You David so here is the share of the vote Labour 43% of the vote, the Consevraitves 26% of the vote and the Liberal Democrats 30% of the vote. Which is a swing of 1% from Conservatives to Labour. But the big winners are the Lib Dems because if that poll is right they have actually obtained a 3.5% swing from the Consevratives to Labour and it looks like both parties could be giving seats to the Lib Dems.

PartiesSeatsVotesPercentage
Labour405 (-15)12,231,58442.8% (-1.3%)
Conservatives115 (-24)8,102,56127.5% (-1.7%)
Lib Dems101 (+31)9,883,56132.5% (+6.4%)


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The Labour party had undoubtedly won a third victory and had laid the foundations for a fourth victory, the tories had narrowly hung on to the position of the oppisiton party and the Lib Dems had won 101 MPs which was huge for them and this being Paddy Ashdown's final election he had taken the party from the 20 MPs in 1992 to 101 just thirteen years later. But now whats next.

Post Election Reaction
New Tory Leader
Pensions Reform
Labour Leadership?
Energy Policy
And Much More

 

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If I was around in this universe I'd honestly probably vote Lib Dem. Those Labour tax pledges are awful, narrowing the tax base is a terrible idea. Also, I imagine the youth vote must be making a decisive break for the Lib Dems.

I like the map! Honestly, I'm surprised not to see more Lib Dem seats in Scotland. At points in the 2000s it looked like Edinburgh South and Edinburgh North would go Lib giving them 3 of the 6 Edinburgh constituencies.
 
Budget 2005

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It was going to be a Pre-Election budget ready for the Labour Party to present their case to win a historic third general election. The impending third term for the Labour party looked more likely than ever for one simple reason the conservatives had imploded.As the budget began Gordon started with the economic figures with growth rates of 3% in 2005 , 3.2% in 2006, 3.1% in 2007 , 3.2% in 2008 and 3.3% in 2009 and 3.2% in 2010. He reported budget surpluses of £73 billions in 2005 , £80 billions in 2006 , £89 billions in 2007 , £95 billions in 2008 , £102 billions in 2009 , £110 billions in 2010. The Economic state of the country was one of a constant expansion.

Front Line services were the key part, then here was this the NHS Budget rose by £15 billion. This was to be directed in to the maintaining of the front line care. With NHS funding at £86 billions there was a genuine feel good factor along with the doubling in education funding from £44 billions to £88 billions.Brown pledged an extra £7 billion for education. The higher levels of spending on front line services was benifical and people did feel that their school was better and that their hospital had improved also the radical regulation of the rail and bus industry in reducing fares had helped.

The Taxation system had hardly been changed since 1997, the basic rate had been brought down fro 24% to 22%, The 10% lower rate of tax had been vital in being able to cut taxes for the lower paid. The Personal allowance had been raised to £8,500 and the 20% starting threshold would be raised to £25,000 but also the raising of the top rate of tax threshold from £45,000 to £50,000. It was a Pre-Election Budget that could very well win them the election.

Final PMQs- 23/03/05

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It was the Final Prime Ministers Question before the Election, the 4 years that Bill Cash had been leader had been a torrid period with there being constant disputes over the policies and mainly there being fights on Europe, But the PMQs had never been his strong point though he had been a debater than many had thought. The Debate went like this. 'Mr Speaker in the last election the Prime Minister pledged not to raise National Insurance contributions, he then raised National Insurance contributions, so why should anyone believe him ever again' Blair robustly stood up and said 'We made specific pledges on Income tax and we have kept to that, his plans would to be paying for the NHS his plans would involve paying half of the costs there is no plan more absurd than that and we are proud that the money that goes into our NHS and at least under this government the National Health service is safe' Cash Stood up and asked his second question 'In 1997 they pledged not to introduce tuition fees and then they introduced tuition fees and in 2001 he pledged we will not raise tuition fees and have legislation to prevent them and then he raised tuition fees, so once again why should the people trust them ever again' . Blair fought back by saying 'It's perfectly true we did raise fees in order to allow us to meet the pledge of allow half of students to go into university in contrast to the 30% in 1997. But let's just remind these tories if they cared about education they wouldnt have voted 16 times against the rises in education funding'.

Cash continued by focusing on the record for Crime by saying 'Well he was asked about his broken pledges on top-up fees and national insurance and he says nothing about them in 1997 he promised to get a firm control over Immigration but since then Immigration has tripled so why should people ever trust them again' Blair fought back by saying 'Immigration controls are vital but lets look it this pragmatically that's if the right honourable gentleman the leader of the oppisition can do any form of pragmatism that the amount of immigration we must have must be how much our economy can take and I say on Immigration yes it is an issue and it should be taken seriously but it should be debated not exploited'. Cash continued by saying 'So here they are again in 1997 they promised to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime and since then crime has doubled so what's happend there' Blair was very pissed at the sugesiton that crime has risen so he decided to stick it to him 'Let me just remind him what the chief comissioner of wales said about the conservative party ad quite improperly seeks to say that there is rising crime when there is a clear fact that both crime has been falling locally and nationally for many years so we have the strongest economy, falling unemployment and investment in our NHS and our schools and that is in contrast which will put our economic stability at risk and have cuts in public services once people get that choice then I will know how they will choose'.

Cash went back saying 'He talks about his record but his Deputy chief election co-ordinator (Alan Milburn) says that his biggest fear is that this election will become a referendum on the labour party is that what the Prime Minister thinks to' Blair fought back saying 'I think it's a choice between a conservative party that wehn it was office had unemployment at 3 million, had interest rates at 10% for four years, had boom and bust recessions twice, that ended cutting spending our NHS and schools and I think eh choice and a labour government that has deliverd over the last 8 years economic stability , low morgatges , low inflaiton and record investment in our NHS and schools and when I think the public look at the record of the conservatives and the fact that there pledges are exactly the ones they rejected in 2001 then they would be able to look at the record and I know what choice they would choose'.

Cash starts back on his final question by saying
'The Prime Minister talks about his record I will tell him about his record 'Taxes Up, Crime Up, Immigration Up, MRSA Up, Waiting Times Up and now lets have a look at what's gone down, Take home Pay Down, Pensions Down, Productivity growth Down, Manufacturing Employment Down. Detection rates Down after eight years of Labour government we are locking up teachers not yobs and NHS system so bad that pensioners who can't wait for an NHS dentistery are pulling out their own teeth, Isn't it clear that the choice is clear between a out of touch Labour Government or a government that will care for hard working Britains'. The Final remark Blair made before the election campaign it went like this 'I think it's a choice, people remember the years before 1997 people remember the people that lost their homes in the recession, that lost their jobs in the recession. Who ended up paying on morgagtges that they couldn't afford. They remember the winter crisis ever year in the National Health Service, they remember the outside toilets and creaking classrooms in the schools. And what we will remind them between now and polling day is what we have now and what is therefore at risk because what we had now is the economic stability, the low inflation greater investment in our national health service and in our schools. And what I say to the British people is this economic stability is at risk you job is at risk the economy is at risk and therefore when you make that desicison on May 7th realise what you haev uner 18 years of a Labour goverment and realise that if these tories get back in they will destroy Britain'.

The PMQs had been the most fiesty yet with both leaders just fighting each other but with an election looking near certain it looked certain Labour will win.

Labour Manifesto- 03/04/05

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The Manifesto was the third term and therefore the manifesto showed that they were capable of self renewal in order to change the Labour party and to win the next election:

  • To meet the NHS Funding Target by 2007 and reviewing the NHS Spending
  • Building 100 new hospitals by 2010
  • A new 16 week maixmum waiting targets.
  • 250 new city academies by 2010
  • Uprating the Education Maintance Allowance to £40 a week by 2008
  • Re-Introduction of Maintance Grants of £3,500
  • A fundemental review in the University Education financing.
  • 35,000 community support officers.
  • Tripling the Investment in drug treatment and rehabiltion centres
  • £4 billion more on defence spending
  • Introducing a new double lock on pensions to make sure they rise by Prices or 2% whichever is higher.
  • No rises in the Basic or Top rate of Income Tax
  • Raising stamp duty threshold to £150,000
  • Raising the number of sure start centres from 130 to 390 by 2012/13
  • Cutting Transport fares by 10%
  • 65% cut in CO2 Emissions by 2025
  • Abolishing Hereditary Peers in the House of Lords
The Labour Manifesto was a logical path on building what a third term labour goverment will do for the country to an extent they did play it safe knowing that they were going to win the next election they could promise what they liked.

PartyResult
Labour48%
Conservatives28%
Lib Dems24%



PartySeat Forecast
Labour423 (+3)
Conservatives134 (-5)
Lib Dems61 (-9)

The Manifesto with just a month till polling day presented a clear narrative that the tories were not going to win this election and that the question was on the size of the Labour Majority.


Conservatives Manifesto-6/04/05

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The Conservatives knew that they were starting from an incredibly weak position they were polling between 26%-33% and therefore though they had come from n exceeding low point of 139 MPs and it looked certain that they would gain the tories had an insanely bad 11 months since the summer of sleaze and nobody knew what would occour but as the manifesto was released. Bill Cash declared it a 'bold document'. Knowing he was gone in a month he decided to create a manifesto he would beleive in.

  • People should be allowed to go private and the NHS should pay 60% of the private costs
  • All Whitehall targets would be scrapped in relation to the Waiting targets and maximum waiting times
  • Introducing financial indepdence for all hospitals
  • 1 million new school places by 2010/11
  • The abolsihing of the Independent Appeals Panels in order to enforce school discipline
  • No Student Fees but No Maintance grants
  • 50,000 extra police officers
  • A 500% increase in drug treatment centres
  • The Introduction of Mandotary Minimum sentences
  • A state pension linked to earnings and prices
  • Private Insurance to fund social care
  • £1,000 cut in council tax
  • Cutting the top rate of tax to 30% by 2011
  • A In/Out referundum on the EU
  • Limiting Immigration to 50,000
  • Cutting the benifits on single parents
  • Cutting the number of MPs to 500
The manifesto had some good policies such as the relinking of pensions with prices and earnings, the hiring of 50,000 police officers and with a five fold increase in drug treatment centres. But there were policies which were abused the EU Referundum, the private social care insurance along with Labour called the 'Single mother tax' which was condemed as tory bigotry.

PartyResult
Labour 44%
Conservatives29%
Lib Dems27%

PartySeat Forecast
Labour392 (-28)
Conservatives153 (+14)
Lib Dems72 (+2)

The Labour Majority would come down but it would still be 138 seats. But the tories look no where near from coming into power.


Lib Dem Manifesto 9/04/05


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Paddy Ashdown announced that this was going to be his final election though his ressurection of the Lib Dems had been monumental taking the part from 18 MPs in 1992 to 70 MPs in 2001. He decided to go out on a high with his final one.

  • Introducing new 12 week waiting lists by 2009
  • A new National Care service to make social care free
  • Free eye and Dental treatment
  • Reducing Presciription Charges to £5 and abolshing them
  • Cutting class sizes to 20
  • Making coursework the dominant factor wihin GSCEs and A-Levels
  • Abolish Universtiy Fees
  • 15,000 more police officers
  • The legalisation of cannabis
  • No Introduction of ID Cards
  • Raising the state pension to £250 a week by 2015
  • Abolsihing the Council tax in favour of the Local Income tax
  • 50% top rate for incomes above £100,000
  • £200 a week maternity pay for 12 months
  • 75% cut in CO2 Emissions by 2025
  • Cut transport fares by 8%
  • Free transport for the Over 60s and Under 21s
  • New Single transferable vote system for electoral reform

PartyResult
Labour43%
Lib Dems30%
Conservatives27%


PartySeat Forecast
Labour391 (-29)
Conservatives141 (+2)
Lib Dems85 (+15)

Question time

View attachment 624630


Paddy Ashdown
Over the course of the next few weeks they are going to be very few opportunities for the leaders to reach a mass audiuence but this was one of them. All three leaders were going to be question for 40 minutes a piece lasting the full 2 hours. First up the leader of the Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown. Ashdown was going to fight his last election as the Leader of the Lib Dems. Ashdown was questioned on the issues of Tax, Health,Education,Crime and this is how it went.

When asked about tax, Ashdown was mainly asked about an increase in taxes with the top rate, Ashdown made a simple point he said 'Yes Labour have radically increased the funding for public services which by the way we voted for and the tories voted against. But in order to fully rebuild not just the NHS but our schools but our police and the welfare state then surely it is right that we then say ok those who can afford to pay more should pay more. And by the way you see we are Anti-Aspiration the tax rate we are proposing for the six figure earners is less than what Margret Thatcher had throughout the first 9 years of her time as prime minister'.

When It came to Health Spending the Liberal Democrats had pledged to invest an extra £13 billion a year saying 'Look in this country we have had underfunded health service and yes Labour have spent time properly funding it but we have hospitals that have not been refurbished in the last 20 years, we have doctors who are underpaid and overworked and we must reform the NHS but not just the whole physical element of it but also the entire social care element so that we have a properly funded social care system so that nobody has to pay for their social care',

When Moving onto Education the Lib Dems had promised to abolish tuition fees and re-invest substantially in secondary education, Ashdown did say that 'With education being the silver bullet to everything surely it would be vital for all of us to make sure that whilst we cut unemployment and re-invest highly in our public services but by radically increasing funding for our education system that would do a great deal to increase our education funding and solve the long term issues'.

When It came to crime policy, Ashdown had decided to focus on the concepts of rehabiliation whilst promising an extra 15,000 police officers. The use of the extra police officers along with the rapid increase in rehabiltaiton services Ashdown will allow us 'to tackle crime completley'

Bill Cash
As Bill cash came up he knew he was up against some serious odds against him, Cash was a hard right tory and therefore wasn't very keen on the pure one nation doctrine.And therefore decided to keep being asked about the quality of life issues which domianted the country what had been effective of the Labour Campaign is that they had made the election focused on the issues of health and education. The key points of this discussion between the audience and Mr Cash were health and Education and here is how it went.

When asked about how much money he would provide for the NHS, Cash didn't want to specify an actual figure saying ' health spending will rise but we will be far more economical in the way we spend it because we have pledged to make Britain far more economical in the way we spend money' asked about why he hadn't specified a cash figure he says 'Because cash figures have always risen and the event is to make sure that the spending is less than the growth in the economy' and David Dimbelby asked would you support real terms increase in the NHS he said 'Of course i would' and then he was caught out because he had just pledged two fundementaly contradictory things. Which Labour would exploit in the campaign.

The tories had also pledged to make people pay £10 for a GP appointment which had been 2 days after the manifesto, If there was a closer thing to political stupidity no one had come across it. Because this would be in effect dismantling the NHS when he was asked he then remarked an authentic view 'We need to recover from the sloppy socialism'. That was widely interperted as a means of dismantling the NHS and would be the key part of dwindling position of the conservative Party.

And as for Education well the main issue was over Grammar schools, the entire debate had been around the new tory policy to bring back more grammar schools. Throughout the last week the tories had made several policies on the go. The campaign had been atrocious and Cash had pledged to lift the ban on Grammar schools but the entire question time for him was a complete disaster.

Tony Blair
After running the country for 8 years, Tony Blair was still popular because of the growing living standards and the growing economy the use of the strong economy along with the rising expenditure in the front line services had helped in boosting his popularity but also a conservative party that was completely dominated by sleaze and hypocrisy and by shaping the election on labour terms on health and education which had helped Labour massively.

When it came to Health tony Blair was asked what can he forsee the future reforms to the NHS being dominated with Money or private reforms. He said 'Well look you cant simply change the NHS without cash, thats why we are investing £10 billion extra a year which has led to the hiring of 80,000 new nurses and 50,000 more doctors. And therefore we have to keep going in properly investing in our health service but though we have to keep the investment coming in unlike the toires which seem dedicated to the stupid concept of forcing people to pay for their healthcare which is utterly absurd and shouldn't be done (long applause) but when it comes to the reform let me explain with the walk in centres where people with less critical illness can be treated and this has cut the waiting lists by over a million so we can try and reform the NHS and put money in it'. The solid raise in NHS Expenditure had helped in radically raising the spending on front line services had helped in boosting the popularity of the government.

When asked about Education, there has been a key moment for years with the development in substantial of amount of cash in the state sector and he says in regards to education
'The reforms we have made over the last eight years in raising the funding for the state education system we are the party that also believes that in creating a society that has genuine opportunity for all because in that society of opportunity for all and by levelling up the entire country once and for all surely this is the best way of ensuring a greater level of economic stability and through greater levels of jobs is by creating an educated society'. The Domestic quality of life issues had been labour's strong point which is why they were still leading in the polls by substantial margins.

There were the two main discussion points which were the highlights and the Lib Dems had come out of that pretty well,Labour had come out well and the tories might as well have not shown up. Here is what the public made of it.



LeaderResult
Tony Blair42%
Paddy Ashdown37%
Bill Cash20%


PartyResult
Labour43%
Lib Dems32%
Conservatives25%

PartyResult
Labour391 (-29)
Conservatives113 (-26)
Lib Dems106 (+36)


Paxman Interviews

View attachment 624631
Over the course of the final week the leaders were all interviewed by Jeremy Paxman. The first was indeed Paddy Ashdown, Ashdown was very good having talked about the NHS and Education and focusing his policies on winning over people who were on the centre left. However the momentum he had secured had faded a bit but they were still poling at 28%. The Conservatives had a torrid campaign constantly batling for second place. And Bill cash was far better at the interview but the polciies were still toxic and sleaze was still prominent. And as for the Prime Minister well he had successfully remained at the top of the polls throughout the last 11 years but this campaign had been fought on the traditional labour topics of health,education and Unemployment and he was defending well the record of the Labour Goverment.

PartyResult
Labour44%
Conservatives28%
Lib Dems27%

PartyResult
Labour 393 (-27)
Conservatives150 (+11)
Lib Dems74 (+4)

Election Night

View attachment 624632


DD-David Dimbelby
PS-Peter Snow
JP-Jeremy Paxman
AM-Andrew Marr

DD- Well Good evening and it's all over at last we will know wether or not if Tony Blair will be back in No.10 with a third term or will Bill cash win the election and defy the polls or will Paddy Ashdown finally be a kingmaker. Up there is Jeremy Paxman who will be interviewing the politicians as the results come in.
JP- Yes well up here we will be interviewing politicains and asking them what went right and what went wrong knowing that in 8 hours time they might not be in a Job.
DD- And up there is Peter Snow who will be looking at the results asz they come in and using his graphics to show what it means..
PS- Yes, David this time we will be more adventrous than we have ever been before showing how th evotes have changed in hour house of commons but also our traiditonal swingometer to show who is going to win the election and much more.
DD- And now to our exit poll, this was comisisoned by asking 33,000 people not how they intended to vote but how did they vote and here it is. 10 o clcok and we are predicting another labour landslide. And here it is, Labour have won 401 seats that is down 19 . The tories have 125 seats thats a. decrease of 14 seats . And the Lib Dems have got 91 seats that's up 21. And so a Labour Majority if our exit poll is right of a 156 . Andrew
AM- Well David If this poll is right and that is an IF, Labour will be celebrating an unprecented third victory in a row. With another three figure majority and therefore would be beaitng Mrs Thatcher's record on aggregate. But for the tories well once again they have lossed seats but this is atrocious because if these vote share figures are right they might actually have less votes than the lib dems. And if this Paddy Asdhown's final campaign well he's leaving it on a huge high with 91 MPs the Liberal Democrats have not only gained seats but also obtained their highest seats since 1923 and the highest share of the vote in 95 years.
DD- Thank you for that, Peter what have you got for us.
PS- Thank You David so here is the share of the vote Labour 43% of the vote, the Consevraitves 26% of the vote and the Liberal Democrats 30% of the vote. Which is a swing of 1% from Conservatives to Labour. But the big winners are the Lib Dems because if that poll is right they have actually obtained a 3.5% swing from the Consevratives to Labour and it looks like both parties could be giving seats to the Lib Dems.

PartiesSeatsVotesPercentage
Labour405 (-15)12,231,58442.8% (-1.3%)
Conservatives115 (-24)8,102,56127.5% (-1.7%)
Lib Dems101 (+31)9,883,56132.5% (+6.4%)


View attachment 624675

The Labour party had undoubtedly won a third victory and had laid the foundations for a fourth victory, the tories had narrowly hung on to the position of the oppisiton party and the Lib Dems had won 101 MPs which was huge for them and this being Paddy Ashdown's final election he had taken the party from the 20 MPs in 1992 to 101 just thirteen years later. But now whats next.

Post Election Reaction
New Tory Leader
Pensions Reform
Labour Leadership?
Energy Policy
And Much More

This is going to cause a huge outcry over first past the post with the Lib Dems significantly outperforming the Tories in terms of the share of the vote.

To use an anachronism- subscribed!
 

This is going to cause a huge outcry over first past the post with the Lib Dems significantly outperforming the Tories in terms of the share of the vote.

To use an anachronism- subscribed!
Yeah I think I'm going to put in a referendum on PR , not obviously in the next couple of parts but certainly after the next election. Because there is going to be a rage over the fact the LIb Dems getting 5% more of the votes and yet still are the third party. By the way sorry about the graphics not coming up I though they might, so im sorry about that. Hope your well
 
I have to say I enjoy a Conservative dystopia TL as much as the next person and this has been an excellent journey.

Paddy Ashdown will go down in he history of this TL as the most successful leader of the Liberals since Asquith and while he's never got to Government, I assume the success in general elections has been matched locally so there could be 5000 Liberal Councillors running large numbers of councils across the country.

We've also not seen the 2003 Scottish and Welsh parliamentary election results nor any of the European Parliamentary election results to see how the party could have progressed in those.

Bill Cash would have been the disaster you have portrayed but who follows him with just 115 MPs from which to choose? William Hague is the most likely of the survivors and would still be young enough to take on Blair's successor.

Who succeeds Ashdown is another question? I suspect it wouldn't be Charles Kennedy in this TL but would it be one of the pre-1997 "old guard" such as Beith or Hughes or would the party "skip a generation" to one of the 1997 intake such as Tom Brake or Paul Burstow or Andrew George? One of the big failures of the LDs was responding to the more centrist Conservative leader, David Cameron but they would find it easier to deal with Hague.

The LD position on PR is NOT to support AV - that was Clegg's position and all he could get from the Conservatives in 2010. The LDs have always backed STV - would Labour offer that for local elections first?
 
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