A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Labour wins historic third term.....

Well! EnviroSpin wasn't that far out. We predicted a Labour victory with a majority of around 78. With most seats now in, the current prediction is for a final overall Labour majority of around 66, plus an independent from Wales.

You will hear a lot of Blair-bashing rubbish about the Prime Minister limping back into No. 10, with phrases like "a drastically-reduced majority". It isn't "drastic" at all. This is media sneering and much wishful thinking by some, especially the anti-war brigade and London metro-elites. Blair is the first Labour leader ever to win three consecutive terms of office (see: 'Blair secures historic third term', BBC News, May 6). It is a tremendous achievement. And, historically, a majority of 66 is large by any standards - it only looks somewhat diminished because Blair's first two wins were extraordinary landslides. Such landslides are, of course, rare, and they are highly unlikely for a government that has been in power for some time.

Moreover, you have to remember that this is a majority over all other parties. The gap between Labour and its nearest single challenger, the Conservatives, remains a chasm, with Labour on well over 350 seats and the Conservatives on less than 200. The Liberal Democrats will end up with around 60 seats, while, thank goodness, there are no Greens or other extreme minor parties with seats, except for the Welsh and Scottish national parties. Northern Ireland does not count until this afternoon, but it is, in any case, sui generis. The only cumulonimbus cloud of the evening was Bethnal Green and Bow; the least said about that, the better

So, for me, this is as good a result as one might, in all honesty, expect. On EnviroSpin, we shall now monitor, over the next months, what it will mean for science, for the environment, and, above all, for Britain's energy policy.

For the moment, however, I'm just relieved that Mr. Blair is back where he belongs - and somewhat knackered after a long night!

Philip, with the slogan: "Coffee, coffee, coffee!" Triple espressi all round. And well done, Tony.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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