Understanding the psychology of the UK Elections 2015

After a two year hiatus – more details on what I have been doing later, I will be restarting my blog.  I hope you find it valuable.
Political parties in the UK are divided along levels of consciousness lines.  The differences between them are to do with development, awareness and circles of care and blame.  This description starts with the smallest circle of care and the widest circle of blame.
It is worth recognising that as in Spiral Dynamics (Please email me if you would like a summary of Spiral Dynamics) people are only really capable of understanding the levels that came before them (i.e. smaller circles of care) and are not capable of understanding the levels after.  It is very hard for a UKIP circle person to comprehend the Liberal Democrat or Green point of view at all.  They are likely to see them as entirely abstract.
Equally while later levels (larger circles of care) can understand the prior levels intellectually they are liable to dismiss them as being ill considered.
UKIP – for UKIP the circle of care is the individual and to some extent their tribe.  The circle of blame is everyone outside of that circle.  Their premise is that the tribe members suffering is caused by those outside the tribe – namely immigrants and Europe.  And that if those elements were to go away, life within the tribe would be better.  This is a very old perspective that can still be observed in chimpanzee colonies.  It is a fundamentally psychologically flawed argument in that it is impossible to change anything for the better until we are willing to take some responsibility for the situation we are in.
Conservatives – for the Conservatives the circle of care is still the individual and the family (or business) but the circle of blame is smaller.  The Conservatives tend to blame those who don’t conform to their world view and might name them as “lazy people” or similar. For the more right wing elements this also includes Europe and immigrants.  The Conservatives view is that if those elements would only work harder and convert to the “right” way of thinking then everything would be better.
Labour (SNP and Plaid Cymrw) – For Labour the circle of care is the community and the circle of blame is forces, not necessarily people, that harm the community.  There is an inherent desire to link up with other similar communities and to collaborate against the common enemies.  Historically these would have been big business, but this increasingly includes the rich.  Labour’s explicit pitch is inherently vague in order to avoid excluding people who might vote for them.
Liberal Democrat  – For Liberal Democrats the circle of care is society as a whole and with a significant future component – perhaps the next 50 years.  There is no blame as such, only problems that need to be solved and thinking that needs to be developed.  Liberal Democrats believe in collaborating with everyone to solve the problems – including those who disagree with them.  Their unwillingness to blame others makes Liberal Democrats very hard for those with high blame cultures to understand.
Green – For Greens the circle of care is global and includes all life and over a significant duration, 200 to 300 years.  Like the Liberal Democrats, Greens are not keen to blame and believe that of increasing awareness of the problem will naturally lead people to the same conclusions they have come to.  The Green approach is seen to be leftist in traditional terminology and while there are some similarities the core purpose is entirely different. Like the Liberal Democrats the Greens are inherently collaborative and want to build broad coalitions to solve problems.  Their weakness is that while they are very good at focussing on the problems, they are less strong at identifying and providing the solutions.
Threat is change you are not leading.
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With love
Neil Crofts
authentic business

About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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9 Responses to Understanding the psychology of the UK Elections 2015

  1. Dawn Waldron says:

    Welcome back! You will be lighting up my Mondays all over again. Can’t wait.

  2. Nick Heap says:

    Splendid blog. Thank you. Your analysis explains why I support the party I do in a way I had not thought of before. This is truly illuminating.

  3. Thorgeir Einarsson says:

    Good to have you back Neil!
    Excellent insight as usual.
    Keep your blogging going:)

  4. Gerry Chandler says:

    Welcome back! So, I’d really like to know three things: (1), how we propose to eradicate blame and fear, which have no place in 21st century industry, and government for that matter?, (2) how do we ensure that our political system is re-engineered to remove the adversarial subframe and introduce accountability via an independent regulator (OFGOV?)
    to ensure that political parties are held to account and the delta between commitments made in manifestos and what was actually delivered during their time in office is plain for all to see? (3). (a), How is the performance of individual MPs measured, by who and how often? (b), What measures exist to address poor performance?

    • Neil Crofts says:

      Thanks Gerry, good and very big questions, I will give my thoughts – and would be interested in yours and others.

      1 – We have to raise the level of consciousness one person at a time. Many of us are engaged in this and it will take time.

      2 – This will happen automatically when 1 happens.

      3 – This is a really good question. We wouldn’t allow this in any modern organisation, how does it continue in government???? There was talk of introducing deselection of MPs by constituency – I am not sure what happened with this.

  5. linlesblog says:

    I find the blog “understanding the psychology of the UK elections” flawed as it seems to rely on media interpretations. I work on facts rather than fiction, am logically minded with a mensa tested IQ of 172 and I am a Quaker, so not a bigot of any sort at all. I studied all the manifesto’s for the election and based my decision on hard economic facts. How did I vote? for a UKIP candidate.

    Lets examine some hard facts:
    Leaving the EU – as a % of world trade the EU share has been slipping for many years and is now below 20%
    EU countries buy far more from us than we do from them
    EU regulations make it harder for other countries to sell into the EU and they also slow business development
    The EU is primarily political
    We are signatories of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) which means our trade with most of the EU countries is not likely to be affected if we were a trading partner of the EU rather than a political partner
    Our net contribution to the EU political machine is approximately £600 PER SECOND
    Withdrawing from the EU political union is therefore likely to BOOST our economy in the long term, thereby improving the country’s finances and eventually allowing us to provide more aid for those countries that need help – for example Nepal, where our current contribution is very small.

    Immigration – 90% of countries have controls of some sort – two of the most multi-cultural countries (Australia & Canada) have quite strong controls. In the case of Australia much of the tightening of controls were implemented by a Labour Government… there is nothing right (or “extreme right” ) wing about the idea at all, that claim is just left wing media hysteria.

    We have a housing shortage of some 1 Million+ homes… and immigration over the past few years has been in excess of 3 Million people… even a primary school child can see that the two obviously interact – even if there were an average of 4 people per house (reality is far less than that) then immigration still accounts for at least 75% of that housing shortage.

    The claim in the blog therefore that UKIP are only interested in a small circle and “Blame” all outside of it is inaccurate… they are just stating facts rather than politically correct fiction. They are a young party, not fully disciplined and do not have all the answers, but the difference is that they are striving to deal with facts and offer real life solutions whereas the other parties seem interested in only providing the side of the story that fits their party prejudices. This is understandable, but it would help the wider population if these Disney versions of reality were not presented as being anything other than untested opinions… as “facts” they certainly are not.

    The problem people have I think is that the policies of UKIP range across the political spectrum, from Taking people on the NMW out of tax entirely, to more money for schools and NHS, and then across to more money for defines and police etc. The media are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and people are being misled and confused.

    I was brought up on a saying that used to annoy at the time, but is an excellent guide for living… the saying was:-
    I want facts, not fiction. I would amend that now to … the public deserve the facts, not media fiction.

    Oh, for additional info – I have in the past voted both Lib-Dem & Conservative & sometimes, where I could not see any clear difference to the good of the country as a whole, I did not vote at all. I would describe my political bias to be primarily middle ground (Lib-Dem in the blog)

    • Neil Crofts says:

      Thank you for this fulsome response. It is worth saying that the blog was based more on the culture of party and their voters than on their manifestos. Manifestos are a poor predictor of decisions by any party. Culture and leadership are a far better predictor of performance – this is certainly true in business which is my area of expertise. From what I observe it appears to be true in politics too..

      I would take issue with a couple of your assertions.

      “EU countries buy far more from us than we do from them
      EU regulations make it harder for other countries to sell into the EU and they also slow business development”

      Given that the EU is our biggest trading partner, making it more difficult to sell to the EU would seem like a mistake.

      The flip side of population growth is ageing and dealing populations. The effects of this are more serious than a housing shortage, just look at the low birthrate, low immigration experiment in Japan

      “immigration over the past few years has been in excess of 3 Million people”

      This is misleading. The few years referenced here is actually twelve, I think most would agree that twelve is more than a few. Total population has increased by 3 million over the last six years, but half of that has been “natural”.

      In the last week Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, apparently said something about the effect of immigrants on the economy and wages. The Daily Mail interpreted whatever he said as immigrants depress wages and damage the economy. The Guardian interpretation was the opposite. Facts are hard to come by – even for UKIP.

      Great comment – thank you

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