Saturday, 20 July 2013

Will anyone win the next General Election ?

Many commentators are expressing the view that many in both Labour and Conservative parties expect to lose the General Election.

It seems that key strategists in both parties are working to win on what is called a 35% strategy - that is that they should aim to win 35% of the votes cast at the General Election and that this may see them elected.

Whoever wins is likely to break some records.  Rarely have Governments been more popular at a second general election than they were at a first. Rarely has an opposition been as unpopular as Labour are now and gone on to defeat a Government.

The logic for the Conservatives is painful, if they couldn't win a majority facing an unpopular Gordon Brown after 13 years of Labour Government, what chance of them doing better are 5 years of cuts ? For Labour the reverse is true, here is a Government making cuts and yet, Labour are barely ahead in the opinion polls and their Leader has failed to impress the public.

Support for the Lib Dems could revive, specially if they choose a new leader, or it might collapse further as it did in the Scottish Parliament Elections.

Despite the current collapse of support for the Lib Dems, the rise of UKIP means that it entirely possible both Conservatives and Labour could get a smaller share of the vote in 2015 than they did in 2010.

That is deeply worrying for a democracy. 

Some commentators are predicting another hung Parliament - it may be that the Lib Dems could do better in areas where they have MPs and that a  surge for UKIP could mean the Lib Dems holding on to or even winning seats they might otherwise lose.   To be honest, I think both of these scenarios are overplayed. Both might help the Lib Dems slightly, but unless the base level of support for the Party rises, they face a return to 20 or so MPs.  Frankly that isn't enough to be part of a coalition nor to hold the balance of power even in a hung Parliament.  A minority Government by Labour or Conservatives, probably with the tacit consent of the other would be a near certainty. For the Lib Dems having gone from 53 MPs 25 or less would be traumatic. To risk another coalition and another halving of their MPs would be madness.

So who will win the General Election - not the public, who may wake up to a "democratic dictatorship" elected by around 1/3 of those who voted and perhaps 1/5 of those entitled to vote.

No comments: