What are people’s predictions for the UK general election?

5 May

I think the Tories have had a very good campaign: they have bossed the agenda and left Labour looking like Tories-lite rather than a viable alternative. The fear of the SNP in government, the need for austerity and ‘finishing the job’ of deficit reduction, the need for stability – all of these themes came from Conservative Party Headquarters. Labour, stupidly, swallowed the bait and debated issues on which they were always going to look weak.

The UKIP ‘menace’ has not come to pass. They are unlikely to win many seats, but they will have a significant impact on the result in a number of seats. A few years ago they were seen as a party that would take votes from the Tories. Now they are seen as likely to damage Labour as well. With the Tories committed to holding an EU exit referendum in the next Parliament, I suspect that UKIP are more likely to harm Labour candidates than Conservative ones.

In Scotland the story has been about the Labour-SNP battle, with the latter threatening to take most of Labour’s seats. In a way, this doesn’t really matter. Both parties are anti-Tory, so this is merely an anti-Tory segment of the population trading votes. It does not make a net difference to the number of anti-Tory MPs.

The Liberal Democrats have been irrelevant in the election campaign and are set to pay a heavy price for their time in coalition. But they will retain a respectable number of seats – enough to be useful in a coalition.

So where does that leave us? I think the ‘project fear’ of the Tory campaign (warning people of the perils of the SNP in government, of the sky falling on our heads etc.) will sway many voters at the last moment. That was certainly the case during the Scottish referendum and will have encouraged Tory strategists that the politics of fear actually works.

My bet? The Tories will do better than many expect. They will not be able to form a majority, but with the Liberal Democrats and the Democratic Unionists they will form a government. The result? The most right-wing government Britain has ever seen. But possibly the last one, as it will hasten Scottish independence.

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2 Responses to “What are people’s predictions for the UK general election?”

  1. kris 06/05/2015 at 10:49 am #

    Labour lib minority govt with SNP confidence and supply support.

    Lib dems likely realise heavy price for further propping up Tories.

    Next likely con lib dem with DUP confidence and supply. if lib dems feel suicidal.
    No DUP ministers. Inbuilt hesitancy against NI party ministers of any stripe. underlying rule of British political system. the deal would be money for DUP public expenditure, possibly even diluting bedroom tax throughout UK, in return for votes in money bills. They may believe that climate change is caused by gay sex but they are one nation Tories on welfare who also understand that a huge chunk of their votes come from the public sector. they ain’t Ukip.

    What are your predictions for the 2016 Westminster election?

  2. Kris 08/05/2015 at 2:35 pm #

    …I hope Lord Ashdown saves me some of his hat.

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