A collaborative blog for Current Affairs and Policy Debate

The General Election – Results speculation

In Home Affairs on May 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Election 2010

By Stephen Wan

This is, as they say, the most exciting general election for a generation. The outcome could, quite possibly, be anything, from a Conservative majority to a Labour minority. With the polls showing the Conservatives still not having enough support for a majority (based on uniform swing), and strong support for the Lib Dems at the expense of Labour (although Cleggomania seems to have died down), there is still a chance for a Hung Parliament for the first time since 1974.

I’ve been asked by David to blog about what outcome I would prefer, why, and what outcome I actually predict. These are plenty of interesting scenarios that I would love to say would be ideal, such as a Green government, but I’ll restrict myself to talking about scenarios that are actually in the realms of possibility.

In my ideal scenario, I think there will be as many small parties and independents in the House of Commons as possible. From Wales for example, I’d like to see Plaid Cymru win a couple more seats, to a total of 5, and the number of Independents, that is two, remaining stable. From Scotland, the SNP total to rise, and inevitability you’ll get a mix of Sinn Fein, DUP, Ulster Unionist and SDLP from Northern Ireland. In England, I’d want Green to win its first seat in Brighton, RESPECT to keep its seat, and (and I’ll probably be shouted down for this), even UKIP and the BNP to get seats in Parliament. I think the more parties there are, and the larger the variety of views, even if demented and wrong (at least it challenges the government and the political establishment to respond, particularly on immigration), the better Parliament will be. Also, any reduction in the overall power of the main two parties, which is hugely disproportionate to their number of votes, is a good thing.

As for who wins overall power, ideally for myself Labour would win as the largest party, but without an overall majority, but still enough seats to be able to rule with the support of the ‘Celtic bloc’, that being the SNP and Plaid Cymru. What it does in a sense is show the inadequacies of our current voting system, and so we might see some momentum for change to our electoral system. More importantly, whilst it might be an unstable coalition for a time, there can be a definite push by the Welsh and Scottish for more powers, whilst stemming the flow of Scottish nationalism once they realise they can create changes in the British government, more funding for the Welsh, and a much greater scrutiny of Labour’s plans. It would be a coalition of all the nations of the United Kingdom, and so perhaps a much stronger sense of everyone being in it together. The Lib Dems will hopefully win enough seats to be in a strong position to really gain from the next election. The Conservatives not so much, and thus the end of compassionate conservatism once and for all.

What I think will probably happen is a Conservative minority government with the backing of the Ulster Unionists, since the other groups are too left-wing and opposed to public spending cuts. We might see them rule on an issue by issue basis, putting forward a budget and daring the other parties to vote it down. If so, prepare for another general election 6 months from now, just like 1974. And then expect a Conservative majority, as the only political party with the funds to afford two general elections successively in such a short period of time.

On some level I’d quite like to see a Conservative majority government, if only for it to become the most unpopular government in history, and banished for another generation to the political wilderness. However, the fervent anti-Toryism that has existed for too long may dissipate if we get a government under Cameron that does indeed have some fiscal discipline, makes cuts in the right places and so on. I don’t think that’s likely though.

Just my two cents.


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