I missed the last election by two years, so this is my first post on General Elections. I would have done one for 2010, likely ranting about the fact news coverage replaced my favourite shows on BBC One (I never did watch that episode of Outnumbered). But now, I get to share my thoughts on this years election, and as someone who studies AS and A2 Politics, I really should talk about this, shouldn’t I?
As a little bit of local Ben trivia, my Constituency is St Helens South and Whiston, which is a Safe seat represented by Labour. It has been since the 80’s at least, though my seat is merger of two seats, forming my current constituency. Whiston is also (apparently) the smallest place name mentioned in any constituency, and also where I live. And it is a village. Look up your constituency, and find out whose running, you may find some weird small parties, like The Pirate Party. Mine has no silly parties sadly. But, now to the main point.
With Parliament Dissolved, we are beginning campaigning time now, with 37 days for the politicians to battle it out for our humble votes to gain dominance in a building which is slowly and surely falling into the Thames (That isn’t a joke, surprisingly). We have a fixed parliament now, 5 years. So this is hopefully going to be a standard practice for all General Elections, until it get’s reformed once more under a different Government. And funnily enough, we’re talking about a future Government now, and what I think will happen this year. And the general outlook is, it is going to be a close one.
The Current situation we have is that the Two Party system that had once dominated Westminster will likely no longer be the case come May. As the rise of parties such as UKIP, as well as the SNP, and the Greens begin to transform the UK Parliament into a Multi Party Parliament. We technically have had one, with the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, the DUP and the absent Sinn Fein, who don’t take their seats out of disgust for us petulant Englishmen. But this is really the first time that there are more than 2 real front runners for all of England. There’s a boatload of parties to pick, which may enhance Democracy to an extent.
We’re not going to have a majority Government. The amount of parties will mean no one will have a majority of 326 MP’s. As the two biggest parties, either Labour or Conservative will be the biggest in the House of Commons, but neither will have the 326 seats required for a Majority Government. This is due to a few factors:
While Labour was strong in Scotland, it is the SNP who are clearly the main party there, and will likely take a few of Labour’s once safe Scotland seats. A similar situation for Wales too, as Plaid Cymru will likely snatch some more seats from either party, though if memory serves me right, Labour holds a good chunk of Wales, and I think the Tories have a seat, maybe I am wrong. In fact, let me take a brief moment to commend Alex Salmond, who some Scottish readers will know as the former first minister in the Scottish Parliament. He resigned as leader after the Referendum last year on Scottish membership in the UK. And I believe he is running as an MP, which seems to coincide with the increasing popularity of the SNP in Scotland…could he trying to be gaining more of a power-base over Scotland in a potential role in the Cabinet with the Coalition…hmmm…
The Conservatives have lost two seats to UKIP on By-elections (UKIP being our equal to America’s Tea Party Movement) and will likely lose more in the election. Obviously, UKIP won’t win enough to form a Government, but enough to have an influence. Its kind of a sore subject for the Tories who lost 2 men to UKIP (the MP’s who ran in the By-elections were actually Conservative MP’s who had defected). I don’t see them gaining any more than a few seats, perhaps 5 if they’re lucky.
The Lib Dems will no doubt lose seats. Students voted for them in 2010, they didn’t keep their promises, so Students will likely vote Green or Labour, who plan on cutting Tuition fees. The Green Party have one seat currently in Brighton Pavillion (A must visit place for the LGBT Community, as it is considered our Gay Capital in the South) which they will probably keep. They may also gain a marginal Lib Dem seat, one or two of those. Besides that, I think the Lib Dems will keep 30 seats, at most, in Parliament. I would give them more, but I reckon that the student vote has been lost, and the Clegg bounce we saw last year will likely not be repeated.
This election is gonna be close, no doubt. No party will win a majority of seats, as a party who doesn’t have concentrated or mainstream support does not win seats, eg UKIP in 2010 had 1 million votes and won no seats, while Greens won one and had 34,000 votes overall. FPTP is a terrible system That was a tangent. In short, I predict that either Labour or the Conservatives will win, though Labour is ahead in the opinion polls currently, these are early days for the campaign, and it will be the people who decide in just over 5 weeks time who will be our new Prime Minister. Speaking subjectively, I would rather have a Labour Coalition, because I am more in agreement with Labour policy that Conservative policy (as some will no doubt know). If the SNP want more influence, they will likely team with Labour, on the condition that more freedoms are given to Scotland, and the same case with Plaid Cymru. I also imagine that the Liberal Democrats will pair with Labour, after their affair with the Tories. But this is speculation, and may not happen. Only time will tell.
My advice? Vote. Read the manifestos, talk to MP’s when they come to the door, see what they want, and what they can do for you. You don’t get things done sitting on your ass. Change won’t happen if you don’t vote, even if you’re party doesn’t get in, you can cause change if the support for your party is high, it changes the other parties by recognising that party as a threat to their dominance in your seat. So vote.