Posts Tagged ‘general election campaign’

Ed could be PM even if Labour finishes second and his coalition partners, the Lib Dems, finish fourth

23/04/2015, 01:59:15 PM

by Michael Collins

In the last week or so the polling website May2015 has convincingly put forward the thesis that even if the Tories win the most seats and votes on May 7, Ed Miliband is the likelier Prime Minister. This has significant implications for the stability of Britain’s democracy over the coming weeks.

In fact, the situation may be even more precarious than it seems, with neither Labour nor the Conservatives able to establish a majority, even via coalition. To see why this will be so difficult, we must look not only at the numbers but also the differing ideological leanings of the parties. Europe is the key issue.

Those, such as Dan Hodges at the Telegraph, who are still betting on a Tory-led government, believe that the Tories’ aggressively insisting the SNP will pull the strings if Labour come to power will have a significant pro-Tory impact on English marginals as polling day approaches. This may well happen, though it is still to show up in the polls.

With the Tories coming out as the biggest party in terms of votes and seats, the assumption from those backing Mr Cameron to stay in Number 10 is that “if the seats are there,” the Liberal Democrats will do another deal with Cameron and we’ll have coalition 2.0.

Taking out the anticipated 5 Sinn Fein seats (their elected MPs do not sit in the House of Commons), plus the Speaker, the magic figure for the slimmest of working majorities is 325 seats.

Let’s imagine for sake of argument the Tories reached 302 seats, which is well beyond the highest predictions of any of the main polling indicators, with the Liberal Democrats on a more realistic 23. This would give the two coalition parties 325 seats.

On that basis, can the Liberal Democrats really carry on propping up the Conservative Party? The coalition vote share would have fallen, with both parties losing seats. Looking ahead, the Tories promise much deeper (albeit unspecified) cuts. And most importantly, they have proposed a referendum on Europe. This situation will be very unappealing to the Liberal Democrat membership.

We should also think not only about divisions between but also within parties. A sizable rump of Tory rebels has consistently voted against the coalition throughout this parliament. They mostly detest the Liberal Democrats, and they have turned themselves into a single issue cabal with their fundamentalism over the EU.

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SNP-backed Miliband or a return to the John Major years? Only the Lib Dems can stop it

22/04/2015, 05:44:47 PM

by Samuel Dale

He’s back. The most successful prime minister – nay politician – ever to grace British parliamentary democracy.

A man of such grace, skill and power that he swept all before him in his pomp. Adored by his own. Feared by rivals. Yesterday, he spoke and we – humble electorate – must heed his wise counsel.

I speak, of course, of Sir John Major. Well, that seems to be the absurd narrative pedalled by the electorally-charged right-wing press that once lampooned Major’s premiership. Times change. Major’s speech gave warning of the higher taxes, fewer jobs and general mayhem of a Labour government supported by the SNP.

Firstly, he’s right. A Labour/SNP deal would be a disaster for Britain and the Labour party as well.

There would be an economic chilling effect around new investment into the UK while the PLP would be split over any arrangement with the nationalists. In fact, I was warning about it on this blog before it was cool.

But, as many have pointed out, it was John Major’s Government in the 1990s that actually did deliver higher taxes, fewer jobs and general mayhem.

Look at the facts. There’s Black Wednesday, when a self-inflicted economic crisis pushed the Bank of England’s interest rates to a crushing 15% in September 1992.

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The smaller parties should be careful what they wish for. It always ends badly for the kingmaker

16/04/2015, 09:57:12 AM

by Atul Hatwal

We are approaching peak minnow for the campaign. Yesterday the Lib Dems and Ukip launched their manifestos and this evening there is the five-way debate featuring the smaller parties minus Nick Clegg but inexplicably with Ed Miliband guest starring at the front of the coconut shy as the designated representative of Westminster’s failed big party duopoly.

But as much fun as the SNP, the Greens, Plaid and Ukip will have beating up on Ed Miliband the smaller parties should be careful what they wish for.

They might be eyeing eventual roles as kingmakers or junior partners in government, but history has a harsh lesson: it always ends badly.

In peacetime, every time there has been a coalition, confidence and supply agreement or any type of deal for support in the last 100 years, it has been electoral poison for the minor party.

On three occasions there have been coalitions in the last century and one period of less formal support to sustain a government.

All involved the Liberals, with the SNP and Plaid Cymru also becoming mired in the mess of the 1970s Callaghan government.

The results speak for themselves.

Minor party fall

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Tory Karl McCartney is the walking, talking embodiment of why Lincoln needs Labour

11/04/2015, 03:38:54 PM

by Jack Tunmore

The good people of Lincoln have every reason to feel proud this year. Their copy of the Magna Carta, housed in the freshly revamped castle, is drawing in speakers as illustrious as the Governor of the Bank of England to mull over its significance. They also live in a seat that has been a bellwether constituency since October 1974, is always a central election battleground and now wait to play their part in deciding who will enter Number 10 after May 7th.

Against this grand backdrop skulks the figure of Karl McCartney, the Conservative incumbent who defeated Gillian Merron in 2010 with a slender majority of 1058. McCartney has managed to mangle his public image since then in a way that takes some politicians a lifetime.

A full analysis of McCartney’s mishaps would exhaust the reader, but it is worth skimming over the highlights because his behaviour is a considerable factor on the doorstep.

In January he invited constituents to attend a seminar with representatives from the Department for Transport and Network Rail. Given that both are public bodies it raised some eyebrows that he asked each constituent to send a cheque for £15 to his home address to attend, or £5 for a summary of the meeting sent via email.

His constituents were not as unfortunate as the IPSA officials, however, who received personalised notes from the Honourable Member for Lincoln attached to his expenses claims.

One such note accused an official of “talking sh*t” while another innocent scrutiniser was called a “pedantic SOAB.” SOAB, I am reliably informed, is internet shorthand for “son of a b*tch.”

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