As the politicians seem to have recovered from their new years eve hangovers and begun an ideological mud slinging match in front of a feverish and restless media circus. Either a senior minister has done something deeply embarrassing, or there is a general election fast approaching. In this case the latter.
Importantly a brief overview of 2014 would indicate that this general election is really going to be spectacular! It has been mentioned over and over again how senior pollsters simply don’t have a clue as to who will win- with Labour and the Tory’s stuck in a seemingly endless conflict over a couple of percentage points. It is likely that no party will win an over all majority, with some sort of coalition being the predicted outcome. Nick Clegg (yes he still exists!) is openly stating that voting for the LibDems ensures another coalition.Yet there have been tight elections before, the ascendance of UKIP this year has been staggering, with a massive boost in popularity to about 15% of the electorate and two high profile defections from the dark environs of the Conservative back benches- with probably more to come. It has been discussed ad infinitum how UKIP will drag the Tories to the right, displacing their hard won middle ground supporters.
Additionally, on the Left there has been impressive gains from the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) winning 3 local government seats last year and are apparently fielding 1000 candidates in GE2015- a modest number, but impressive considering the party only formed in 2010. As well as a media furore surrounding the exclusion of the Green Party from any of the official TV debates this year. Add into the mix, a barely defeated SNP whose support has reportedly increased since the referendum in November and surely we are in for an interesting election this year!
Well sadly, the answer is no…as far as i’m concerned anyway. Unfortunately what we have witnessed over the past week is a signal that GE2015 is going to be a traditional back to basics election. The battle lines are already drawn, Labour supposedly championing the NHS and ‘hard working families’ and the Tories pretending to know what they are doing about the economy.
A recent article in The Guardian by Andrew Rawnsley entitled ‘There’s a vacuum now in British politics. And it’s Blair-shaped’ I believe, is rather accurate. Although I generally don’t agree with much of what Rawnsley says in his article, I do acknowledge his assertion that ultimately politicians will be inclined to go for an elusive middle ground in order to get elected with a respectable result. As opposed to appealing to their party’s vocal fringes. Evidently this is going to be a massive anti-climax for many. Listening to Ed Milliband’s election speech was as dull as dishwater; enough to make me forget that he was ever branded as ‘Red Ed’- a dangerous revolutionary firebrand. Frankly my kitchen sink has more proletarian zeal than the current Labour leader. Arguably the dreary soundbites and lackluster applause was a cynical appeal to what Ed Milliband calls the ‘squeezed middle’. Virtually no policy was mentioned in the speech.
But what about the Conservatives? I assumed that with the threat of Nigel Farage’s purple clad acolytes would be enough to put the brakes on ‘Compassionate Conservatism’?Yet it would appear that the Tories are going back to basics as well focusing on the economy. Not wholly surprising given that after rounds of police force cuts, they can hardly play the law & order card. Furthermore, media hype aside, there is no certainty around how UKIP will perform in GE2015. David Cameron’s delightfully ambiguous ‘road to nowhere’ is essentially a promise for more of the same from the Conservatives. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the Tories weren’t so hopelessly divided, don’t ask David Cameron where his ‘road to nowhere’ is going because I’m not sure he knows himself.
In conclusion; despite Nick Robinson’s assertion that new economic data means that GE2015 will actually be very exiting, my prediction is that the journey towards May will be a predictable ideological trudge with both parties abandoning their fringes to win over a divided middle ground. Not that I would ever have considered voting for any of them, but it would be nice to watch an interesting debate. It’s going to be a dismal election…