This is going to be a dismal election

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… 

5 Comments

  1. Politicians are already competing with each other to see how much pork barrel spending they can promise on roads, hospitals and so on in marginal seats. Oddly enough (and young libertarians may find what I am about to say hard to believe – but it is true), in the past this particular form of corruption (targeting marginal seats for pork barrel government spending) was rare in Britain. But all major parties seem to have adopted the policy. Expect no sensible discussion of anything till after the elections in May – if indeed there is any sensible discussion of anything even after May.

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  2. Are Labour and the Lib Dems worse than the Conservative Party? Yes indeed they are – but, as a “tribal Tory”, I would say that – although I also believe it. UKIP I still do not know much about on the ground – I suspect that the way UKIP will go (what sort of party it will be) will be decided after the election, not before the election.

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  3. In the 1997 General Election, I recall John Major stating ‘We have spent more than Labour promised to spend” (referring to the 1992 GE). Mr Major’s plan seemed to have been to be more Labour than Labour and to let his ‘traditional’ vote go to Hell. If you even hoped for a smaller State in 1997, you had nowhere to go.

    Now we have the Conservatives hoping to go it alone and carry on as if they were with the LDs, Labour snarling at the loss of office (but not power) since 2010, and the Lib Dems thinking ‘Whoever you vote for, we will be in coalition’.

    The current political scene needs some drastic reshaping if there is to be any hope of liberty.

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  4. Quite right Paul, I fully expect that the battles for marginal seats to be particularly viscous. Living in a marginal seat myself I receive lots of political leaflets through the door- pretty much all they do is slag off the opposing party. Not to mention ‘tactical’ leaflets; trying to persuade you that even if you want to vote for a certain party, ‘there is no point because they will never win in this seat!’- disgraceful!

    The current argument over Labours spending plan does seem slightly hysterical, considering Ed Balls will match most of George Osbourne’s austerity plan anyway! And UKIP should be pretty interesting. A recent poll by Yougov suggested that UKIP votes consider themselves much more left wing than the conservatives!

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    1. I also live in a small majority seat (if not quite marginal) – the MP is also a friend, and I am local councillor. Guess what the next few months are going to be like.

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