Five Things we’ve learned from The Election Campaign

Election 2015
  1. Ed Miliband isn’t as daft as he looks

Before the campaign it was generally acknowledged, even by some of his closest allies, that as far as profile and image were concerned, Ed Miliband was hardly ‘A’ list Hollywood. However, more in hope than expectation, they hoped that his intellectual capacity and his genuine ‘niceness’ would win over sceptics. To a large extent, he has. Even if you don’t like his policies, or find him the least attractive political leader you have cast your eyes on, Miliband is hard to dislike. He has had a good campaign, articulating his party’s case in a firm, direct and effective manner. The Conservatives personal attacks on him, in particular the crass ’back stabber’ accusation, backfired on the Tories spectacularly. Even if he doesn’t get the keys to Number 10, Ed has done a decent job.

  1. The case against voting reform is weakening

The big argument that is always used against changing our existing ‘first past the post’ electoral system is that it provides a process that results in strong, single party government. However, we are heading for a second consecutive hung parliament, and if voting intentions continue to be as transient among a new generation of voters in the future as they appear to me now, then the days of one party government are well and truly behind us. At least a new proportional voting system would give voters in cities like Liverpool and Manchester, where they weigh rather than count the Labour vote, a reason to visit their local polling station.

  1. UKIP are as daft as they look

I have now lost count of the number of candidates and members who have been removed, suspended and expelled from a party whose main influence has been to drive the Conservative party to the right on the issue of Europe, and the Labour Party to run scared of this issue of immigration. It must be with regret that Cameron and Miliband now look at the past five years and wonder why they didn’t apply a far more robust and aggressive strategy to rebut some of the utter crap that UKIP has been allowed to get away with on both of these key areas of policy. That the wheels would fall off the Farage bandwagon was inevitable in my opinion, and they will be lucky to retain their existing two parliamentary seats, whilst Farage is looking less likely to win in the constituency of South Thanet, where the voters appear to have more sense than the owner of the Daily Express!

  1. Cameron won’t be Tory Leader for much longer

His admission that he would only want to be Prime Minister for one more term of office may have been honest, but it was also a mistake. As soon as those words and that statement was broadcast, David Cameron was a dead man walking. Last weekend’s newspapers were packed full of stories about the runners and riders for the Tory leadership, with Dave’s campaign considered by many a Tory donor to lack energy, focus and passion. That ‘Team Cameron’ have attempted to address that this week by taking off his tie and rolling up his sleeves is, I fear, too little too late. His failure to deliver the Conservatives an overall majority, which is what they really crave, is what will cost him in the end though. Boris, Teresa May and George Osborne are the early frontrunners; but don’t rule out a ‘dark horse’ emerging from the pack. Cameron beat more favoured candidates – and who can forget John Major’s surprise succession of Maggie?

  1. If a week is a long time in politics – 5 week’s is a lifetime

The campaign has been too long, a bit boring even for political anoraks like me – and it appears that it has failed to have much, if any, influence on people’s voting intentions anyway. A piece of advice for all the parties for the next election – which may be far sooner than was planned – keep it short. Less is sometimes more!

And finally my prediction for the 7th May: I’m sticking with what I have been saying for some months now. Conservatives the biggest party, but lacking a credible coalition partner to be able to form a government for more than a few months; and the spectacle of a second election highly likely as many Labour MPs’ would find it hard to stomach any sort of arrangement with the SNP.

Single issue ‘Parties’ are bad for politics

Green UKIP

With the next General Election less than 100 days away, it seems highly likely that we are heading for another ‘hung parliament’ and coalition government. The big question is, how will that coalition be made up – and what impact will the so-called ‘fringe’ parties have on the result?

It seems to me that all manner of multi-party agreements could come into play post-election. Labour could sign up to a deal with the Greens and the SNP; the Tories could go with the Unionists of Ireland, the Lib Dems and maybe even UKIP; or we could end up with the largest party, probably the Conservatives, going it alone for a few months before calling another General Election to try and get a conclusive result.

The uncertainty surrounding May’s poll is due to several things, among them the less than inspirational leadership we are being offered by the leaders of the three mainstream parties; but largely it is because of the surge in support the minor political forces have enjoyed in recent months.

It sounds somewhat patronising, and perhaps even a little politically snobbish to say this, but those who are seriously thinking of putting their ‘X’ in the box marked Green, UKIP, Independent or, to a lesser extent, SNP, are clearly not too concerned about the detail and range of policies that are required for government.

These fringe parties are basically single issue campaigners who have decided that forming a ‘political party’ gives them more legitimacy and a bigger voice than by simply sticking to what they actually are – protest groups.

The Greens are anti-nuclear; anti-fracking and, apparently, anti-enterprise. They have no clue about economic policy, defence or indeed a whole manner of things that should concentrate the minds of any political party standing for election. Do those who are planning to vote Green really appreciate that they want to abolish the army in favour of ‘civil defence’ volunteers? Or that they wish to kick the Queen out of Buckingham Palace and stick her and the Corgi’s in a council house?

Outside of immigration and their anti-EU agenda, have UKIP got any policies that bear scrutiny? Certainly on both the NHS and economic policy they have been found desperately short of ideas and credibility.

And, outside of using the proceeds of North Sea oil to prop up some kind of Scottish Utopia, how are the SNP proposing to govern their nation if they do ever get full blown UDI? With oil prices now plummeting, you can only see their mismanagement of public services getting worse if they were to be given the powers they crave.

Single issue pressure groups should be just that – or we end up in the dangerous position that we now find ourselves, with a turned off electorate choosing to back parties with one idea rather than a Manifesto to govern.

Cameron will lose even if he wins


We are now just over six months away from the next General Election and if I were a betting man I would say that the Conservative Party will remain the largest group in Parliament following the May poll, with a question mark over whether they will continue to need the support of their minor coalition partner the Liberal Democrats.

The lacklustre Labour Party conference, epitomised by its Leaders ineffective speech and the seeming belief of the official opposition that they can win enough seats to form a government by simply banging on about the NHS and hitting the 35% mark of vote share will leave Ed Miliband short of where he needs to be.

The UKIP bandwagon may continue to gain momentum if the media remains as fascinated with the buffoons who represent this inconsistent and slightly hinged bunch of non racist, non homophobic folk, but surely as we approach the big day there will be at least some scrutiny of their policies by Andrew Neild and Co!

So Cameron will in all likelihood remain as Prime Minister, at least in the short term, whilst Boris gets his leadership campaign organised, but will he be able to look back at his time at the helm of his party with any great satisfaction?

David Cameron won his party’s leadership with an agenda that promised a new Tory Party, ‘Caring’ Conservatives who would ‘hug a hoodie’ and that was so committed to the green agenda that they changed their party logo to a tree.

He promised to put all the internal Eurosceptic nonsense behind them, and move his troops to the middle ground, much as Tony Blair had done with ‘New Labour’ a decade earlier.

As he approaches the end of his first term in office, Eurosceptisism is at the top of the Tory agenda, he is peculiarly on the run from the UKIP fruit loops, promising an in-out EU referendum that he has now lost total control of, and appears more concerned with keeping the likes of John Redwood happy than Michael Heseltine. As for the environment, forget it because he has.

Add to this the return to ‘Nasty’ Tory policy around the welfare agenda, and it is easy to see why many commentators believe that Cameron may be ‘in post’ but not ‘in charge’.

Whatever the result of next year’s election, it is hard to see how David Cameron can really win.