Monday, 30 March 2015

The 2015 UK general election

Today, the UK parliament was dissolved. In a few days time, it's the seven party leader debate. That'll be ... interesting, but that's it for me.

Before I go silent and avoid the relentless coverage, switch off various channels, and delete feeds and news website bookmarks, a few predictions for the 2015 UK general election.

The result I want

A Labour + SNP + Green coalition. However, this is extremely unlikely; if you've lived in Scotland for any period of time then you'll know the deep chasm of dislike (massive understatement) between Labour and the SNP. I just can't see them forming a coalition, even if they have a majority between themselves. Plus, I'm not expecting the Green Party to get more than one UK seat, unfortunately.

The result I might get, hopefully

A Labour + SNP confidence and supply arrangement. It may happen if, again, the numbers look good (326+ seats between them).

The result I feel is the most likely

Call me pessimistic, but I feel that we're in for another five years of Dave (and then, Boris, but that's another thing altogether). I reckon the 650 seats will fall roughly:

Conservatives 307
Labour 249
Liberal Democrats 34
SNP 28
Plaid Cymru 4
Green 1
Other 24

That gives a confidence and supply majority of 16 (increasing to the low to mid twenties if the DUP also participate); so, the Liberal Democrats will be propping up the (UK) government again, but should have more influence over the annual budget. They could, technically, enter into a coalition, but neither party will have the appetite to have another five years of such a strong arrangement.

Labour and the SNP will, unfortunately, fall far short in terms of numbers. There's no possibility of the Conservatives and SNP reaching any kind of arrangement.

Overall, my predictions are significantly out from the various polls, except probably the odd internal Conservative poll or two. In point form; my ten predictions:

  1. As said above, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will again govern in some kind of arrangement, probably confidence and supply.
  2. There will be a Black Swan event of some kind between now and the election that will work in the favour of the Conservatives. It may not be major - it wasn't last time, when Gordon's words were picked up by a Sky TV microphone - but it will drive the media into a frenzy and tilt the election towards the incumbents. Having said that, there is an outside chance it could be major e.g. Argentina having another bite at the Falkland Islands, or more likely Putin sending a bomber to actually fly across the UK mainland and daring the RAF to shoot it down (they won't).
  3. The Conservatives will be up slightly on the number of seats they won in 2010.
  4. Labour will fade in the last week or two of the election as the Conservatives relentlessly drive their (much better, and much better funded) PR machine, predominantly against Labour. Massive billboards everywhere, et al. Ed's team will end election day a few seats down from 2010.
  5. The Liberal Democrats will lose roughly 40% of their seats. Not quite the dramatic wipeout some are predicting, though 40% is still a hefty lot. And they'll still also be the third party in terms of seats as...
  6. ...the SNP will more than quadruple the number of seats they have, but still be a few behind the Liberal Democrats. While they take more than a few Labour seats in Scotland, Liberal Democrats will largely retain their seats north of the border, helped by tactical voting. Post-election, the political map of Scotland will be predominantly yellow and orange.
  7. Nick Clegg will hang on to his seat thanks mainly to the opposition vote being split. I have conflicting feelings on this, as one of the people standing against him is a work colleague. But, will see.
  8. Farage will win Thanet, again because the opposition (to him) vote is split. But UKIP won't be making the major gains they think they will.
  9. Boris will win his seat with a very large majority (5 digits) and immediately start unsubtly campaigning in his jovial-but-calculated manner to be the next Conservative leader and UK prime minister. Because Boris.
  10. Caroline will hold her seat for the Green Party, but the First Past the Post system will - as it wearily does - work against the national vote for the Greens. So, just one seat.
Oh, and two post-election predictions:
  1. Yvette Cooper will be the leader of the Labour Party pretty quickly.
  2. Caroline Lucas to become the leader of the Green Party by the end of 2015.

Codicil: In summary, I hope I am generally wrong on this one.

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