Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
2 January 2015
The UK poll on 7 May is one of the national parliamentary elections to which we referred yesterday in our preview of the political highlights of 2015.
For those who want a bookmaker’s guess as to the likely outcome, here is ours.
The three main traditional parties will be thrashed. The Tory (Conservative) party and the so-called “Labour” party – both of which are in business to bankroll the rich and bankrupt the poor – will suffer heavy losses, while the smaller Liberal Democrat party, currently governing in coalition with the Tories, risks being wiped out altogether.
Nonetheless, the Tory and Labour parties will remain the largest parties in the new parliament.
However, three parties will increase their support.
The long-standing Green party, having lost its novelty sex appeal, may still gain a seat or two, but the immigration-focused UK Independence Party (which has only two seats in the outgoing parliament) and the Scottish Nationalist Party are both slated to chalk up substantial gains.
Neither of the two big parties will have an absolute majority, so allies will be needed. This means either a new government coalition or a minority government supported by other parties on a case-by-case basis in respect of specific policies with which they happen to agree.
Two scenarios are possible.
The Tories will link up with UKIP, the most rightwing of the minority parties, either in a formal coalition or on the basis that UKIP votes with the Tories on specific agreed policies. The effect on current government policy, which is extremely rightwing, would be neutral, except in the case of the European Union. As the price of its support, UKIP, which wants to pull Britain out of the EU, will insist that the already eurosceptic Tory party distances itself yet further from Brussels. This hardening of sentiment towards Europe will inevitably be felt in the referendum on Europe which the Tories have promised for 2017 if they are returned to power in May.
The alternative scenario is that Labour cuts a similar deal with the Scottish Nationalists (who are essentially social democrats and somewhat to the left of Labour) and with the Greens, especially if the latter uptick their current tally of a single seat. This is likely to result in a modest policy shift to the left. Moreover, Labour and the Scottish Nationalists want Britain to stay in the EU, so it is far less likely that they will hold an “in/out” referendum on EU membership.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
- Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
- Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
- The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
- Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
- Ladder (21 June 2012)
- A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
- A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
- Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.