Monday, 10 May 2010

Con-Lib Dem Government

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Well there you go. What do I know? The Lab-Lib Dem Coalition looks like it is dead in the water.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown

It just proves that trying to reasonably predict the outcome to the 2010 election is as easy as winning the Lottery. The problems ahead for any type of Minority Government/Pact/Coalition are not to be under-estimated. As the talks continue (and there could be announcement later today), the chances are (at the moment) a Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government will emerge. It has the merit that it will have the most chance of lasting the distance as opposed to either a minority Lab-Lib Dem Government or a Grand Coalition of Lab-Lib Dem-Nationalist-Green Government. However, knowing the personalities involved and the hardcore of Lib Dems who really don't like the Conservatives there will have to be some tough selling to the Lib Dem back benches on a Tory deal and then some tough whipping to make sure the new Government can win all the crucial votes. When it comes to the Budget in the next few weeks there surely will be 5 or so Lib Dem MPs who will oppose the expected drastic cuts in public spending with another 5 abstaining. There is going to be really battles with the Left of the Lib Dems.

When no serious change in the electoral system comes about; let's face it most Conservatives on a free vote will vote against PR together with enough Others to block any Bill in the Commons, then the Lib Dems will realise that they are stuck with First Past the Post for another generation.

It will be one heck of a ride with the Lib Dem Whips having to cajole, persuade and invariably lean on their back benchers to get through a range of votes over the next four or five years. British politics will have a seismic shift because the next 2 years will see the Con-Lib Dem Government become very unpopular very quickly as the scale of the cutbacks in schools, hospitals, transport and local government becomes finally apparent. The two parties will be forced together to ride out their unpopularity. That means that every week journalists will be looking for splits between the party leaders and on key votes. The party conferences will become bumpy rides as activists (especially in the Lib Dems) complain bitterly about the Coalition. Could it actually result in resignations from the Lib Dems moving towards (or joining Labour). Will the Pact/Coalition split part within a year and force a second general election? Will the alignment mean an electoral pact at the next general election?

On the other hand with supposed secret talks going on between the Lib Dems and Labour is their a final spectacular twist in all this and the talks with the Conservatives collapse in recriminations and the Grand Left Coalition is back on? Goodness how the media are loving this!

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My election prediction

How far out was I?

My Prediction                                   Actual result

Conservatives         285                    307 (Conservatives likely to win final by-election)
Labour                   262                    258
Lib Dems                 74                      57
Green                         1                        1
Other                       28                      27
Total                     650                    650

If the Lib Dems had held up their vote as predicted by virtually all the polls, then my prediction would have been about spot on. The Lib Dems seats were overestimated by 17 seats and the Conservatives underestimated by 22 seats. As it is, I take some comfort from the Labour prediction being almost bang on together with the Others prediction likewise (including the new Green MP, Caroline Lucas).

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