UK Politics 2015 & the General Election
The Story so far...
The 2010 general election saw a big shift in the political landscape of Britain (the UK, including Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) with the Liberal Democrats (centre-left) and Conservatives (centre-right) joining into a coalition government together (a coalition being a very rarely seen thing in British politics, still using an antiquated first past the post system).
The Conservatives gained the majority of the votes however they failed to win enough seats to form their own government outright thus forcing them into forming a coalition, this was an unlikely partnership as the Liberals and Labour had been common allies for a long time and had many policies in common, with the Conservatives often seen as a mutual enemy.
The last three years have regularly seen the Conservatives having their policies lightened by the Liberals however their PR posturing often left the Liberals being hammered by the press whereas an almost "to be expected" attitude toward the Conservatives.
[2013...} The last few weeks has seen a shift in British politics, with still two years to wait the main parties have begun posturing already for the 2015 general election (held usually every five years). The Tories (Conservatives) and Liberals main push has been a long awaited drive for infrastructure spending (£100 billion announced) this would begin to paint the rather bleak and ineffective economic actions taken in the last 3 years in a new light, hopefully showing for the next 2 that hope was back and finally some positive plan was in place. Unfortunately the new spending announced was later revealed to generally be a project in spin (for example re-announcing old plans with actual cuts or extending the time scale to 2020 to inflate the numbers) still it managed to grab the headlines (at least for a few hours before the truth set in).
So who are the main political parties in Britain and how are they fairing at the moment?
Labour : 38% [-1] was 39%, 6 Months Ago
The Labour Party who had seemed to be heading toward an easy victory with a 15 point lead, they've however seen their large lead slip to the wayside, now only 6% separates them from the Conservatives. With UKIP eroding the Tories vote this should be an easy victory for Labour however their poor record on economics from the last time in power still haunts them and their lack of ability to present any real alternative in opposition with a surprising record of missing endless open goals presented to them from the coalition.
Labour however do still seem set to grasp victory on a wave of "not the Tories" though their chances of an overall majority seem to be slipping. As a party that used to be the voice of the left, new labour and it's rush to the middle ground has seen Labour not really have a policy foothold or stance of it's own just attracting support through the failings of the government.
It's a shame that while the country and it's voters desperately seek new leaders and a voice of hope it appears the eventual winners might be decided simply by the Liberal Democrats voting base disappearing to labour in after they joined the coalition and Labour winning the election despite their policies and leaders not because of them.
2010 election, 2013 poll - Big 3
Conservatives : 34% [+1] was 33%, 6 Months Ago
Whilst victory does seem set for Labour and possibly an out-right win without the need for a coalition, the right-wing Conservatives have had a traditionally good showing in elections and often have the largest war chest to throw at the voters. Most, some even within their own party have already written off the chances of winning especially with the onset of UKIP however the disillusion with the opposition has kept the Tories in with a chance.
Their prospects now seem to rest with how well the economy recovers over the next two years, seemingly though the economy seems to be slowly sputtering into recovering no matter what poorly thought up policy they throw at it next, therefore if the rest of the world continues recovering their chances will increase even further.
On a note of cynicism with the benefits capping being one of the most popular issues with voters and high immigration a shift to the right even further will be expected.
If David Cameron would accept this is unclear, he seems much like Blair, to like the centre-right ground, much loved territory of most UK Newspapers, however his continued inability to answer any questions at PMQs (a session held each Wednesday where the house can ask the prime minister questions) and turning it into a game of dodge then spin the answer has left him looking more and more like a spin-artist less like a politician of worth and with his actual main rival, Nigel Farage endlessly speaking plainly and simply, continuing to turn the commons into an exercise of spin he plays directly into his hands.
UKIP (UK Independence Party) : 13% [+/-] was 13%, 6 Months Ago
Before the general election arrives there's the European Election to come, if UKIP manage to pull off coming 1st they have a good shot at gaining MPs. Many had written the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) off as a serious party and a phenomenon however they continue to gain support, similar to the tea party movement in the US not many had predicted room for a very right wing party however their strong line on pulling out of Europe and immigration is chiming well with many voters who feel the country is already "full".
Added to this is their leader (Nigel Farage) has the ability to talk clearly and without the usual rhetoric, meaning whilst the other leaders continue to drift further and further from relating to the average person Farage continues to connect, the weakness perhaps though is in the rest of the party other than him, the others often seen as being perhaps a little "loony". Plus with UKIP support being very spread out equally and the antiquated first past the post system (why there can't be a mix of first past the post plus proportional representation is beyond me) meaning while they might have 10% more support than for example the Green party they might not pick up a single seat without a large boost.
2010 Election on Left, 2013 Poll on Right
The Liberal Democrats : 9% [-2] was 11%, 6 Months Ago
The liberals have found it very tough in governance, especially the seeming unforgettable pre-election promise they made not to raise university tuition fees (and then trebling them), most have predicted their annihilation at the next election and unless something very unexpected happens it looks set to occur with current polls meaning they'd lose more than half of their current seats.
With the increasing chances of a new coalition needing to be formed this is disastrous for the Liberals leaving them with less and less ability to come to the table with numbers. One hope they might have is a potential change of leadership with Nick Clegg seen as the driving force of many of the coalition's decisions and inabilities to push the Conservatives for more compromises, whilst they do have a good record for restraining the Tories most still see them as the enablers.
With renewables still a core issue for the future of the country (Scotland recognising this and no longer constrained by Labour / Con lack of investment in the future's most important resource) the Liberal Democrats and Greens hold a key credential.
Green Party : 2% [-1] was 3%, 6 Months Ago
With such deep and in-grained disillusionment and disappointment with the main three parties from electorate and year after year decreases in voter attendance some would've expected the Greens to be sweeping up votes from all three, especially with the Conservatives atrocious record on green policies (after positioning themselves as the green party prior to the last election even seeing their symbol being replaced with a green tree). Caroline Lucas has continued to be a great figurehead for the Greens however they still fail to often get a voice with the mass media
The greens unfortunately scored a massive own goal when they decided to split their party going in favour of Scottish independence, really most can see it's not just about what Scotland gains or loses from being in the Union it's what everyone in the UK gains from everyone being in it, it's like Wales, are you saying they should stay because they have a poor economy in comparison with Scotland which has rich investment for renewables so therefore money and economic gain should dictate whos in and whos out? If Scotland did decide to become independent then fair enough, a Scottish Green party, however before the referendum is even decided makes little if any sense, when the Greens sometimes gets hammered for being a little looney if not careful then splitting the party prior to the referendum does not send reassuring messages.
SNP / PLD : 3% [-/+] was 3%, 6 Months Ago
The Scottish National party (SNP) and the Welsh Plaid Cymru party have a loud voice at present with the continued wranglings to the yes / no vote for Scottish independence. However most can see there are simply too many problems to independence so even if it were feasible for Scotland to opt-out the vote would probably be to stay in anyway, however with the added fact that independence seems filled with scenarios where Scotland's voice pretty much vanishes from international politics and that both the devolved parliaments are working well.
Added to this is Alex Salmond's continued descent into an almost clown-like character who can only speak like a Dalek "Scotland! Scotland!" Much like union bosses who get stuck in tiny spheres of politics they continue to say exactly the same lines no matter what deals and offers made as focused on one agenda which make them 2D individuals in a 3D and increasingly 4D world of politics. This is increasingly shown when Scotland's independence's arguments for a very easy transition straight into the Eurozone with the Euro as their currency when actually tested on a world stage fell to pieces. His recent stunt of eclipsing his wife with a Scottish flag at Andy Murray's (Scottish / British) Wimbledon win highlights the shortsighted-ness of the whole movement, if Andy had been English and the British PM was seen waving and England flag in the VIPs area as if to somehow claim the victory for one part of Britain not all their would have been disgrace, as it's Alex though it's just seen as another cheap stunt, the makers of Braveheart have a lot to answer for.
Respect : 0% [-1] was 1%, 6 Months Ago
George Galloway continues to be a double edged sword, the leader of the Respect party, because of his status he can get interviews and appearances on the mass media however bring him up in conversation and undoubtedly his appearance on the reality game show "Big Brother" where he pretended to be a cat the meow'd at a fellow house mate in a fairly, we've all made fools of ourselves before, thank God I didn't do it on national TV type moments where you can't stop watching yet the bizarreness is just so incredible it's like seeing a dolphin for the first time or something, type way.
If before the election their old leader, Salma Yaqoob could come back and Galloway be 2nd in command and focus on maintaining his seat, plus keep equality as important however see that most parties are for that, and instead focus on being a centre-left party and mop up the huge ranks of dilliusioned labour like UKIP has to the Conservatives.
Poll - Since : 2/7/13
How would you vote? (Note, colours are auto-assigned)
I myself would like one party would come up with a huge raft of tax reductions & incentives in certain areas realising it dosent just having to be borrowing & more spending to kickstart an economy. For example :
# : Give very large (headline grabbing) road tax breaks to new cars that meet eceptionally good fuel economy standards. Plus begin a road tax elevator on very bad fuel economy standards. As most of these will be new cars will see a boost in car sales, and filter to 2nd-hand sector. Plus reduces impact on environment and less reliance on resource whose price flutuates widely (leading to huge booms and boosts in economies as the price of oil/gas jumps up and down).
# : Give an automatic 50% reduction in VAT any goods for re-newables projects, tidal, hydro, solar & wind, all where non-evasive.
# : Create a massive governement funded project where the out of work (hitting near 7%) can apprentice on re-vamping dis-used buildings into council houses (and end the ridiculous and ill thought out right-to-buy scheme leaving a terrible housing shortage for local authorities)
- 2015 update -
As predicted the election was labour's to lose, which they did (yesterday) the suprise was how well the SNP (Scottish National Party) did, mainly thanks to their new leader. Speaking of which the Labour, Liberal Democratic and UKIP leaders all resigned after poor performances in the elction with the Conservatives taking a narrow majority victory (to be noted, the UKIP leader then immediately became the leader again a few days later). Many are seeing this as a death knoll for British politics for the next 5 years and with TTIP being negotiated fears are high. Yet this may galvanise the electorate into resistance and there (as there always is) great reason for hope.