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Seven predictions for British politics in 2015

6393002_sSeems like an opportune time to channel my inner Nostradamus. “Serious” political commentators as a rule fight shy of making hard and fast predictions because one’s liable to get shown up, especially as the 2015 election will be a close-run affair with all kinds of political insurgents set to skew the result this way that way. But I’m not serious or, at least, I don’t have a paid berth in a national daily to worry about. That makes me free to report on the images coalescing in my scrying pool. This is what peered back among the bubbles and steam.

1. 2015’s going to be a very dirty election
Hardly a prediction, seeing as we’ve been wallowing in the muck of an extended campaign for much of the last year. More business-as-usual. There will be more Ed Miliband character assassination, more exaggeration and lying about the economy, deficit, and debt, and perhaps more scaremongering than an election has ever seen before. Unfortunately, I can see myself indulging some. That’s because it really is a crunch election. Who wins will make a massive difference to the fortunes of the labour movement and the people we stand for. And, be sure, if the Tories get in again they will gerrymander constituencies to give them an undue advantage in future contests. Fancy the idea of a three or four term Conservative government?

2. There will be an increased turn out
Despite the existing gerrymander of individual voter registration disproportionately affecting Labour support, turn out will be up. In 2010 it stood at 65%. Because there is clear water between the two main parties and an insurgent electorate behind UKIP, the SNP, and Greens for once there is real choice. In 1997, 71% of voters went to the polls. Will it be that high again? I don’t think so, but it won’t be far off. I’m plumping for the 69-70% range.

3. Labour will be the biggest party and will squeak an overall majority
The story of the polls over 2014 has been one of a closing gap between the blues and the reds. While normal in the year preceding, what is different is support is not flowing from one of these to the other but are being bled away at the margins. The Tories and, to a lesser extent, Labour are losing voters to UKIP while Labour is also getting stung by the SNP and Greens. Ouch. Still, in those key marginals Labour retain a lead despite the inclement weather. Even if there is a wipe out in Scotland enough seats there plus a majority in Englandwill push it across the threshold. This is not a counsel for complacency, mind!

4. Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister
Obviously that’s the case if the prediction above comes to pass. But if not, he will still be Prime Minister. There’s been silliness in recent days about the SNP propping up a Tory government, partly thanks to disbarring Craig Murray from the parliamentary candidate list. If they return a substantial number of MPs to Westminster, they know as well as anyone that a deal with the Tories will sink their chances in Holyrood 2016. It’s not going to happen. Secondly, the LibDems have got a long road back to political rehabilitation ahead of them. They happily dished out the austerity and gracefully shielded the Tories from getting a battering. Another five year term propping up the Tories will destroy them. Labour on the other hand, even if it’s an arm’s length confidence and supply, could put them back on track. This, of course, is much easier if Clegg and Alexander are shown the door by the voters. Yes, so there are rumours of LibDem MPs prepared to cut another deal with the Conservatives, but there’s been plenty of behind the scenes footsie with the PLP too. If the LibDems weren’t considering a pact of some kind, ask why – apart from Sheffield Hallam – they’re concentrating their national resources defending seats that might fall to anyone but Labour?

5. UKIP will do well, but not as well as they think
It’s been a good year for UKIP. Winning the European elections, getting two MPs, performing very creditably in local elections, leading the political news agenda, and regularly weighing in at around 15-19% in the polls. In advance of May this will continue. There will be a little bit of drop off come the election but we’re talking figures of 12-13% here, certainly not a collapse the likes of Dan Hodges is predicting (hoping) for. A big slap on the back for them then. But my reading of the runes flags up a problem for them. They’re only going to win one seat, and that will be Douglas Carswell’s. Mark Reckless will depart from the Commons and Nigel Farage won’t even make it in. Then comes the infighting, if Farage makes good his promise and resigns as UKIP leader. And when that happens I’ll cheerfully pass round the popcorn.

6. The Tories bid Dave adieu
The 23rd anniversary of the 1992 general election will pass without them securing an overall majority. Dave will be ejected from Downing Street and the Tories will return to the opposition benches. That’s when the real scrapping will start. Theresa May, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond and David Davis are going to knock lumps out of each other for the sack of bones that is their party. None offer a way back to power, twisted as they are by europhobia (May, Hammond, Davis) or deficit determinism (all of them). When’s all said and done, May will emerge as leader. And her reign shall see the Tories decline even further into ignominy and toxicity.

7. The far left will be nowhere
This blog wouldn’t be this blog if I didn’t say a few words about the fortunes of the far left. Well, here they are. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will mount a bigger parliamentary challenge this time than 2010, and will be supported by local election challenges wherever they can put up the bodies. However, 2015 will not be a breakthrough year. Not one single deposit is going to be saved, and their tiny vote share is set to decline even further. In Scotland, the SSP did alright out of the referendum, apparently picking up a thousand extra members. But that will not translate into votes. Why plump for the SSP when a big SNP vote is a more effective way of telling Westminster to sod off?

These are the future truths revealed to me. Will they come to pass or turn all a bit Mystic Meg? Time will tell. Have you any additional or alternative predictions?

This article first appeared at All that is Solid

Image Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo by Sergey Mironov 

9 Comments

  1. Ric Euteneuer says:

    Well, it wouldn’t be a left blog if we didn’t support Labour, but I think some of this is wish fulfilment. 1 and 2 are a given. The sad thing is that the Tories will fight very dirty, and benefit – Labour, for all the right reasons, will not respond in kind, and suffer consequentially.

    3 (and 4) I wish I could be confident of, and is where I think some of this is wish fulfilment. Most of us want Labour to win. The jury (at least statistically) is still out. The Tories can still win, and if we don’t respond in kind to 1. they still could. UKIP will fight REALLY dirty (they already are on social media) and will concentrate their fire on Labour, not the Tories.

    Yes, UKIP (in 5) MIGHT get 1 or 2 MPs but with a following wind and a dirty, dirty campaign could easily turn this into 12 or 13.

    Yes, if 3 and 4 come to pass, then so will 6. That’s a given. Hardly a leader has not immediately fallen on their sword when they’ve lost an election over the last 30 years.

    And 7, well that was always going to be the case, it’s certainly not worth any lengthy debate or analysis. TUSC/Left Unity/Tufty Club – Syriza they ain’t.

  2. John reid says:

    The turn out in Scotland will be up, England i rhink a lot of people who haven’t voted for 18 years who say they’re voting Ukip won’t turn up, and they’ll be Al those ex Libdems abstaining, in protest, as such I think the turn out won’t be any higher than 2010

    Actually the Tories have a secret plan have 2 elections, bet they regret the fixed term parliament ideal of not being able to bring down a minority labour Gov’t, if it happens,
    They’ve got the money, as such, they can out spend us in a second election, later in the year, but they’d n ef to form a minority themselves in My, then bring themselves down, too have a second election, later on.

    Ukip, will get about 13% on the turn out I suggested

    Suprised you didn’t have a guess who’ll be the New Libdem leader

  3. swatantra says:

    P B-C makes some good points.
    But I fear that 2015 is likely to be a re-run of 1992. The ‘voters’ are not really being honest with the pollsters and too embarrassed to admit which way they’ll vote, that is if they bother to turn up.; I suggest that they’ll be voting with their feet and staying away in droves, or voting for the minor Parties in protest.
    It’ll be no more dirtier than any other election; Churchill threw a lot of dirt at Attlee but still lost. Voters are not stupid; they want a Leader, and a Party that can change their lives for the better. Unfortunately they don’t have confidence in EdM to do that; neither can they get out of their minds that 2008 happened under Labour’s watch. No Party has come back again after one term in oppo, so it’ll be no reflection on Labour if they don’t make it this year.
    The Boundary commission is pretty neutral despite what Parties say about its bias; in fact gthe bias usually always works in favour of Labour anyway whatever boundaries are set.
    The liklihood is that the Tories will emerge as the largest Party, but then a cobbled coalition of Lab & Nats & Greens could have a majority of 10. So who will be PM is still up in the air. Lib Dems might well end up with just 9 seats.; Vince could their Leader or Jo Swinson.
    The only way that the TUSC could get more Union MPs is for the Unions to actively 100% get behind TUSC but they are unlikely to do that, at the moment.
    A lot will depend on the TV Debates, and I have a feeling that EdM will not emerge with flying colours on that. So I agree with Ric.
    And Dave’s secret weapon is Carswell who’s now having 2nd thoughts about UKIP, and trying desparately to disengage himself from the mess he got himself into.

    1. John reid says:

      Quite right, for once

  4. Robert says:

    The people are not going to come back in numbers except maybe in Scotland for the SNP, then in 2016 if labour cannot win Scotland Murphy will be back as an MP, nice to be able to fail and keep your job.

    I think Scotland is labour biggest issue and labour could lose eight or ten or more seats, and this would be devastation to the party.

    UKIP has gone off the Boil and I do not think it will will be able to light the fires unless they can debate because Cameron and Miliband are a shambles at speaking Farage would gain, so I cannot see any TV debates .

    Nope I think what will happen as it has before a few times the voters will look at what is on offer and decide that getting rid of the Tories would be wrong the deficit is coming down and the good times if we ever have any again will be with the Tories.

    After all who would want to vote for a center right party like labour which only speaks to people if they work hard.

    Miliband speech at the New years was so shockingly poor even labour list removed it the following day, he speaks about labour and the hard working he does not speak about pensions or pensioners, he does not speak for people who do not work hard, you have to be as hard working as MP’s who deserve £7,500 pay rise of as in Wales £10,000, all those nurses doctors and all those who do not work hard will get a 1% offer even from labour.

    Union members will not forget Falkirk.

    My prediction.

    UKIP will come fourth with maybe two MP’s.

    Labour will lose the next election.

    The Tories will win.

    The SNP will do massive in Scotland maybe removing between eight to ten of labour MP’s which will cause a massive issue for labour.

    In Wales it will be as it is now with maybe one or two labour loses to the Tories .

    So labour has to replace maybe 12+ MP’s who will be lost and that is a massive number.

    So Tories will win labour second Liberal much reduced third and UKIP will be fourth or fifth depending on whether the Greens can get a few MPs but I doubt it.

    The reason I say this in the past after a recession when Labour have been in power the people have allowed the party in power to have an extra term to sort out the mess sadly it has normally been the Tories labour has lost so many elections in the past through the Tories being given one more go.

    But I do think people will think labour front bench is inexperience and Miliband is to much of a risk and he makes way to many errors.
    I cannot for the life of me see a bigger turn out nothing has changed, since 2010 in fact if anything it’s got worse.

    Maybe the hard working can win it for labour but why.

    1. John reid says:

      Apart from the last line and the Falkirk ,thing I agree, union members you say, or do you mean affiliated to labour Union members who vote labour as a rule?

  5. David Ellis says:

    No. 7: It takes some serious shit to induce the working class to break its political unity even if that unity is behind the most repulsive, cynical, opportunist realists like those of New Labour. Scottish workers are doing it and breaking to the SNP. In Wales too Plaid is picking up a substantial working class vote. Hard pressed Muslim communities are toying with Respect or have been but amongst the wider working class in England it is still Labour or perhaps in some instances UKIP. These populist parties are at least making anti-Westminster noises and offer the one big policy: independence which people can latch onto and fill with their own content to a certain extent. Nowhere is the far or even the mildly reformist left making an impact because it has diddly squat to offer. Nowhere do they offer an kind of coherent alternative to those of New Labour or the populists. None of them have a popular programme for the transition to working class power and socialism that the more politically advanced layers of the class could get behind. They offer an eclectic mess of demagoguery and obscurantism posing as a thought out vision. At the end of the day, let’s face it, the centrists and the sects are not interested in challenging the right they are interested only in the continued existence of their sect as a sect. If they did happen to be propelled into the front line like for instance Syriza in Greece they would very rapidly, like Syriza in Greece, become the most pragmatic politicians you’ve ever seen adopting all sorts of excuses why nothing can be done.

    1. Robert says:

      We have one of the most ridiculous set up old labour is dead, but we will use the NHS to our benefits, New labour is dead but we have a fall back with Progress .

      In the end the offer is Cameron or Miliband and I will accept neither they are both way to close to what I dislike.

    2. mike says:

      It takes some shut to get the working class out to the polling stations. Look what’s happened because of that……..

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