The Thick of It


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Will 2015 follow 2010 and be a loser's election?

As we head towards the mid point of the current parliament no party looks like being the next victor. On current form a 2015 general election will bring results much like 2010l, where there was no clear winner.

In 2010 Gordon Brown had failed to convince the country he deserved to win. David Cameron assumed his Tories would waltz to power by default, yet they didn't. The Lib Dems lost numerous seats as they failed to take advantage of Nick Clegg's popularity bounce following the TV debates.

In 2012 we've got a Labour leader in Ed Miliband who is growing into his role but hasn't convinced yet. Depending on who you ask, his leadership is either a work in progress or ineffective. The Tories are struggling to get their programme through parliament, such as NHS reforms, in the face of huge public and professional opposition. While  many voters buy their line that the economy is "Labour's mess" they are not convinced that the Tories are the best for the country. The Lib Dems are paying the price for fronting up several of the Tories unpopular policies, such as the trebling of tuition fees.

How does that project the three parties forward to 2015?

Labour need to continue to build on successes, such as forging the political agenda, as they did over phone hacking and bankers' bonuses, but through to actual cut through with voters. This has so far failed to materialise. The Telegraph's Benedict Brogan is right when he says "Labour would be foolish to think an absence of enthusiasm for the Tories can get it out of its strategic hole". It can't win by default, just as it failed to do in the 1980s. 

The Tories need voters to start thanking them for taking tough but correct action to improve the economy. They also need to look more like a government in control of events and the political agenda than they currently do. They need to look like they are most fit to govern of the three parties.

The Lib Dems need people to forget about their sins, such as trebling tuition fees and hope to recover local support where their pockets of seats exist. I have no idea whether this will happen.

Nobody looks like doing what they need to forge ahead in the polls. That means it is all up for grabs and the political landscape is likely to continue to shift according to external events and how each of the main players react to this.


Anna said...

Does this mean you predict another coalition government?

Tim McLoughlin said...

At present we're going to end up with either a minority government, either Labour or Tory, or another coalition. Nobody had done enough to surge ahead.

There is increasing unrest on the Tory benches because they hate working with the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems are worried about how they will survive at all. Labour are uneasy about Ed Miliband's leadership.

A major external shock that requires our leaders to respond will be a game-changer, though we don't yet know what that will be. It could be the collapse of the Euro or another financial crisis.

That will prove to many people who is fit to govern. At the moment there are no answers, only questions.

Anna said...

If the euro collapses, people will vote tory because the tories are the most anti-european and so can use it to show they are more trustworthy with the economy. However surely the fact that the tories are about to ruin the NHS is a game changer, and certainly going to happen? And people care more about their health service than the euro. So Ed Miliband just needs get his credibility rating sorted out.