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UK election: conservatives surge « Previous | |Next »
May 7, 2010

The momentum in the last couple of days in the UK election has been with the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats have gone backwards--they may even lose seats! They've been squeezed by the two party system. Unsurprisingly, Labour looks as if it has lost. Their flicker of hope has been strangled. The centre-left has gone backwards.

The national swing the Tories require to win an overall majority is 6.9%; the exit poll suggested 5.5% swing, but the swing is not uniform across the nation. Will the Conservative's blue surge be enough to get them the majority of seats they desire--326? That looks more realistic than a late Labour surge that would make a minority Lib Dem/Labour coalition possible. Will Labour and Lib Dems win enough seats to form a coalition?

RowsonMUKelection2.jpg Martin Rowson

The turnout is high and Britain has moved on from New Labour. Despite all the late Labor talk about them being is in the business of trying to form a coalition with the Lib Dems, Labor have worn out their welcome. Gordon Brown is toast. The electorate wants change. A minority conservative government?

The traders in the bond market traders are banking on a Tory victory in the context of a crisis about sovereign debt across Europe. At this stage, the Tories inisist that Labour has lost its authority to govern. Labour says the Tories haven't won and Britain needs stability. On the other hand, bringing in electoral reform via Labour remains the Lib Dems only hope of ever making a breakthrough.

A hung parliament---with a Conservative minority government---looks likely. Can they get to 314 seats so that the pressure on Brown to give up power will be intense. The Constitutional convention and the British political system says that the first call in a hung parliament situation is the government of the day: can the PM form a strong stable and principled government?

It's 1974 (Ted Heath, Jeremy Thorpe and Harold Wilson) revisited for the British, who don't seem to thing much of coalition governments especially during a European debt/economic crisis (Athens is burning etc etc ) and twitchy money market. The pound is taking a battering etc etc. They--the media and talking heads---want a strong government to take decisive action.

Labour has made clear it would try to hang on to power by forging a partnership deal with the Liberal Democrats to get a majority on the floor of the Commons. Labor still don't have enough votes to do this. So will they try to put together be an anti-Tory coalition with a multitude of parties (eg., the Lib Dems +Scottish and Welsh Nationalists)

The Lib Dems appear to have two choices. They can support the Tories either in a formal coalition (unlikely, because the party ranks would be agianst) or through informal deals not to block Tory legislation. They may get much of what they want in such a deal, but they will not get electoral reform.

Alternatively they may decide this is their one real chance for voting reform, and so do a deal to keep Labour in power as the only way to achieve that, although almost certainly with a new leader. In deciding which way to go it may come down to what they think the public regards as more important - electoral reform or an end to the Labour government? They are in a hard place as the markets rattle at sterling with Greece and New York sending out shockwaves.

Nick Clegg will give David Cameron and the Conservatives the first shot at attempting to form a government. All that Cameron is offering the Lib Dems is an "all-party committee of inquiry" into political and electoral reform and to work with him on implementing the Tory agenda

Will there be a Clegg-backed Tory administration? Only if there is a chance of electoral reform surely. This is the Lib Dems chance in a lifetime to introduce proportional representation. There's little chance for electoral reform--proportional representation--from the Conservatives judging from their past statements.

The markets are insisting on the immediate deep cuts the Conservatives have been promising to bring down the deficit. But the Tories will also be desperate to avoid the kind of harsh early measures that might deny them the clear majority they'll be looking for in a second election latter in the year.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:21 AM | | Comments (7)


A Conservative administration is determined to shrink the size of the state and cut taxes as an end in itself. Rather than pay for it by taking more from the people with the most money, they will slash services for the broke and the broken first. After the homeless, they will turn to making the disabled, the mentally ill or the elderly to pay for the care they need to survive.

A Cameron-led Conservative government would be an English government with little to no representation in Scotland or Wales. Remove Wales and Scotland from the equation, and this result is a Tory landslide. In an English Parliament, they would be by far the largest Party. Suddenly national identity becomes a crucial factor.

"The market" wants a conservative led coalition because it is more likely that this will lead to the big cuts to government spending that will keep the markets happy.The market here refers to finance capital. The Right wing press will attempt to blast Labor out of office as it defends first-past-the-post system in which the "winner" takes all. For them Cameron 's Conservatives are the winner.

A minority Conservative government would find a second election, later in 2010 or in 2011 attractive as a second election would probably be won by the Conservatives with an overall majority. Then the harsher cuts would be made.

Labour's time has passed.Time for them to step aside. The lights have gone out.

electoral reform must happen, if nick clegg fails to grasp this opportunity it will herald the demise of the liberal party, voters will desert in huge numbers. we have waited a long time for a fair electoraj system. go for it nick

I understand that David Cameron has told senior Tories that he would not be offering a referendum on electoral reform under his government, which would deny the Lib Dems one of their most cherished prizes.So far Cameron has only offered a cross-party inquiry into electoral reform.

Cameron would not be able to back electoral reform even if he granted a referendum. They fear electoral reform: they see a proportional voting system as likely to exclude the Tories from government for generations.