Given the imminent outbreak of a general election campaign in the UK, I thought I’d put together a few thoughts on some of the parties contesting the election. That and the fact that UK politics is actually about issues, as opposed to the politics free zone that is Irish politics, which is primarily about what parish a fella is from and how he can steal money from someone else in a different parish and give it to you.
The Conservatives. Don’t believe the polls saying a hung parliament. The Tories will win a modest majority because they will perform better than the polls expect in the marginal 150 constituencies where British elections are actually decided. The new Cameron administration will initally disappoint eurosceptics by being rude to Brussels in style but not in substance, but will please the anti-political correctness crowd with a few bits of red meat. Watch as they shamefully move to make the BBC look more like ITV: Less history and current affairs/more reality television, because that’s “what the market wants”. There won’t be much room for tax cuts, which will disappoint the right. Don’t be surprised if a Christian Right wing of the Tory party emerges in parliament.
Labour. Labour won’t do as badly as expected. The battle for the leadership will be between Alan Johnson and David Milliband, and I’d put money on Johnson for his ability to sound like a human as opposed to Milliband who is struggling not to sound like he has never been in anything other than politics. The Labour party will have a battle to decide what it stands for, but will recover faster than expected, especially as Tory cutbacks start to bite.
The Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems will lose seats to the Tories, but not as many as expected, as Lib Dem constituency work will allow some to hold narrowly on. Expect them to pick up some urban seats from Labour. The big issue will be how Nick Clegg answers the “Is a Lib Dem vote a vote to keep Labour in?” question. Also, how Nick Clegg does in the much vaunted leaders debate will draw attention to the party, but should not be overestimated.
UKIP/BNP. Each party has the ability to drain small but crucial votes from the Tories and Labour respectively. Nigel Farage may win UKIP’s first elected seat running against the speaker John Bercow.
DUP/UUP/TUV. For sheer entertainment value, the DUP might get a bit of a kicking from the Traditional Unionist Voice running on their right, and the UUP/Tories (with some interesting candidates, not something you hear often about Ulster elections) running to their left.
The Greens: Have an chance of winning their first Commons seat with party leader Caroline Lucas running in Brighton Pavillion, which is seen, with its large gay demographic, as being the most likely seat to elect a Green MP, given the strong Green performance in local elections.