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One Week Left, and More Confusing Than Ever

The 2010 General Election in Britain brought a spell of firsts, or very rare events. There was the first coalition government being formed in nearly a century, the Green Party getting their first ever seat in Parliament and UKIP winning their first national election iJustn the European elections of 2014. Was the 2010 General Election the death of Britain’s two party political system, and the birth of a multiparty system? Was the faltering First Past the Post election system finally showing its weaknesses on a national scale? With less than a week to go, the UK general election pundits are going crazy. Some are saying it is going to be a Labour party victory, others convinced there will be a Conservative victory, whilst many more and saying there will be another coalition. There are even those who are reminiscing about the general election in 1974, and drawing parallels to that unforgettable moment in British electoral history, where a minority government was formed then collapsed very soon afterwards.

The Labour party is unlikely to win a majority largely due to the losses they are going to suffer in Scotland at the hands of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP). With some analysts and pollsters predicting SNP to secure nearly every parliamentary seat in Scotland, the labour party have to seek seats elsewhere. They have two choices; either concentrate on the seats possessed by the disintegrating Liberal Democrats, or on marginal Conservative seats where UKIP are sweeping up Conservative votes. The Labour Party’s best chance of gaining power would be by forming a minority government, and then creating a friendship pact with the SNP so then between them, they can have a majority in parliament.

In 2010, when David Cameron led the Conservative Party to victory, he only had a minority of seats in Parliament. Therefore he formed a formal coalition with the more liberal minded Liberal Democrats. This was always a relatively surprising deal due to their differing values. With the differing values over Lib Dem commitments to the abandonment of nuclear weapons, the scrapping of university tuition fees, a mansion tax and their opposition to austerity, whilst the Conservative party disagreed with the Lib Dems on all these measures, it is surprising the coalition government lasted 5 years. As a result of this, the Lib Dems are now seen, in 2015 as a weak party. Tuition fees were not lowered; they were tripled, Britain is still a nuclear nation, austerity measures are tougher than ever before and a mansion tax has not been implemented. As a result of this, the Liberal Democrats are now only polling 8-9% of the vote in 2015, whereas in the 2010 election they secured 23% of the popular vote.

Therefore, with a week to go, what will happen? Will there be the political earthquake that UKIP has promised – or will UKIP only gain a handful of seats? Will Labour be able to create a coalition with the SNP to form a majority? Will the Conservatives be able to gain enough support and potentially create another coalition with the Lib Dems, or a grand coalition with the Northern Irish DUP and UKIP as well as the Lib Dems? Who knows. What we do know, is that for the first time in British history, with less than a week to go; no one knows where this election is going to end up.

My guess? A Conservative Party minority victory with the Lib Dems retaining enough seats to create a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition again.

– Edward Durgan

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