I have been peering into the Collyer Crystal Ball again, to try and see the results of the elections tomorrow.
The AV Referendum
Predicted result: No 60%, Yes 40%. (Which would be a shame of course…)
David Cameron praises the common sense and intelligence of the British people and proclaims that we now need to turn our attention to more pressing matters. Ed Miliband declares that the people have spoken and proclaims that we now need to turn our attention to more pressing matters.
Nick Clegg says the vote against AV is “entirely consistent” with the view that the British people really want PR and won’t settle for half-hearted voting reform. He proclaims that we now need to turn our attention to more pressing matters.
Chris Huhne says the vote against AV is “entirely consistent” with the view that Nick Clegg has screwed things up. He proclaims that we now need to turn our attention to more pressing matters – like how long he should leave it before mounting a leadership challenge.
English Local Elections
Predicted vote shares: Tories 35%, Labour 40%, Liberal Democrats 10%, UKIP 5%.
Predicted councillors: Tories lose 500 seats, Labour gain 1500 seats, Liberal Democrats lose 1000 seats, UKIP gain 15 seats.
David Cameron says the results were “much better than we expected”, and very good for a government in mid term that is having to take “difficult decisions” on public spending.
Ed Miliband says the results “show that the British people have had enough of watching the Tories make savage cuts to public services”.
Moody’s threaten to downgrade Britain’s debt rating because the government have “no credible plan to deal with the deficit”, and call for much deeper cuts.
Nick Clegg says his heart goes out to “all those hard working Liberal Democrat councillors who have lost their seats”, but says there is no alternative to sorting out the mess that Labour left behind.
Chris Huhne says his heart goes out to “all those hard working Liberal Democrat councillors who have lost their seats”, and hopes they will support his leadership challenge in due course.
Nigel Farage says these are “great results” that will form a “springboard for UKIP to eclipse the Liberal Democrats as Britain’s third party”.
Scottish and Welsh Local Elections
Predicted vote shares: the crystal ball is too cloudy to see….
Outcome: the SNP stay in government in Scotland. Labour take an overall majority in the Welsh Assembly. The Liberal Democrats lose half their seats in both Scotland and Wales, as do the Scottish Conservatives. UKIP win their first seat in the Welsh Assembly.
Alex Salmond proclaims himself “well pleased” with the results, which are “great news for Scotland”, and have once again “shown us the settled will of the Scottish people that they want independence”. He says the results are “especially pleasing given we are being forced to make cuts in spending by the Tories in London”.
Labour leader Iain Gray says the results are “disappointing”, but they will mount a vigorous opposition to “Alex Salmond’s SNP cuts”.
Annabel Goldie says she thought they did “really well” and hopes the Scottish Conservatives will go on doing “really useful and interesting things that are really useful and interesting”.
Northern Irish Elections
The crystal ball provides no information here, since it is still asleep from listening to Annabel Goldie.
Don’t be cowed by what people are saying about us. Stick to the course.
he said at their Spring Conference in Sheffield.
He added for good measure, that it would not have been right after the general election to
retreat into a corner of perfect purity in opposition but complete incompetence.
I suspect he meant “impotence”, but who knows. Perhaps incompetence is at the forefront of his thoughts.
Mr Clegg’s defensive remarks are not surprising. At the general election last year, the Liberal Democrats received 23 percent of the vote. The most recent opinion polls then had put them on 28 percent. In that same election, UKIP polled 3.1 percent.
The most recent YouGov poll now puts UKIP on 6 percent – double the share they achieved at the general election. The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, are credited with just 9 percent support.
9 percent! Compared with a real result of 23 percent last time.
According to that opinion poll, UKIP support has doubled since that election. And Liberal Democrats have lost getting on for two thirds of their support.
At the Barnsley Central by-election last week, UKIP came second, handsomely beating even the Tories, while the Liberal Democrats trailed in sixth and lost their deposit.
And at Euro-elections, UKIP have consistently polled well, coming in a strong second after the Tories, and again very comfortably ahead of the Liberal Democrats.
At UKIP’s Spring Conference, Nigel Farage set the party the objective of supplanting the Liberal Democrats as Britain’s third party by the next general election. Looking at those opinion poll figures, the result in Barnsley Central, and the strong results that UKIP have delivered in Euro-elections, that objective looks solidly achievable.
Of course, Mr Clegg’s discomfiture is in no small part due to the fact that David Cameron has stolen all his clothes. From localism to “common sense” and “non-extreme” policies, the Tories have morphed into a distinctly yellowish shade of blue. Mr Cameron has calculated that this approach will gain him as many votes from the Liberal Democrats as it loses him to UKIP.
Mr Clegg has calculated that his approach, of going into coalition with the Tories, will get him a ministerial car and the meaningless title of Deputy Prime Minister.
Unfortunately for Mr Clegg, this leaves him and his party looking distinctly impotent – or incompetent, as the case may be.
They might have been impotent, or incompetent, or indeed both, in opposition. But in power, they are facing electoral meltdown in May.
Mr Farage is right. Because of the highly unusual political circumstances, UKIP really do have a historic opportunity to make a breakthough. In truth, to achieve their main objective, they don’t even need to win a general election. They just need to achieve enough seats to make the Tories dependant on them for power.
I suspect that in that scenario, the Tories would quickly rediscover their Eurosceptic credentials.
Charlie Falconer (Right) – Unelected and Trying to Keep Our Elections Biassed
Their Lordships have been enduring all night sittings as the government attempts to get its Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill through in time for the referendum on AV to be held on the same day as the local elections in May.
The Bill includes two measures – as well as the referendum, it includes a measure to mandate that constituencies should all be the same size within 5 percent.
Labour agrees with the idea of the referendum on AV, and has argued that the government should separate the two measures, so that the AV referendum can be passed quickly, and the correction of the electoral system can be debated at leisure.
Labour’s position on this is completely outrageous. The last election was fought under boundaries that meant Conservative constituencies were on average much larger than Labour ones. That is why the Tories won far more votes than Labour, but still ended up with only a few more seats.
You can argue for ever the merits or otherwise of Proportional Representation versus First Past the Post, or any other electoral system like AV. But the fact is that the fairness of First Past the Post absolutely depends on constituencies being roughly the same size. At the last election, the system was rigged in Labour’s favour.
Amazingly, Labour have actually accused the Tories of trying to gerrymander the system to help Tory chances! Yes, Labour actually believe that a system that is not skewed in their favour is biassed.
What a shabby party Labour have become. Still wheeler-dealing to get themselves into power, without any thought whatever for the wishes of the electorate. Appropriately, their efforts in the Lords are being led by Lord Falconer – a personal friend of Tony Blair who played a key role in Blair’s governments despite never having been elected.