Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2015 Politics Predictions

Seems like an opportune time to channel my inner Nostradamus. "Serious" political commentators as a rule fight shy of making hard and fast predictions because one's liable to get shown up, especially as the 2015 election will be a close-run affair with all kinds of political insurgents set to skew the result this way that way. But I'm not serious or, at least, I don't have a paid berth in a national daily to worry about. That makes me free to report on the images coalescing in my scrying pool. This is what peered back among the bubbles and steam.

2015's going to be a very dirty election
Hardly a prediction, seeing as we've been wallowing in the muck of an extended campaign for much of the last year. More business-as-usual. There will be more Ed Miliband character assassination, more exaggeration and lying about the economy, deficit, and debt, and perhaps more scaremongering than an election has ever seen before. Unfortunately, I can see myself indulging some. That's because it really is a crunch election. Who wins will make a massive difference to the fortunes of the labour movement and the people we stand for. And, be sure, if the Tories get in again they will gerrymander constituencies to give them an undue advantage in future contests. Fancy the idea of a three or four term Conservative government?

There will be an increased turn out
Despite the existing gerrymander of individual voter registration disproportionately affecting Labour support, turn out will be up. In 2010 it stood at 65%. Because there is clear water between the two main parties and an insurgent electorate behind UKIP, the SNP, and Greens for once there is real choice. In 1997, 71% of voters went to the polls. Will it be that high again? I don't think so, but it won't be far off. I'm plumping for the 69-70% range.

Labour will be the biggest party and will squeak an overall majority
The story of the polls over 2014 has been one of a closing gap between the blues and the reds. While normal in the year preceding, what is different is support is not flowing from one of these to the other but are being bled away at the margins. The Tories and, to a lesser extent, Labour are losing voters to UKIP while Labour is also getting stung by the SNP and Greens. Ouch. Still, in those key marginals Labour retain a lead despite the inclement weather. Even if there is a wipe out in Scotland enough seats there plus a majority in England will push it across the threshold. This is not a counsel for complacency, mind!

Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister
Obviously that's the case if the prediction above comes to pass. But if not, he will still be Prime Minister. There's been silliness in recent days about the SNP propping up a Tory government, partly thanks to disbarring Craig Murray from the parliamentary candidate list. If they return a substantial number of MPs to Westminster, they know as well as anyone that a deal with the Tories will sink their chances in Holyrood 2016. It's not going to happen. Secondly, the LibDems have got a long road back to political rehabilitation ahead of them. They happily dished out the austerity and gracefully shielded the Tories from getting a battering. Another five year term propping up the Tories will destroy them. Labour on the other hand, even if it's an arm's length confidence and supply, could put them back on track. This, of course, is much easier if Clegg and Alexander are shown the door by the voters. Yes, so there are rumours of LibDem MPs prepared to cut another deal with the Conservatives, but there's been plenty of behind the scenes footsie with the PLP too. If the LibDems weren't considering a pact of some kind, ask why - apart from Sheffield Hallam - they're concentrating their national resources defending seats that might fall to anyone but Labour?

UKIP will do well, but not as well as they think
It's been a good year for UKIP. Winning the European elections, getting two MPs, performing very creditably in local elections, leading the political news agenda, and regularly weighing in at around 15-19% in the polls. In advance of May this will continue. There will be a little bit of drop off come the election but we're talking figures of 12-13% here, certainly not a collapse the likes of Dan Hodges is predicting (hoping) for. A big slap on the back for them then. But my reading of the runes flags up a problem for them. They're only going to win one seat, and that will be Douglas Carswell's. Mark Reckless will depart from the Commons and Nigel Farage won't even make it in. Then comes the infighting, if Farage makes good his promise and resigns as UKIP leader. And when that happens I'll cheerfully pass round the popcorn.

The Tories bid Dave adieu
The 23rd anniversary of the 1992 general election will pass without them securing an overall majority. Dave will be ejected from Downing Street and the Tories will return to the opposition benches. That's when the real scrapping will start. Theresa May, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond and David Davis are going to knock lumps out of each other for the sack of bones that is their party. None offer a way back to power, twisted as they are by europhobia (May, Hammond, Davis) or deficit determinism (all of them). When's all said and done, May will emerge as leader. And her reign shall see the Tories decline even further into ignominy and toxicity.

The far left will be nowhere
This blog wouldn't be this blog if I didn't say a few words about the fortunes of the far left. Well, here they are. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will mount a bigger parliamentary challenge this time than 2010, and will be supported by local election challenges wherever they can put up the bodies. However, 2015 will not be a breakthrough year. Not one single deposit is going to be saved, and their tiny vote share is set to decline even further. In Scotland, the SSP did alright out of the referendum, apparently picking up a thousand extra members. But that will not translate into votes. Why plump for the SSP when a big SNP vote is a more effective way of telling Westminster to sod off?

These are the future truths revealed to me. Will they come to pass or turn all a bit Mystic Meg? Time will tell. Have you any additional or alternative predictions?


Roger McCarthy said...

Only that UKIP vote will be nowhere near 12%, Tories will be biggest party, Cameron will hang on (and constitutionally can try even if they have fewer seats - remember Heath in Feb 1974) and may just make the SNP an offer they really will not be able to refuse.

With an (English) electorate this unconquerably stupid there really is nothing that can be done other than spend another year helplessly mourning all that will be lost.

Here's hoping you are right and I am completely and humiliatingly wrong.

Lidl Janus said...

1. I'd say Labour biggest party, probably c. LAB 290, CON 275, LD 25, SNP 25, UKIP 10, GRN 5, OTH 5, NI 15.

2. I assume a "tony vote share" is what a far-left party led by Tony Blair would get nowadays; an undefined number nonetheless lower than any other party without any campaigning.

asquith said...

Not a prediction but I sincerely hope for pushing towards a fairer voting system after 2015. I don't like kippers but they deserve more representation than they're going to get, and so to a lesser extent do the Greens.

Liberal Democrats, even if the wildest predictions for their meltdown come true, will still have a higher proportion of votes than of seats currently held. Only Labour and Conservative actually benefit (SNP and Plaid won't, because constituencies would be larger but still their regional basis of support would be help rather than hindrance).

Phil said...

Ouch! I meant tiny, *tiny*!

jimboo said...

Main difference, turnout down, inner cities continue with their walk away from mainstream politics, probably better to have a well planned riot, Local authorities try to regain some power taken from them by central Government, Ed finally hires his Bernard Ingham depriving the press of their geek shot chances, Labour minority Government. I cannot prove I am not a robot as so much on the definition of agency.

Dave K said...

I hope your right on your main predictions. However I seriously worry there is a large number of "shy" tories voters, some of them even telling pollsters they are voting Green or SNP at the moment.
Although I do think there are probably for the first time in opposition "shy" labour voters, not as many of the tories but some. Quite a few of them fellow lefties who tell me Labour is dead and they arent going to vote or bang on about voting Green, TUSC, SNP or SSP (delete to taste and/ or party line) but actually will follow the working class and vote Labour in the end anyway.