Friday, May 07, 2010

So what now in UK politics

Quite a night, and one of those you realise that had you gone to bed early at 10 or 11, got up early at 6 or 7, you would probably have not wasted so much time watching talk about an exit poll that started off being treated as being highly spurious but turned out to be fairly accurate. It seems we are now in the unknown territory of a hung (or balanced) parliament, though this may not be fully certain. Adding in the notionally safe seats that are yet to declare at 10am Conservatives have 298; Labour 254 and LibDems 54. There are a further fifteen that are marginal or clearly unpredictable. If the Conservatives were to seize all of those they would be on 313, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats unable to gain more so requiring more than a LibDem-Lab Alliance while the Conservatives need only to team up with some of the 17 others (of course some alliances are far more likely than others). So the election outcome is still to be decided and it will be London and the North West that are most likely to make the decision.

The results may well remain unpredictable, and often seem to be linked to a constituency based context. In adjoining constituencies there were swings to Plaid Cymru from Labour and the reverse declared within minutes of each other. Lembit Opik lost, possibly due to the high profile of his love life over politics, but other Liberal Democrat personalities like Adrian Sanders and Mike Hancock seemed to cruise home.

The polls may well have been fairly accurate. The dip the Liberal Democrats experienced seemed to carry through to the election result and there may well have been some hovering pencils in a number of seats. Perhaps the fear campaign regarding a hung parliament, pushed by the Conservatives, had an impact on floating voters decision making.

We are now in a situation of manic spin, like reeling drunks high on caffeine (which some of the party spokespeople may actually be by now) they are all claiming that no-one has won and no one will accept defeat until the very last moment. The UK is now having its Belgian political experience, sadly Herman von Rumpey is unavailable to mediate and sort out our problems (though as EU President he may have some influence).

On the final note, I do feel sorry for all those MPs who were hard working but lost their jobs on the back of national swings. Two I really feel for having met them are Andy Reed and Jim Knight, both good local MPs who hung on against the odds previously.

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