Election reflections

May 7, 2010 6:09 pm

By Brian Barder / @BrianLB

I don’t think that the Lib Dems have any serious alternative to signing up to Cameron’s not particularly generous offer and getting the best deal they can in terms of policy concessions. But they have a weak hand: they couldn’t justify climbing into bed with Gordon after Labour has won under 30% of the vote, nearly as awful as 1983, and lost 91 seats. The astonishing thing is that the Tories won only 36.1% of the vote when they started with so many huge advantages: and they can’t explain that away by reference to the ‘unfair’ distribution of voter numbers among constituencies.

I had consistently and wrongly predicted an overall Tory majority, which seemed inevitable after 13 years of Labour, with a deeply unpopular Labour leader, the MPs’ expenses scandal, two unpopular wars, all flights grounded for days on end, and above all the deepest recession for a generation, all inevitably blamed on the Labour government, however unfairly in some cases. I’m still at a loss to know why Cameron failed to get his overall majority when circumstances were so uniformly favourable for the Tories. The Lib Dem share of the vote (a mere 23%, with only one more result due today) is less than 1 point better than they won in 2005, before Nick Clegg had been invented.

So I see no reason to change my revised forecast of this morning: Cameron leading a minority Conservative government with the provisional acquiescence of the Lib Dems following loose agreement on a number of policy promises. The mechanics of achieving this won’t be at all straightforward if Gordon Brown insists on exercising his right to meet parliament as prime minister seeking a confidence vote on May 25th on a Queen’s Speech full of seductive goodies for the Lib Dems and for the other left-of-centre parties. I suspect, however, that he will be prevented from dragging things out in this way by an appeal to his patriotism: the country can’t afford to prolong the uncertainty and to delay urgent decisions on the economy for another 18 days. Brown will also be under pressure from younger Labour ministers not to discredit the party in this way for fear of yet more punishment by the electorate in the next election, which could well take place within the year.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Featured The campaign victories of 2014

    The campaign victories of 2014

    As we start looking to the new year (or at least the bit before May), I thought it was time for a reminder of the campaign victories of 2014. It’s been a bleak year in a lot of ways: a housing crisis, more eye-watering cuts, the rise of UKIP and human rights atrocities abroad. But there have been significant wins too, none of which would have been possible without the hard work and determination of campaigners. Although Class is a […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour is the real party of the family

    Labour is the real party of the family

    It has been a pleasure to guest edit LabourList today on the hugely important issue of families. We’ve had fantastic contributions from a wide range of people. All of the pieces send a clear message: Labour is the real party of the family. We understand that many families are struggling under this government. We know they want to support and care for one another, and to build a better life, but they need a government that will back their efforts […]

    Read more →
  • Comment PMQs Verdict: Think of those who will have a distinctly un-Merry Christmas, thanks to Cameron

    PMQs Verdict: Think of those who will have a distinctly un-Merry Christmas, thanks to Cameron

    There’s a risk at Christmas time of going through the motions at work in the run up to Christmas. It’s dark and cold outside, and all you really want to be doing is sorting out the Christmas tree, finishing your shopping and eating mince pies. (Obviously that’s not the case at LabourList – and certainly not the reason why this PMQs verdict is arriving three hours after Cameron and Miliband sat down. Ahem…). There was an element of pre-Christmas about […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Too many carers miss out on the support they need

    Too many carers miss out on the support they need

    One in eight adults, 6.5 million people in the UK, are already caring for a family member or close friend who is frail or facing long-term illness or disability. Every day, 6,000 people take on caring responsibilities. Research done by Carers UK suggests that the number of unpaid family carers is predicted to rise to 9 million people in the next 25 years. Surveys have shown that fewer than one in ten people can correctly state the true scale of […]

    Read more →
  • News Tories and UKIP both spent three times as much as Labour in the European elections

    Tories and UKIP both spent three times as much as Labour in the European elections

    Both UKIP and the Conservative Party outspent Labour by almost three times during this year’s European election campaign. It was UKIP’s first victory in a national election, and Labour came in second place with big spenders the Tories falling behind to third. Labour were the only major party not to increase their election spending from the previous Euros in 2009 (when we finished a miserable third) and were even outspent this time around by the Lib Dems, who only won […]

    Read more →