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James Hanson
Upper Sixth
Moberly's House

Political prophesising : what the future may hold

Political prophesising : what the future may hold

As I prepare to leave the College and simultaneously the website committee, I felt I should bow out from my political blog with a spot of political prophecy — namely, what might occur at the next general election. In all likelihood this will be in May 2015, as set out in the coalition agreement. Assuming this is the case I have written three distinct versions of events, all detailing what might be construed as the best case scenario from here on into the election for each of the main parties and their leaders. Whilst being realistic I would wager that the Conservatives will win a majority of about 40-60 seats at the next national poll, the course of events outlined below may well be possible alternatives.

The Conservatives

David Cameron successfully keeps the coalition government together, despite the odd cabinet resignation from the likes of grumpy Comrade Cable and naughty Mr Huhne. The Tories are able to enter the election claiming that they acted in the national interest, a stirring patriotic argument backed up by Mr Cameron’s victory over Alex Salmond’s nationalist movement in a 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. Under the tagline ‘governing for Britain’, Cameron claims his party were the real radicals in the coalition that helped deliver major reforms to welfare, education and the NHS. Meanwhile, the deficit has been all but eliminated and growth is restored in the UK economy, allowing the Tories to enjoy a popular pre-election budget filled with tax cuts and a stabiliser on fuel prices. In the TV debates, Cameron faces no third party challenge as the once novel concept of Nick Clegg has been tarnished during his period as Deputy PM, and easily outshines the robotic and stale Ed Miliband allowing the media to crown him the comfortable winner of the three showdowns. When polling day arrives, the Conservatives are returned with a huge majority of 108, Cameron is able to promote fellow moderates in the subsequent reshuffle and embarks on a term of economic prosperity.

Labour

Ed Miliband enters the 2015 election having successfully remodelled his party. Midway through his term he injects new life into his faltering leadership by re-aligning Labour. This begins with his decision to bring back his brother David into the profile of Shadow Chancellor, in which the elder Miliband pledges to introduce a limit on future public borrowing and proposes a more pragmatic approach to tackle the deficit in a successful effort to restore the party’s economic credibility. Simultaneously, the displaced Ed Balls is moved to the Home Affairs brief, where he outflanks the coalition on policing and criminal justice by adopting authoritarian, populist policies on prisons and anti-social behaviour. Meanwhile, pledges on the environment and civil liberties help Ed Miliband win over disenchanted Lib Dems in time for polling day, whilst the coalition’s inability to restore economic growth or market confidence is damaging the chances of the other major parties. After surprising pundits with an impressively thoughtful set of performances in the televised leadership debates, Miliband wins a small majority of 25 seats, defying the bookmakers and his critics within the party.

The Liberal Democrats

After successfully sticking with the coalition, Nick Clegg’s party is able to claim real sway on issues such as criminal justice, Europe and the NHS, whilst Clegg himself was personally credited with defying the odds and delivering House of Lords reform. However, to a sizeable chunk of the electorate, Clegg’s public image it still too closely linked to the Conservatives so in January 2015 he steps down as Lib Dem leader, but remains Deputy Prime Minister until the coalition is disbanded after the May election. His successor, perhaps someone in the mould of Steve Webb, is able to spend the four months between his election as leader and the national ballot to define the kind of party he wants to create and distance himself from the policies of Clegg. Having removed a large element of the negative association with the Tories, but still being able to claim that the party acted in the national interest by joining the coalition and eliminating the structural deficit, the Lib Dems are able to slightly improve on their 2010 total of MPs, despite their overall share of the vote falling, by returning 62 MPs. Meanwhile, Clegg is able to depart the political scene with his reputation intact and his party finally having removed the long-standing grievance that they are too idealistic and inexperienced to hold the levers of power.

15 June 2011

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