It’s a numbers game. The next government is likely to be a coalition according to all and sundry from Joe Bloggs to the pollsters to the bookies.
The Northern Ireland votes are unlikely to change so that means Sinn Fein will get 5 seats and will not take part in the House of Commons thus leaving the overall majority needed to be 323 seats.
Here is a pretty good average number of seats predicted by the pollsters (and the bookies) at 20 April 2015.
- CON 278
- LAB 278
- SNP 46
- LIB 25
- DUP 8
- SF 5
- PC 3
- SDLP 3
- UKIP 3
- GRN 1
On average both the Tories and Labour are projected to get 278 seats leaving 45 seats needed to reach 323 or a majority.
The SNP are projected to get 47 seats and so that means either Labour or the Conservatives could form a majority in ‘cahoots’ with the SNP. Yet both Labour and the Conservatives have ruled out a coalition with the SNP and for obvious reasons as the SNP would hold BOTH to ransom and any coalition with SNP would mean a new general election later this year.
In short any coalition with the SNP is a toxic one as whoever was in coalition with them would likely lose a new 2015 general election because they went into coalition with the SNP.
Yet the polls have seen on the same day a Conservative lead of 3 points and a Labour lead of 3 points so the polls are highly volatile and just a 1% swing either way could see either Labour or Conservatives with 300 seats – This is highly likely and if it did come to pass would leave either of the two main parties needing 23 for an overall working majority or coalition government.
That brings the Lib Dems as an option for BOTH main parties. Yet what is truly bizarre about the general election media coverage to date is that it has all been about (a) SNP being in coalition with Labour but not with the Conservatives despite the SNP being toxic to the two main parties; and (b) no discussion of a Labour / Lib Dem coalition with the naive assumption that the Lib Dems would only get into bed with the Tories.
Both these to-date media-hyped positions of LAB/SNP only and LIB DEM / CON only positions are absurd and false and are either deliberate spin by the main parties or inept media analysis of the reality – as well as 397 different polling organisations or at least it seems that way!
While I will gladly admit I detest UKIP and their racist and fascist undertones, the fact that they will likely get 3 (THREE ONLY) seats rules them out of any coalition too and my abhorrence of their policies aside they too would also be toxic for any main party in a coalition.
UKIP are a political irrelevance in terms of being anywhere near a coalition despite the hype and media adoration of Farage with just THREE seats being the prediction and an increase on the ONE seat of last weeks BBC Newsnight Poll.
It really is time, especially with the growing realisation that tactical voting will play a part in the (May) 2015 general election that the electorate get savvy and looked at the numbers and ignored the hype around potential coalitions and the huge hype over the totally irrelevant Farage and UKIP.
When Clegg last week said he will bring the heart to a Tory coalition and the head to a Labour one he was clearly covering his party’s options and despite the real prospect of him not winning his own seat (as is the case with Farage’s attempt in South Thanet). So can we all please stop this silly season of the SNP and UKIP and look at what is really going on?
I doubt it but hey ho!