16 October 2009

Tory complacency, a hung parliament and Gordon Brown

Little nuggets keep appearing here and there on what the Tories may do if they win the election.

First up yesterday we had Ben Brogan telling us all about Cameron’s plans to create dozens of new peers and who is for the chop in the world of quangos.  Today, we have the tale of how the Tories pre-election talks are progressing with civil service.  None too well, if this story in The Times is to be believed.

There is too much complacency swirling around within the media indicating the Tory party already has the election won, when the evidence suggests otherwise.

David Butler, the doyen of psephology, makes the case that the most likely result of the next election is a hung parliament:

The pro-Labour bias in the electoral system, which has developed since the 1990s, remains, despite the redistribution of seats, but we actually do not know whether this bias will grow or decrease in 2010.

Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher's Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies shows that, if the major party vote is divided 40% Conservative to 30% Labour, the Conservatives would fall six seats short of a majority; 40% to 30% is only a few points away from what the current polls are showing. A hung parliament remains as much a probability as a possibility.

A hung parliament has become much more likely because of the great widening of the no-man's land between the big parties. In 1959, there were only seven MPs unattached to Conservative or Labour. Today, there are 96, a number large enough to have denied most postwar governments a working majority.

Hopi Sen, in a well argued post on the Labour leadership, says:

I think Gordon Brown has got the big decisions right as leader of the Labour party, that I believe the PM is genuine in saying that if he felt there was a better chance of victory with another leader he would step aside. For my part I certainly don’t see a better alternative Prime Minister in the run up to the General Election.

Hopi makes the powerful point that “all this Leadership talk is pointing us away from the real story” that Labour is attempting to get across.

If Brown stays how does he restore his credibility within the party, with the voters and the media that will enable him to get the message across?

If that can’t be solved, then Labour does need a new leader.

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  1. Clutching at straws again. Labour will lose and will lose badly. The man who replaces Gordon Brown will have to deal with a party almost wiped out in the polls, virtually bankrupt and likely to have to be rebuilt from the ground up with a reputation for corruption and betrayal (Lisbon). Further the Tories will reform the electoral boundaries to remove the current Labour bias, this coupled with a likely referendum in Scotland removing the Scottish Labour MP's from Westminster means Labour could be doomed as a political force.
    It could be at least 10 years before Labour even begin to make headroads in voter terms, possibly a lot longer.
    People like me will be very slow to forgive or forget the last few years, particularly every time I get to look at my pension fund.

  2. One thing you forget or appear to is the likely SNP culling of labour in Scotland.

    On present polls labour will lose @25 seats in Scotland to SNP and Conservatives and LibDems.

    So even if the bias in England works in their favour they won't have the Scottish seats that they'ld need for a hung parliament.

    SNP/Plaid may become the power brokers if the Conservatives don't have an overall majority.


  3. 40:30 would give a majority, beyond question, whatever UNS might suggest.