I guess I am still pretty politically biased and therefore as somebody who has made up their minds (and voted!) I have the luxury of not listening much to the campaign promises being thrown around in this last week. Instead I am having fun with observing the dafter bits of this campaign and concentrating on following the polls and what this means for trying to create a government on May 8th.
But I did promise myself to comment everyday on the election and help make sense of questions I am asked about voting, issues and the result from friends and social media friends.
One quick one. I was asked today via Facebook if you could be fined for not voting. Rest assured you won’t be punished – but don’t ever moan to me about anything for the next 5 years if you can’t be bothered to vote!
Today I have mostly been locked away in sports meetings and then heading to the Leicester Tigers Awards night., so my head isn’t quite into the election today. This is a point I have been making throughout. Only a minor part of the political day is ever heard by the electorate. For me this means today I will only know the election via my twitter feed. To be fair I have followed CCHQ and the Lib Dems as well as a good smattering of Tory, Lib Dem and SNP friends as well as just the Labour MPs so i do get a reasonable perspective on their themes and thoughts.
However, I also had some fun last night as I tweeted the work done by various people on the Tory business letter produced on the front page of the Telegraph yesterday. If it wasn’t for twitter and social media as well as Andrew Neill on BBC the Tories might have just got away from creating an online sign up page and then giving it to the Telegrapgh (which has just become an embarrassing extension of the Tory Campaign HQ) as a ‘letter from businesses’. It is worth looking at my twitter timeline and facebook updates from last night to see the demolition of this trick. You won’t find much in the mainstream media who took this at face value.
After all the poll watching I do I have been increasingly looking at predictions about what will happen at local level. I have been updating my Loughborough predictions for some time. As with most marginals the national polling gives a starting point but much more data is required to make a better judgment. For obvious reasons I am not going to be sharing my intelligence publicly but I will be sharing how far out I was after the election. Since 1997 the furthest I got the Loughborough result wrong was by about 400!
So this does mean we need to start thinking about the potential outcomes. There have been some far more impressive articles and blogs than I have time to produce and some great constitutional input on what can now happen given the Fixed Term Parliament Act. We also have to read between the lines of what the minor parties are saying about who they will/won’t work with. I suspect now we are in a ne era of multi party politics we are going to have to get used to parties changing their minds about working coalitions after the election. I have always been a supporter of PR so I know I would have to get used to coalition talks post election. I think knowing beforehand there will be a coalition at least creates a focus for discussion about what is and isn’t a red line. This article is typical
Quite rightly it boils down to the 2 scenarios. Broadly a Tory minority government with just enough or just short of enough support to create stable government. On the other hand the possibility of a more stable arrangement of Labour, SNP and other progressive parties. I can see what the Tories are doing to demonise the SNP. But if we do believe in the Union we all fought to keep last September, we cannot demonise democratically elected MPs from one of our nations. If Scotland sends SNP MPs to London in large numbers we need to respect what that means. They have the same status as MPs and should be treated with respect.
I have posted previously about the reason supply & confidence is no longer the best description for the type of government that might survive 5 years without a formal coalition. It is possible for a minority government to not have a formal arrangement but to continue in office (but not in power) for the 5 years.
I have to admit the prospect for any MP in Westminster of every vote on every matter in the Commons to rely on a 3 line whip would be a nightmare. There are many procedural matters that get nodded through with majorities in place that become staged battles. There are no majorities on Bill Committees and Select Committees. Even APG numbers change. Whilst this makes it much more fun lobbying where every vote matters it won’t be any good for the health of our MPs.
As I have now arrived in Leicester on the train my election thoughts are drawing to a close.
I am now much more interested in another form of voting for the next few hours – Who are the Leicester Tigers players inning awards this evening at the end of season dinner. I will tweet live as my practise for election night!