Nobody mention the Lib Dems
The Lib Dems are looking increasingly confident of squeezing out a majority government. There are many pros and cons to this state of affairs. True, Lib-Lab is better than Tory Majority government, but the situation with regards to Lib Dem votes and constituency boundaries is such that its very possible a massive surge for the Lib Dems might only give them a handful of Labour seats… and Cameron victory. This threat isn’t only theoretical as I wrote about before, its becoming real…
The situation runs thus: boundaries are fixed in such a way that Labour and the Tories can fight over a certain number of seats, whilst being sure of certain marginal areas, places where they can pass seats between them when required. So in many places, a huge swing towards the Lib Dems will not result in a Lib Dem victory (there simply aren’t enough people who would ever consider voting that way in that constituency), and there aren’t enough people still planning to vote Labour, which means the Tories win. Which for most of the Lib Dem voters is really not a happy prospect.
AV+ voting, if implemented, would probably prevent this, as Labour to Lib Dem or Lib Dem to Labour transfer votes would knock Tories into 2nd, but we don’t have that system right now. What we have is a system that is broken and yet proven, at once very simple and very complex. The Lib Dems can’t begin to increase their seats by large numbers until they have a swing of more than 18% which is huge.
Of course, one of the problems is that polling predictions don’t handle shifts in numbers of parties as well as they do straight forward voter shifts. But they are the best we’ve got, and the BBC have provided us with a useful tool. If you select the Poll of Polls, you get an aggregate of recent respected polling companies’ outputs. If you look at the 21st April Poll of Polls, you’ll see where the problem lies. If you can’t see it now, put Labour on 27%, Conservatives on 33% and Lib Dems on 30%.
Labour have a 3 seat lead. The Lib Dems have only gained around 40 seats, and Labour are now stuck with the leadership and a threadbare mandate. I’m not worried about a hung parliament, what I am worried about is a hung parliament behind Cameron. A 1% swing beyond the current Poll of Polls, and we’re in Tory government land (see YouGov 21st April). Either way, Clegg doesn’t win, but only one of them really causes Britain to lose out.
The triumphal predictions made a couple of days ago that John Major would be the Tories last Prime Minister might be coming to nothing after all. Labour really need to get their backsides in gear, and people really need to look long and hard if they think a Lib Lab coalition is the best-worst scenario, because right now, Lib-Lab is sliding further and further away. As I said last time, Clegg will do deals with whoever wins, and right now, that person, even despite the poor campaign in recent days and total absence of Shadow Chancellor on the campaign trail, is going to be Cameron.
That said, we’ve never seen this kind of swing take place before. We don’t actually know the exact regional distribution of voters for each party, let alone the full details of which seats can be predicted to go which way. Thankfully York outer will be Yellow, and Central will be Red. Its what the rest of the country decides.