|This week's bookies odds for the next Prime Minister|
"This week will be exactly six months until next years’ general election which takes place on Thursday the 7th of May. Despite being interested in this event, I have to confess that I am no wiser than I was six months ago or indeed a year ago, as to what the eventual outcome will be.As things stand, everything seems to point to another hung parliament and that makes predicting who will be in government the most uncertain election outcome in a generation. All sorts of permutations and possibilities that have not happened before are being discussed. The various potential outcomes may well focus minds on our voting system as well as the unfairness of some constituencies having many less voters than others.
A hint of what may happen came at the 2005 general election. Experts have calculated that in 2005 with an equal share of the vote, the Conservatives would have won 111 fewer seats than Labour. Labour won a comfortable majority with a national vote share of 35.2% to the Conservative’s 32.4%. In England, the Conservatives won a small majority of the vote over Labour (35.7% to 35.5%) but Labour won 286 English seats to the Conservatives’ 194.Next year, we really could be looking at a situation where the Conservatives win the most votes not just in England but overall, but that Labour win the most seats (or win fewer seats than the Conservatives), but still form a minority government propped up by the SNP. While that would be a legitimate election outcome, the obvious unfairness of it would risk creating a huge disenfranchisement of the voting public, if the party that came second in terms of votes (and maybe seats as well) was the lead party in government.
Labour and the LibDems cynically stopped the boundary review that would have helped to equalise the constituencies, ensuring that Labour’s inbuilt unfair advantage of the current boundaries remains. I hope that this unfairness that directly impacts on the election outcome, is not compounded by another unfairness, that being that the party that comes second actually ‘wins’ the election."