AYES TO THE RIGHT
A blog by Graham Dines
POLITICAL opinion is not only at its most volatile in my memory, but in the 100 or so years since Keir Hardie and Labour broke the cosy Conservative (Tory) Liberal (Whig) consensus in the West Ham South by-election of 1892.
The tradition of by-elections causing discomfort for the Government of the day has since some stunning results - Orpington in 1962 when the Liberal Party shocked the Conservatives, the Conservatives winning the Nottinghamshire coal-minining constituency of Ashfield from Labour in 1967, and SNP gains from Labour in Hamilton in 1967 and Glasgow Govan of 1973.
Yet in General Elections following such by-elections, normal politics have been restored and any threat to the two-party hegemony has been seen off. That was until 2010.
The outcome of the 2015 General Election could be even more uncertain than that of five years' ago when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition to save Britain from the horrors of Gordon Brown's economic illiteracy.
Of course, the Conservatives and Labour will be aiming for an outright victory - that is winning at least 50% of the parliamentary seats at stake. But the permutations thrown up by our first-past-the-post electoral system and the rise of the UK Independence Party in England and the Scottish National Party north of the border could lead to any number of Kafkaesque scenarios.
Should the Conservatives and Labour both fall short of an overall majority, the Conservatives will try to renegotiate a further five years of coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. That won't work should the two parties not have enough seats for a parliamentary majority - even with the support of the Ulster Unionists - and it will be Labour that is asked by The Queen to try to form a workable coalition.
Labour will look to create a government formed from one or more of the centre-left parties - the Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, Paid Cymru, Greens, and the SDLP from Northern Ireland. Such a government would resurrect class warfare, impose punitive income and property taxes on the nation's wealth creators who mostly live in Greater London and the Home Counties. It will stop the rollback of public services and the welfare state, impose top-down centralisation, make no attempt to try to reform either the European Union or the gross unfairness of allowing Scottish MPs to impose socialist legislation on the Conservative-inclined English, and will forget quickly pre-election pledges to tighten border controls and immigration. A Labour-led coalition with just the SNP and without the Liberal Democrats will lead to growing political unease in England.
The final scenario is that no combination of parties is able to form a stable government. MPs may be left with no alternative other than to throw in the towel, overturn the Fixed Term Parliaments Act of 2011, and vote for another General Election within months, Won't that be popular with the public!
So next May, vote for an overall Conservative victory to ensure Britain is not taken back to the Dark Days of the 1970s and rampant inflation, unaffordable pay settlements, and the mastery of the trades unions.
Happy New Year.
*The views expressed in Ayes to the Right are those of Graham Dines, Chairman of Suffolk Coastal Conservative Association, and do no not necessarily reflect those of the wider Conservative Party.