By Benjamin Caine
This year’s General Election is “too close to call” according to many, and most opinions seem to point towards a hung Parliament. Polling suggests that either the Conservatives or Labour could be the largest party. The only thing that pollsters seem to be certain on is that no party will win an overall majority.
The rise of the minor parties in the UK over recent years, including UKIP, the SNP and the Greens, has forced the two major parties to rethink their approaches.
While much of the media attention has been fixed on UKIP, and its possible impact on the Conservative vote, it has to be said that is it more likely that this surge from minor parties will affect Labour’s vote share.
Labour will undoubtedly lose votes to the Scottish National Party, the Green Party and to UKIP, but the result in these areas may be strangely different.
In Scotland the SNP are expected to win seats from Labour, but in seats where the party is expected to lose votes to the Greens and UKIP, this may split the votes and allow the Conservatives to make gains.
In 2010 the political landscape was changing, and after the MPs expenses scandal many were looking for an alternative to the two main parties, and found it in Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. After the tuition fees debacle and other issues, these people have now found their new alternatives in the Greens, UKIP and the SNP.
The current coalition government was formed in order to ensure stability to the UK, and its economy, as the country looked to move into recovery.
We are looking towards a situation similar to that of 2010, with the UK’s future in the balance. Financial and political stability will be important after May 2015, and it is possible that another coalition will be needed for stability.
The lifetime of the next Parliament depends on the make-up of this coalition. Recent weeks have seen news of Labour toying with the possibility of teaming with the Scottish National Party and Sinn Fein, and with more parties involved in potential coalitions there will be more instability.
On May 8th the United Kingdom could wake up to yet more uncertainty, and if this is the case, the largest party will have a struggle in government- we could see another election within months, if not weeks.