There is now less than 100 days to go before the next UK election. It looks like many folk are bored already by the same sorry group of middle managers trotting out the same tedious tales. Basically you can sum up the two main party’s pitch as we’ll do the same as the other lot only better. The third party, Lib Dems, are lost in a wilderness of indecision. The Greens seem to be lost in a fog of confusion over policies and the grinning gargoyle, Farage, is rubbing his hands with glee.
In Scotland however there does seem to be a lingering referendum effect. People are not as disengaged as before and they have a better understanding of the issues at stake. Much of the polling in Scotland is markedly different from the rest of the UK and could have a disproportionate impact on the makeup of the next UK Parliament. It also looks like the “minority” parties could wield a huge amount of influence well beyond their electoral achievement.
In the 2010 election less than two thirds of those who voted put their crosses next to the candidates from the two biggest parties. In the end the coalition represents 59.1% of those who voted so this is at least progress from previous administrations, indeed the last time the government had an absolute majority of those who voted was way back in 1935. So you could say the coalition is something of an advance.
However given the polling in Scotland, the SNP could end up as king makers, exactly where the Lib Dems were in 2010. Those who voted yes in the referendum are more than double the numbers that voted for the SNP in 2010. This is an enormous swing away from Labour and if this was carried forward to the election the SNP could send more than 25 MPs to Westminster with less than 10% of the UK vote. Indeed there is one polling organisation which is suggesting that the SNP could send more than 40 MPs to Westminster. This would put Labour under severe pressure and markedly reduce their chances of forming the next government.
Add in the impact of UKIP, the Green Party and the parties from Northern Ireland and Wales and it is clear that the next election is the most open for a generation.
So the complaint of the disenchanted that their vote makes no difference should not be used as an excuse for not putting a cross on the ballot paper. Whatever your political predilection get out and vote in May otherwise don’t complain when you get a government that you do not agree with.