How the whole political scene is changing – CON+LAB heading for record low

How the whole political scene is changing – CON+LAB heading for record low

It’s hard to work out the long term consequences

The overriding theme of this week’s British Election Study conference was that things are changing quite dramatically and we really don’t know where this will end.

Thus the certainty that existed about what will happen in Scotland in May has fallen apart in the past few weeks putting into serious doubt Labour prospects nationwide. 30+ losses from its Scottish bastion are going to be hard to offset elsewhere.

In England particularly UKIP has become a dominant presence and nobody now talks of it all frittering out in the run-up to next May. The big question is what this all means in seats and the prospects for the big two parties in the traditional LAB-CON battlegrounds.

    One thing I’m certain about is that we can no longer think in terms of a uniform national swing covering England, Wales and Scotland. We have to get more specific which is why I’m very keen on seeing the pollsters produce England only VI data.

Lord Ashcroft is already doing this in his weekly phone poll and I’m hopeful that some of the other firms will follow suit. A couple of those I spoke to at Tuesday’s BES launch seemed quite receptive to the idea.

What is interesting in all of this is how the “system itself” is now being described as “not fit for purpose” though what can be done about this is hard to say.

Three and a half years ago we had a referendum on the voting system when the main argument for retaining first past the post was that it would help prevent further coalitions. How dated that looks now.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

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