What if this week had been general election week?

What if this week had been general election week?

Would Cameron have won an overall majority?

There’ve been lots of counter-factuals around today following this snippet from the Indy’s Andrew Grice:-

“Last Thursday was ringed in my diary with the words “general election?” I pencilled it in when the May election resulted in a hung parliament and there seemed every chance that a minority Conservative government would soldier on until David Cameron asked for a proper mandate and a second election…”

The main argument against there being an overall win for the Tories is what happened in 1974 when the second election of that year produced an outcome that was not all that different from the the February 28th 1974 result.

It is also said by Sunder Katwala that Labour would have gone into the second election with a different and much more voter-friendly leader and that this would have made Cameron’s challenge that much greater.

Maybe. But Cameron would have been prime minister and have all the benefits of the incumbent – most of all the ability to set the agenda. As we’ve seen the power to make and manage the news is a huge plus for a government.

Both Labour and the Lib Dems would have been in a much worse situation than the Tories financially to fight a second battle amd during the preceeding five months the yellows would have been put on the spot time and time again over their support, or lack of it, for the minority government’s programme.

The Tories would have been able to say – we warned you what would happen with a hung parliament and that’s been the case. For the sake of the country give us a firm mandate this time.

We can go on but I’m far from convinced that there would have been a second hung parliament.

Mike Smithson

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