How much of a sure thing is it the the Torys are going to get in this time?

(48 Posts)
electra Fri 19-Mar-10 13:56:23

Is there still the possibility that it could go the other way?

cakeywakey Fri 19-Mar-10 14:36:47

No election is ever a sure thing. The Conservatives aren't very far ahead of Labour in the opinion polls. At the moment we're more likely to end up with a hung parliament, with no party having an overall majority.

This would lead to either Labour or the Conservatives forming a coalition (sp?) with the Lib Dems to form a Government.

Most likely the Tories would do this and bank on making some good progress in the first few months before calling another election in the autumn (probably October) in the hope of winning an overall majority.

Or at least that's what I've hear/read anyway grin

PandaSam Fri 19-Mar-10 14:41:57

The chances of the Torys winning the election is very slim. They need to win 117 seats in order to get a majority of 1 and this has never been done before. Plus, the seats they need to win are in traditional labour areas.

Its gonna be really tough.

It is VERY unlikely that the Lib Dems would form a coalition with the Conservatives - they are much more likely to go with Labour which is why "a vote for a Lib Dem is a vote for Gordon Brown".

If the Conservatives manage to get the most seats - but not enough for an overall majority - they could form a coalition with the smaller parties (Plaid Cymru, SNP etc) and then call another election later (which they would be more likely to win because Labour will be pretty bankrupt by then and the Conservatives have more financial support)

thedollshouse Fri 19-Mar-10 14:44:22

How does a coalition work? When you say that the Lib Dems would probably form a coalition with Labour rather than the Tories what does that actually mean? Why do they get a choice? Sorry for being so clueless!

PandaSam Fri 19-Mar-10 17:49:46

A coalition is basically where two or more parties get together to form a majority party. You need a majority in order to form a government (because when you come to vote on legislation you want to be able to get your laws through - any everyone else will probably try and block them)

So after the election if no party has an overall majority (there are 646 seats in the House; so 323 needed to form a majority) then they will look to others parties for support (lib dems, snp, etc).

These parties can then make deals whereby they will form a coalition on the basis of...(they then set out their demands).

The Lib Dems are more likely to go with Labour because they're ideologies are closer.

If the Conservatives are only a couple of seats away from an overall majority (i.e. 320) then they could approach SNP/plaid cymru/independents to form a coalition rather than having to go to the Lib Dems.

Coalitions are really complication - and in this country and generally not good for government. It will mean that it takes a very long time for anything to happen (because deals have to be made); which in a recession is a really bad thing.

Coalitions fall apart quite quickly (because parties are not used to sharing powers) and that is why another election is generally called quickly; especially if a party thinks it could get enough seats for a majority.

Does that make sense - happy to explain further

thedollshouse Fri 19-Mar-10 18:59:44

I had wrongly assumed that the two parties with the most votes formed a coalition so was expecting a Labour/Tory coalition. Thanks for explaining so clearly PandaSam

electra Fri 19-Mar-10 19:44:19

Thanks for that explanation, pandasam.

cakeywakey Fri 19-Mar-10 20:25:12

PandaSam, I agree that coalitions are not great. I once worked at a council with no party in overall control and it meant that the big tough decision were often not made, with fudges or procrastination being the order of the day. Very frustrating and, in the long run, not in the best interests of residents. Would not like to see this repeated at national level.

alicatte Wed 14-Apr-10 18:00:04

I am a bit disappointed with the Conservative Manifesto.

To paraphrase David Cameron,

'If we're elected on May 6th you're on your own on May 7th'

isn't a very attractive idea as we are just coming out of a recession (even if it was a single issue bank thing this time). (yes I know he didn't say that but that was the impression it gave)

When I watched the launch I was really hoping for some ideas and inspiration. A plan maybe but ...

I wonder, perhaps, if a coalition might not be the best thing for the time being.

alicatte Wed 14-Apr-10 18:01:23

I am a bit disappointed with the Conservative Manifesto.

To paraphrase David Cameron,

'If we're elected on May 6th you're on your own on May 7th'

isn't a very attractive idea as we are just coming out of a recession (even if it was a single issue bank thing this time). (yes I know he didn't say that but that was the impression it gave)

When I watched the launch I was really hoping for some ideas and inspiration. A plan maybe but ...

I wonder, perhaps, if a coalition might not be the best thing for the time being.

smallwhitecat Wed 14-Apr-10 18:04:11

conventional wisdom is that a hung parliament is a v bad thing from an economic point of view; uncertianty producing paralysis in markets etc (this already seems to be happening in the housing market). I do think conventional wisdom is probably right in this instance.

BeenBeta Wed 14-Apr-10 18:05:55

The political betting markets show that the money (hence measurng fairly serious considered opinion) is split evenly on a Tory win or a hung Parliament with equally high probability. Betting odds show Labour winning is a very low probability outcome.

alicatte Wed 14-Apr-10 18:19:00

Then might it not be better to choose the devil we know. I would find it hard to feel safe with the Conservatives at the moment.

throckenholt Wed 14-Apr-10 18:19:33

most European countries work with coalitions - so there must be ways of making it workable. Neither labour or conservative want that to happen so have no vested interest in explaining how coalitions can work.

It would be nice to imagine they all have the good of the country at heart, and would be happy to work together for the common good. Somehow I don't think that is what actually motivates the leading members of most parties.

alicatte Wed 14-Apr-10 18:19:43

Oh I don't know!!!

MintHumbug Wed 14-Apr-10 19:10:28

Our system of politics creates "artifical polarisation" of the 2 main parties. It is not in their party political interest to be seen to be too close on key issues and instead have traditionally tried to play up their differences. It would be unimaginable that Tories and Labour could form a coalition without alienating all of the traditional voters on both sides. They both approach many things from completely opposing view points even on fundamental issues of government involvement in the economy and lives of the population.

so in a coalition, how do they decide who is Prime Minister? Presumably it's the party with the largest number of seats, but what about their coalition partner? Can they take any of the big jobs? If not, what's in it for them?

policywonk Wed 14-Apr-10 19:22:01

Many, many countries in Europe and the wider world exist quite happily with coalition governments. They can be as stable and as effective as one-party governments. The impression (put about entirely by Labour and Tory activists who have, shall we say, a vested interest) that coalition government = ineffective disaster is not borne out in reality.

policywonk Wed 14-Apr-10 19:23:02

<prepares big klaxxon noise for the first person to say 'Italy' grin>

MintHumbug Wed 14-Apr-10 19:24:11

A hung parliament is viewed as a worst case scenario. We aren't geared up to have partnerships or coalitions so markets would fall over night and uncertainty and anxiety would be high.

Generally a party who narrowly lost would try to get a smaller party (say with 10 seats or so) to join them in bolstering up their weak position. The small party can make demands (like the Welsh party said they would agree to do a deal if they were given £x million in funding for Wales).

Generally they hobble along and call another election ASAP but this doesn't happen much in UK politics. I think the last similar crisis (they do refer to it as a crisis) was in the 1970s with some "who rules" style elections.

smallwhitecat Wed 14-Apr-10 19:28:29

Hung parliaments have never lasted long in the UK. We had the national government in WW2 but that was a bit of special case. Hoping for world war to ensure political stability is a bit extreme.
Anyway, in this context what matters is whether the markets think it's good thing. if there's a hung parliament market participants will act on the basis that (a) effective action to cut the deficit won't happen and (b) there will be another election within a year. That's not good.

policywonk Wed 14-Apr-10 19:29:09

Mint, when you say 'we aren't geared up for it', don't you just mean that it's not something we're used to? There's no structural reason why it shouldn't work; so long as there's an operational government, everything else will fall into place. The markets might fall initially, but they'd recover so long as the situation remained politically stable.

abride Wed 14-Apr-10 19:29:46

My husband is canvassing for a political party in a marginal south-of-England market town.

Out of ten households he will probably get four/five Tories, two/three Labour, one BNP(!!!) or one UKIP and one/two don't know/won't say.

Experience from the past tends to suggest people are more secretive about voting Tory.

policywonk Wed 14-Apr-10 19:31:07

I find the idea of being ruled by the international markets a lot more sinister and worrying than the idea of being ruled by a coalition government.

Germany has been ruled by coalitions for pretty much the last 50 years. If Germany is financially and politically ruined, I must say it's doing a good job of hiding it.

MintHumbug Wed 14-Apr-10 19:31:21

Any shuffling after the election could be very unpopular. We have a system where we vote for one party. We don't have (in England) the option to give a second choice or third choice.

So if Labour had an unconvincing /unworkable victory, Gordon Brown would still be Prime Minister but he might invite the Lib Dems to join him by offering them key seats in the Cabinet (this would be the unpopular bit for Labour voters and probably the Lib Dem party). I don't think anyone considers that the Tories would join with the Lib Dems at all.

The thing about the constitution is that there isn't one (not a written one at least) we've always relied upon the fact that these things sort themselves out so any stalemate gets resolved. There isn't actually hard and fast rules about what happens if there is no convincing victor and none of them can decide how to resolve it except that the Queen technically decides but that means the Queen having to wade into a party political situation when everyone is keen that she remains neutral.

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