Prime Minister David Cameron has more than the minimum requisite number of seats to hold a Conservative majority government. The outcome seems to have surprised the TV pundits who expected days of negotiations to form another coalition alliance. My more politically savvy husband Rob is absolutely crest-fallen at the election results, although he admits that I sagely predicted weeks ago the shock waves that have reverberated from this vote.
In 2010 Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg faired very well in the 3 party election debates, and gained far more seats than expected as a result. This enabled his party (third in size) to form a partnership with the Conservatives to govern the country. However, that un-holy alliance I believe caused the support harnessed five years ago to disappear. Thus the 57 seats from 2010 have diminished to just 8 today. Areas deemed a bastion for Liberal Democrat support have become mainly Conservative. It is a great shame, because Nick Clegg seems a very decent man and the middle of the road voice needs to be heard. When in coalition the Liberal Democrats were the moderating foot on the brakes, and no doubt stopped the more unpalatable policies of the Conservatives from going through. Oddly enough without Nick Clegg’s coalition support in this parliament, David Cameron now has the trickier task of keeping his own party MP’s happy!
All three main British political parties have just one representative each in Scotland after the rout of the SNP. Although the independence referendum from a few months ago voted (narrowly) to keep Scotland within the UK, it also ignited the desire for more autonomy and a better say within the Westminster parliament. Not surprisingly therefore SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon campaigned along these lines, perhaps even believing her party would hold the balance of power this time round. As figures go the SNP are now third in size, but the utter decimation of the Labour party in Scotland has undoubtedly worked in favour of a Conservative majority.
I realised this morning that David Cameron played a very shrewd game during the election campaign, using a FEAR FACTOR that worked very well. By constantly suggesting that a Labour government would be wagged by an SNP tail, Cameron probably scared a lot of voters in England, who may well have opted for the Tories instead of Labour as a result. This was a clever move, which effectively forced Labour leader Ed Milliband to totally dismiss the possibility of a coalition with the SNP. I have no doubt the consternation this may well have caused in Scotland, a nation taken for granted as a Labour stronghold for too long. Frozen out of any prospect of being in coalition, the Scots voted along nationalist lines rather than old socialist ones.
David Cameron has stated that as Prime Minister he wants to govern a one nation UK, but I think he began the Union breakup process by allowing the Scottish Referendum to take place. His fear factor rhetoric has heightened English/Scottish suspicions and the Northern Irish voice wasn’t even heard during the election debates. The Prime Minister’s actions in the last eight months speak far louder than the hollow words uttered this morning. And I’m sorry to say that the 2015 election results show just what a divided, fractured and un-united kingdom we now are.