UK General Election 2015 – Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics?

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Oh dear, the political war has started in earnest, hasn’t it? The big boys are out there already on the front line firing their bazookas. The problem we have got in Britain is that this is only the first week in January and the General Election isn’t until May, some 17 weeks away, but that is a hundred and twenty-five days we still have to cope with, suffering the humongous misleading drivel pumped out by all our discredited political parties, don’t you think? This long run-in is just ONE of the bad consequences of the Government switching to a fixed length parliament, wouldn’t you say?

You have two choices here though. Get on the rollercoaster ride, strap yourself in, and suffer the extended ride. Alternatively, stand aside, don’t get on, and watch in amazement the soaring and plunging trip of the participants – many who will be ill and puking on the way.

If you do bother with the election saga you can be certain of something – you will be misled and swamped from all sides by a torrent of lies. There is a well known phrase (origin uncertain), that there are “Lies, damned lies, and statistics“, and if you are persuadable by numbers of dubious quality, you will be in for a rocky experience.

Alternatively if you want to give it all a miss, you’ll need to put some effort in to ignore it, as the politicians are going to spend, spend, spend, to make sure it is unmissable, won’t they? To shut out the bulk of it, you will have to regularly switch TV channels, dump a large part of your newspaper, avoid conversations in the pub & club, and don’t answer the door to canvassers (don’t shut your eyes to the billboard posters when you are driving though!).

Whatever decision you choose, you just will still have to do your bit on ‘voting day’ wont you – select the candidate in your constituency who is to get your invaluable vote? Will you select the person for themselves, or simply revert to the political party of your choice? Will you vote for someone who cannot ever win just to show your true opinion (and perhaps influence the future), or will you be a cynical voter who casts their vote tactically (to try to stop a potential winner you oppose)?

Will you vote for the party that favours the group in society that you think you fit into or belong to? Or perhaps vote for the one that is ‘for’ the group you would like to be in? Maybe you are a genuine ‘good person’ and will sacrifice your self-interest so your vote will go to the best candidate or party that is fairest for the whole community?

If you simply ignore the pre-election razzmatazz, then you will probably rely on your basic feelings about the political parties, won’t you?

Conservative perhaps is for you, if you are in favour of diminishing control by government over our society, of privatisation of all state assets & responsibilities, of the power of competition to create a fair structure, of the rights of commercial interests to dictate matters, of wealth creation being of paramount importance.

Labour possibly is for you, if you believe that the government needs to constrain the excesses of financial institutions, industrial concerns, and big business, needs to constructively interfere in society to reduce inequality, needs to provide state facilities, and needs to provide a safety net for those at the bottom of the pile.

Liberal Democrats maybe is for you, if you can forgive the abandonment of previous policies to partake in government, if you champion freedom for all, if you believe in greater power at local level, if you want to promote more personal responsibility.

UKIP possibly is for you, if you want Britain out of Europe and want that voice in Parliament, so don’t care about policies.

Green Party most likely is for you, if you don’t mind getting ignored but believe our planet is hurtling towards the abyss because of industrialisation and mankind’s abuse of natural resources.

SNP probably is for you in Scotland, if you were a disappointed YES voter in the Scottish independence referendum, and desperately want a second bite at the cherry.

What do those ‘in the know’ say is going to happen in the May Election then? Well their crystal ball says that it is all going to be a disaster for those favouring a two party system with a ‘first-past-the-post’ winner (as that is now very unlikely). There is ‘uncertainty’ whenever you get soothsayers involved, but nevertheless it is very likely (say a ninety percent chance?) that we will end up with a ‘hung parliament’ again this summer in the UK.

Is that a problem do you think? Well, it could certainly be a bigger one than that which presented itself in 2010 surely? At that time Labour PM Gordon Brown wasn’t wanted, so couldn’t do a deal with anyone, and at the same time Tory Leader David Cameron was desperate to get the keys to Number 10, so was able to cobble together an agreement for a coalition with the LibDems – in which they finally got a taste of power with the repayment a commitment to keep the Government in power for five years [they naively thought they could get Ministers, then Proportional Representation, and furthermore reform of the House of Lords (as if the Conservative vultures would really give them that – silly boys!).

This time round it isn’t going to be that simple is it? Labour and Conservatives are running side by side in the popular vote and neck & neck in the number of MP seats – but they will both be about 40 or more short of a working majority. The LibDems are likely to lose a shed load of their current seats so none of the minor parties are likely to provide anywhere near 40 seats, are they? That means Labour or Conservative need to get into bed with TWO other parties at least to form a stable government.

It is predicted that UKIP’s 2014 charge will not materialise further, to give them the dozen MPs they hope for, so they can’t expect a seat at the table, can they? The SNP could become a major player though, if they do succeed in Scotland and could then offer Miliband (and certainly NOT Cameron) the bulk of the seats he needs, but what price would Labour have to pay – increased devolution north of the boarder? The LibDems could swing either way of course so could even help Cameron again. Then who gets the possible minor makeweights like the Irish DUP & SLDP?

 

 

[A previous post here predicted that two of the three main party leaders will get their P45 after the General Election in retribution for failure, and the other one may well only last a year – let’s see shall we?}.

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