The Danish Nobel prize winning physicist Nils Bohr observed that prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. He wasn’t thinking about the 2015 general election when he said this, but he might as well have been.
The Rochester and Strood by-election makes things more uncertain. It might get us thrown out of the ‘political science’ club, but here are 5 things that Mark Reckless’ win shows that we don’t know about the May 2015 general election.
- We still think of politics as a left versus right clash, but is 2015 going to be an ‘up-down’ election: the people against a political class that they see as failed and out of touch?
If Labour is up then surely the Conservatives are down, and vice versa? But the day after Rochester and Strood both Labour and the Conservatives are down. Is zero sum politics dead and buried?
Can UKIP break the mould? They just won what experts listed as their 271st most winnable seat. Perhaps, as Nigel Farage said, all bets are off? Will support continue to drain from the mainstream parties to their smaller rivals like UKIP and the Greens? If it does, the dynamics of elections and coalition politics are transformed.
Can things get worse for the Liberal Democrats? This question has been asked for the last four years and the answer has tended to be yes. How much lower can they go? In Rochester and Strood they were polling at 1%, with the margin of error this could put them at -2%, which is truly unexplored territory.
Social media was seen as a way for politicians to connect with the electorate and for democratic debate to be widened and energised. Emily Thornberry didn’t get that memo.
These are all things that we don’t know about the 2015 general election. Keep checking this blog for even more.
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia, Licensed under the Creative Commons
Enjoy reading this? Please consider sharing it
Politics in Autumn 2020 will continue to be dominated by Coronavirus and the negotiations with the EU, as the end of the post-Brexit transition period approaches on 31 December. But what will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues? We pick 15 things to look out for.
Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the House of Commons Petitions Committee, sets out how the Covid-19 crisis has significantly increased the public’s use of e-petitions while limiting the House’s ability to debate them. This has prompted the Committee to innovate, to ensure that petitioners’ voices are heard during the crisis.
In a crisis the House of Commons is hamstrung if it is in recess, for MPs are not masters of their own House. While any MP can make representations to the government and the House of Commons Speaker to request a recall, under Standing Orders only a formal request from ministers to the Speaker can actually trigger one.
The Coronavirus pandemic has presented parliaments with significant technical, procedural and political challenges, at Westminster and around the world. This page brings together our Covid-19 content, covering the UK Parliament’s adaptation to the crisis, UK Coronavirus-related Statutory Instruments, and the responses of other legislatures around the world.
MPs should take the opportunity to show the government and their constituents that they want to have more say on free trade agreements than they did when the UK was inside the EU.
In order to incur expenditure the government needs to obtain approval from Parliament for its departmental spending plans. The annual Estimates process is the means by which the House of Commons controls the government’s plans for the spending of money raised through taxation.