After Rochester and Strood. Where next?

25 Nov 2014
Ukip supporters with an 'I'm voting Ukip sign' canvassing voters during the 2015 UK general election. Wikimedia, Licensed under the Creative Commons
Ukip supporters with an 'I'm voting Ukip sign' canvassing voters during the 2015 UK general election. Wikimedia, Licensed under the Creative Commons

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.

Professor Andrew Geddes, Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield
Professor Andrew Geddes,
Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield

Get our latest research, insights and events delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter

We will never share your data with any third-parties.

Share this and support our work

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.

  1. 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?

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

News / Parliament Matters – Legislative bodging: No way to run a chip shop! (Episode 6)

Mark and Ruth look at the growing fashion for re-writing Bills mid-air as they pass through Parliament, adding on all sorts of policy bells and whistles at the last minute.

24 Nov 2023
Read more

Publications / Delegated Legislation: What types are there, and how are they made?

Delegated legislation is the most common form of legislation in the United Kingdom. It is the legislation of everyday life, impacting millions of citizens daily. But the terminology and procedures that surround it are complex and often confusing. This explainer unpacks delegated legislation - the terminology and Parliament's role in scrutinising it - to reveal more about how delegated legislation really works.

05 Dec 2023
Read more

News / Parliament Matters: Total reshuffle, emergency legislation and Parliament’s ‘Golden Ticket’ (Episode 4)

What a week! Suella Braverman's sacking from Government was immediately eclipsed by the appointment of former Prime Minister David Cameron as the new Foreign Secretary. Mark and Ruth explore the many questions this raises, not least for scrutiny of foreign affairs by MPs.

17 Nov 2023
Read more

Blog / HS2 fiasco: What does it mean for Parliament?

The Prime Minister’s decision to cancel the next stage of HS2 has given rise to criticism that once again the Government has ridden roughshod over Parliament. Just over 1,300 hours of legislative time have been spent on four HS2-related Bills over nine Sessions in the last decade. Why has it taken so long and what now happens to that legislation?

15 Oct 2023
Read more

Briefings / 6 things to look out for in Parliament in the next Session

When parliamentarians reassemble at Westminster on 7 November for the start of the new Session, all eyes will be on the legislative programme to be announced in the King’s Speech. Speculation about the likely date of the next general election is rife at Westminster, but until the date is settled there are a lot of parliamentary issues still to be tackled. We’ve picked out a few things to look out for on the political horizon.

07 Nov 2023
Read more