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
The process for getting House of Commons select committees re-established after the general election is so far broadly on track. However, government reorganisation and the Labour leadership contest could yet cause delays and disruption. And this time, there are particular reasons to get committees into place urgently.
Articles in this latest edition cover topics as diverse as political finance regulation, devolution, young people and the EU referendum, candidate campaigning in general elections, the policisation of abortion and the electoral success of women candidates, as well as reflections on the Turkish, Australian, Irish and EU Parliaments.
Schools making up an ‘electorate’ of over 46,000 young people returned their results to the Hansard Society’s 2019 Mock Elections, which were held to coincide with the December general election and continued a series extending back over 50 years. Labour emerged as the clear ‘winner’ of the 2019 mock poll.
At the start of a new Parliament a series of ceremonies and procedures must take place before the Members of the two Houses can get down to business. Our special collection of procedural guides takes you through them, in the order they take place. We start with some things to note about the highly unusual start of the 2019 Parliament.
A set of laws, conventions and Standing Orders govern how and when a Parliament starts and ends, how it is divided into sessions and sitting periods, and what ceremonies and procedures take place at different points. This guide takes you through them.
State Opening, with the Queen’s Speech at its centre, is the key ceremonial and constitutional event at the start of a new session of Parliament.