This is the first instalment of ‘My Vote, Our Election’ from DPV contributors.
Daily Political View has asked me to write about which party I will vote for in the upcoming General Election. With the advent of multi-party politics, the Red, Blue, and Yellow party combinations we are used to in my constituency have slowly begun to fall apart, opening up other opportunities for minor parties to exert influence. I live within the constituency of Horsham in West Sussex, which centres on a classic satellite town with close transport links to London. The constituency is also fairly rural, with smatterings of countryside and villages of various sizes.
We have returned a Conservative MP every election since 1880, so this is not a very formidable seat in terms of electoral excitement, and traditionally the Liberal Democrats have been the opposition in this seat.
For the first time since 1997 however, Horsham will have a new MP this year. Francis Maude is stepping down, and this will inevitably open a void for other parties to try their luck in harnessing Tory votes. The Conservatives have not yet announced their new candidate, but whoever this person will be; they will have to contend UKIP, Labour, and the Green Party. The ‘Peace Party’ and ‘Something New’ are also contesting this seat.
So who will I vote for in May?:
I am not actually sure. I did vote for the Conservative Party in 2010, but it was more of a ‘let’s get rid of a tired Labour Party’ vote of sort. I did agree with some of the Conservative policies they had in place, however I did see (and still see) David Cameron as more of a slick P.R man with Heir-to-Blair tendencies. If the Conservatives had chosen a more experienced candidate with convictions and relatability, perhaps it would have been a genuine vote from the heart. I firmly believed that David Davis would have made a better Conservative candidate than David Cameron, but this is now history.
I consider myself Pro-EU. I don’t believe in a slavish relationship with the European Union, but I do think we should work closer with them to tackle Europe’s problems instead of distancing ourselves. This pretty much rules out my vote for UKIP. It’s a dangerous move to just leave the European Union, let’s not risk it.
My view of Labour is largely negative, but not as negative as my views towards UKIP. Just like UKIP, I do struggle to understand where Labour stands on certain issues. I doubt Ed Miliband will be our Prime Minister in May, and just like David Cameron before he was elected, he lacks the credible experience needed to be Prime Minister. A low point for Miliband’s public relations came when he didn’t know how much the average family spent on their weekly shopping. Out of touch?
When it comes to the Liberal Democrats, I actually like Nick Clegg as a person. I feel like he makes more of an effort to speak to ‘regular’ people on TV, and in debates. I believe he has more of a human touch, but at the same time, his voice has been effectively drowned out in the coalition with the Conservatives. He should have taken a tougher stance with the Conservatives when it came to negotiating Tuition Fee rises, and his failure of this will haunt him in May.
I could go into a lot more detail into each party. However after careful consideration, my vote will either go towards the Conservatives, or an Independent. If I did vote Conservative, it would be a weak vote for similar reasons like I did in 2010. If I did vote for an Independent, it would be the ‘Something New’ candidate in Horsham.
Of course there is still a long road until the election, and formal campaigning has not started yet. My mind could change in light of the TV debates and other events as such. Although I do love election time, and I am the sad person that stays up all night to see the results come in, I do believe that this election lacks the charisma and excitement of previous elections.
What will be the outcome of the election?:
This is the fun bit. In line with the opinion polls, I believe that we will have some form of coalition government. So here is my educated prediction of the 2015 General Election. This might be difficult for Ed Miliband to look at.
I believe that the three main parties will take a tumble in May. UKIP will gain 7 more seats, most of them coastal, and with aging populations. The Green vote will increase but the First Past the Post system will not be friendly towards them. The Liberal Democrats will suffer terribly as part of their voter base will be somewhat apathetic.
The SNP will make huge gains in the election, as the 45% of independence voters will guarantee a strong turnout. Labour will lose seats to the SNP, while the Conservatives will gain seats from the Liberal Democrats. That simple formula might give the Conservatives the power to form a coalition government.
Sadly, 326 seats are needed to form a government for David Cameron. Let’s do some maths:
Conservative 285 + Liberal Democrats 22= 307 seats ✖
Conservative 285 + UKIP 9= 294 seats ✖
Conservative 285 + SNP 57= 342 seats ✔
So a Conservative-SNP coalition would be the most obvious result of my prediction. How well will this go down in England? Will Alex Salmond be our deputy PM? What if negotiations fail? Will there be another election in a few months? What about a Labour-Lib Dem-SNP rainbow coalition? All of these questions will be answered after the election- assuming my wisdom predicts the above for May.
In conclusion, this is an election where we have a pretty good idea of what will happen- another coalition. However this is an election where we have a pretty bad idea of who will run our country in May. My predictions may be terribly wrong, however I think it is fun to predict what might happen. On election night I will compare what the actual results will be to my predictions, and see if I even came close.
Try it yourself and let me know what you think might happen! : May 2015 Seat Calculator
By Stuart Chapman, Senior Writer for Daily Political View.