In a few months Britain will head to the Ballots to decide the next five years of British government. If the polls are anything to go by, there will probably be a hung parliament. This could mean a minority government – but more likely than not, another coalition.
The latest polls are showing a swing in favour of Labour, and given their slight advantage in the first past the post system, maybe we won’t have a hung parliament after all.
Judging by the latest polls, 18-24 year olds are likely to vote in favour of Labour (32%), closely followed by Greens (26%). Conservatives come in third place (21%), followed by UKIP (15%), SNP and Plaid Cymru (3% combined) and the Lib Dems at only 3%.
The national polls are slightly different, according to the latest YouGov Data.
Labour – 34
Conservative – 31
UKIP – 14
Green – 8
Lib Dem – 7
SNP/Plaid Cymru – 5
Given current figures – the only two party coalitions which could form a majority would be Tory/Labour (65%), and it’s pretty likely pigs will fly before those two team up.
So does this mean a minority government? A multi-party coalition?
Let’s not forget Britain’s first-past-the-post system. Given the electoral swing in Labour’s favour, Electoral Calculus predicts 340 seats to Labour, 256 to the Tories and 19 to Lib Dem, giving Labour a narrow majority of 15. So maybe not a hung parliament after all. Despite this, most pollsters are calling for UKIP, Green, SNP and Plaid Cymru to have more seats.
Of course, at this point in time it is just speculation, and various pollsters are offering different approval figures. These figures could change dramatically in the next few months, especially after the leaders’ debates – here are Wessex Scene’s predictions on all the possible coalition combinations.
It’s pretty unlikely this will happen, as together they may not form a majority.
If they do get enough votes, it’s more than plausible. It seems the current coalition’s senior politiicians get on pretty well and wouldn’t be against entering a similar arrangement until 2020. Of current Tory supporters, 31% would prefer a coalition with Lib Dems to any other party, if there were to be a hung parliament in 2015.
Ideologically these two parties aren’t too far apart, and most people believe Clegg is sneaky enough to switch sides. Of all the parties, they probably have the most similar policies.
On tax reform, they both want tax cuts for lower earners. They both proposed raising a personal tax allowance and to re-introduce the 10p tax rate. Clegg has denounced the Tories’ marriage break and Ed Balls has also vowed to cut the tax. Lib Dem party president, Tim Farron, has been pretty vocal about reforming bedroom tax, and Miliband has announced that he would like to scrap it entirely.
Of the minority of voters Lib Dem have left, 36% have said they would prefer a coalition with the Tories to Labour, and 26% have said they would prefer Labour. Surprisingly, 13% stated they shouldn’t go into government at all, and should join the opposition.
Of all parties, Lib Dem are the favoured party of coalition from Labour voters, 32% stating they’d favour a partnership with Clegg and Co. to any other party. Despite this, there have been whispers in the senior levels of the Labour party that the PR of getting into bed with Clegg would look too bad, and thus never happen.
It’s unlikely, but by no means impossible that the two of these will form a majority. Cameron’s guaranteed an EU referendum, and UKIP are popular with the very right-wing Euro-skeptic end of Cameron’s party. Nearly a third of Conservative voters would prefer their party to form a coalition with Nigel Farage’s party rather than any other.
Nigel Dodds, the leader of the current eight DUP MPs was recently described as ‘the most popular man in Westminster’. Reports have suggested both Cameron and Miliband have been trying to get into Dodd’s good books, but in terms of policy – the Tories would be a better fit.
The Green party is growing massively in popularity and it’s pretty likely Caroline Lucas won’t be alone in parliament anymore. A lot of the Green parties policies aren’t far from Labour’s: a much higher minimum wage (£8 for Labour, £10 for Green), and an Energy price freeze notably. However, Labour would need to review their policy on Trident before any agreements were made.
Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru recently held a joint press conference, announcing they would prop up a Labour minority government – on the condition they scrap trident.
The SNP are perhaps the biggest threat to Labour, with the potential to take up to 41 seats. The party have said they’d be willing to reach an agreement with Labour on the conditions of more devolved power to Scotland. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said:
The SNP would never prop up formally, informally or otherwise another Conservative government.
Leanne Wood – the leader of Plaid Cymru, has also stated she would not work with the Conservative party, but are willing to strike up a deal with Labour under the right conditions.
Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party stated that all three parties want to “get rid of this Tory Government” and the “disastrous inhumane policy of austerity”.
The minor left wing parties are not to be dismissed, their popularity is growing due to the growing disillusion with the main political parties – they could be seriously powerful as a combined force.
While the Lib Dems and UKIP have very different views on Europe, a number of their policies – notably education – aren’t miles apart, and this combination is plausible. However, only 24% of UKIP supporters would want to enter a coalition with the Tories and only 8% would want to form government with the Lib Dems – compared to 13% who’d prefer Labour. 39% said they wouldn’t like to go into government at all.
Feature image by Bethany Westall.