First published in Pluto Student Newspaper
This is the last issue of Pluto 2010, it’s been emotional. And with this, comes my final opportunity to grace the pages of your student rag with some acquired opinion.
By the time this column goes to print, we will have seen the last of the first ever leaders’ debates and will be in the final week before the next General Election.
The question you know you should be asking yourself, according to the faces coming through your letterbox and the reporters trying wildly to gauge your opinion, is who will be making the big decisions when you’re… making the big decisions?
Despite prime-time TV banter, minority name-checking and #Iagreewithnick, according to the Poll of Polls Poll (yes, really), on 27th April, no one party has taken a decisive lead.
The Conservatives are coming out on top with 33 per cent of the vote, with the Lib Dems on 30 and Labour flagging on 28.
Although the Conservatives would win the public vote in this scenario, because of the peculiarities, for wont of a better word, of our ancient voting system, Labour would still gain more than 30 more seats (and 176 more than the Lib Dems despite getting two per cent fewer votes).
Because of this, a hung parliament is now 1/2 on bet365.com, if you put £2 on, you would only get £1 back. Plus your stake.
So who or what exactly will be hung?
The Liberal Democrats, assuming they gain the fewest seats of the three would naturally want to support the winning party, but who technically wins in a race like this?
A Lib/Lab coalition is easier to envision ideologically, but will be a union that spells the end of Gordon Brown, as Nick Clegg stipulated in offering his support.
But if Labour don’t win the public vote but still get the most seats overall, big questions should be raised about the fairness of the voting system. Anyone can see that coming second, or, by most polls estimations third, but winning isn’t right. Will this finally be the end of First-Past-The-Post?
While the Lib Dems have always been pro-electoral reform, because it doesn’t weight so heavily the big two, the Conservatives are fiercely against it. They want to win. If they don’t however, they will need others support.
A Lib/Con coalition is less natural, although many councils (Preston city for example) work, somewhat, on a Lib/Con cooperative. Conservatives are Euro and Reform-sceptics, but will concessions be made?
Even as late as 15th April, the day of the first debate, the Conservatives were gaining 40 per cent in some polls, enough to get that much needed majority. Shouldn’t they be doing better?
Reuters also reported, or bragged on Wednesday that ‘Conservatives rake in more election funds than rivals’, £2.2m, compared to just £150,000 for the Lib Dems and there has been Facebook advertising, banners and leaflets coming through your door quicker than they can cut down the trees.
We may yet see a progressive Conservative government take power.
This is a great time of endings and beginnings, at university, where you live, if you’re graduating, where you will work, maybe you’ve fallen in love and you’re thinking about starting and family… Yikes. And in or country as well.
Polls can only give an indication of what will happen on Election Day. The public, given the best information that has ever been available must now spend the next week making up their collective minds.
In the words of the great actor, Errol Flynn I would like to say ‘I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it’.
I imagine Gordon is wishing he could say the same.