Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Grapefruitcrazy's predictions for the General Election 2010

So the General Election is to be on May 6th – no surprise there then. The dissolution of Parliament next Monday cannot come a moment too soon. Cleaning out the Augean Stables of the corruption that has been rife in almost every corner of both Houses is Herculean in scale. The opening of the post-election Parliament on May 18th with its transfusion of new blood will be a start.
But it will be many years before the bad smell left by the MPs expenses scandal lifts over Westminster. Like so much outrageous conduct the attempted cover up was as disgraceful as the original offences.
With a month to polling day I’m going to make some predictions about what may happen, while freely admitting that my wishes are father to my thoughts.
Most importantly I expect the Tories to win a working majority such is the British electorate’s disillusionment with Labour.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a liability and the party should have dumped him when it had the chance. David Milliband will live to regret his indecisiveness.
Victory by default will mean that the Tories have been able to overturn the inbuilt bias against them in the distribution of seats. It remains to be seen if a Tory cabinet is up to the job – I have my doubts.

The public is already confused about where the parties stand on the UK economy – specifically taxes and public spending cuts. I expect the manifestos will cancel each other out on the issues.

This leaves the spotlight of the Election battle on personalities. It makes the three Leaders television debates important but only to the extent that neither Brown, Tory contender David Cameron, and the LibDem’s Nick Clegg makes a fool of themselves which is unlikely.

The Tory strategy will focus on Brown (do you want him for another five years?) while Labour will bang away at Cameron’s poshness (can an Old Etonian understand the problems of the man in the street?) Clegg will be left to argue that he’s not one of the other two.

Given the attention to personalities – because policies are so close – there will be changing fortunes for those politicians recognised by the public.
Starting with the Tories I can see George Osborne making a better fist of the task as prospective Chancellor in the weeks ahead. This is because he starts with ‘null points’ and with such a low standing can only improve.
Jolly Ken Clarke will be given a bigger say. The LibDem’s Vince Cable has shown that the public has a soft spot for those perceived as older, wiser heads. On the subject of Cable I expect he will make a number of gaffes. He enjoys the spotlight too much.
Back with the Tories, Cameron will avoid too many stunts and will try to appear as a Prime Minister-in-waiting. This will help counter Labour’s attacks on his upper class background. In any case when was it a handicap to have a good education?
I’d like to see more of Michael Gove, shadow education minister. The money Labour has ploughed into education has been misspent given the plight of our universities and the number of illiterates leaving school for the labour market.

As for Labour all the media training in the world isn’t going to make Gordon Brown any more likeable. His advisers will keep him away from soapboxes and pressing the flesh. Brown will be presented above the cut and thrust of an Election; rather he will take a business-as-usual stance ie. maintaining Britain’s economic recovery.
Tony Blair will hardly surface in the campaign – if at all. His most recent outing complete with cheesy smile and perma-tan merely served to remind the public of the fortune he has trousered. Some of the cash has come from his popularity in the US which was it self a product of the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq.
Alistair Darling is a busted flush whoever wins the Election. His budget was a non-event and he is unlikely to hold on to No.11 if Brown gets back to 10 Downing Street.
Lord Mandelson looks both tired and permanently exasperated. I wonder if he really is committed to a Brown victory. Perhaps he sees a hung Parliament as an opportunity to advance the Blairite cause.
Peter Hain looks up for the fight and will be rolled out when the going gets tough. The same cannot be said for Jack Straw.
If Ed Balls hangs on to his seat, he will be groomed to replace Brown though not necessarily with success

A week is indeed a long time in politics and as Inspector Clouseau might say we must expect the unexpected. Whatever surfaces in the cut thrust of the Election battle, I expect the British public to do the right thing when it comes time to vote.

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