Without wishing to sound patronising, I’m sure you know this is one of the most unpredictable, albeit strangely unexciting, elections yet. Nobody knows who will win the most seats, or even if that party will form the next government. In the spirit of this unpredictability, the list below outlines a number of unlikely, but possible, election scenarios which may occur, scenarios which depending on your political allegiance you may not like, but are nonetheless pivotal for the future running of our country.
1. Nick Clegg loses his seat
Regardless of his party’s unpopularity in Parliament, Clegg has personally had a rather successful election campaign. His performance in the seven-way debate was lauded as an example of common-sense speaking without xenophobic undertones, helping to stabilise the Liberal Democrats’ position in the polls at around 8/9%. But recent Lord Ashcroft polling has shown that Clegg is at risk of losing his seat to the local Labour candidate Oliver Coppard, who had a lead of 2% in March, a lead which Clegg has only managed to reduce to a single percent since.
Whilst it is still highly unlikely that Clegg will lose, a loss could have disastrous consequences for his party. The Lib Dems are banking on becoming the junior coalition partner in the next Parliament. It seems inconceivable that this could occur if their leader lost his seat. Infighting between senior Lib Dems for the party leadership could detract from any potential deal which the major parties were attempting to make, as Clegg would be under enormous pressure to stand down as leader as he was not even an MP, cue a battle royale between Tim Farron and Vince Cable. Such a situation would harm the Conservatives more than Labour; it’s likely that the Conservatives can only do a deal with the Lib Dems, whilst Labour may have the chance to do a deal with the SNP to make Ed Miliband Prime Minister. This would sadly destroy the endearing phrase “I agree with Nick”, pleasingly revived during the debates this week, to potentially be replaced with the not nearly so catchy “I agree with Tim” or “I agree with Vince”.
2. Farage actually wins his seat
This situation may truly occur. Whilst Farage has been 2% behind Labour and the Conservatives in recent polls, this may be because people are less likely to admit they were voting Ukip. Would you?
PMQs would become even more of a farce, whilst Labour would be put under increasing pressure to hold their own EU referendum. However, in the long-run, it may be better for Farage to stay out of the Commons. Many vote Ukip as an anti-establishment cry for help; if Farage was to be ineffectual as part of the establishment, his party may quickly lose votes. It would be far better for Labour to win the election, and then for Farage’s pressure for a referendum to grow, as he can perpetuate the myth that immigrants and middle-class white men, like himself ironically, are ruining the country.
However, Farage has pledged to quit as leader of Ukip if he fails to win the seat, which may lead to the total degradation of the party. Whilst there is a case that Douglas Carswell may take over, he would inevitably be seen as a close relation to the Tories, and would face opposition from (even!) further right in the party, from the delightful Paul Nuttall or Suzanne Evans. Farage’s decline could lead to the decline of Ukip, as whether you dislike him or loathe him, he is undoubtedly enigmatic. Therefore, failure to win this seat could be a disaster for the purple revolution.
3. The Greens lose all their seats
It is a tragic flaw in our first past the post system that the Greens could win 6% of the national vote, and not have any MPs. Yet, this may happen, as Caroline Lucas is contesting the marginal seat of Brighton Pavilion, beset by recycling and traffic control problems since 2010, and the Greens do not look likely to win in any other locations, save for an unprecedented swing from dissatisfied Lib Dem students. Without a voice in the Commons, the Greens would have no legitimate power with which to change legislation, which may lead to an exodus of voters. Alternatively, the Greens could turn militant, with Caroline Lucas leading a group of guerrilla fighters to disrupt fracking demonstrations and hand out recycled leaflets.
4. Labour or the Conservatives win a narrow majority
It seems highly unlikely (although remember 1992) that either party will win a majority on the 7th May. Although the Conservatives are only 23 seats away, there has been a consistent 4.2% swing from them to Labour. Meanwhile, the rise of the SNP in Scotland seems to have destroyed any Labour chances of a majority government. Even if one party somehow manages to scrape past the post, this would create a host of problems. In recent years, we have seen a government with an 85 seat majority outvoted numerous times, most notably, the provision for intervention in Syria. This problem would only be exacerbated with an even smaller majority of potentially less than 10 seats, and may even lead to another election in the autumn.
5. The DUP forms a coalition with the Conservatives
As Owen Jones describes, any Tory government may be propped up by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who will win around 8 seats. The DUP not only may pressure the Tories for greater funding for Northern Ireland in the same way the right-wing press fear the SNP may do, but they have an abysmal gay rights policy, with Jim Wells recently casting gay parents as child-abusers. This, combined with a possible alliance with Ukip and their anti-gay marriage beliefs, could lead to a social dark ages. Never mind the threat of Scottish independence, basic human beliefs should be made precedent. Shame Murdoch’s press is too busy stalking 17 year old girls to report this.
6. Jim Murpy loses his seat
Jim Murphy is contesting the marginal seat of East Renfrewshire, which despite being a safe seat since 1997, threatens to become engulfed by the SNP. Whilst the loss of this seat would symbolise the total annihilation of Scottish Labour, it may also mean the SNP has much more leverage with which to negotiate with the rest of the UK, as a rudderless party would be Labour’s only representative in Scotland, making them almost as unrepresented as the dreaded Tories. It is relatively easy to envisage the rising-star of the party, Kezia Dugdale, taking over the party as an MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) in the same way as Sturgeon, but significantly, she would have negligible Commons members to lead. Without the vehement opposition of Scottish Labour, Labour may feel much more inclined to deal with Nicola Sturgeon, to side with a Scottish electorate which has felt marginalised since pretty much, well, ever.
7. A Grand Coalition is formed
Many people have mooted the idea of a Conservative-Labour grand coalition. Whilst this may form the most popular government, it seems both inconceivable in practice and composition.
Both leaders have ruled it out, although this is no guide to reality, but both leaders’ respective egos would prevent it from occurring. Can you see Cameron being Deputy Prime Minister to a man who he called “a turkey” and “a waste of space”? Can you imagine Miliband himself wanting to serve this man? The only way this could be conceivable is if both leaders were to resign, which would not happen without months of stagnation, in which time it is likely another general election would be called. Even if it was formed, the vast ideological differences between Labour and the Conservatives could lead to the centrist compromise of a rich man’s Lib Dems, who have recently proved themselves the bastion of decisiveness and common sense we look for in a government.
There are a range of other unlikely scenarios that could be envisaged on election night, ranging from Susanna Reid flirting with Nigel Farage live on ITV, to thousands congregating to see Katie Hopkins off at Heathrow, to the Yorkshire Front winning a majority in Leeds. Whatever the outcome, there will inevitably be something that nobody had seen coming, something that will have wide-ranging impacts on our country, and whose repercussions cannot be predicted in a 1500 word article.
Latest posts by Jacob Whitehead (see all)
- Big Sam’s Big Scam - October 2, 2016
- Stitched Up Like a Kipper: The Uncertain Fate of Ukip - August 14, 2016
- Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair: The Shakespearean Tragedy of British Politics - July 15, 2016