Seats and votes – the two main parties start to rise

The last General election brought a new low for the combined vote of the Conservative and Labour parties. It was no wipe out or complete meltdown, Euro style, but it left the two sharing just 65% of the total vote. The remaining 35% of the vote meant 57 Lib Dem MPs and 28 others, mainly nationalist or regional party MPs, arrived at Westminster. The UK ended up with a coalition government no-one had planned or argued for.

The latest polls suggest that the two main parties are now polling around 70% together. That’s well up on 2010 and may lead on to further gains in vote share for one or both  as more people may wish to directly help fashion the choice between a Cameron and a Miliband led government.

The two main parties remain  close in the polls, and the vote going to others though down is now much more powerfully concentrated in Scotland in favour of the SNP. So on the present reduced 30% vote for others, the number of MPs from outside the two main parties could stay quite high  if the SNP gets 40 plus MPs to Westminster and if the Lib Dems still keep enough  of their seats.

The election should get more competitive from here, as the campaigns proper kick in with full manifestoes after Easter. Will UKIP supporters who want out of the EU really let a chance for an EU referendum slip through their hands by not voting Conservative ? Will recent Green voters stick with their new party? Will some  Scottish Unionists vote SNP in the hope of a still better deal for Scotland, or will they see the damage that can do to the Union?

What is for sure is that England can no longer be ignored. The politics of the next Parliament may well be dominated by the business of Scotland, which will also trigger the business of England.


  1. Lifelogic
    March 27, 2015

    The country is crying out for a decisive majority & smaller state government. The last thing England needs or wants is Miliband and Salmond or any other tax borrow and piss down the drain coalition. The basically want the opposite of Libdum policies. Despite this the lefty, private pension mugging, budget together Cameron’s Labour light approach and history of serial ratting looks like throwing the election.

    The election could easily be won Cameron just needs to go for far lower taxes, far less EU, cheap energy, a restoration of UK democracy and a fair deal for the English. Also he needs to stop wittering about his career and not wanting a third term.

    He has yet to win a single election and has been offered two sitting duck ones. All that is needed is some vision.

    1. sjb
      March 27, 2015

      Neither Thatcher nor Blair increased their party’s share of the vote while in power, so it would be remarkable if Cameron improved on the 35.1% the Tories received in 2010.

      1. sjb
        March 27, 2015

        Sorry, that should have been 36.1%.

        1. Hope
          March 27, 2015

          Cameron claimed to halved the deficit to GDP, he later made the same remark without reference to GDP. Quite deceitful. He has not halved the deficit it is around £100 billion, the debt has doubled, he has borrowed more than Labour did, immigration is higher than it was when Labour was in power, he has bailed out Eurozone countries despite claiming otherwise last night- he claimed he would not directly or indirectly, Ireland! IMF. Not promote closer union to the EU, you were at the debate JR, he allowed £18 million pounds of our money to be used for exactly that, was he lying last night? Lybia claims outrageous, the country is a basket case and he did not have the legal right for regime change. What part of his answers were candid, frank and could be verified by independent evidence? Paxman was useless And did not challenge obvious points of linking immigration to public services to being able to pay for public services when the demand is going to be much higher. He failed to make the spending cuts over the last five years with massive tax rises so how is he going to balance the books? Peter Hit hens summary of his performance is spot on the money and worth reminding how poor Cameron’s record is. Cameron could not even clean up his party let alone Westminster, we read today 46 MPs claiming for hotels when they have second homes being rented out in London, of course all within the rules!

    2. zorro
      March 27, 2015

      You just know that he will miss the open goal…. If he couldn’t beat Brown, bets are off. He will be getting ready for the smoke filled rooms and another fig leaf cover…..


    3. William Gruff
      March 27, 2015


      The last thing England needs or wants is Miliband and Salmond or any other tax borrow and piss down the drain coalition.

      If we accept that it is necessary to be cruel to be kind, and speaking as an English nationalist, a SNuLab coalition is exactly what England needs. I won’t test our host’s tolerance by using any adverbs or adjectives but the late Lord Whitelaw once pleased a conference audience by promising ‘a short, sharp shock’ to those young men who will not do as authority tells them. A short sharp shock is exactly what the somnolent English voter needs and Miliband and Salmond are just the men to give it.

      Like an amputation without an anaesthetic, it’s going to hurt but it’s essential for our long-term survival.

      Here’s to independence for England.

      PS: Salmond is basking in the limelight and already drunk on the power he is certain is to be his in six weeks, yet Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of the party that may well bring our long obsolete ‘union’ to an end. What’s that all about? Is she nothing more than a glove puppet (or should that be sock puppet)?

  2. Mark B
    March 27, 2015

    Good morning.

    No matter who gets in, no promises will be kept, and we the people, will be ignored.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 27, 2015

      Recent history would certainly suggest you are quite right. Not that we have even had many positive promises from Cameron so far this time. Perhaps the manifesto will at last make some, on IHT for example, as promised some six years ago.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      March 27, 2015

      Oh for the return of the conviction politician rather than the focus group, perceived centre ground squatters.

      1. backofanenvelope
        March 27, 2015

        Milliband is a conviction politician. He is convinced the last Labour government didn’t spend too much money!

    3. James Matthews
      March 27, 2015

      I think you are over-optimistic. All promises to do malign (but sometimes well-intentioned) things will, as always, be rigorously fulfilled.

  3. Anonymous
    March 27, 2015

    I wish I could indicate Tory Eurosceptic instead of just Tory on my voting slip.

    The candidate I am offered by the local Tory is a Europhile so I cannot vote for them. To do so would indicate that I am happy with the situation and I am most definitely not.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 27, 2015

      In one respect, I’m lucky living in Cambridge. I DO have a real Euro-sceptic candidate for whom I can cast my vote.

      In another way, I am not so lucky. We have a transient student population who vote either Lib Dem or Labour, then clear off after three years and leave the settled community to live with the plonker they have dumped on us.

      It is nigh impossible to measure, but in my experience, young people eventually grow out of the rebellious ‘lefty’ phase they go through at University, then vote with their heads instead. If only we could put old heads on young shoulders.


      1. Anonymous
        March 27, 2015


        To put old heads on young shoulders one must put old experience in them – raising children, running a home on a tight budget, holding down responsibility at work and fighting for promotion – looking after elderly parents… dealing with their passing.

        To put experience of living under politics that has failed and that which has succeeded into young minds…

        Such as this is called wisdom. And yet Ukip are derided for drawing in so much support from older people who have this wisdom. The old people themselves are derided for being fuddy-duddy, narrow minded and bigoted.

        One of the reasons why our country is so Donald Ducked is that the younger generations have what they call ‘Daddy issues.’ They hate their fathers and don’t want to be anything like them.

        Thank you Fed Up Southerner.

        1. Anonymous
          March 27, 2015

          PS, It is a worry that the state pension is now being called a ‘benefit’.

          On this basis it may be stolen from me because I didn’t go on holidays or pee it up the wall and put into a private pension instead.

          Why haven’t the Tories remedied this ?

          Why are they so obsessed with equality and not fairness ?

    2. fedupsouthener
      March 27, 2015

      OMG. There are so many of us out here that feel the same way as you do. So many of our friends have said they are sick of Europe and would vote Tory if they weren’t so intent on preaching that we should stay in. They may offer us a vote on Europe but they will still go on about staying in. Also I am sick of Cameron saying the Tories are the Greenest government ever. If I wanted green and all the taxes and hype that goes with it I would vote Green. No, I want a Tory government but as UKIP’s policies are now closer to my own beliefs I will vote UKIP and damn the consequences. Many others will do this too in the faint hope it might, just might, make the Tory party listen to the people. Their track record so far is terrible. Above all else I want the Lib Dims out of it altogether. Ed Davey and his green dribble has the potential to drive this country into the gutter.

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    March 27, 2015

    Good luck in the upcoming election Mr Redwood.

    You often appear to be swimming against the tide but we need more pragmatic doers like you in parliament who seem at least in tune wih their own supporters.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 27, 2015

      I’d second that. JR is certainly one I could vote for. I wish we’d got him in Cambridge!

      The Tories clearly lost their way but it’s difficult to know where to begin our analysis. Perhaps we need to go back to 1966, then look at the manipulated, compliant toadies that blindly followed the new leader out of a sense of party loyalty. I suggest it was misplaced. They should have took the time to see what was to come if they continued down the pro- European route.


  5. APL
    March 27, 2015

    JR: “but it left the two sharing just 65% of the total vote. The remaining 35% of the vote meant 57 Lib Dem MPs and 28 others,”

    Of the vote.

    You mean those actually sufficiently motivated to turn out and vote for Tweedle dum or Tweedle dee?

    What was the turnout as a percentage of those eligible to vote.

  6. Old Albion
    March 27, 2015

    Then assuming you wish to be the party of Government. Let’s hear Conservatives speak up for England. Let’s see a manifesto for England. Begin the process of an English parliament.
    Make some plans to change the laughingly named ‘United’ Kingdom into a UK federation.
    If Cameron opened his eyes to reality and offered England equality, fairness and democracy? He would stroll to power.

    1. Jools
      March 27, 2015

      How true Old Albion but it’s obvious Cameron would rather stick pins in his eyes than do any of the above. The Tories, dependent on the English vote, could have been looking forward to a healthy majority in May if they had bothered to address the English Question but they have chosen to ignore England instead. It seems they’d much rather hand England over to Miliband and the SNP than offer England equality, fairness or democracy.

      1. Peter A
        March 28, 2015

        Absolute 100% fact

  7. alan jutson
    March 27, 2015

    This election may also show up the faults in our first past the post voting system like never before.

    Huge numbers of people could find themselves with little or no representation (given the way they vote), and the largest party with regard to votes, may not have the most number of seats.

    Yes I know we had the chance to change the system only a few years ago, but what was offered then, failed because it seemed far more complicated than what we have at present.

    Think you may find the postal vote will come in for even more examination after May, given the opportunity to reform this was not taken during the last 5 years. Likewise boundary changes.
    The Conservatives hence lost two opportunities to strengthen our so called democracy a little, and may pay a heavy price for being weak and not doing so.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      March 27, 2015

      Re: voting system

      It is laughable and sad that the pro FPTP fraternity, including unfortunately our host, classify the AV offered in that referendum as PR. In reality it is a variant of FPTP and consequently does not solve the problem of everyone’s vote not being equal, so the lack of interest in the option was not surprising.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 27, 2015

        Well, we were given what should have been a useful reminder that if most of the media are against you then it’s as difficult to win a referendum as it is to win an election. Unfortunately few people seem to have picked up on that, although I noticed that Nigel Farage had something to say about it in his chat with Trevor Phillips.

        1. Jerry
          March 28, 2015

          @Denis Cooper; “if most of the media are against you then it’s as difficult to win a referendum as it is to win an election.”

          Utter balderdash, or at least 10 years out of date!
          What Nigel Farage and people like you claim as a ‘problem’ is simply being used as an excuse for having an unwanted argument, these days the internet and social media win or loose such arguments, not the press/media barons.

          1. acorn
            March 28, 2015

            Don’t you people ever read books on number crunching and statistics? There are some empirical rules provided by natural science. One is that all First-Past-the-Post voting systems, that have single member constituencies, degenerate into binary contests. That is, two party systems.

            Hence, the classic example being the US with its Democrats and Republicans. The closer the policy area of the two parties are to the middle ground, the less likely a minority party will thrive.

            We have just witnessed the mess you get when FPTP strays away from a two party system that is not able to hold the middle ground. It’s a candidate quality control problem.

          2. Denis Cooper
            March 28, 2015

            That’s interesting, Jerry.

            I suppose that’s why politicians no longer bother about what’s in the newspapers, they know that nobody reads them any more, not even on the internet; and likewise they’re totally indifferent to what’s broadcast on TV and the radio, they know that nobody is paying any attention, not even when they can view or hear it through the internet or read the stories on the internet; and not even when the TV and radio channels bore their fast- dwindling audiences by repeating a selection of what’s in the newspapers, as they tend to do.

            No, what really matter for political campaigning these days are the modern cyber-information social media tools, like this:


            and this:


            And see how quickly the stories there can go viral, with literally hundreds of followers so enthused that they pass them on to others …

          3. Denis Cooper
            March 29, 2015

            Aware of that, acorn, and it’s probably one reason why as the election has come closer support for UKIP, and maybe also the Greens, has faded to some extent:


            “Are UKIP and the Greens getting squeezed?”

  8. JoolsB
    March 27, 2015

    Wishful thinking John. One thing is certain – England will continue to be ignored by the Con/Lab/Libs, even if it has a Labour/SNP Government foist on it against it’s will in May. We’ve heard nothing from your lot or Labour and the Lib Dums about what this will mean to England, i.e. unelected and unaccountable SNP MPs and other Scots & Welsh MPs continuing to dictate policies which will only affect England which bizarrely they will have no say on for their own constituents. The best they can do is quote their mantra of “a coalition between a party which seeks to break up the UK and a party which seeks to bankrupt it”, no mention of the forbidden word England.

    We’ve had asymmetrical devolution now for 16 years and the Tories have never bothered to question the legitimacy of the current undemocratic set-up which discriminates so badly against England, where the majority of their constituents reside and without whom they would not exist, not even when tuition fees were being imposed on England’s young courtesy of Scots & Welsh Labour MPs so why should we expect them to be any different in the next five years?

    I am not going to waste my vote on the anti-English Lab/Con/Lib parties and if that means Miliband and the SNP in no. 10 so be it. It might just be the trigger to make England wake up and demand what the self serving, English hating, Europe loving Lab/Lib/Cons are so intent on denying England – it’s right to a voice and it’s own self determining legislature the same as every other country in the UK and western world enjoys.

  9. Andyvan
    March 27, 2015

    There is a choice between a public school Tory and a public school socialist. Their life experiences and agendas differ only marginally. Their policies will differ only in what they have to do to buy enough votes to remain in office. Neither can be trusted to do what is right rather than what is expedient.
    What is absolutely certain is that after the election we will continue to have a bloated, interfering and inept government that spews anti Russian propaganda and backs almost every US led military escapade even at the risk of nuclear war. Just about the only independent action Britain has taken has been to join the Chinese-led Asian development bank, if only there were more in similar vein.
    The election is a very thin veneer over a one party state with UKIP ideally suited to convince the gullible that there is real choice.

    1. Roy Grainger
      March 27, 2015

      Miliband actually didn’t go to a public school, however he did go to the same (state) primary school as Boris Johnson which says something about the political elite in this country. I suppose a few years of Miliband/Salmond chaos would do no harm at all to the Conservative’s medium-term prospects of gaining an absolute majority with an appealing leader.

    2. outsider
      March 27, 2015

      Dear Andyvan, You have the wrong Ed. Mr Balls was public school but Mr Miliband went to a then-favoured Comprehensive in South Hampstead. At home, however, he mingled with the Socialist intellectual elite in the family drawing room. Your point remains. Both party leaders are privileged career politicos who read PPE at Oxford.
      I cannot help contrasting the Cameron/Miliband choice with the 1959 choice between Harold Macmillan and Hugh Gaitskell. They were both decidedly posh but both with experience and understanding of real people and both men of principles, even if one did not agree with them. I was child but it was clear that electors could vote for either one of them with enthusiasm and trust, not just against the other.

      1. Jerry
        March 28, 2015

        @outsider; No, what you mean is the respective party policies, as set out in their manifestos, won or lost elections rather than the “personality” of the leaders. Until fairly recently most electors couldn’t have given a dam were or how politicians were elected, even if the Westminster village did.

        1. Jerry
          March 28, 2015

          sorry, “educated” not elected.

  10. Alan Wheatley
    March 27, 2015

    “Will UKIP supporters who want out of the EU really …” vote for the Conservatives who’s policy is to remain in the EU?

    1. Jerry
      March 27, 2015

      @Alan Wheatley; “the Conservatives who’s policy is to remain in the EU?”

      The last time I checked the Conservatives were still intending to hold an In/Out referendum, thus what ever the parties grandees might like it will be the people who decide.

      Oh and please don’t try and suggest that such a question will be twisted as some in UKIP have suggested in the past, it can’t [1], only voters opinions can, and that will be what the referendum campaigns from both sides of the argument will attempt to do. Do average UKIPpers actually understand the concept of democracy or is it that they don’t trust it, I suspect the latter…

      [1] and if it could, should another party win enough seats to force a referendum of their own, what would stop them from twisting such a question to suit their own policy for a Brexit

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 28, 2015

        Trust in democracy is one thing, trust in Cameron is another.

        1. Jerry
          March 29, 2015

          @Denis Cooper; Surely trust in any party leader, that any of them once in power will abide by their word and allow us mere plebs to decide once and for all on our futures via a simple Yes/No question on a ballot paper, that they will not simple turn around and say fine that was the result this time, but next time the result will be different…

      2. Alan Wheatley
        March 29, 2015

        Jerry, the objective is not a referendum, that is but a step on the way to the objective. For UKIP to objective is to leave the EU, for the Conservatives it is to stay in.

        I think we can take it as read that the party that is in a position to hold a referendum will do so at a time and in a manner that maximises the prospect of the result being the one they want to achieve. There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

        But if you want the UK to leave the EU it makes no sense to vote for a party that wants to stay in the EU, for that party will, quite naturally, claim that vote as support for their policy, where as the voter’s objective is for an exactly opposite policy.

        The EU is a fundamentally and inherently undemocratic organisation, and for those of us who want our democracy back the only vote is UKIP.

        1. Jerry
          March 29, 2015

          Alan Wheatley; “the objective is not a referendum, that is but a step on the way to the objective. For UKIP to objective is to leave the EU”

          I hope that all UKIP supporters and PPC’s tell the electorate that, and the fact that UKIP will be prepared presumably to take the UK out of the EU on a minority of the vote should they ever obtain a working majority ion their own name – in short UKIP apparently as undemocratic as the EU!

          Only the Conservatives have pledged a democratic In/Out referendum – so even if the party or the leadership do collectively or personally wish to stay within the EU it will be a majority of the electorate who actually decide, unlike UKIP making decisions in a smoke filled room around a table of beer and sandwiches! 🙁

          1. Edward2
            March 30, 2015

            UKIPs reason for existance Jerry, is to remove the UK from the EU
            It is their core pledge.
            Their headline policy.
            If you vote for them you would be supporting this.
            If elected with a Parluamentary majority, unlikely, they would remove the UK from the EU.
            This is democratic politics.
            Im amazed you are surprised by this.

          2. Jerry
            March 30, 2015

            @Edward2; If any Pro-EU party obtaining a working majority (perhaps as small as 34% of the total vote), and thus becomes the government, wanted to take the UK even deeper into the EU -that is, no opt-outs, joining the Euro etc, on less than 51% of the popular vote UKIP would be the first to shout foul and demand a referendum on out EU membership -and probably PR too. Yet you seem to think that it would be democratic for UKIP to take the UK out of the EU on a mere 34% of the vote!

          3. Edward2
            March 30, 2015

            If elected with a Parluamentary majority either pro or anti EU parties could carry out their manifesto policies.
            In a sense pro EU parties have been doing that for many years.
            I cant recall any recent election where 51% or more of the electorate voted for one party who then formed the Govt.
            But with such a current low turnout of voters it is almost impossible to achieve.

          4. Jerry
            March 30, 2015

            Edward2; “In a sense pro EU parties have been doing that for many years.”

            Yes that has been the position for the last 43 years, yet UKIP do not like it, but then you suggest that UKIP could do likewise!

            “I cant recall any recent election where 51% or more of the electorate voted for one party who then formed the Govt.”

            Nor can I (although Labour came dammed close in 1945 with 47.7%), but the point so many europhobes miss, the popular vote has been well over the 51% in favour of at least a eurosceptic position and has likely been in favour of a europhile position for the best part of the last 43 plus years!

            These days any party talking of a substantive change in the UK’s national way of life or our relationship with the EU, UN or NATO etc, and who claims to be a democratic party, even more than ever have to make such changes only after the explicit permission of the people via a single issue referendum or upon gaining 51% of the popular vote outright at an election.

            “But with such a current low turnout of voters it is almost impossible to achieve.”

            It’s not the turnout that’s the problem, it’s the number of parties now that split the available vote; in 1945 turnout was 72.63%, in 2010 it was 65.11% (a difference of 7.52% [1]) yet the two main parties in 2010 could only muster 65.1% of the vote between them

            [1] and remember that the many still serving armed forces personal in 1945 had the ballot box taken to them, making it easier to vote than if they had been demobbed and back in old-blighty

            Reply In 2010 36% voted Conservative and 3% voted UKIP – so we clearly got a pro EU Parliament with 61% voting for pro EU parties.

          5. Ted Monbiot
            March 31, 2015

            You have the right to vote, so if you refuse to vote one could assume that either you simply dont care what happens, or you are happy to allow who ever is elected to be elected.
            If there was something these non voters felt particularly strongly about then perhaps they would feel stimulated enough to go out and vote.
            I would guess they might be called the quietly contented.

          6. Alan Wheatley
            March 31, 2015

            Jerry, you really are looking at the World through Jerry-tinted glasses. Others have made good points that should give you cause the question the truths of what you are saying.

            Have you not noticed that UKIP are pushing hard for an EU IN/OUT Referendum? The fact that the UKIP objective is for the UK to leave the EU does not undermine a democratic process.

            The image of the smoke filled room is in your imagination, which seems to have run riot!

          7. Jerry
            March 31, 2015

            @Alan Wheatley; “Jerry, you really are looking at the World through Jerry-tinted glasses. [..//..] Have you not noticed that UKIP are pushing hard for an EU IN/OUT Referendum?”

            Are they, people on here keep telling me that UKIP exists to gain a day-facto Brexit, that is why I suggest that UKIP could end up being as undemocratic as the EU they so detest if they intend making radical economic. social and political changes to the UK after perhaps only having received 34% of the popular vote should they ever become the majority government – so no tinted glasses Alan, just realistic election statistics.

            The image of the smoke filled room is in your imagination”

            Hardly, it is UKIP and Mr Farage who seem pledged to allowing “smoking rooms” should the building owners wish to provide them, and we all know how much Mr Farage loves his pub beer and sandwishes – pun intended…

    2. fedupsouthener
      March 27, 2015

      No, we won’t. My husband and myself were only saying this, this morning. We both said that the Tory policies leave us with a feeling of helplessness. All we see where we live is a deterioration of life due to wind farms everywhere. It has all but destroyed our vision of a decent retirement due to the fact our property is unsaleable unless we reduce the price by about 30%. Thanks to Davey and Cameron who supports this drivel we are stuck with our lot. Can’t wait for the power cuts to come.

  11. Ian wragg
    March 27, 2015

    The Tories and Liebor may have gained some support due to the collapse of the limp dumbs but far more votes have been lost to the Tories to Ukip. CMD, s anti English agenda will ensure he doesn’t get a majority as no one believes a word he says. If last night’s debate was all we can expect then neither party deserve a majority.

    1. bigneil
      March 27, 2015

      “A majority?” – they should both be on zero-hours contracts – and never be needed or called. ( thanks for the cuppa and the biscuit Ian)

    2. fedupsouthener
      March 27, 2015

      Too right!

  12. agricola
    March 27, 2015

    Lots of speculation, but no answers in a situation where none can be expected. You may think that England cannot be ignored, but the main parties have made a good job of so doing to date. I await manifesto time.

    Now to last night. I gave it to Cameron. Newsnight’s panel of random voters, 3 Labour, 2 Undecideds, 1 Tory gave it 5/1 to Cameron. I sensed much to the disappointment of their hosts. The Guardian/ICM poll gave it 54% Cameron and 46% Miliband. Allegra Stratton pushed the socialist agenda on Newsnight despite the above so we now know where Channel 4 is coming from.

    Personally I thought that both Cameron and Miliband were open and honest in their answers except when it came to resolving the question of Immigration and membership of the EU. Paxman was weak in his pursuit of these inexorably linked questions. Cameron produced in passing the old chestnut of trade which Paxman failed to point out would exist whether we were in or out.

    Miliband was equally unconvincing on Europe, Immigration, Energy policy, or how he was going to finance his dream other than through various tax impositions. Nothing about how to create wealth. The old story, Socialism lives on the back of other peoples enterprise.

    Paxman failed to quiz either on the growing erosion of sovereignty in the UK or the destruction of Habeus Corpus before the altar of the European Arrest Warrant. Despite his reputation I thought it a weak performance. Perhaps he has become a Meldrewish member of the same liberal elite to which both Cameron and Miliband belong. I doubt if either managed to change peoples voting intentions.

  13. Douglas Carter
    March 27, 2015

    The current posturing of the LibDems is interesting in a way. I don’t mean ‘literally’ since I’d put them level-pegging with the capacious irrelevance of the Green Party.

    I mean in an academic, indolent notional manner. Practically every poll puts the LibDems well below 10% in both raw individual poll and polling average. Yet their public posturing asserts that apparently next time round they’re going to drive a hard bargain and insist on far greater levels of influence. With half the MPs? On a record of profound treachery across the past five years where their own self-importance and self-survival have been at stake?

    I’m used to the levels of sheer self-delusion and inability to perceive reality from that source – it’s a given. But I’m hoping any Party leader forced into considering their support in a coalition in the coming weeks will feel under an obligation to point out those realities to them. If necessary, in public, and very undiplomatically?

  14. shieldsman
    March 27, 2015

    What Referendum?
    The one to take place after an unknown re-negotiation with no bottom line?
    Cameron will never muster sufficient votes in the H of C.

    1. Jerry
      March 28, 2015

      @shieldsman; “Cameron will never muster sufficient votes [for a EU referendum] in the H of C.”

      Well he won’t if UKIP keep loosing otherwise (safe) Tory seats for then, without winning them for themselves…

    2. Mark B
      March 28, 2015

      No, but he will muster sufficient votes in England to live another day and not see his part implode.

  15. Pud
    March 27, 2015

    Re: “Will UKIP supporters … really let a chance for an EU referendum slip through their hands by not voting Conservative ?”. If I buy a lottery ticket I have a chance of winning several million pounds. I don’t have much chance of the latter, and with a pro-EU leader who invented a job for arch EU-phile Kenneth Clarke I’m far from convinced about the liklehood of the former.

    1. Anonymous
      March 27, 2015

      Then there’s the small matter of having to vote for someone you can’t stand the sight or sound of.

      I’m not doing it.

  16. formula57
    March 27, 2015

    “if the SNP gets 40 plus MPs to Westminster” (though let’s us hope it is over 50) then there plain as day would be your best new coalition partner. An offer by Mr. Cameron of exit from the Union by say 1 July and a good word in Dr Frau Merkel’s ear on Scotland’s behalf and the SNP would be compliant (I doubt they do meek) and, like the rest of the Union, forever grateful. Thereafter, the Conservatives could likely form a government on their own. What is not to like?

    1. stred
      March 28, 2015

      F57. Good idea, but can anyone see Eural Mc Cameron handing his homeland over?

  17. Vanessa
    March 27, 2015

    Your figures, John, still show a government could be elected by less than 30% of the population – hardly a ringing endorsement of either side or true democracy.

    I agree with Lifelogic above, the country is still crying out for smaller government and lower taxes neither of which we will get from Cameron, he is not a conservative in essence.

  18. Bert Young
    March 27, 2015

    Couldn’t agree more than with JR’s concluding paragraph . It is ridiculous to contemplate how a substantial minority group of SNP MPs could influence a British Parliament . I had hoped that Jeremy Paxman would have explored this predicament with DC last night ( equally I hoped that he would have discovered what his red lines were on the EU ).

    Protecting the role of the next Parliament from undue Scottish influence has become top of my election agenda and I am bitterly sorry it was ducked before the election . I accept that we now have to wait and see whether a reformed EU will be palatable and whether a referendum can restore the dignity and independence of this country .

    My voting intentions have not changed in the last months ; I sincerely hope there will be change in the leadership of the Conservative Party and the change will mean a substantial shift to the right . UKIP will become more significant if they do well and , hopefully , kick-start the shift .

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    March 27, 2015

    Nice try but I’m afraid it won’t wash. The latest Telegraph polltracker shows the combined Conservative and Labour vote at around 67%, hardly different from the last election. More significantly for you it shows Labour up from 29% to 33.65% and your party’s share down from 36.1% to 33.69%. It is also significant that in 2010 the turnout was poor at 65%.
    Last night’s mauling of Cameron and Miliband by Paxman exposed the stark reality of the choice you say we have to make. Neither of them is worthy of support nor are their parties. I shall vote for the party which espouses policies which accord with my own views. I shall not accept your offer to shore up your party for fear of letting in Labour. People should vote positively for what they want, not for what they don’t want, for fear of something worse.

    1. Anonymous
      March 27, 2015

      Yes Brian.

      I’m utterly sick of doing it.

      (Negative voting)

  20. majorfrustration
    March 27, 2015

    Lower taxes and smaller government – that’s just “Mum and apple pie” ideal but unlikely to happen. What I would like, is to leave the EU and get shot of Scotland. Who should I vote for?

  21. Richard1
    March 27, 2015

    Off topic, but I have been listening out for the HoC European Committee’s claim of pro-EU bias on the BBC. It does seem at the moment that every time a businessman is interviewed he is asked to comment on EU membership and what a disaster it would be if the UK left, whatever the ostensible purpose of the interview. On the Today Programme yesterday it was Sir Richard Branson, & today George Soros (who was supposed to be talking about Greece). I guess this follows a disaster a few months back when the (much more impressive) entrepreneur James Dyson said – to the evident horror of his BBC interviewer – that it wouldnt make any difference if the UK left the EU and might even be a good thing. I count myself as pro-EU if we can restrict our membership to a free trade only basis. I really do think however that the pro-EU side are going to have to come up with some arguments for membership other than tariff-free market access, which can be had without full membership,

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 27, 2015

      Well, even Cameron has declared that we should not be signed up to the process of “ever closer union” which has been prescribed by the treaties right back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome and is fundamental to the whole EEC/EC/EU project, so you need to be careful about saying that you count yourself as “pro-EU” because that is what you are implicitly supporting even if you think that you only want free trade. Given that German government officials promptly and unequivocally dismissed Cameron’s idea of taking that fundamental commitment out of the EU treaties, and given that like all other EU member states Germany has a veto on any changes to the EU treaties, clearly there is no realistic prospect that the UK or any other country could have a form of EU membership which excluded it.

      1. Richard1
        March 28, 2015

        Yes but the history has been that the EU makes up rules as it goes along. If the EU played by its rules Greece would not now be in the EU. The EU needs to put in place political mechanisms to make the euro work. It has accepted – contrary to the treaties – that the UK never has to join the euro. this provides an ‘out’ for anything at all if it can be agreed. In the end Germany and the others would much rather have the UK in on an exceptional basis than leaving. Not being in the euro will be the justification for any and all carve outs. This is why a renegotiation – so long as its back stopped by a referendum – has a chance of working.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 28, 2015

          “The EU needs to put in place political mechanisms to make the euro work”, but anybody who is aware of what happened in 2010 will realise that wouldn’t necessarily mean that the UK government would make any use of that next “golden opportunity” to demand anything substantive in return for its agreement, any more than it made any use of the last one.

          (And the fact that thanks to a virtually complete media blackout so few people are aware of what happened then does rather contradict the idea that nowadays the internet and social media are everything and the mass media count for very little.)

          Incidentally your “It has accepted – contrary to the treaties – that the UK never has to join the euro” is only partially correct. It was accepted at Maastricht that unless the UK was allowed a protocol to the treaties giving it an opt-out, a “derogation”, from ever having to join the euro then either the UK would have to leave the EU or there could be no euro, but at the same time it is nonetheless expected that eventually the UK, and also Denmark, will fall into line and join the euro like all the other EU member states.

    2. Mark B
      March 28, 2015

      I count myself as pro-EU if we can restrict our membership to a free trade only basis.

      I am sorry to insult you, I really am. But you are (WRONG ED) ! Do the words, EVER CLOSER UNION, mean anything to you ? What ‘trading block’ requires a Parliament, and executive, a foreign policy and even an army ? Has anything I or anyone here has said sunk into you ? The EU is a Federal Superstate in the making. The trade bit is only a ‘Honey Trap’ to ensnare the unwary or the plain stupid. Which category do you fall in I wonder.

      To our kind host: I am sorry to have to insult one of you other contributors, I do not mean to be rude but, there is only so much one can take from people who refuse to listen.

      1. Richard1
        March 28, 2015

        Your silly and splenetic post has had to be edited. See my reply to Dennis Cooper above for answers to your ‘questions’.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 28, 2015

          Only splenetic, not silly.

  22. ChrisS
    March 27, 2015

    “I am not going to waste my vote on the anti-English Lab/Con/Lib parties and if that means Miliband and the SNP in no. 10 so be it.”

    JoolsB : The problem is that if Labour / SNP is what we end up with and the English issue becomes impossible to ignore, Miliband will ensure England is balkanised.

    He will do this to ensure that Labour can maintain a majority in several of the important regions which it would find very difficult to achieve across England as a whole.

    We need a “proper” Conservative Government in order to ensure equality of Devolution but most important, for England to remain as a single Country.

    The best way for that to come about would be for a Conservative administration to be bolstered by UKIP and the DUP members. I’m sure that members like our host and the UKIP contingent would insist that Cameron gave fair treatment for England but would not be prepared to see our country broken up.

    Even though it’s pretty clear that UKIP and the Conservatives are likely to achieve a clear majority of the popular vote across the UK as a whole, sadly, I think the numbers of seats are going to make a Labour/SNP arrangement much more likely.

    This is because the SNP could achieve up to 49 seats with less than 1m votes. To show how skewed this kind of result would be in a general election context, each SNP MP will have been elected by only 20,350 voters. The number of voters to elect one Conservative MP is likely to be excess of 30,000 voters.

    Even if Cameron gets the most seats ( just ) and Salmond carries out his threat to use his MPs to vote against the Queen’s Speech, we will end up with Labour unless Miliband chooses to abstain.

  23. Denis Cooper
    March 27, 2015

    “The UK ended up with a coalition government no-one had planned or argued for.”

    Well, Cameron started cosying up to the LibDems long before the 2010 election, and it came pretty close to openly arguing for a coalition government.

    This is an article he had published in the Guardian on September 20th 2009:

    “A Lib Dem-Tory alliance will vanquish Labour”

    “This week, many will be looking to Bournemouth and the Liberal Democrats’ party conference. But just when Britain needs a strong coalition for progressive change in our politics, I believe their leader is taking his party in the wrong direction. Instead of explaining what unites Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, he’s trying to drive a wedge between us.”

    Of course Cameron could not pre-determine that the voters would return a hung Parliament and that the outcome would not be a Tory majority government but a Tory coalition with the LibDems, but clearly at the very least that was not a prospect which greatly concerned him, and at worst it was what he was really hoping for.

    It is worth noting the timing of that article: less than two weeks before the second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, with all the opinion polls pointing towards a strong vote to approve it, and about six weeks before Cameron’s announcement on November 4th that he too was surrendering and he would after all “let matters rest there” – a decision which cost the Tory party several percentage points of support and so made a hung Parliament more likely, but also cleared the way for a coalition with the LibDems.

  24. adams
    March 27, 2015

    Vote for the libLabCon EU Allianec in the faint possibilty that there might be a fair referendum ? No thanks John . UKIP have my vote . Thanks for FPTP . Even that awful system is producing coalition governments . We once again will get governance by a hybrid that the vast majority did not vote for . Could not be more disgusted if I lived in Tunbridge Wells !

  25. MickN
    March 27, 2015

    “Will UKIP supporters who want out of the EU really let a chance for an EU referendum slip through their hands by not voting Conservative ?”

    Well for as many past General Elections as I can remember I have believed that a Conservative vote was the best place to put my mark and have done so accordingly.
    Having my personal views denounced as being akin to a “fruitcake” or a “closet racist” and then being told that my definition of the word “marriage” had been wrong for the best part of sixty years has made me question that loyalty.

    My vote now will go at every opportunity to the one party that I believe share my views.

    Events of the past couple of days have shown that many of those on your side of the house would not even allow for a fair voting system for the re-election of the speaker.
    If they cannot even manage that even with the element of surprise, what chance have we got for gaining any ground from Mrs Merkel?

    I absolutely detest the idea of a coalition of Labour and SNP after May 7th, but if that is what it takes to get back a Conservative party that I can be proud of and vote for once again then so be it.

  26. Nick Whitehouse
    March 27, 2015

    You ask ” Will UKIP supporters who want out of the EU really let a chance for an EU referendum slip through their hands by not voting Conservative ?”.
    The problem for me as a life long Conservative is do I trust Cameron?
    I remember the “Cast Iron” guarantee, the “no ifs or buts” immigration promise.
    Now we have the promise of a referendum, should I believe again? Or am I just another mug voter who can be discarded once Cameron is PM again.
    It would help if I knew, which bits of the EU rules that Cameron wish to return to England, but even if I did, could/should I trust a man who cannot keep his word?

    1. Mark B
      March 28, 2015

      And this is exactly my position.

  27. Denis Cooper
    March 27, 2015

    Taking an average of the polls the support for Labour and the Tories taken together is about 68% rather than 70%:

    While this is indeed higher than the corresponding number of 67% actually observed in the 2010 general election, it is only about 1% higher, while by falling from 24% to 8% the LibDems have lost 16%.

    The original collapse in support for the LibDems after they went into coalition with the Tories was accompanied by Labour adding about 11% to its support, the lion’s share of those who abandoned the LibDems, with few switching to the Tories, let alone UKIP, and by the end of 2012 the support for Labour and the Tories taken together was much higher than now, at about 76%.

    Since then the Tories have made no significant progress, but Labour have shed about 9% bringing them down to more or less level pegging with the Tories. This has often been misrepresented as the Tories closing the gap with Labour or overtaking Labour, but the reality is that the Tories have been standing more or less still for over two years while Labour has gradually fallen and converged with them, not the other way round.

    So the question is, where have the 9% of voters lost by Labour since the end of 2012 moved? And the answer is that many of them have seen the light and realised that Labour doesn’t care about them and decided to switch to supporting UKIP, which has still gained about 7% over that period despite fading recently.

    Which is why it would be of little net benefit to the Tory party even if UKIP completely disappeared, and there were no UKIP candidates standing, and all those who now plan to vote UKIP instead reverted to voting for the parties they previously supported.

    1. Anonymous
      March 27, 2015

      Denis – Are elections about just winning elections or are they about doing what vast swathes of people want ?

      Combine Ukip voters with Eurosceptic main party voters…

      If you are Eurosceptic and vote Lib/Lab/Con it will be assumed that you’re happy with the EU.

      My ancestors lost limbs and lives in the two World Wars in defence of this country. We gather at memorials once a year in thanks.

      This issue is more important than our wealth and comfort and it is not too much to ask to do our bit rather than be threatened that if we don’t vote Tory then bogeyment will take our sweeties taken away.

      They have taken our support for granted.

      When we have the temerity to withdraw it we are insulted way beyond that which they’d dare to insult truly loonatic and dangerous members of the ‘community’.

      I’m tired of having my decency and sanity brought into question. An apology from Mr Cameron would be a good start.

      1. Jerry
        March 28, 2015

        @Anonymous; “My ancestors lost limbs and lives in the two World Wars in defence of this country. We gather at memorials once a year in thanks.”

        Comments like that are far more likely to send the average voter towards europhile parties than against them…

  28. They Work for US?
    March 27, 2015

    You at least John are a real Conservative and all of us wish you well in the election. You not only have to put up with our diatribes but must suffer the frustration of having to put up with much of the nonsense put out by your party that to most of us is not the Conservative Party as we know it.
    In the forthcoming election we must coldly do what we need to do to keep the Socialist out by tactical voting. Where the Conservatives can win vote Conservative, not UKIP but where they really can’t and another non Socialist can, vote for them ie UKIP.
    I am dismayed that the attempt to remove Bercow failed. We have had two duff Speakers, where oh where is someone with the capability and integrity of a Speaker Thomas or Betty Boothroyd. The Conservatives should put up a candidate against Bercow in Buckingham and inform the Conservative MPs that voted against the Government that their Constituencies will be approached with a view to deselecting them. At the start of the next Parliament there will be I believe another opportunity to force an election for Speaker by not endorsing the incumbent unanimously.

    1. BeeCee
      March 27, 2015

      Mrs Bercow actively campaigns for the Labour party, her husband is less than neutral as Speaker – at least that is how it appears – so why the Conservatives will allow him to be unopposed by the Party is beyond belief.

    2. Anonymous
      March 27, 2015

      Did that last time.

      And the times before.

  29. Denis Cooper
    March 27, 2015

    “Will UKIP supporters who want out of the EU really let a chance for an EU referendum slip through their hands by not voting Conservative?”

    Despite its many flaws I support UKIP because I want us out of the EU, not because I want us to remain stuck in the EU, probably forever, after another “in-out” referendum conducted like the last one in 1975.

    It’s already obvious that copying what Wilson did then is Cameron’s back-up plan, if he finds that he’s in a position to hold the referendum and he can’t avoid holding it; and if he calculates that what worked then will work again he’s almost certainly right.

  30. The PrangWizard
    March 27, 2015

    Will there be a Manifesto for England? Have you been asked to contribute?

  31. Denis Cooper
    March 27, 2015

    Off-topic, during his interview with Paxman last night Cameron once again claimed to have got us out of eurozone bail-outs costing us millions. But of course he didn’t mention that during the so-called “interregnum”, the period between polling day for the 2010 general election and the installation of the coalition government, Osborne had agreed with Darling that we should participate in the illegal first bail-out of Greece, nor did he mention our continuing commitments through the IMF, and nor did he say how many millions that the UK agreed to pay into the EU budget ostensibly for development funds have just been diverted to “humanitarian aid” for Greece.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      March 27, 2015

      Rather than being off topic you have hit the bullseye. Cameron is deceitful and cannot be trusted.

  32. a-tracy
    March 27, 2015

    If you lose this election, all the hard work and pain that is starting to pay off in increasing taxes from businesses and vat and payroll taxes will just get blown and benefit another government. You got left with a note saying ‘the moneys run out ha ha’. You need to make sure instead of waffling like Dave did last night you get this message over loud and clear. Or put it in the hsbc and put the money up in a Swiss bank account in safe keeping for the taxpayers and leave them with what they left you.

  33. REPay
    March 27, 2015

    I think there is a growing realization that this is a really important election with the country poised to fragment and, listening to the latest Labor NHS proposals a lurch back to the 1970s.

  34. DaveM
    March 27, 2015

    “The latest polls suggest that the two main parties are now polling around 70% together. That’s well up on 2010 and may lead on to further gains in vote share for one or both as more people may wish to directly help fashion the choice between a Cameron and a Miliband led government.”

    Keep saying it, John, and it might happen!!

    Good old ConLab – just ignore it and read the polls that give the right results and the SNP, Ukip, etc might just go away!

    ConLab’s days are numbered if they don’t start looking around them and listening to the electorate. Maybe not this time, but the train’s a-coming.

    Stupid really. If you just listened to the electorate and adopted a couple of policies – which would do your party no harm whatsoever – you’d win easily.

  35. Paul
    March 27, 2015

    As someone who stopped supporting the Conservative Party (and switched to UKIP) almost immediately after Cameron took over in 2005, two things have made it more likely to vote Conservative than UKIP in May;

    1) Cameron has said he will not seek a third term – maybe us real Conservatives could tolerate him for a few more years, get our ‘renegotiated’ referendum, and try and make the Conservatives see sense and choose a real Conservative to lead them into the 2020 election.

    2) Ed Miliband – although Paxman was much harsher on Ed during yesterday’s interview, it’s quite clear that this man is simply not fit to run the country.

    In many ways 2020 will be the key election for UKIP. The Conservatives created the UKIP problem, it’s up to them if they want to do anything about it.

  36. Bob
    March 27, 2015

    “Seats and votes – the two main parties start to rise”

    The Tories came third in the EU elections and their votes were ALL DOWN in recent by-elections:

    Down 28.4% in Clacton
    Down 14.4% in Rochester & Strood
    Down 8.9% in Newark
    Down 14.9% in Heywood and Middleton

    UKIP’s results were all dramatically higher.

    Still, I suppose the Tories have to try to put on a brave face with Cameron still in charge and just over a month until the General Elections. 😀

    1. Jerry
      March 29, 2015

      @Bob; “Still, I suppose the Tories have to try to put on a brave face with Cameron still in charge and just over a month until the General Elections.”

      Still, I suppose that UKIP members will have to try to put on a brave face with Mr Farage still in charge of their “Nul points” influence, a couple of weeks after the General Election, when the Queen gets up to announce the programme for her (very europhile, left-wing) Government for the next FIVE years…

  37. Denis Cooper
    March 27, 2015

    Just to mention that if you don’t just lump together support for Labour and the Tories but also add on the LibDems, then that cartel won 90% of the votes in 2020 but now collectively they have only about 76% support.

    90% – 76% = 14% have abandoned those three parties since the last general election; while on the other hand UKIP has increased its support by 11%, the SNP by about 2% and the Greens by 4%, which add up to 17%; and minus 2% lost by other minor parties corrects that to 15%, more or less matching the 14% losses of the cartel parties.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 27, 2015

      2010, of course.

    2. William Gruff
      March 28, 2015

      Denis Cooper:

      … the Tories have to try to put on a brave face …

      By ‘brave’ do you mean spray tanned, blow waved and airbrushed?

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 29, 2015

        Better ask Bob, as he said it not me.

  38. waramess
    March 27, 2015
  39. Jon
    March 27, 2015

    Scotland has gone Socialist Nationalism if polls are to believed, we will see. If Labour and therefore the Nationalists are in then I think it will drive a surge in nationalism in England and the breakdown in the major parties will happen. Hopefully a Conservative majority will prevail.

    It’s not beyond my view that Scotland could be shed to prevent contagion to preserve the rest of the Union.

    1. William Gruff
      March 28, 2015


      … Scotland could be shed to prevent contagion to preserve the rest of the Union.

      What is the point of preserving the ‘union’?

  40. Yosarion
    March 28, 2015

    John you talk the talk about being anti EU, then you talk about regions, the very thing that no Englishman or Women in their right minds would ever want.

  41. Peter A
    March 28, 2015

    UKIP is essentially a party of England. UKIP Supporters should therefore ask themselves if they want to be voting for Scottish rule via the SNP over England.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 28, 2015

      Wherever they may be resident in the UK, if UKIP supporters vote for UKIP then they will be voting for UKIP not for the SNP.

  42. Chris S
    March 28, 2015

    Quote today from Sturgeon :

    “If Labour fails to make that commitment, the only conclusion people will draw is that Labour would rather have the Tories back in power than work with the SNP.

    “And that will be the final nail in the political coffin of Scottish Labour.”

    If Milband and Co haven’t realised by now that Scotland is a lost cause for them, they will after May 7th. The march towards Independence now looks unstoppable and all the Westminster parties need to stop their policy of appeasement and put the SNP back in its box.

    If a majority of the electorate in England vote for the Conservatives and UKIP, there will be hell to pay if Labour creeps in by the back door with the help of the SNP.

    As I’ve posted before, it will take less than 20,000 votes to give the SNP a seat while it will take almost double that number of votes to elect a Conservative or UKIP MP.

    1. stred
      March 30, 2015

      Chris. One UKIP MP would have 598,000 potential voters, according to the latest polls and forecast of numbers. Two MPs, 299,000.

      1. stred
        March 31, 2015

        Ooops. The decimal point was wrong. The proportion of voters per 2 Ukip MP should have been around 3 million.

  43. Margaret Brandreth-J
    March 29, 2015

    A sprint to the finish in electioneering terms is not going to change the perception of most,but no doubt,there will be many who will be invited to comment for a fee on the media ( hand picked of course) and money will be made out of it. We hear play this down or make the most of this insignificance .I’m not backing him or her , we don’t want him or her , I’ll pay for it or won’t .Can I just say for all those suffering like wise..GET LOST.

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    March 29, 2015

    The YouGov site carries the latest poll of polls – up to 26/3 – and the figures are Conservative 33%, Labour 34%, LibDem 8%, UKIP 14%, Green 5%. This leaves 6% for the SNP and other Celtic parties. It seems safe to say that UKIP and the Greens will punch below their weight and the LibDems and SNP above theirs.

    Parties that might be prepared to collaborate with the Conservatives after the election on some basis are restricted to the LibDems, UKIP and the DUP in Northern Ireland. The Conservatives’ best hope is to attract some of the UKIP vote (although direct cross overs from Labour are still a possibility).

    However, UKIP supporters will only come across if there is a firming up of policy on Europe and immigration. With the EU, we wish to end any hint of a Federal relationship. On immigration from the EU, we must have firm control of the numbers. A delay of 4 years in benefit entitlement is not such a control mechanism – even if Poland doesn’t successfully challenge it in the EU courts. Poland especially dislikes the non-payment of child benefit for children living outside the UK.

    It’s the old question: are we a nation or an EU province?

Comments are closed.