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.