Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Wake Me Up When Something Interesting Happens

Wow. What a boring campaign. Has there even been a defining moment? Not a single party has put in an impressive performance, and the level of political debate is at an all-time low. Even the geeks among us who were prepared to blog our experiences of the election in a bold and exciting collective effort seem to be suffering from fatigue.

I made some early predictions as to the outcome of the election. I think I was much more certain of the outcome then than I am now. The Tory campaign faltered embarrassingly within a couple of weeks, Labour have resembled a damp squib, and the Lib Dems continue at trying to pretend to be a political party. Couple that with the redundancy of the swingometer, and the fact that opinion polls are most likely imperfect tools this time round, and I'm a little bit befuddled at what to call.

Not that this will stop me trying. The Tories really don't deserve a major increase to justify their campaign (although they do deserve more seats because of the quirks of the FPTP system), yet I can see them making a number of gains from Labour. Labour are now sufficiently unpopular that seats like Hove, which the Tories believed they should never have lost in 1997, yet failed to win back in 2001, should swing back. If they don't, then I think the Tories are more or less finished as a political force in the country. An opposition that fails to capitalise on Blair's lies and deceit is very bad news for Britain.

At the same time, however, a desire for voters to give Labour a kicking is a double-edged sword. In places like Surrey, if Labour voters desert Blair, then the Lib Dems get in. So I can see the Tories winning 20-30 seats (if they are lucky, even a few more) off Labour, but losing a good few back to the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems don't really deserve many more seats than they have now, because Charlie is an idiot, and because they are guilty of massive opportunism but seem to get away with it. However, their effective targeting of seats is well-known, and I can easily see them winning about 10-15 undeserved seats.

So Labour will get back in with a large majority, although no-one trusts Blair. The Tories won't capitalise on this, but may scrape to somewhere around 200 seats. And the Lib Dems will make some small gains. How exciting.