THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF ACROCKASHITSAs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse pick up speed for the last lap around the crumbling Acropolis that used to be the United Kingdom, we face a unique Election run-in where three of the Horse-heads lie uneasy on their shoulders, and the fourth (has he been doped?) is destined for the glue factory.
David Cameron looks a little silly this morning, as it emerges that the extra £1.7bn we have to pay the EU is there on page one of the rulebook. He hasn’t got a leg to stand on. The rule doesn’t either, but he signed up to it so now he’ll have to grin and bear it. Another 500 thousand votes for Faisal Naraj, kerr-ching Ithangyoo.
And pouring the contents of her fridge’s water supply onto the PM’s head this morning is DDR Jügendsführerin Geli Merkel, who says she’ll block any attempt by the Old Estonian to change the rules on immigration. Another million votes for the Narajists ba-booom.
As if this wasn’t enough to blunt the Camerlot sword, the chance of more defections to UKip – and further embarrassing by-elections – means its outright victory in May, or a Night of the Long Knives for Dave. It is now close to a mathematical certainty that he can’t do that. A Tory vote is a wasted vote: you know it makes sense.
Ed Miliband is in turn looking equally terminal. His Scottish leader quit this weekend, and a hail of soundbite releases have headed the way of the Nationals this morning. The general drift of these is Westminster clueless on all things Scottish, two Eds up themselves, it’s all a mess, OMG, sod the women and children, get a gun and head for the lifeboats. Labour backbenchers are running out of the closet and falling over each other to tell the MSM that Labour now faces “the biggest crisis in its Westminster history”, which given they also went through Ramsay MacDonald in 1931 and Michael Foot in 1983 is a bit daft. But then, this is the Labour Party.
Meanwhile, the new Opinium Poll released last night shows Labour is now only level with the Tories on 33% – the first time for two and half years that Labour hasn’t been shown to be in the lead. But Labour has never fired a leader in office, and while there is in theory a first time for everything, there will never be a first time for sagesse in the Labour Party. Within a month of next May, Teddy Testicles’ missus will be in the driving seat. A Labour vote is a wasted vote: you know it makes sense.
Nigel Farage (aka Faisal Naraj) may well find himself in Government after next May, but he is so gaffe-prone that there remains a distinct possibility yet more of his control-freakery and financial shenanagins could come to light.
He too faces a tricky reality this morning: the latest research on UK voter attitudes to the EU shows that 58% of us now want to stay in the EU. There is thus a bizarre correlation between Nige being higher profile, and falling support for secession from the European Bunion.
The reason isn’t hard to see: blokes like Faisal, but women think he’s the knob with the gob….UKip’s female level of support is half of that among men. With him as leader, therefore, there is only so far he can go.
And he has still never won a Parliamentary seat in his life. A UKip vote is a wasted vote: you know it makes sense.
And last as well as least comes Nick Clegg, whose chosen excuse these days is “Don’t blame me I’m only the piano player”. As leader of what should thus henceforth be called the Liberace Democrats, Napper Clegg doesn’t really have any cred left. His pedigree is one of EU bureaucracy and a close friendship with The Nightmare in Elm House, and that is as clear a case of carrying weight as you’re likely to find. In fact, Nick is The Man with No Credigree.
Mr Clegg takes a nap every day and is rarely seen in the office after 4 pm. These aren’t power naps of course, because Slick Nick has no power: and after May next year, it is highly likely he will have no leadership role either. The knackers Yard beckons. A LibDem vote is a wasted vote: you know it makes sense.
So there we have it: a General Election heading straight for us, and none of the leaders represent a sensible use of one’s vote, because they’ll either be asleep, replaced or retired by next July. Which makes the Election a bit of a nonsense.
As indeed it is, for after the Polls have closed next May, there will be nothing new about the British Parliament, and no difference at all in the way we’re governed. This may seem like a cavalier conclusion, but I urge you to do the maths involved.
For both main Parties, there seems – sadly – to be a minimum low point below which they’re unlikely to go for the time being. This is because the Apocalypse hasn’t happened yet. These numbers are roughly 22% for each side – at its most pessimistic. More likely is around 30% apiece.
So neither of them can win an outright majority unless events beyond Westminster turn dramatically one way or another against one or both of them.
UKip is currently on 18%, but thanks to our voting system that won’t translate into a proportional award of seats. The Party itself is only seriously targeting twelve seats, and the psephology of Dougie Carcrash’s win in Clacton suggests they’ll be doing well to win five in total.
The LibDems may have seen their vote wobbling a bit, but at 6% it’s roughly what it was a year ago. What you have to remember about Clegg’s Clowns, however, is that no other Party understands how to nurture and retain a seat to the extent they do. In this sense, they outclass Ukip. But with 6% ratings, they’ll do well to have twenty seats next time, and could in theory wind up with just ten. My money is on fifteen, because I think they’ll do quite well in Scotland…whereas the SNP might well gain in the aftermath of the Indie vote, and Labour’s obvious disarray. The LibDem seats elesewhere, however, look as if they’ll go equally to the Big Two.
As for the SNP itself, they do have a major opportunity to regain more control over their future if they put their heart and soul into the battle. Looking at the majorities involved, with the right organisation and targeting, they could take seven seats off Labour. I can’t see more falling, as most of the majorities for the Ed Miller Band are enormous.
Although few people have spotted this, thanks to another Westminster/Whitehall balls-up there will still be 650 seats in play – the same as in 2010. So today, a reasonable prediction looks like this:
Let’s start from the assumption that UKip couldn’t possibly ally with Labour or Liberace. Let’s also go further and say UKip wouldn’t join a ConDems Coalition.
I suspect there are two potential outcomes, or order of likelihood:
1. The Tories will do a deal with the SNP and UKip…a crew not too motley to rub along together….and one for which both the junior partners could extract a high price. The overall Coalition majority would be just eight seats.
2. This time around, a newly house-trained Ed Balls just might manage to be nice to the LibDems and not f**k up an alliance. Equally, the SNP is more left-leaning than right. So a LabLibJock Coalition would then have a majority of ten…and also sit together with reasonable ease.
There are two reasons why I think Option 1 above to be the more likely. As the largest Party, David Cameron would have the Constitutional advantage in that QE2 is duty bound ask him to try and form a Government first. And second, I think there would be an outcry among non-Tory English voters if a Scottish Party were to tip the balance in favour of Camerlot.
At this level, anything could happen…but nothing will change. Except slightly for worse than better.
For example, I think it would be hard for Farage to sit in a Cameron-led Cabinet. But he might offer support outside the Cabinet in return for an early EU referendum…as indeed might the SNP in return for more Sottish Assembly powers. That would leave the Tories as a minority Government…but still able to function without having to take any more crap from Liberace.
In turn, if the 1922 Committee’s big cheeses turn privately to UKip, offering both them and the SNP Cabinet seats – but with a new even more neoliberal and pro-Newscorp leader – then it’ll be business as usual for the corporatocrats.
So I’m not going to vote in May 2015, because voting isn’t going to be the thing that changes the scene. In fact, if you look back throughout history, that is nearly always how it works in the UK: extra-Parliamentary action by the London Mob and the suffragettes got us universal suffrage, Plimsoll throwing a fit got us the Plimsoll line, Poll Tax riots did for the Mad Handbag, and events in the eurozone have added to the feeling in favour of UK secession.
The catalysts for change are much more likely to be one or more of bank failure, eurozone collapse, stock market correction, Greek default, Italian secession, French truculence, events in Russia and the negative ramifications of bombing Jihadists.
The best medium-term way to get genuine constitutional, political and economic reform in Britain remains to Starve the Establishment Beast, but that’s just the sort of dangerous, seditious nonsense non-violent extremists (NVEs) like me would say.
On the other hand, the only real long-term alternative to the NVE route is the VE route. Think on it, as you chomp on your joint of choice this lunchtime.
Related from Yesterday at The Slog: Not enough people think there are too many people