Coffee House

Someone has got to win the next election

15 June 2013

2:53 PM

15 June 2013

2:53 PM

It is easy to make a case for why all three main parties should do badly at the next election.

After five years of austerity, who will vote for the Tories who didn’t in 2010? And how will they stop those dissatisfied with the compromises of coalition from sloping off to Ukip?

As for Labour, why would the public want to put them back in charge just five years after booting them out? This question has special force given that the Labour leadership is so identified with that failed belief that boom and bust had been ended.

Then, there’s the Liberal Democrats—they’ve alienated their left-leaning supporters and lost their status as the protest party of British politics. Oh, and they’ve broken one of their most memorable pledges: no increase in tuition fees.

But as Steve Richard points out in The Guardian today, some combination of these parties will have to form a government after the next election. Not even Nigel Farage thinks that Ukip will be in office come 2015.


Doubts about whether a party can win can be corrosive. The Tory benches are never more truculent than when they think the best they can hope for is another five years of coalition. At which point, they start behaving in a manner that makes a Tory majority even less likely.

But I do sense a shift in the Tory ranks in recent weeks. Pretty much every Tory MP is now convinced that the economy will grow solidly, if not spectacularly, between now and 2015. They also think, and particularly after Ed Balls’ blunder on pensions, that Labour is beatable. These factors are making the Tories more disciplined than they have been in the past two years. Meanwhile, Labour appears to be in for a bought of rather public in-fighting—just read Rafael Behr’s revealing essay on Ed the unready in this week’s New Statesman.

These two things taken together could lead to the Tories beginning to close the gap on Labour in the coming months. If they do, Labour jitters could turn into a proper wobble.

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Show comments
  • Ashok Kumar

    Cameron! Cameron! Cameron!

  • Jacobsebastian

    These two things are very good idea

  • Richard Wormley

    I hate to be a pedant, but in the second to last para., should not “bought” be “bout” ? Is this a case or predictive text taking over from a sub ?

    More to the point, until I see more people signing-up and paying their dues as card carrying Conservatives, I fear for the future where “angry of Tunbridge Wells” is deemed the (non-active) Voice of the Party.

    Too much talk and too little walk.

  • Cuse

    James – its increasingly obvious that your output is not about what is going on *in* politics – its about what you *hope* will happen within politics.

    You have basically peddled the same line now for months, along with the similarly inclined Ben Brogan at the Telegraph: “…there has been a shift in Tory ranks recently…they’re all now onside and firmly behind our Leader…Labour are in a pickle…Labour are falling apart…This *could* lead to the Tories closing the polling gap…”

    I mean, really? So all there is to it is the Tories have to be nice to each other and Labour nasty to each other and everything will be OK? Worldwide events have nothing to do with it? Financial problems have nothing to do with it? UKIP’s rise?
    Cameron’s rampant ineffectiveness?

    I despair.

    And still David Davis continues to get it right. His intervention today on the Co-Op Bank is spot on.

  • justejudexultionis

    We need a great leader with a moustache and breeches.

  • David Webb

    Bought or bout? Did you go to school, James?

  • Fernando5

    So the voters don’t have much faith in the politicians on offer and don’t think they could magically transform their lives, anyhow. All sounds rather healthy to me. When they have turned to someone like Blair with enthusiasm, hoping for great things and a fresh start, the result has invariably been a big disappointment.

  • Tom Tom

    WHEN the Japanese Bond Market implodes Goerge Osborne will be caught unawares. The Bank with one of the very worst Core Tier 1/Total Asset Ratios is Deutsche Bank with Derivatives Exposure 1700% German GDP. Deutsche Bank is undercaptialised and the Japanese Bond Market is heading for a crash but don’t worry James Forsyuth, here in Camberwick Green, Windy Miller and Mr Carraway will be wondering which of the local Councillors to elect to run the village……

  • Lady Magdalene

    “Someone has got to win the next Election.”
    Please, please, please let it be UKIP.
    I’ll be a very good girl – if only UKIP can win.

    • Alexsandr

      be a good girl then and vote UKIP.
      But then I think you were going to anyway.

  • greggf

    “Not even Nigel Farage thinks that Ukip will be in office come 2015.”

    No he won’t, but enough people may vote for him/UKIP to prevent the others forming a government – except a National government comprising Labour, Conservatives and maybe LibDems…….

  • Austin Barry

    “some combination of these parties will have to form a government after the next election.”

    Yep, it’ll be more of the same conspiracy (er, sorry, ‘consensus’) politics.

    So we’ll have more cultural suicide, more EU, more corruption, more tides of roiling bullshit about the joys of imposed diversity.

    Maybe a military coup is the answer?

    • James Strong

      No, a military coup is not the answer. And were one to happen it would be the duty of everyone to attack and kill at least the most senior officer on any patrol or at any site.
      But we haven’t got firearms.
      Why haven’t we got firearms?

  • Paul Owen

    Given that poll about Cameron last week though, what if the Tories were to mount a coup and get themselves a new leader? If only there were someone charismatic with wide cross party appeal. With such a man up against Miliband you might even see a decent Tory majority. If only there were such a man, a man who can even win in Labour leaning London.

    • James Strong

      A leader with gravitas with policies based on conservative principles would be very welcome.
      That disqualifies any buffoon aiming for cross party appeal.

  • alabenn

    The winner will be the party that can get out their ever declining core vote.

    • Tim Reed

      …or stitch things up with enough ̶f̶r̶a̶u̶d̶u̶l̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶b̶a̶l̶l̶o̶t̶s̶ postal votes.

  • @PhilKean1

    If we keep Cameron, Miliband is guaranteed to be the next Prime Minister

    I have been saying this for some time. And I am baffled that Conservatives even THINK that Cameron, having failed to win the 2010 election when the conditions were ALL in his favour, will win when they most definitely won’t be.

    Seriously. I have to wonder whether there is something in the wine that is making Conservatives hopelessly delusional.

    P.S. – Our belief is that a Labour-Liberal Coalition is most likely. That, believe me, really will be game-over !

    • Wessex Man

      good grief there’s still Tories out there!

    • Dan Grover

      Because the alternatives are all worse, I imagine. Personally, I’m still a fan of Cameron, though I wouldn’t be opposed to him being replaced if there were a better candidate. But is there? I can’t think of any.

  • @PhilKean1


    Miliband will become the next Prime Minister if we don’t get rid of Cameron

    I have been saying this for some time. And I am baffled that Conservatives even THINK that Cameron, having failed to win the 2010 election when the conditions were ALL in his favour, will win when they most definitely won’t be.

    Seriously. I have to wonder whether there is something in the wine that is making Conservatives hopelessly delusional.

    P.S. – Our belief is that a Labour-Liberal Coalition is most likely. That, believe me, really will be game-over !

  • David Lindsay

    Everyone knows who is going to win the next General Election.

    • Wessex Man

      come on then share your secret, on the other hand don’t bother.

  • @PhilKean1
  • @PhilKean1


    If Cameron’s Party achieve the impossible, and win the election –

    – this is what we are in for.

    (1) – Constant conflict as his backbenchers try to make him Govern by Conservative principles and honour his in-or-out referendum pledge.

    (2) – Conflict with his backbenchers as Cameron joins with his US friends, his EU friends, his Labour & Liberals friends and the stooges he calls upon to act as the voice of business – in order to conduct a vigorous pro-EU membership campaign to scare the British people into voting to stay in the EU.

    (3) – That even in the unlikely event that the British people get a fair and honest referendum and DO vote to leave the EU, Cameron has the option – as he did recently with his Gay Marriage Bill – of asking for Labour and Liberal help to deny the voters their wish.

    (4) – That Britain’s military and economic power will continue to shrink, due to his unpatriotic policy of counter-productive cuts and accelerated inter-dependence and over-reliance on economic and defence cooperation with the EU.

    I will be voting UKIP !


  • swatnan

    Why? We could do with a rest from this bickering backbiting and sleaze..
    Lets have a Technocratic Govt for a couple of years to put the economy back on an even keel, then, back to the politicians to mess it all up again. I’m getting fed up with the likes of Gove May and IDS chopping and changing the landscape backwards and forwards that even a road map wouldn’t help in finding where we are at.
    Step forward Olly Cromwell Mark II.

  • Will Honeycomb

    Probably a “bout” of in-fighting. Unless the fight has been rigged

  • Colonel Mustard

    Well, unless there is radical change whoever wins it will be the British people who lose!

    • Alexsandr

      I think you mean ‘Whoever we vote for, the government always get in’

    • 2trueblue

      Well the electorate could actually get out and vote. It we saw anything like the figure that the Iranians managed we would have some idea what people actually think/want. All postal votes should be cancelled. If you are unable to go on the day you should have to personally go to the council offices and leave make your vote there securely. Our whole voting system needs looking at, to avoid fraud.

  • Abhay

    A lot may happen between now and 2015, including sordid scandals that could tilt the scales in one way or the other. The Syrian war drums are sounding and a tragic outcome can never be thought to be too far.

    • HookesLaw

      Where is there any evidence of a War with Syria?
      There has been a civil was in Syria for months its not going to go away no matter how deep you dig your head in the sand

      • Wessex Man

        I rather think it’s you who is burying your head in the sand, if it’s going to be done wrong in the middle east bet on the USA and UK to do it wrong!

  • CraigStrachan

    What happens to calculations about the 2015 UK general election if Scotland votes for independence in 2014?

    • Robert_Eve

      We’ll be too busy dancing in the streets – no more Scottish MPs at Westminister – bring it on!!

      • CraigStrachan

        Except independence wouldn’t be complete by May 2015. A “Yes” vote would be a mandate to begin negotiations for independence, which would take some time to conclude – a year at least, I’d expect.

        • Robert_Eve

          I’ll just have to be patient then!!

        • Daniel Maris

          Yep we might have a situation where Labour get elected and then lose their majority on Scotland regaining its independence.

          • David Lindsay

            No, that would be mathematically impossible. If there were a Labour majority at all, then it would include the majority of English seats. As has always happened in the past.

            • Wessex Man

              then you as usual have go and try to ruin my day! but you can’t today!

          • Wessex Man

            well that hadn’t occured to me what a fantastic thought, bring it on!

      • Colonel Mustard

        They will still be there. Many of them, like Mary Mcleod MP, represent English constituencies. The madness of this undertaking is that Scots living in England will not be able to vote for independence but all manner of foreigners living in Scotland will be. The SNP panelist on QT was curiously smug about that.

        • dalai guevara

          Yes, what QT also revealed is that Farange’s Royal Mile experience has clearly had its desired effect.

          • Wessex Man

            hopefully he will now join the Yes campaign!

      • HookesLaw

        A vote for independence in 2014 will not change the situation in 2015
        It would take a while to untangle everything
        does anyone want Labour in charge of that
        As ever the nut job show themselves to be cross little Englanders

      • David Lindsay

        Why, from your own point of view? Labour has never won without the majority of English seats. The Tory myth of having some singular right to speak for England has no factual basis whatever.

    • Tom Tom

      They will be too busy watching the meteorite destroy the USA which is statistically more likely

    • David Lindsay

      Nothing. Labour has never been elected without the majority of English seats. It is a (very recent) myth that Labour is somehow a Scottish party that occasionally wins seats in England. Along with the consoling Tory fantasy that the Tories never did do well in Scotland. They certainly did. And in the North of England. To an extent, they still do in Wales. But not the way they used to. Rather than ask why not, they pretend to themselves that they never did.

  • AndyB

    Weirdly, the web shows this as published 5th Sept 2012… shome mistake shurely?

  • Alexsandr

    well I see no difference between liblabcon and wont vote for them.

    The big story will be if English people vote in significant numbers for UKIP, or stay at home and watch telly.

    It may well depend on the weather!

    • David Lindsay

      UKIP has already lost a third of its support in one month. And it didn’t have very much to start with.

      • terence patrick hewett

        There are new polls by ComRes and Opinium in the Sunday papers:

        Opinium CON 27%(+1), LAB 36%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 20%(-1).
        ComRes CON 26%(-3), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 10%(+2), UKIP 19%(nc).

        UK Polling Report says:

        “Here we have two online polls that still show UKIP up around 20% in contrast to the ICM and MORI telephone polls earlier this week that both showed UKIP at 12%. As I said when the ICM and MORI polls were published, the lower score for UKIP wasn’t a sign that their support has collapsed again, but the result of methodological differences between telephone and internet polls.”