Peter Robinson leads Ulster Resistance militants in a rally

The UK General Election 2015

Peter Robinson with an automatic assault rifle
The man who will call the shots in Westminster after the UK general election? The DUP’s Peter Robinson caught on camera in late 1984 during a visit to the Israel-Lebanon border with an automatic assault rifle

My predictions for the general election in the UK (and the north-eastern bit of Ireland that the British stubbornly cling on to as a last reminder of their glory days, along with a few rocks in the South Atlantic and one big rock at the entrance to the Mediterranean)? Well truth be told the vote in Britain has now become more of a series of interconnected regional elections than a single national one, with the Scots and southern English pursuing very different concerns and in some cases voting for only nominally similar parties; despite the best efforts of Scottish Labour leader Jim “Crazy Eyes” Murphy to bully the domestic general public into thinking otherwise.

The polls are predicting a “hung parliament” as the establishment parties of the Conservatives and Labour remain more or less neck and neck, with the minor Lib Dems facing the prospect of a severe electoral mauling (though under the archaic, barely democratic electoral system used by the British that is not entirely a given). The metropolitan news media, and some international observers, are expecting an SNP landslide in Scotland, with the right- and left-wing press hyping up sensationalist predictions that Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish nationalists will take all 59 Westminster seats in the country. My own prediction is that the British unionists will claim to have “thwarted” the nationalist electoral advance of the SNP when it inevitably fails to entirely sweep the board north of the border. How credible that “Britnat” claim will be depends on just how many MPs the unionist parties – Tories, Labour and Lib Dems – retain. I suspect that the SNP are going to do very well indeed, with a heretofore unprecedented number of representatives. One way or another Jim Murphy seems a liability that the BLP will soon do without.

For Leanne Wood and Plaid Cymru it seems more or less business as usual. They may gain an extra seat or two however unless the polls are badly under-representing her party it seems unlikely that the Welsh nationalists are going to make much of a breakthrough; or any breakthrough at all, really. Here’s hoping that Welsh voters look to their northern Celtic cousins and realise the benefits of a strong home-grown voice in Westminster, something that the big three parties (or worse, UKIP) clearly cannot provide. Talking of which, I doubt that the far right UKIP is going to make much of an impact at the polls, the system is loaded against it, (most of) the media hate it, and it may well have only two or three MPs by the weekend (and perhaps without its increasingly tired-looking leader Nigel Farage).

Meanwhile on this (partitioned) island nation the 18 seats in the north-east are probably going to be allocated along the usual communal lines, Irish nationalist versus British unionist-nationalist. This is especially true following the electoral pact between the far right DUP and slightly less right UUP (an agreement the Tories have implicitly agreed to by not contesting constituencies where joint DUP-UUP candidates are standing; playing the Orange Card and all that). If any changes do happen it will be in the following constituencies: Fermanagh South Tyrone, Upper Bann, East Belfast, North Belfast, South Belfast and South Antrim. Sinn Féin are unlikely to take any extra seats, though they may loose one (I’m not going to even try and predict the outcome of FST). The SDLP are very much becalmed in the electoral waters, having little to fear but not much to hope for either. The moderate unionists of the Alliance Party are probably going to loose their only MP, Naomi Long; and boy are that self-entitled would-be elite whining about it.

So overall, a hung parliament in Britain, the Conservatives and Labour on very similar numbers (the Tories maybe just in the lead), the Lib Dems more than halved, a handful of UKIP members, 35+ SNP MPs, 3+ Plaid Cymru, 1 Green Party, 1 Respect and then various unionist bits and bobs from the DUP-UUP alliance. Sinn Féin and the SDLP will probably be on the same numbers as before if the nationalist vote turns out – if not then there could be trouble in store for SF at least (of course, a full nationalist turn-out of 85%+ would probably yield an extra two seats for SF, even without a cross-party agreement with the SDLP). Dire outcome? A Tory-DUP-UUP-UKIP coalition or minority government. Equally dire outcome, a Labour DUP-UUP-supported minority government.

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4 comments

  1. I think Alliance..might just hold on in east Belfast.
    I am hoping anyway. Not a huge fan of theirs.
    Also. I just found out a few days ago..from an internet comment, actually.
    That when the DUP were first set up..their aim was a federal Ireland!!!!!!!!!
    They dropped it like a hot snot…in no time at all.
    but for a brief moment it was there.

    The future could be interesting..if Naomi does lose to the DUP.
    Might we see “unionists” who are liberal form a new party some day without the religious nuttery of the DUP. not unionists but people from that background.

    a sort of Wolfe Tone party..interested in a UI.
    I read a book Holy War in Belfast..The first few chapters were very interesting.
    Belfast was home to many Liberal Protestants..In fact they paid for the Catholic churches to be built..by collecting donations.
    People say after 1798..they started to turn..
    But it didn’t really happen until the 1830’s.
    When a right wing preacher stirred up trouble ( sound familiar ?? )
    Henry Cooke was his name IIRC

    Well that’s why i am hoping for noomi Long.

  2. It’s not so much that “Britain clings to northeastern Ireland” as much as, by the 1998 islandwide vote FOR the GFA, northeastern Ireland was voluntarily surrendered by its own citizens to Britain in history’s greatest ever surrender of territory absent catastrophic military defeat.

    Among republicans, it was Adams/McGuinness who led that YES campaign.
    .

  3. This is the kind of perverse result you get from the !stpastp elect syst. As An Sionnach says, it just aint very democratic, cos it was never designed to be. In the old days it was the local knight of the Shire who stood for a seat and was elected by the 10-15% of locals who had the property qualification to vote.

    The Tories got 51% of the seats on 38% of the vote. Simply bizarre. UKIP got 12% of the vote and one seat.

    The electoral extinction of the Tories in Scotland from circa 1979 onwards happened despite the fact that the Scottish middle class continued to vote Tory almost to a man. They were still getting 30% of the vote throughout the Thatcher period, but only having three or four seats. Same in Wales

    1. Fair points, John. One can criticise UKIP all one wants but it is simply unfair for the 4 million voters who supported it to have just one representative in the UK parliament. That simply feeds into the sense of an overclass and an underclass with very different policy concerns. Likewise the way all those UKIP voters have been dismissed in recent days is pretty repugnant. Especially by Labour and leftish writers. The snobbery factor is enormous.

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