Electoral dysfunction

I have found that I do agree with a bloke from UKIP. But before we get to the election, remember Y2K?

Of course not. Despite much speculation, doomsaying and sporadic outbreaks of baked beans hoarding, computers didn’t all freak out at the funny date.

Remember the big fanfares for the arrival of YouTube and Facebook? No, because of course, there were none. However, along they tootled unnoticed and quietly. Ten years later they’ve taken over the world by popular consent, demonstrating that the details in life that make significant tangible effects on society actually always sneak up on us. However when a million pundits feverishly insist that BIG THINGS which are bound to CHANGE EVERYTHING are on our doorsteps, they don’t.

So today, there is loads of speculation about who’ll win the UK election in May, and at this moment, it is fair to state outright it is the most unpredictable election campaign in a generation and that maybe no-one will win. Perhaps there’ll be a coalition of seven parties as the big ones fade and the little ones grow and they all slug it out in the middle causing stagnation and/or general agreement and some “common-sense” policies, having discussed all matters like “grown-ups”. However, remembering Y2K, we recall that fevered speculation over a sustained period leads to an eruption of nowt. Remember the new Vauxhall Cavalier in 1988? Of course not. “The Future. Now” bragged the ad. It wasn’t. It was another saloon that sold millions but had no impact on automotive history, and everything else just carried on normally for a while. “The Future” as it happened, did come along three years later, but it was www-shaped.

We can’t predict what the outcome of the May 2015 general election will be, but there are pointers. The Scottish referendum provides one model. Big expectation of big overnight change powered by youth and a sense of history, then cold feet on the part of just enough people followed by some anger at a missed opportunity. However, the indications are that with the argument won if not the election, that independence is coming by stealth anyway and the SNP will have a large influential block of seats in Westminster. Elsewhere as people scratch around for reasons to vote Labour, the only viable reason is that it isn’t the Lib Dems. Plaid Cymru, who like the SNP embody hope for many voters, will nick a few off Labour, and the Greens, who also represent some sort of what Sarah Palin might have labelled “Hopey changey stuff” might get another seat in a fashionable city. So Labour won’t win.

Then the Tories. They have their challenges too, and they’re reeling from the impact that an assembly of nasties and cranks who bemoan the Tories going soppy on Europe and gays, might yet have prospects. They’re unlikely to be too troubled. History suggests that protest voters revert to type come a general election, and UKIP have wobbled this weekend and haven’t yet started to present any other policies besides “No to foreigners” and “Corner please ladies, with your babies on boobs”.

So UKIP will cause a couple of surprises, but the Tories will win, meaning the electorate doesn’t. Time perhaps, to speculate on something else.

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