Overall, reasonably happy with the election results, considering the situation.
I think a Conservative government with a small majority could have been dangerous. It would have been hostage to its own right wing, with rebel backbenchers demanding hardline actions for their support on major bills.
A minority or coalition Conservative government is hostage to different interests: those in other parties. It will be forced to be more moderate.
As a PR opponent, I'm reasonably happy: the threat of it has receded, though it's not eliminated. The Tories actually get fewer seats for their votes and could benefit slightly from it, but they fear the spectre of a perpetual Lib Dem / Labour alliance.
Also great to see the BNP get nowhere.
The markets don't exactly like it, but with their boy in the lead, and few safe harbours elsewhere, they haven't melted down completely so far.
My new parliamentary constituency would have been theoretically tied on the 2005 results. I got a bit conned by the Lib Dem bubble, and voted for them thinking they'd have the best chance of defeating the Tories. In fact the final results were Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem. But with a solid 3,716 majority, one extra Labour vote wouldn't have made much difference.
Better news on Ealing Council: voted Labour there and they retook it, all 3 of my candidates got in.
Not very good. On shares of the vote, was one point low for both Labour and the Tories, three points too high for the Lib Dems.
My Lib Dem came from the current average Lib Dem final poll score (28 when I posted), which I reduced by 2 since I thought their vote would be soft. Hopelessly underestimated that: was actually 5 lower.
That made my seat projections very wrong: I had Con 279, Lab 262, Lib Dem 79. Actually Con 306, Lab 258, Lb Dem 57 as I write. The Labour value is OK, but the Lib Dims got absolutely nowhere against the Tories.
Not sure yet where the Lib Dem bubble came from. Some bloggers are claiming it was the Kill Klegg tabloid campaign kicking in. That seems a bit unlikely to me: if so, the numbers should have dropped gradually rather than overnight at the last minute. It's notable that the exit poll was pretty accurate, so I think it's not a "shy voter" issue where some voters don't talk to the pollsters or lie to them. Instead I think it's a turnout issue: the people who told pollster they were going to vote Lib Dem never actually showed up. UK polling report has an early post-mortem, which stresses that they won't know what happened until they re-interview the voters. Might be that the youth vote didn't turn out.
I think in some ways the Lib Dems have some things in common with the BNP: they have a huge online presence, dominating the messageboards they post on, but they only appear weakly in the real world. Perhaps because on the ideology-pragmatism spectrum they're pretty ideological, they have small but highly vocal groups of supporters. Plus when the chips are down, they tend to end up propping up the Tories.
Looks like a Libertory coalition government is the most likely option at the moment.
On personalities: Nick Clegg and David Cameron are pretty much peas in a pod: public school, Oxbridge, full members of Oborne's political class.
On policies: ConHome has some detail, but they seem pretty compatible. I don't think the economic policies differ much. In reality, their decisions will be largely constrained by the markets and real-world friction.
The chief obstacles are probably their own parties. It has yet to be seen if the Lib Dems whips can keep their backbenchers in line, and apparently 86% of grassroots Tories would prefer a minority government. The Tory right have never liked Cameron, and aren't happy at the lack of a majority. Hannan though is endorsing a coalition, so I think they'll give Cameron a break for now.
I don't think PR will be a major obstacle. It'll be fairly easy to find some kind of fudge. Clegg would have to fold very easily to accept a mere inquiry, but there are plenty of other options. Maybe a free vote in Parliament. Or maybe a three-option referendum: status quo, Tory fixed terms and redistricting, Lib Dem full PR. Psychologically the voters would then pick the middle option: the Tories want that, the Lib Dems are OK with that, and their grassroots would have been bought off.
I do find it hilarious that after campaigning so long for a system where political-class elites make secret backroom deals after every election, some Lib Dems are getting quite irate at the idea that Nick Clegg will sell them out over PR in exchange for first class tickets on the ministerial gravy train. Guys, this is what you wanted.
I don't think it's possible to predict how successful the Libertory government will be: we're breaking new ground. Here's a couple of scenarios, but I don't know which is more likely.
UK coalitions have worked before, in WW2 and the great depression. They did badly in the Seventies, but now there are fewer ideological and class-background differences between the parties. So, the difficulties for the whips of keeping the Libertories in line may be no greater than keeping the different wings on one party in line.
There are relatively harsh spending cuts to come. But if the economy grows that can take some of the strain. The cuts still only amount to a few percent per year: most organizations can cut that much without causing absolute havoc. With the US also heavily in debt, and the Eurozone wobbling, the markets won't be punishing the UK particularly heavily.
So, we could see a stable Libertory government for a couple of years, effectively managing our way out of the economic crisis.
Neither the new Tory MPs, nor the left-of-Clegg Lib Dem MPs, can be kept in line. Unable to pacify them both, the Libertory government is initially unable to reduce public spending, and the markets punish it with high interest rates on debt.
The economy doesn't grow, and the eventual emergency spending cuts must be correspondingly savage. Inefficient managers either fail to cut spending, or the services they deliver collapse. Insistence on blanket pay restrictions mean that the public sector job losses are the best people leaving for elsewhere, while the worst people stay on, destroying efficiency.
The Libertories lurch from crisis to crisis. Another election is held within a year. Which may not produce any better result.
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