Ahhh, January. The start of a new year! Already snowdrops are beginning to poke through the frosted earth and Facebook has been deluged with selfies of people burning off their Christmas calories. So, once you’ve quite finished munching on yet another turkey sandwich, it’s time to take a look at the year ahead.
In political terms, 2015 is going to be an interesting year. It’s Barack Obama’s penultimate year as the President of the USA, Lithuania is joining the Eurozone…and of course, there’s the pant-wetting excitement of the upcoming general election.
The general election is scheduled to be held on 7th May owing to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act of 2011; and so far, it’s shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable elections in living memory. Currently, the poll average shows Labour to be in first place, the Conservatives a close second, followed by UKIP, The Liberal-Democrats, and finally, the Green Party.
In light of this, I decided to ask the good people of Notre Dame to gaze into their crystal balls and share their political forecasts for 2015. Obviously, the most common theme was the general election, and we had predictions ranging from a continuation of the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, to an out-and-out Labour majority. There were also predictions on the state of the parties’ leadership and the likelihood of another financial crash.
Lower 6th Student, Kyle McGee:
“My political predictions for 2015 are that the Labour party will win the election, but have to form a coalition government with the SNP. I also think that Boris Johnson will take over as leader of the Conservative Party.”
Lower 6th student, Lucy Timmins:
“My political predictions for 2015 are that in the general election the Labour party will win with a small majority, and if this doesn’t happen, Ed Miliband will have to resign as leader of the Labour party. I also think that UKIP and The Green Party will win a lot more seats in Parliament.”
Upper 6th student, William Holmes:
“I think that the Labour party will get the largest number of seats but won’t have enough to form a majority; they’ll either go into coalition with the Green Party or rule with no majority. Because of this, I think that Nick Clegg will no longer be leader of the Liberal Democrats, and will either be kicked out or resign. I also think that UKIP won’t get the support expected and vanish from the media until the next European Parliamentary election.”
Upper 6th student, Audrey Murumbi:
“In my opinion, UKIP are going to form a coalition. I also think that the Liberal Democrats are not going to win as many seats as expected. However, things might stay as they are, with the Conservatives in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.”
Upper 6th student, Moin Shah:
“First of all, I think that the Labour party are going to win by a small majority. My second prediction is that the upcoming general election will signal the last majority government, owing to the rise of smaller parties, like UKIP and The Green Party; perhaps leading to electoral reform. I also think that there will be a big shake-up in the EU, relating to the current turmoil in Cyprus and Greece. People aren’t too happy there at the moment. Although we won’t leave the EU, there will definitely be a significant change. The people at the head of the EU aren’t elected, which worries me.”
Upper 6th student, Abdulla Beirakji:
“I predict that there will be a coalition between the Conservatives and another smaller party. I think that the Labour party will probably have a new leader, as Ed Miliband isn’t popular at the moment. I also think that UKIP won’t be as strong as people currently think they are, because at the European elections, the turnout was very low, whereas at the general election it will be higher, so more people will turn out and show their disapproval.”
Lower 6th student, Annie Maloney:
“My political predictions are that the general election will result in a clear Labour majority. I also think that in my own constituency of Elmet and Rothwell, the Labour candidate, Veronica King, will win and replace Alec Shelbrooke.”
Politics teacher and Green Party Councillor Dr Kevin Warnes:
“I think that It’s incredibly close to call…I’m going to go for a hung Parliament. Currently, It’s 6:1 against either of the main parties winning a majority. Overall, I think Labour will be slightly ahead of the Tories, although I think that they’re going to struggle to form a stable coalition. Perhaps there will be a coalition of several parties, or possibly even a minority Labour led government. A likely scenario is that Labour will try to cobble something together. It might include a role for The Green party, it might not. The Greens will hold Brighton Pavillion, although I don’t think they will win any more seats, and overall they will gain somewhere between 5 and 10 % of the vote. I think that this will provoke a debate about the electoral system. Thirdly, I think that because of the fall out from the general election, there’s going to be a massive constitutional ruckus, owing to the SNP’s success in Scotland. Ultimately, whichever party they end up dealing with in Westminster, they’ll hold their feet to the fire. One outcome of this may be another Scottish referendum, guaranteed in the next 5 years, held towards the end of the Parliament. Finally, I think that the big climate change summit in Paris will result in the world’s major industrialised economies, once again, failing miserably to finalise a global deal on climate.”
Head of Government and Politics, Allan Clifford:
“I think that Labour will get a small majority and form the next government. I also think that will mean that David Cameron will be replaced as leader of the Conservative party by Theresa May. In my opinion, there will be another major economic crash which will turn out to be a real game changer. I’m also inclined to think that UKIP won’t do as well as some have predicted. They’ll only have 3, at the most, 4 MPs after the election.”
And my predictions?
At the moment, Labour have a modest poll lead, however I fear that as the general election draws closer, it will significantly decrease. Ed Miliband is the main factor in all of this. His leadership style is poles apart from Tony Blair’s. Whereas Tony Blair was polished, deft and efficient; ‘The master of Spin’, Ed Miliband can’t even eat a bacon sandwich properly and is increasingly gaffe prone. All it takes is another ‘bigoted woman’ moment and his Prime Ministerial hopes will be lying in a heap of smouldering ashes.
Secondly, I think that the Liberal Democrats will be absolutely annihilated in the general election. A party which keeps loosing their deposits is not a party of government. They can do as much campaigning as they want, but the majority of the electorate on May 7th will be voting with their gut-feeling, and people have not forgotten Nick Clegg’s massive betrayal over tuition fees. So ultimately, Nick Clegg will have to resign. I bet Danny Alexander is salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs…
Finally, the general election. If you put a gun to my head, I’d be inclined to go for a minority Labour government propped up by the SNP, although the SNP may well push for another Scottish referendum.
By Fran Talbot