As the end of this parliament draws near, the final extravagance of recent political decision-making and results will bear heavy on the minds of voters. Victory for the Union, fresh Labour support for Middle East military action,and even the announcement of the Tory titan Boris Johnson standing for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat offer a reassurance that this General Election will be a gripping fight at every turn.
Fresh in thought remains the Scottish Independence campaign where the consequences of the main Westminster party’s outings may be the heaviest hitting on public opinion. Certainly, Alex Salmond succeeded in forcing the hand of the Prime Minister in giving an unexpected, and worryingly, emotional speech.
The Labour Party equally had their tails tucked under with a full delegation sent to convince voters ‘No’ in the last hours – desperation keenly pointed out by Mr. Salmond. However, it was Ed Miliband’s party that exited the Independence debate with a slightly increased lead shown by YouGov at 37%. Labour continued – albeit with no apparent polling gain (or drop) in the last week, their support for military action against the Islamic State principally in Iraq has found widespread approval. The argument has been made that the situation would have been even worse if Labour allowed the Prime Minister to fight Al-Assad’s fledgling clutch of al-Sham. While it was a positive for them last year, their support has proved negligible with no hindsight.
Moreover keen watchers of the Labour faction would be wise to remember another ‘Union’ issue – their Trade Union support base. With Union bosses
remaining openly critical of the Miliband leadership direction amidst reform between their party-trade relationship, as well as on the other periphery having Nigel Farage declare an open targeting of Labour seats, it becomes an interesting state of affairs for an election. Labour is being nipped at its heels.
Not immune, the Conservatives face a refresh to their personnel. The airbrushed billboards of David Cameron in 2010 might just feature his old Etonian friend Boris. It’s a similar sight from the Tories, known for producing both notorious and divisive figures, they manage to ensure and galvanize strong coverage of their frontrunners – historically translating into votes and staying power. At the other end, Labour will be making losses; Jack Straw, David Blunkett and even Dame Tessa Jowell are leaving, with no anticipated replacements.
Of course, some of the biggest points of contention for the Tories will be the rise of UKIP and the now countless defections, with Mark Reckless leaving on Saturday. Look forward to the demise of the Liberal Democrats and Nick Clegg come May, too.
Regardless, the political end games are going to swiftly start taking shape. New policies and manifestos will come by the end of spring and a battleground of dogma will continue until the 7th, where another five years of fate will be sealed.