?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Snap election - The Ex-Communicator

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

January 13th, 2011


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
03:15 pm - Snap election
Some people assert that David Cameron is considering calling a snap election in May. I guess the result of today's Oldham by-election will influence his decision. Personally I think it would be an act of suicidal vanity, though it may be that he could manage to squeeze a working majority from the immolation of the Lib Dem vote, particularly if significant numbers of ex-Lib Dems simply fail to vote.

Toby Young in the Telegraph today argues:
On the face of it, the case for a snap election is quite compelling... polling evidence suggests that Labour is making some headway... When the cuts start to bite in April and public sector pay is frozen, the government’s approval ratings will start to plummet. The Lib Dems are proving increasingly unreliable partners and Nick Clegg may have difficulty persuading his Parliamentary Party to continue to support the government if the AV referendum returns a “no” vote on May 1st. Wouldn’t it be better for Cameron to go to the country at a time of his choosing rather than be forced to go at a later date by the collapse of the Coalition when the auguries are less favourable?

Though he concludes that the case against an election is more compelling (it boils down to 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush').

Toby Young however makes this stupid mistake:
If he doesn’t call a snap election, he’s locked in for the forseeable... the Bill ensuring that Parliament can’t be dissolved unless 55% of MPs vote for a dissolution will receive Royal assent later this year. That means the Lib Dems will be able to prevent Cameron going to the country – and they surely will while their poll numbers remain in the toilet.

Of course Cameron can still call a dissolution of Parliament following the rule change. The Labour Party will always vote for an election, so the Lib Dems can not prevent it, but the Tories still can. It's basic maths.

Tory + Labour = 305+235 = 83% for dissolution
Lib Dem + all non-Tory votes combined = 650-305 = 53% for dissolution

The original 55% cut-off was set out on this basis. Obviously.

ETA - And matgb reminds me that the vote required for dissolution gone up to 66%, which better protects Cameron against rebellion among his own ranks, further weakening the Lib Dems, but in no way hampering him if he wants to call an election. Actually I think this shows how scared of his own backbenchers Cameron is.

My conclusion is - he would be reckless to call an election now. He can call one at any time in the next 5 years. However, I don't think there will be any good time for him.

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tehomet
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Fascinating. I love the insights into English politics that I get from your political posts. :D

I don't think DC will call an election in May, either. Unless something really dramatic happens to make it unavoidable for him.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
What they say is that it burns him like fire that his idols (Thatcher and Blair) had massive majorities and he has a weedy minority Government. I am hoping that this nags away at him until he does something reckless.
[User Picture]
From:tehomet
Date:January 13th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
What they say is that it burns him like fire that his idols (Thatcher and Blair) had massive majorities and he has a weedy minority Government. I am hoping that this nags away at him until he does something reckless.

Plan A: This fact sprinkles lemon juice on the papercut of his psyche until he snaps and calls a doomed election, or Plan B: It continues to burn him like fire.

Admittedly I'd prefer and like yourself am hoping for Plan A, but both of those plans work for me. :D
[User Picture]
From:matgb
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
He's making another stupid mistake though.

And you're repeating it. They dumped the 55% requirement. It's now 66%.

I don't think it'd happen, Cameron wants to build a 'trust me' image, and breaking a clearly signed pledge for no reason other than partisan advantage might not play well to that image.

Besides, what happens if he wins with a small ish majority. He'd much rather keep the LD left happy than be beholden to the idiots on the Tory right--that's where the real problems are going to come from as the Parliament progresses.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, I remember now it went up didn't it. I will edit. Pure window dressing in any case. Cameron can get 80%+ without any problem, the Lib Dems can't scrape together more than 53%.

ETA - but on reflection it's not just window dressing. Cameron has raised the margin because he anticipates some of his own backbenchers threatening to vote with the Lib Dems and Labour to bring down the Government.

Edited at 2011-01-13 03:35 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:matgb
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
True.

The 55% thing never made much sense to me, from what I gather from conversations with those who've talked to those in the know, Tories were happy to mke Dissolution a Parliamentary power (They thought it already was, I despair at times), but didn't see why it should be above 50. Getting it to 55 was a struggle during negotiation, but when Clegg did the actual work, winning the argument for 66 was easier--some of the Cabinet that aren't LDs have actually understood the constitution, thankfully.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Never made sense? It makes obvious sense, it disempowers the Lib Dems. I think it's always a clear sign of bad piece of legislation when it is designed to deal with a particular short term problem (the anti-Tory vote is potentially 53%, so we set the cut off at 55%) rather than any over-arching principle.
[User Picture]
From:matgb
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, but it wasn't. Dissolution isn't Confidence, Confidence remains at 50, if the LDs wanted to screw Cameron, they could do so easily. And putting a limit on Dissolution strengthens them.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
(Link)
They could not do so easily. They could supplicate the Labour Party, Plaid Cymru etc. Perhaps it will come to that.
[User Picture]
From:matgb
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Reply to edit.

Thing is, to 'bring down the Govt', you still only need 50%. If he lost a Confidence motion, he'd almost certainly have to resign as PM, or ask PArliament for a dissolution.

The latter is less likely to happen in that case. I reckon the only way he'd lose a Confidence motion is if the Tories lose a chunk of by elections to Labour (or even Lib Dems).

I think it'd need a net change of at least ten seats to make that viable or likely though. Fixed term Parliaments have been a Lib Dem/Labour-reformist plan for decades, LDs would like to show how it's supposed to work, but I reckon it'll be after the next GE at the earliest.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You have a lot of faith in the Tories, for some reason
[User Picture]
From:andrewducker
Date:January 13th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The government's approval ratings, last I checked, were at -25%. I can't see much room for them to go down further. (Well, not _much_ further). I suspect that if Cameron went to the polls now he'd be wiped out, if for no other reason than voters would feel that he was taking the piss.

If he won with a Tory majority then he'd be more screwed, as he'd be pulled further right than I think he's comfortable with, if we ended up back where we are now then he'd have the same problems he currently does, only moreso, as the LibDems wouldn't be willing to go back into a coalition that was pulled out from under them, and if Labour won he'd be screwed because he'd look like someone who had it all and threw it away, the Conservatives would eat him alive.

Frankly, I can't see anything in it for him holding an election before the five years are up.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
He might think that he has squeezed all the benefit he can from the Lib Dems, and that their votes will redistribute in a way that benefits him, so there's nothing to be gained from continuing with the Coalition. Also the Labour Party have much less money that the Tories, so a quick election now will be a real financial headache for them. This is a significant issue I suspect.

But on the whole I agree it's unlikely now. I think he will wait until they have redrawn the boundaries to eliminate some Labour seats. I still don't think that will be enough to give them a majority.
[User Picture]
From:andrewducker
Date:January 13th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Not from the stats I've seen. Reducing the seat count shouldn't do so, and the boundary drawing method is strict enough that gerrymandering out to be very hard.
From:huskyscotsman
Date:January 13th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'll buy a hat if this happens just so I can eat it. Surely it would be suicidal—if nothing else elections cost money, so their pitch as the party of spending cuts and financial prudence would be totally queered.
From:huskyscotsman
Date:January 13th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That's the first time I've ever written a sentence where the correct final word turned out to be "queered". (And I guess that was the second.)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That's an interesting issue I hadn't considered - unnecessary election seen as a waste of public money. I literally don't have a clue how that would play out.
[User Picture]
From:sheenaghpugh
Date:January 14th, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
if there's one thing the voters don't like, it's being called out to vote for no particular reason except some politician's convenience. They do like it to be because it's time, or because government has become impossible.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 14th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I think you might be right. I personally quite enjoy an election any time but I think most people find it an annoyance unless there's a damn good reason.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com