The need for change in our political landscape appears to be reflected in so many recent events. The tantalisingly close Independence referendum in Scotland in 2014. The substantial level of electoral success by Independent Police and Crime Commissioners in 2012. The decision by the British electorate in 2010 to vote in a way that prevented any one party from having sufficient votes to have an overall majority within the Westminster Parliament. The background context to these changes has been a large number of disenfranchised voters in numerous elections disturbed only by the amazingly large turnout in September 2014.
As we approach General Election 2015 we are faced with a number of fresh opportunities. Along with the relatively familiar chance to vote UKIP and Green (despite their rhetoric, UKIP are not new and clearly don’t have any real solutions, even their leader now claims their last manifesto ‘Empowering the people’ was drivel) there is also the prospect in at least 12 constituencies of voting for a member of the NHA Party. If the same proportion of constituencies returned an Independent MP as gave us an Independent PCC, there would be 190 ready to help form a new Parliament in May. The potential for the SNP and Plaid Cymru to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament is less a crazy idea and more a dead cert.
Yet despite all these signs of change, is it is clear that the main parties and the media are in complete denial regarding all that they do publicly. They continue to act as though we are faced with a simple two party race and the leaders debates will help determine how you and I will vote. If we assume that there will not be 190 Independent MPs elected, and that Labour or Conservative parties will each hold a large proportion of the constituencies, it is far from certain which party will actually have the largest number of MPs. Assuming it is either Red or Blue that will have the best chance of forming a Government, the final maths will also depend on the result of the smaller parties and any Independents. If there are more potential partners for the smaller of the two big parties, the outcome might be a challenge for all of us. However once we get to the point of one coalition being willing to run the country for 5 years, the name of the leader and our next Prime Minister might not be any of the three big names vying for our attention today. Had the Conservatives not agreed a deal with the Lib Dems in 2010, one possible scenario was a Labour Party led by someone other than Gordon Brown forming an alliance with the Lib Dems. The memory of that may be useful for our parties to recall whilst they fight for lecterns at the ‘Leaders’ debates in the next few weeks!
Lets vote for a change – and if we are going to have change, lets make it as big a change as we can!