Leadership battles ahead
It is not just the General Election result that is proving very difficult to predict with any confidence. There are also huge question marks against all the five main (non nationalist) party leaders being in place after what will, one way or another, be a momentous night on 7th May.
Take David Cameron. If the next Government is a Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP alliance – as the current polls suggest is a distinctly possible outcome – there will be considerable pressure for him to resign as he himself has prepared for. His detoxed approach to the Conservative Party may be consigned to the dustbin of history as too weak for too many. In these circumstances it is likely the Conservative Party might lurch to the right especially on Europe where many will argue that, to eclipse the UKIP vote, they must promise to campaign against Europe at the 2020 General Election.
Take Ed Miliband. What will be his standing if Labour is not the biggest party on 8th May – also likely as the polls currently stand – despite the unpopularity of the Coalition as it sought to reduce the deficit in one term? Add to that a result in Scotland as bad as some pollsters predict – possibly making a three stripe alliance only possible as an interim to a second general election in October – and the pressure for him to resign could be relentless. In this scenario Labour would likely tack more to the middle ground.
And what of Nick Clegg? It is not impossible that he will lose his seat. Even if he doesn’t, can he command much respect if his party loses more than half its current number of 56 MPs? And, anyway, falling on his sword could still be a condition that flows from coalition negotiations. Where would a Cleggless Liberal Democrat Party sit? It might be assumed that it will naturally move towards Labour but there would also be pressure from the Party’s grassroots to re-establish their roots as an independent voice and eschew coalition politics.
What’s the future for Nigel Farage? If he doesn’t win South Thanet and UKIP win only a handful of MPs, despite their likely status as the third party in terms of overall votes won, then surely one of those actually sitting in Parliament would become de facto leader. He himself has already acknowledged this possibility. And finally what future for Natalie Bennett? Putting to one side her performance as lead spokesperson for the Greens there will surely have to be a rethink after 7th May when it may well be that the Greens still have one just MP?
Nothing is certain in politics at the current time – apart from uncertainty! But it’s not just the election result you need to keep an eye on but also the future party leaders.
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