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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Can the Tories win outright?

Putting aside allegations of temper tantrums in Number 10, my attention was drawn to this article in yesterday's Telegraph in which they go to former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine for his assessment of what is going to happen in the General Election.

They say that Hezza has stunned activists by claiming that history is against Mr Cameron’s hopes of securing an overall majority. Instead, the man who stormed out of Thatcher's Cabinet has said he would "put money" on a hung parliament, with the Tories the largest party. He believes that Mr Cameron would then be forced to call a second election later this year to seek a proper mandate to govern.

Frankly, that is one opinion amongst many and is as valid as anybody else's. Still it might be worth a punt if you overlook Heseltine's previous form on predicting election results. If memory serves right he predicted a Tory majority of 60 back in 1997. So how did that one work out again?
Indeed he did Peter. Good to see someone else remembers it too! I was tweeting about this last night.

In fact it was 60 seats "and rising". Afterwards he admitted that he knew they were going to get thrashed but felt he had to say it to try and help the party. I suspect a similar dynamic is at play here and he is saying it in order to talk up the prospect of a hung parliament (he obviously thinks this is a scary outcome - not idea why!) to try and "scare" people into voting Tory.
The hung Parliament scenario drove people into voting Tory in 1992 of course. So maybe that had something to do with it.
But even Labour people on the ground were surprised by the eventual majority in 1997. They were expecting a narrow victory, so perhaps Heseltine has some excuse.

I think that, unlike 1992, the prospect of a hung parliament could work in our favour. In the past, our sympathisers have been told that a Liberal/Liberal Democrat vote is a wasted vote because there were so few of us in Westminster. This time round, there are already over 60 LibDem MPs and the prospect is that we will have a real influence on policy.

Not that I am campaigning on that basis, but on a set of policies which are the best on offer for the UK in these difficult times.
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