Hung up about a hung parliament?

There are no clear political alliances in this closely fought General Election!

On May 7th the British public will cast their vote in one of the most unpredictable General Elections in memory. The traditional battle between the Conservatives and Labour still dominates proceedings, with the latest YouGov poll placing the Tory’s on 35%, one point ahead of their rivals, and the BBC’s Poll of Polls placing Labour as the frontrunners.  It is clearly too close to predict the results, but polls suggest a hung Parliament is very likely, leading to speculation on how the next government might be formed.

Nate Silver, the renowned US statistician who successfully predicted the outcome of the last two US presidential elections, believes the Conservatives will win the most seats but that there is still “enormous uncertainty” about which parties will form the final government.

There is still plenty to play for and the two main parties continue to trade blows above and below the belt. Rather than keeping to the message that their economic strategy is working and would be threatened by a Labour government, the Conservatives spent this week maligning any SNP/Labour coalition. A poster designed by ad agency M&C Saatchi, showing a minute Ed Miliband sitting in Alex Salmond’s breast pocket, was central to kicking off this strategy. Despite this, the Prime Minister has defended the Conservative election campaign “as a very positive vision” for Britain.

As Benedict Pringle, founder of states in a piece for The Debate website, the impact of a negative political advert can be increased by finding out “what negative hunch undecided people already have about a politician or party and remind them of it in the most exciting and compelling way”. The Opinion Research Business (ORB) recently polled 2,000 people and found that a potential Labour-SNP deal made 25% less likely to vote Labour. Therefore it is self-evident why Lynton Crosby, the Tory’s election strategist, would be happy to approve such a poster, despite accusations of negative campaigning by the Party’s opponents.

The suggestion of a post-election alliance between the SNP and Labour has overshadowed its focus on Britain’s “cost-of-living crisis” and has forced the party to continually defend against Tory attempts to exploit the issue. Miliband has had to dismiss a formal coalition with the SNP stating: “It will not happen. There are big differences between us.”  David Cameron on the other hand has refused to discuss the possibility of any post-election “deals” with UKIP after Labour claimed the parties were preparing a “poisonous proposition” to work together after the election.

It would appear, then, that “coalition” has become a dirty word. Yet given the surge in support for UKIP, the Scottish National party (SNP) and the Green Party, the possibility of such a development cannot be discounted. Some experts are stating the most likely outcome is now the Conservatives winning the most votes, but a left-wing alliance forming to keep them out of power.  Does this mean we face the prospect of a second election before the end of the year?

So what are your thoughts as to what the political future of the UK holds after May 7th? We’d love to hear them, so please take our quiz: