Musings of a swing voter.

May 1, 2010

I am in the middle of writing an article about the likelihood of pacts between Liberals and anyone- in event of a hung parliament.

My original hypothesis was that the surge in Lib Dem support was a protest about the stranglehold that Labour and Conservatives had held over British politics. I thought that if Lib Dems should be in that position, they should offer support on a policy by policy basis. Support decided by the merit of the policy.

Become the party who bridged the gap, bring politics back to the centre. I was hypothesising that a Lib/Lab or Lib/Con pact- would undermine this. I hypothesised that this defeated the point of a third party gaining influence.

Then two things happened.

First- Nick Clegg declared this was now a two horse race. This worried me. A lot.

As I understood it- the election isn’t until next Thursday- and even with the surge in support- this is now a THREE horse race. The voters have not decided, and if the unpredictable polls tell us anything, it is too close to call.

Second- The Grauniad came out in support of the Lib Dems. This shocked me, and if I am honest- I was pleasantly surprised. Then I read twitter. I spoke to my friends. My boyfriend. Had a think. Had another think. Then panicked.

In Conservative/Lib Dem marginals, this will surely send people who were undecided and are Conservative at heart, back to the right?  This is not the two horse race that Nick Clegg appears to now believe it is- and it seems to me that this has split the ‘eft’ vote.

Liberal Democrats have nowhere near the margin they would need to assume a victory outright- nowhere near-but now there is the possibility that Labour don’t either.

All parties appear to have given #bigotgate much more consideration than the electorate have(voters are quite often smarter than politicians give them credit for). Gordon Brown is not liked, but his appeal was never about likeability.

People can’t really vote tactically in this election, because the polls are so haywire- that you wouldn’t know where to vote.

Unless Liberal Democrats and Labour start talking, and Nick Clegg stops posturing- then we are looking at a Conservative victory(and I will make no apologies for being genuinely frightened of a Conservative government. Single parents, in northern post-industrial towns will not fare well under Cameron).

I cannot bear this election. If this was a movie- I would be flicking through to the end and hiding behind a cushion while my boyfriend reassured me that the gory bits were passing.

My vote will be decided on the basis of my local candidates (and I have a choice of at least 3 outstanding AND local candidates), but my concern is national.

I know, I’m a hypocrite. My reasons for not wanting a pact between Liberals Labservatives still stand- but I don’t want a Tory government. I am fully aware of the flaws in this thinking.

This is why the post is called ‘musings of a swing voter’- I can’t help what is going through my head.

A week is a long time in politics-right?



  1. Speaking as a lib-dem member, it is wrong for Nick Clegg to call it a two horse race. This goes against everything the party has said for so long about wanting to end 2 party politics. A metaphor with a ‘winning party’ and everyone else a loser is the very opposite of what proportional representation should be.

    The logical conclusion of PR is that it doesn’t matter ‘who wins’ so much as ensuring you get as much support as you can to boost your sphere of influence. OK, we aren’t voting under PR (yet) but Nick Clegg needs to remember that much of the ‘surge’ has come from being a) the underdog and b) refreshingly different. Pronouncements of 2 horse races and setting the stall out for deals next week is not helpful to that message.

    Like you, I don’t like the prospect of a Conservative government. I am realistic that the Lib Dems are not going to win outright power. So the important thing is to not vote Conservative, especially in those key marginals that they want to win. The split vote between Labour and Lib Dems is a serious danger in those seats, but tactical voting is useless because everyone will use different tactics. Looking at the votes cast in the last election is pointless, such is the strength of the LibDem surge and the collapse in Labour support.

    So, vote for who you want to win your seat and be ready to hide behind the sofa next Thursday!

  2. I think it evens out.

    I took the Nick Clegg stance to be an appeal to Labour voters to switch to voting Liberal in the Conservative/Lib marginals – in order to stop the Conservatives. However I will admit were I in that marginal it would probably push me back to the Conservatives to keep the Labour party out nationally.

    However I don’t regard it as Nick Clegg posturing – he’s quite rightly trying to maximise the vote for his party and so far it looks like he’s doing a pretty good job. Long term he knows that if the Liberals can come second in the popular vote then voting reform will surely be guaranteed?

    • Can’t see a Conservative government supporting voting reform to be honest.

      • They have more to lose from PR than Labour do, never mind the fact that a Con-Lib pact would be extremely hard to stomach. Behind the glossy front man lurks Osborne, Grayling et al. I really can’t see them giving the Lib Dems the thing they want above all else – voting reform, nor having any common ground on the economy or tax reform.

      • ”Behind the glossy front man lurks Osborne, Grayling et al”- dont forget Micheal Gove…..yeah, I want him as education secretary…

      • I can’t see the Conservatives ever wanting voting reform either, but if the Liberal party comes second in the popular vote – and if they take enough votes from Labour they could do this – then it’s a mighty big stick! I think they know they’re more likely to get votes from disaffected Labour supporters than Conservatives ones.

      • Second is useless if the Conservatives hold a majority, even a slim one. If they don’t then the Labour party will be a much more willing coalition partner and I’m sure they’ll drop Brown like a hot turd to make it happen.

  3. […] Lisa Ansell: Musings of a swing voter […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SSP Campsie, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa and others. Lisa said: https://deeplyflawedbuttrying.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/musings-of-a-swing-voter/ […]

  5. Think I’ll be joining you behind the sofa come Thursday. I’m still undecided how to vote, but am starting to feel as if it’s going to end up a horrible mess, whatever happens. Go democracy! 🙂

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