by Kevin Williamson
With many eyes glancing towards Scottish opinion polls for an indication of where we’re at with YES v NO, the opinion polls for Westminster 2015 make for sober reading.
The ConDem Coalition is into its fifth year now. There is less than ten months to the next Westminster elections. For the last four years the UK government has unleashed hell on public services, welfare, the NHS, education and everything else they’ve touched. England already looks like a foreign country as far as politics concerned.
Could things get any worse?
The NO camp in Scotland are putting all their eggs in the shoogly basket of the Labour Party under Ed Miliband; presumably coming to the rescue like a pink knight on a white charger. But as the polls below show, four years into the most divisive, destructive government since the 1980s, Labour are making scant progress.
Little wonder. Labour have bought so far into the ConDem austerity agenda they offer only the thinnest veneer of choice. They’ve decided that to win Middle England the sacrificial lambs will be the poorest, the disabled, immigrants and those on welfare. Even the crude cost-cutting exercise that is Universal Credit has been embraced by Miliband’s Labour.
But what are the chances of them getting into power?
The most recent opinion polls make for grim reading for Labour supporters and anyone wondering what Scotland will have to endure if a NO vote goes through.
Labour (36%) and the Tories (31%) are in front, while UKIP are averaging 15%. The LibDems are polling around 8%. These polls suggest an overall majority is beyond both Labour and the Tories. With a consistent average of 15% of the vote UKIP are on course for at least 30 MPs.
The very best that Scots could hope for after a NO vote is a Lib-Lab Coalition. That in itself is an gruesome prospect, given the LibDems enthusiasm for austerity and privatisation. and the Labour Party’s ongoing rightwards lurch under Miliband. But there is still the prospect* of a Tory-UKIP Coalition whose combined average in the polls is 46%, a clear ten points ahead of Labour, and 2 points clear of the combined vote for Lab & LibDems.
It is only the UK’s archaic anti-democratic FPTP electoral system that offers any hope. Otherwise UKIP would be looking at winning around 100 seats. That in itself gives an idea of what a sham democracy Westminster has become.
As 2015 approaches, and as UKIP crank up the anti-EU and anti-immigrant rhetoric, their support could even rise in lieu of a credible alternative from the 3 big parties. The last 12 months suggest Labour will join them in the gutter rather than argue for something different.
Alarms bells should be ringing.
I wouldn’t want to be a NO voter in Scotland if a Tory-UKIP Coalition is imposed on us from London. Blame will hang in the air like a bad smell as Westminster politics get ugly. If UKIP do get their feet in the door of power many at the very bottom of the heap – those losing their jobs or having their benefits removed – may decide to hell with democracy, lets fight it out on the streets.
The up side is that Scotland does have a democratic alternative.
(*Edit: have changed “the most likely prospect’ to “there is still the prospect” to reflect the nature of the FPTP system and unpredictability of where the UKIP votes will come from).