Sinn Fein wins boost Cameron’s cause

The polls seem to be settling in favour of a Conservative minority government. Almost as interesting is the race for second. If the Tories reach the threshold of 300 seats, I bet Cameron will defy the others to bring him down and will do no upfront deal with anybody. 4 or 5 Sinn Fein wins reduces the magic threshold of 326 for an overall majority and eases his problem a mite. Fewer than 300 opens the door either to the possibility of electoral reform or weak minority government . But the more I look at it, the gap between the Tories and  the “progressive consensus ” of Labour and the Lib Dems looks very hard to bridge. The Lib Dems will have to do extraordinarily well to overcome the Tories’ deep self interest in clinging to first-past-the-post and the moral advantage they’d hold by coming first in votes and seats.

What are blogs for if they’re not alternative? With the Guardian coming out for the Lib Dems ( but for electoral reform first) I’m looking for chinks on the anti-Brown armour.

First, the headline polls don’t indicate Labour collapse- yet. Nor do voters seem much worried by the Duffy gaffe in spite of the media’s feeding frenzy.

Secondly,  those fierce defenders of first-past-the-post the Conservatives could hardly object  if Brown with most seats bids to form a government.

 If we end up with that, then we will form the government and Gordon stays,” one said. “The electoral system is the electoral system.” Another traditionalist view was expressed by a senior union leader who told The Times that, in the event of a hung Parliament, Labour should “call Nick Clegg’s bluff”. If the Lib Dems wanted to make a deal with Mr Cameron, he added, “let them, because it will show them up for what they are”.

By backing the Lib Dems the Guardian is taking a big risk with its own cause.

.…reform is overwhelmingly more likely to be achieved by a Lib Dem partnership of principle with Labour than by a Lib Dem marriage of convenience with a Tory party which is explicitly hostile to the cause and which currently plans to redraw the political map for its own advantage. The momentum for change would be fatally undermined should the Conservatives win an overall majority

Irish politics show that pre-electoral understandings are much easier when voters aren’t compelled to plump for the single candidate of FPTP, because voters can opt for both parties at once. But that choice is missing in the present UK system. That makes Thursday ‘s result subject to the biggest lottery of our lifetimes. It ‘s game on for a classic MU finish – unless the weekend polls record the first Conservative surge of the year.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • slug

    Yes every SF reduces the hurdle needed for any party and thus with Tories in the lead an SF vote is in effect a vote for the Tories.

    However a more direct way of doing so is UCUNF.

    As for SDLP they will certainly vote for a Labour givernment.

    Labour look unlikely to win but they could form a coalition with Lib Dems.

  • Michaelhenry

    4 or 5 wins for SINN FEIN Brian Walker, id say 6, but there are two areas where the LAST vote counts.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr Walker…..I dont think SF voters are too bothered about which party/parties form the next British Government. Maybe you feel that they should be bothered. But frankly they arent.
    Leaving aside FST, where the alternative to Sinn Féin IS will take the Tory Whip….
    in the other four constituencies, West Tyrone, Mid Ulster, Newry-Armagh and West Belfast………we could all stand outside every polling station with giant placards saying. “Vote Sinn Féin and get David Cameron” and nota single voter would change his/her mind about voting SF.

    THats how it is.
    The Overclass dont like it.
    But its the voters wot count.

  • SammyMehaffey

    That sounds to me like you reckon SF voters are mindless sheep.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Hardly my intention. Which was of course to show that voters for any PArty work out which one reflects their combination of ideals and self-interest.
    Thats how SF voters will be voting.
    Thats how I will be voting.
    Thats how you will be voting.
    Thats how Brian Walker will be voting.

  • Belfast Libertarian

    The Lib Dems’ credibility would be destroyed if they tried to prop up a Labour government that came 3rd in the popular vote, and they’re also smart enough to avoid being associated with a Conservative government that is going to have to push through unpopular cuts. They’ll probably do what they do in Scotland; let the party with the most seats govern and extract PR in return for voting the budget through. This will put them in a better position for the general election that will inevitably happen within two years of the first one.

    I’m not sure if this is against the rules or not, but I started a blog yesterday – – can I get away with a plug?

  • medillen

    Five of the most active and most recent threads on this site are now about Sinn Fein. Some may see it as flattery so close to an election, others might see it as a conserted attempt to muddy the waters because they are becoming worried about polling day. I will leave it for you to judge which it is.

  • Henry94

    A Tory government that was depending for survival on Sinn Fein not showing up would be a good outcome. It would prevent them from interfering in the north in any kind of unhelpful way.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    To some extent thats true……but it would be self deception on a grand scale if the regular anti-SF IRA thread starters thought theyd influence the outcome of the Election.
    Id be surprised if they thought that.

  • Alias

    The next government will be a one-term government, and rank as one of the most unpopular in British political history.

    If in doubt, see what the governor of the Bank of England had to say about the scale of the cuts that are now required (to repair the damage caused by New Labour egregiously bad management of the economy). Mr No More Boom and Bust has left the UK bust.

    If any of the local parties have any sense they won’t touch the next government with a barge poll, never mind prop it up while it swings the axe. And if they think they can prop it up in order to ensure that it confines cuts to the English, then its bye-bye union since much wrath is a-comin’.

  • joeCanuck

    Belfast Libertarian,

    ”can I get away with a plug?”

    I believe it’s frowned upon but you’ve gotten away with it for now.

  • Belfast Libertarian

    Last time, I promise.

  • joeCanuck

    Hint! If you include a website in the reply box, I believe your name will appear in red in your posts and will link to the website.

  • Re-engaged

    Ah the famous political barge poll – remember John Taylor’s barge poll a day or two before the GFA – if that one is anything to go by PR will be falling over himself with his colleagues!