Don’t count on unionists in the driving seat

A Conservative tally of around 310 seats puts NI unionists in a minor bargaining position. Fewer seats, and Cameron talks to the Lib Dems or defies them to bring him down. On bargaining, note that Brown’s pledge to  Robinson simply guarantees the status quo for this financial year, Cameron’s to protect front line services. For next year , all bets are off.

From UK Polling report

Conservatives between 300-310, Labour between 220-230, the Liberal Democrats between 80-90 (though I warn you, I may be a pollster, but my personal powers of election prediction are notoriously poor!)

For other pollster predictions, TNS have made a seat prediction of CON 292, LAB 204, LDEM 114; Peter Kellner’s personal prediction is CON 300-310, LAB 230-240, LDEM 75-85; Angus Reid have a prediction of CON 320-340, LAB 165-185, LDEM 105-120.


Thinking about all those undecideds , I’m betting on the swing in Lab-Con and Lab- LD  marginals increasing during the day, giving the Conservatives an overall majority of 2-10. Last minute voters like to back a winner. It’s a theory.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Tucked away on Page 11 in the Torygraph is a very embarassing and stage managed call by Patterson to his own party to resist a coalition with the DUP and the report that the Tory leadership would not rule out a deal with the DUP.

    Just how silly must anybody connectecd to the UUP feel if they actually believed any of the non-tribal-new-politiics-UCUNF-jibber-jabber?


    “Cameron talks to the Lib Dems ” Forming a government for any party means giving away as little as possible and when there is a choice for the Tories (or Labour) of the DUP or Libdems they will choose the former every time – provided the aritmetic is right.

  • John Joe

    Brian – that more or less tallies with how the bookies are calling it – and most of them have worked up odds on a constituency by constituency basis. Has anyone studied the odds offered in previous elections as a guide to how good the bookies are at calling it?
    But with talks of over 33% undecided – how many over the age of about 35 (i.e. with a good memory of the last Tory government) may be shaken out of complacency and motivated to vote Lab or Lib Dem (depending on who is the front runner locally) just to keep them out. I think it may be enough to squeeze DC back below 290. Rather than backing a winner, I think the possibility of a Tory government may inhibit them in the polling booths.

  • Henry94

    If there was a Tory government backed by the DUP the Sinn Fein policy on the oath would come under serious pressure.

    But if SF and the DUP worked (informally) together they could make the Tories a better offer and secure greater concessions. Knowing that SF will continue to abstain and knowing that the DUP will only use their position to secure economic concessions would create a very stable position.

    The 12.5% rate is the pearl of great price. You can delay the inevitable on the block grant but only for a while. The local economy has to be taken off the sick list.

  • slug

    Early news reports suggest turnout substantially up – figure of 25% up mentioned

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    st etienne,

    Shooting the messenger? It could have been worse, how about Wretched Reggie ditched as desperate Dave to do dodgy deal with DUP

    What about Owen’s embarassing pleading to his own party leader?

  • Neil

    Was wondering about that myself. Can SF and the DUP join forces to add their seats to whichever party offers them the deal they want, without SF having to enter Westminster? I had thought probably not, that they would probably have to go there and designate or whatever. But maybe they just have to declare that as their intention.

    If the latter were the case it would strengthen the numbers on which to build a deal to keep the begging bowl at it’s current level with either side, with the added bonus of cross community parties working together for the common ‘good’.

    It also occurs to me, efficiency and background (not frontline) cuts basically means redundancies. Redundancies cost money in the short term. Surely in order to make any savings in future years if you were to start laying people off in the public sector you may find yourself working from the same pot of money in order to make people redundant? And as an extension on that chain of thought, apart from cutting down on paper and turning the lights off after work, how exactly can money be saved this financial year without hitting front line services? Just a thought.

  • John Joe

    Need to brush up on your alliteration Itwas – Desperate Dave does dodgy DUP deal, ditches wretched Reggie.

    In fairness to him, Sir Reg would have the best Victor Victor, Roger Roger name as Empey, MP.

  • Driftwood

    Ken speaks for the people:

    “The idea of negotiations with Lib Dems, Scottish Nationalists, Ulstermen and so on fills me with horror. I think our creditors outside the United Kingdom would regard the electorate as slightly ridiculous if they plunge us into such a problem,”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “Ken speaks for the people” – but not those that matter inside the Tory party as his views on Europe illustrates perfectly.


    Yes, I think I will accept that correction.

    Q. When is an Empey not an MP.
    A. When he’s a silly UCUNF (Hopefully).

  • smcgiff

    Mmm… think labour vote may be under represented in poles. Imagine admitting voting for labour! Privately you still think they’ll make less cuts (public sector wages etc) than Tories.

  • Brian Walker

    John Joe, You may well be right.
    Driftwood, This is the first real example of bargaining under devolution for a Westminster election. We may have to get used to it! You may agree that the opportunities for fresh largesse this time are limited.

    Ken with his 1974 memories will recall that unionists were pariahs thoroughout Westminster as the people who overthrew Sunningdale ( or were about to at the time fo the Feb election). I have seen Labour memos in 1979 which regard them as beyond the pale. That reputation lingers on, especially with the DUP.

    The GFA for the UUs and St Andrew’s for the DUP have given them a new start. You may recall Brown’s extravagant compliments to Paisley at the penultimate PMQs.

    For Cameron Ucunf stands in the way of a new relationship with unionism as a whole but all may change after tomorrow! What I’m looking out for are moves towards unionist unity with Cameron’s blessing. Will Cameron and Paterson ( if he becomes NI secretary and there is one) promote reform of the “mandatory” coalition, as per Killsally’s post above?

    Too soon to tell – but they’d be mad to rush at it. I assume Cameron will keep his word and come back for a victory lap next week. Will he say anything meaningful?

  • Driftwood

    think labour vote may be under represented in poles

    Maybe smcgiff, but most Poles are not entitled to vote, so they can be discounted.

    As for your last comment. Is it really going to turn into a Private Sector vs Public Sector fight as seems to be the case in the Republic?

  • slug

    Its all about not recruiting any more for a while rather than redund.

  • Dukeofa

    Talking with a few friends in GB they are totally disenchanted with Labour and especially with Brown but still could not bring themselves to vote for the Tories.

    This too is being reflected here where on the grapevine lots of people are saying they are questioning their UUP usually voting because of the Tory link.

    Could these silent voters swing it for Labour?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Still some confusion on ‘constitutional’ position if hung parliament listening to Question time last night with expert saying PM will have first go to form government even if Tories have most seats and then studio guest from Times suggests Cameron will form minority as if he had not heard expert opinion. Bit of similar muddle in the Torygraph as well.

    Surely anything less than a Tory majority (including the DUP) will almost certainly result in LibsLabs with perhaps a few Nats thrown in.

  • Neil

    Here’s hoping.