UK Parliament To Be Hung, But Which Horse-Trader Should You Back?

Posted: April 23, 2015

Updated: April 23, 2015

With the Labour leader now getting better odds of being the next prime minister than the prime minister is should we all be backing a coalition with the SNP whatever Ed Miliband has said?

Whilst in the US the election cycle is only just rumbling into motion, over in the UK the process of electing a new government has almost reached fever pitch. With polling day only two weeks hence each of the parties is desperately trying to prove forecasts wrong since they all, pretty much, predict another hung parliament, where no single party has a workable majority. The last time this happened we got the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition that rules today.

Miliband Moves Ahead In Polls

• Ed 4/6 to be next PM
• Cameron on just 6/5
• Hung Parliament almost certain

This by itself is a good reason not to like the prospect. The Liberal Democrats might have entered into it with the best of intentions, but the Conservative dominance led to their betraying core values and campaign promises giving them the strength of electoral support usually reserved from the “Aliens Ate My Hamster” party that is three drunken students and dog on a piece of string. Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat leader may even lose his seat.

This means whilst the public dislike parties that enter into coalition, particularly in a junior role, so do all the political parties, however realistically come May 8th, with no clear majority behind any of the big players, there’s going to have to be some deal done. Obviously you can have a minority government, but since they’ve the life expectancy of a frog in a microwave there tends to at least be a vote-by-vote pact of cooperation between some of the parties.

Not that there is anything particularly worrying about a hung parliament, of the 20 administrations of the 20th Century in the UK, precisely half were minority governments or coalitions, with even those split evenly down the middle. A hung parliament is nothing new, nor anything inherently dangerous, but the way some of the parties talked about it you’d think it was the end of the earth and anyone betting on one were gambling news headlines on May 8th will scream about the end of the world.

Major Parties Must Gamble On Coalition Partners

One of the reasons the odds given by Bet365 and the like on the next prime minister are so closely matched, is because unlike many previous elections, it really could go either way, each of the smaller parties able to assist in the forming of a government, regardless of what rhetoric they might well be spouting at the moment. It’s one thing to sound impressively independent prior to the vote, but afterward it’s far more advantageous to be a team player.

Will there be an anti-conservative alliance between Labour and the SNP? At present Labour say there won’t be, but it’s still 9/1 at Bet365 who think a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition just slightly more likely at 8/1 and a continuation of the present regime even more likely at 5/1. Oddly the bookies think a Labour minority government is 13/8 with a Conservative minority at 10/3, and indication of just how likely it is that any of the parties will be able to form a coalition at all.

Politicians in the UK gambling laws of human nature would see a majority government returned, people tend to like strength in their leadership, are set to be massively disappointed as the sectional values of the SNP, the Greens and UKIP all siphon votes away from their centres of power amongst the electorate. Labour without Scotland will never command a majority and the SNP have that (and it’s 55 seats) all but sewn up, and whilst the Greens take a few from everyone, UKIP is likely to grab more than a few votes from the Conservatives.

This dilution of the British political cocktail has produced some interesting moments thus far, but just how many deals will have to be done in the horse trading afterward to ensure that the UK actually has a functioning government against whom the constant threat of a no-confidence vote will not be an effective shackle on their attempts to actually govern. The tit-for-tat nature of politics is far more adept at halting progress than making it, and the temptation might be just too much for those who’ve spent so long at each other’s throats.

Smaller Parties May Hold Sway

Farage Cameron Miliband Clegg

Given there is all too likely to be a hung parliament, and wagering on a game you know will be a draw is slightly dull, the interested political bettor is instead looking at the various coalitions that might be formed and the number of seats likely to be won by these one time minor parties that have come to the fore of late and now hold great political sway over a nation that at no point voted for them in large numbers. Oh certainly the SNP have lots of support, but that’s in Scotland, a nation that rightfully should be it’s own country.

UKIP, the one time right-wing extremists who have transformed into a party of racist immigrant haters, are shouting loudly they will come second in lots of places, but the polls only actually have them winning four seats at the moment, which is why a coalition involving them looks unlikely, whilst the greens are due to get just one, which will make them pretty irrelevant too. The unmentioned elephant in the room are the Irish DUP who’ll prop up a conservative government if necessary as they have before.

Right now Ed Miliband is 4/6 to be the next Prime Minister, this being a good indication of who’ll win the battle of coalition forming should it come to it, whilst the present PM, David Cameron has slid out to 6/5, with any other person becoming the occupant of No.10 Downing Street being a 25/1 longshot at best. This is probably because despite their fiery encounters in front of the cameras, the leaders of Labour and the SNP will eventually do a deal.

The problem for the SNP is not wishing to be seen as a taken-for-granted whipping boy, and for Labour it is that forming an alliance with a party determined (as the SNP are) to break up the country into various bits (like separating Scotland from the rest of the UK) might just not go down too well with the public, the parliament or the Queen with whom their PM would have to meet once a week. Those of you that like to bet on sport in the UKwill probably back this coalition as the most likely, but do be cautious, because UK politics is not the foregone conclusion it once was.

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