Thursday, 6 May 2010

Polling day 2010 - forget the press

Well, the last week has seen a great example of the UK press showing its true right-wing colours. Across the press - and I say "press" rather than "media", as the BBC, for instance, has been a lot more objective - everyone is trying to confidently predict a Cameron win, when the polls don't actually point to that at all. First of all, what does a win mean? Majority or Prime Minister? For Cameron, both seem at best uncertain, or at worst improbable.

Oh, and our big thanks to the Guardian, for sticking with Labour when the going got Lib Dem, indeed. What were they thinking?

Anyway, it's time to ditch the press spin, and look at the evidence.

Let's get this straight: the latest Harris poll predicts more seats for Labour than any other party, which would very likely put them into a minority government with an arrangement with the Liberals. The other two May 6 polls, ICM and Comres, show a hung parliament the other way. It is, however, much less likely that the Liberals will pact with the Tories. Which means it is wide open whether or not Cameron will be Prime Minister by tomorrow.

I don't claim to be able to predict the outcome. It's impossible to call until 10pm tonight, when we'll know the exit polls. And even then (cf. 1992) we can't be sure in a situation as close as this, things may well change as results come in.

What is clear is that this is the Bush-Gore 2000 of recent UK electoral history and that every single vote will count. What is also fairly likely is that there will be a hung parliament, followed by days or weeks of frantic horse-trading. And, if Cameron ends up being Prime Minister, God forbid, it will probably be by the skin of his brightly-polished teeth.

So, please, get out and vote.

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