Tonight’s seven-way debate will, I think, make for a chaotic spectacle. It will only act as further proof of the fragmented nature of our political system and our vote. It is my belief that the two coalition parties will gain the most from this chaos.
David Cameron can play cards of stability and continuity while the four parties of varying degrees of left battle it out amongst themselves. As Plaid, the SNP and the psychotic Greens, led by that hapless Australian Honey Monster, launch endless sidewinders into Ed Miliband and Labour, particularly over austerity and Labour’s own deficit reduction plans.
Labour, having made little overtures to the centre or moderate right wing voter’s ala New Labour, has set its stall out on quite treacherous and narrow ground. When voters see the three parties to its left tearing chunks out it for fiscal responsibility and its recent moves towards immigration targets, there is a chance that prospective left-wing voters may turn away from the party and go to the Nationalists or Greens instead. Equally, if Ed starts to fluster under this attack, drifting leftwards in his rhetoric in an attempt to cover his left flank, all of a sudden the hated Nick Clegg and his party, and its not wholly unjustified claims of centrism, moderation, fiscally responsible compromise between the left and right, may become more attractive to centrist/progressive voters who find the idea of voting Conservative unpalatable.
I have so far not mentioned UKIP. They will I think benefit from this national exposure, and while an annoyance on Cameron’s right flank; they have enjoyed a growth of support amongst working class communities, especially in the North of England. If Ed Miliband reverts back to his Liberal-Left, Primrose Hill comfort zone in an effort to stave off the parties to his left, socially conservative working class people might be further alienated and give their support to Farage’s party. I wonder also if Cameron will benefit from non-zealous ‘Kippers’, frightened at the prospect of a left coalition of Labour, SNP, Greens, with a pro-Europe mantra, will have their hands forced and vote for the Tories and the vague prospect of a referendum in 2017.