Our political parties have spent weeks punching each other silly with election issues and promises for the future and have now reached stalemate with no real favourite to win. The pundits look like being correct with their prediction of a hung Parliament unless voters change course in the next two weeks.
If we start by considering the state of the parties in the last Parliament and attempt to predict the election and the likely state of the parties in the new Parliament, we have endless permutations. The growth of support for Ukip and the Greens, with the possible reduced support for the Liberal Democrats and the predicted demise of Labour in Scotland with an upsurge for the SNP, makes the outcome almost impossible to gauge.
What is certain, however, is that this development could be dangerous to Britain. On the premise that the Tories and Labour are the leading parties after the election, but do have not enough seats to attain a majority on their own, they will vie with each other to form a coalition or a minority government.
The latter will require support from others to get measures through the Houses of Parliament on a daily or weekly basis, with the likelihood of chaotic and endless negotiation. The difficulties start here.
The Conservatives should be able put together a deal with Ukip, with possible support from Northern Ireland’s parties, but they will still need the Liberal Democrats on board. This could be a serious problem if the Liberal Democrats are forced to change their leadership and have lost too many seats which have not been taken by Conservatives. We then have a four-way rainbow coalition.
Failure to achieve this could be problematic to David Cameron and would enforce a minority government which is likely to be shortlived and opens the door to an even greater danger.
The greater danger is a rainbow coalition of a different hue – that is a Labour coalition or a minority government led by Ed Miliband directed and driven by the Scottish Nationalist whirlwind Nicola Sturgeon using new-found power with the demise of the Scottish Labour Party – a truly explosive mix which could ruin Britain and the Union. This line up is likely to be supported by Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to form a destructive socialist cabal.
This would be flawed from the beginning as Ed Miliband, while nominally the leader, would have to dance to the sound of the bagpipes played by the go-getting Nicola. The combination of the ruthless Miliband and the opportunist Sturgeon would provide the most left-wing administration Britain has experienced in modern times. It would outgun the moderate socialism of the 1920s and 30s and would be much more extreme than the most successful Labour government ever, the 1945 Attlee administration. It would certainly be more extreme than the governments of Harold Wilson, and dare I say it, Tony Blair.
The Miliband/ Sturgeon combination, possibly being more left wing than any administration since the reform of Parliament in 1832, could be as much “anti-establishment” as Cromwell and his Commonwealth.
This development is likely to destroy Britain’s standing in the world where we are known for conformity, credibility and long-term stability.
Foreign investment into Britain is likely to be seriously affected, the Stock Exchange is liable to take a dim view and our currency could have some problems – in all a potential economic disaster.
True, Nicola Sturgeon will ensure that Scotland benefits but whatever Scotland gains must be to the disadvantage of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You have to admire the lady for spotting the opportunity to take control of the Labour Party from outside and bring it under her control to progress her longer term goal of an independent Scotland.
So what do we do about it here in Yorkshire?The obvious answer is to give maximum support to David Cameron so that at the very least he can form a stable coalition. In West Yorkshire, there are plenty of closely fought seats which could win the issue for the Prime Minister. In seats where the Conservatives cannot win we need to elect traditional Labour members who will say to Miliband we want nothing more of this Scottish nonsense.
The English must govern England without interference from Scotland. I fear we are in for a long hot political summer with another election before the end of the year.
Elizabeth Peacock was Conservative MP for Batley and Spen from 1983 until 1997.