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Electioneering the undecided…

Posted by
30 Mar 2015
The election campaign officially starts today and much like five years ago, it’s too close to call at this stage.

Thursday saw the first ‘debates’ as Cameron and Miliband faced off against Jeremy Paxman and a live studio audience in the absence of a head-to-head debate between the two main party leaders.

Whilst the poles suggested that Cameron had a slight edge, in reality it seems that he did as expected, whilst Miliband exceeded the very low expectations that the media had for him. In a fierce battle for the centre, is that really enough?

It appears not, the BBC reported today that 44% of the population are undecided as to who to vote for, which makes the next six weeks of campaigning crucial in defining and communicating what it is that they plan to deliver, rather than the ‘white noise’ of Thursday.

This is crucial. Many would argue that those tuning in on Thursday have already made their decision, the priority now must be reaching the undecided and tuning into the issues that will bring them to the polls on 7 May. It appears that the NHS is the key issue, which was mostly overlooked on Thursday night – tapping into the 35% of people who didn’t vote back in 2010 is the only hope for an overall majority…

Despite Milibands protestations it did appear that both leaders are fully expecting that in order to be named Prime Minister, they are set for some tough negotiations with the fringe parties.

As we head for what looks to be the UK’s first consecutive hung parliament in history, voters have gained confidence in the idea of the coalition. It presents the electorate the opportunity to vote according to their own values, without fear of ‘wasting their vote’ by not picking red or blue. The opportunity for coalition seems to be invigorating voters and may be the swing to bring those undecided to the ballot box.

As the fringe parties gain momentum, we are certain to see different issues on the political agenda over the next five years. The LibDems are likely to hold the key for the Tories, and Labour are almost certain to side with the SNP. But those parties with just a couple of seats, could have a crucial role to play and an opportunity to set the agenda. With the Greens will come a priority on societal issues and environment and with UKIP, a pressure for referendum on the EU. The British political scene could be reignited by this result, and as the centre ground closes, the coalition could become the norm, like we see in Denmark.

Perhaps this potential to impact real change will be the force needed to engage the electorate with politics and the election – there could be some very interesting times ahead.
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