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Thursday 7th May...

Posted by
06 May 2015
I  have always had an avid interest in politics; aged 15 I decided joined the Labour party (only to leave a few years later) and spent my days at University going to see (and often heckling) many politicians from all aspects of the spectrum. From the late Tony Benn to George Galloway and Geoff Hoon - it's fair to say I embraced the cliché of a politically charged student!

This all seems somewhat of a distant, and occasionally embarrassing memory. These days I'm a little mellower, non-partisan and enjoy politics with much more of an open mind.  As I've watched and read the last few months of campaigning, I've felt that this election has been extremely engaging and has touched many individuals who previously may not have been as interested in the political process.

A possible explanation for a perceived increase in engagement, could be the rise in popularity, momentum and coverage given to smaller political parties such as the Green's, UKIP and SNP. Voters who don't feel particularly well represented by either the Tories or Labour, may feel they have more of a voice with a smaller party and this has perhaps spurned wider engagement. It will be interesting to see if this impacts the number of people voting, and to see if the 2010 turnout of 65% is beaten.

A shift away from more established parties can be seen over the border, where the SNP have benefited from the wave of nationalism in Scotland (following last years referendum) and have been tipped to do significantly well on Thursday - not good news for Ed Miliband.

Apart from giving us a colourful and varied campaign, the interesting aspects of having a diverse number of smaller parties will be apparent on Friday once the vote is in. Polls have made it quite clear that a hung parliament is extremely likely and neither the Tories nor Labour look like they willl secure an overall majority.

Most likely, this will result in some sort of deal between parties, whether it is be a formal coalition, like the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats from five years ago, or something less structured such as a vote by vote agreement. Nicola Sturgeon, of the SNP, has already put on record her desire 'to keep the Tories out' by forming a coalition with Labour. The Lib Dems appear to be keeping their options open whereas Cameron and Miliband still (unconvincingly) keep telling us all they can secure a majority!

Whatever happens on Thursday I don't think we'll see a Prime Minister in Downing Street until the smaller parties have been courted by Cameron and / or Miliband. Even if a deal is struck I wouldn't be surprised if we see another election later in the year as was the case in 1974 which saw a re-election later in the year after a previous election resulted in a hung parliament.

How do you think a hung parliament will be dealt with in the House of Commons. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. You can also
check out all of our recent election coverage here.
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