One of the blessings of leaving the BBC is that I don't need to be so circumspect in my blogging. So here is my prediction for May 7th - and after ... all time-stamped eight weeks ahead of polling day, and all to be deleted on May 8th if I am embarrassingly off the mark ...
So, my reckoning is that the two main parties are indeed neck-and-neck - neither excites much public enthusiasm, but it is clear that Ed Miliband isn't greatly trusted by the electorate. That personal awkwardness really matters and the political message is muddled. So I reckon that the polls have got it right, but as the campaign draws on the Tories will edge ahead, and even allowing for the bias towards Labour in the way that constituency boundaries are drawn, my guess is that the Conservatives will be the largest party in the new Parliament, though probably not by much.
I reckon that the SNP will do a little less well than the current polls suggest but will still emerge as the winner of the largest number of Scottish seats - more than thirty. The Lib Dems will do better than the polls point to, but will still lose a lot of seats, and will be down to under thirty MPs, and so will be relegated to the fourth largest party in Parliament.
The UKIP challenge is fading a little - they could get 10% of the vote and probably three or four MPs. The Greens will be somewhere around the 4-5% mark - but will do well to keep their sole current MP.
And if all this comes to pass, what happens then? Try this:
This isn't what I want to see happen - I just think it's entirely feasible and perhaps more likely than any other scenario. In that great journalistic cop out: time will tell.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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