Last Saturday (6 days ago) I predicted that there would be a hung parliament with the Tories as the largest party and that they would form a coalition with the Lib-Dems. How did I do?
Well, as everybody knows, there is indeed a hung parliament. And the Tories are the largest party. Although a hung parliament has been on the cards for some time, it was only recently that some polls indicated it would be the Tories with the largest number of seats. Due to the way voting works in the first past the post system, although Tories had a clear percentage lead, this does not always translate clearly into a lead in seats won (wasted vote phenomena).
We will have to wait a bit longer to see in the Tories and Lib-Dems come to an agreement. In some ways, it’s quite unlikely as they are ideologically apart on important issues (Lib Dems are far closer to Labour). But the alternatives may be even less palatable (another election in the autumn would be costly at a time when the parties drained their accounts to campaign in this one). It has happened before though–1974.
The other factor is that a “Lib-Lab pact” (to use language from 1977) or full-on coalition still doesn’t deliver an outright majority, as the BBC graphic above indicates. Labour would then have to seek to govern as a minority government (an option open to the Tories right now as well) or get Ulster Unionists (and/or others) on board.
So there’s a still a lot to play for. With the weekend coming up and financial markets closed it may even be a few more days before anything is clearer (watch to see if the Queen comes to Buckingham Palace–it could indicate a decision has been reached).