May 5: The coutdown begins - time for the crystall ball
I’VE not covered a general election
campaign in which the eventual outcome is still highly
unpredictable with just one day to go.
The polls would still seem to point to
a hung Parliament but as leading pollster Sir Robert
Worcester tells us here, the
polls are only a snapshot of a particular moment in time.
The other important point worth
mentioning is that polls reflect the level of popular vote for each
of the parties nationally and take no account of what might happen
in individual constituencies and how they are shaped.
Because of the way the constituencies
are set up, Labour has something of an in-built bias. It is why
Gordon Brown could still come third in the popular
vote but end up with enough seats to form some kind of coalition
There seems to be genuine uncertainty
among the politicians and candidates about who will get the keys to
Which means that it is entirely
possible that while we’ll know how many seats each party has on
Friday, we may not actually know who will form the next Government
and be our next Prime Minister.
As to Kent, I think
Labour is in for a bad night. This is no
reflection on their candidates but a reflection of the fact that
the seven key marginals are straight two-way fights between them
and the Conservatives, with the Lib Dems not really a factor.
(Boundary changes to seats like Gillingham and
Rainham, and the new Rochester and Strood
seat mean they are already regarded as notional Conservative seats
and somewhat perversely are Labour targets).
I still think there could be the odd
quirky result, with Labour potentially clinging on to one seat, but
don’t be at all surprised if they all go. The Conservatives will be
buoyed by polls suggesting the swing to them in key marginals is
greater than elsewhere.
As to the Liberal
Democrats, they are unlikely to make a Parliamentary
breakthrough in the county this time despite Cleggmania.
True, the party is in a ferocious
tussle with the Conservatives in Maidstone and The
Weald but Ann Widdecombe has bequeathed her would-be
successor Helen Grant a majority of nearly 15,000
and it would be a huge upset if Peter Carroll was
to overturn that. I expect the majority to be cut by a few
Elsewhere in the county, the Lib Dems
could be well placed to leapfrog Labour and come second in several
constituencies, giving them a platform to be the main challenger to
the Conservatives at the next election.
However, watch out for the council
election results. I gather the Conservatives are particularly
anxious about Maidstone council, where they
currently hold power, albeit with a vulnerable majority of just
one. The Lib Dems could spring a surprise here.
Seems Cleggmania has
not to touched everyone. I'm only surprised that the leader didn't
asked where he was going on holiday:
Kent will have no shortage of MPs with
a background in law in Parliament after the election, particularly
if the Conservatives do make gains.
Five of the eight new Conservative
prospective candidates in Kent – as opposed to those defending
seats - studied law and either are or have been practising
solicitors or lawyers: Tracey Crouch, Rehman
Grant, Mark Reckless, Charlie Elphicke and Gareth Johnson.
The remaining two – Damian Collins
(Folkestone and Hythe) and Laura Sandys (Thanet South) studied
Modern History and International Relations respectively.
Kent County Council, like all other local
councils, is likely to be in for a tough time whoever wins the
But I see that they have managed a
recent saving of some £23,661.55. It seems they've been able to
write off money they owed to various companies who have gone into
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