I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
By M. Babajide-Alabi
The United Kingdom 2015 General Election takes place in just a few days from now. The political campaigns by the major parties have been stepped up, as they jostle for votes from one corner of the country to the other. They have been making use of all opportunities to woo the electorate who may still be undecided or they think can easily be swayed.
The May 7th election has been tagged the most indecisive in the history of the country. None of the major political parties can lay claim to winning majority seats in the parliament to form the next government. This pattern of voting by the electorates took shape in the 2010 General Election, when the David Cameron-led Conservative Party went into a coalition with Liberal Democrats to form a government.
While it is obvious the next government is going to be another coalition, the question that the the forthcoming elections will answer is who the players in the partnership would be. Would it be a continuation of the political marriage between the Tories and LibDems? Or would the bell toll for Labour and Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP)? Is the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) going to be the new bride? For what party?
The fact that is sticking out like a sore thumb in this election is that only two of the candidates can realistically occupy the Prime Ministerial seat. They are the incumbent David Cameron and Labour’s Ed Miliband. The various opinion polls have been swinging between these two with no clear forecast on any leading the other.
The British political system is very fascinating. It is not like what we have in Nigeria, where the winner takes all at the detriment of the country. Every political party, no matter how small, has a role to play. So to be “heard” every political party want their members in the parliament. This year is no different.
While Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, has realised lately that immigration issue would not be the decisive action in this elections, he has “upped” his appearances in many corner pubs in towns and villages. He comes across as contesting against the comedian, The Pub Landlord Al Murray who is always seen downing a pint of lager.
Sensing that British voters have seen through his anti-immigration strategy, Farage is now talking through both sides of his mouth on many policy issues, including the European Union. He is also silenced by the huge humanitarian support among Britons, for migrants who lost their lives in attempts to flee from war torn countries to Europe.
The other candidates are not faring better though. The one that cuts the posture of a man soon to be irrelevant is the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as he tries to find his lost “mojo”. Clegg, clearly not amused by the popularity of the other smaller parties, knows his place in a new coalition government is very shaky. He has been the biggest critic of Farage, whom he sees as the main stumbling block to his forming another coalition with the Tories. Clegg is unpopular with a section of the voters for not keeping to his words, especially his failed promise to resist students fee increase if elected to government in 2010.
The Labour Party Ed Miliband too has always been the subject of political joke on how not to aspire to the post of a prime minister. He is described as a candidate without the charisma of a leader who can steer the affairs of one of the oldest democracies in the world. Milliband is believed by many voters to be the weakest of the candidates. Not for lack of evidence, he is not helping Labour’s case as well by his pronouncements on the party’s plans for government without adequate supporting facts and figures.
Apart from this, Miliband is tagged as untrustworthy and desperate, with the way he prosecuted his campaign for the leadership of the party in 2010. While it is history how Ed turned against his brother, David, many Britons have refused to forget and had said this to his face many times. Probably realising his candidacy may become a long shot, Miliband was reported to have hired an image consultant firm to help shore up his “dwindling fortunes.”
This may explain the new charm that is oozing from Miliband and perhaps why Nicola Sturgeon-led SNP is desperately trying to woo him into a coalition government. With the growing popularity of the party, it is not in doubt the party will play a role in the next UK government. The SNP has made a “sudden” foray into national politics after spearheading the failed Scottish independence in 2014. The party lost the referendum, but gained a lot of grounds politically at the expense of the Scottish Labour.
This is the first test of the SNP in national politics in recent times, and what a leader the party has got in the fiery Nicola Sturgeon who took over from Alex Salmond after stepping following the Scottish independence defeat. While she has not disappointed her followers, she has also gained new “lovers” with her charm and outspokenness on policy issues. However, majority, at the same time, are keeping an eye on her as she leads the Scottish independence agenda, which, no doubt, is making so many people hot under the collar.
Of all the candidates, David Cameron seem to be the most had pressed to impress the public on why he should be allowed to form the next government with nothing but cuts to show for his first outing. While the citizens are groaning under his cuts in every area, including but not limited to benefits, defence, the NHS etc the Non- EU immigrants are bemoaning their fates ever since the Tories came into power in 2010.
The Tories are accused of running a government for the rich while the masses are getting worse off under austerity measures. However, give it to the Tories, they did their best in the worst economic circumstances they inherited in 2010 from the Labour government.
In 2010 Cameron promised cutting net immigration to UK by a considerable percentage. Despite his anti non-EU policy, he is definitely struggling in this wise. Never in the history of the country has unfavourable immigration decisions been made against non-EU nationals as the Tories have done in the past five years.
The other “fringe” parties such as the Green Party’s Natalie Louise Bennett and the Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood are hoping to “increase their relevance” by winning a few more seats than what they have right now. Will they make any or much impact on who becomes the next Prime Minister? Will they control the deciding votes on what party or parties form the coalition government?
The wait is not for long. In a matter of days, United Kingdom shall present to the world a man that will be called upon to form the next government. Will there be significant change from the direction the country is going now, especially in immigration, economic etc? Like many thousands of undecided voters like me, not much is expected to change.
Published in the Sunday Vanguard April 26th 2015