Anthony Nailer analyses the result
I will consider all the parties and their leaders with their respective messages and what in the end changed it all.
Starting with Leanne Woods of Plaid Cymru – a very pleasant lady with a message that was basically a begging bowl. The anti-austerity message is hard for the English to accept when we are already in debt and likely to shovel more money per head of population across the Severn bridge than the English people get spent on them. Though Plaid Cymru is a nationalist party it does not bang on about independence from England. The Labour party is still entrenched there and her message did not substantially change the voting.
Next I will consider Natalie Bennett of the Green Party. A quite forceful lady with a clear vision of the terrible nature of humanity and how if we accept her gospel we, and the planet, can be saved. She believes we should all live in peace and harmony without borders and keep borrowing money to shower on anybody and everybody.
She and her party believe the UK is a bad place because we keep manufacturing weapons and also spend money defending ourselves. If only we could stop this aggression no-one else would want to attack us.
Unfortunately for many people the ugly wind turbines springing up like daisies everywhere have become a symbol of green environmental stupidity. Though they seemed a good idea to start with, they deface the landscape, cost a fortune and won’t keep the lights on.
Nick Clegg and his party do not understand that they are not a centrist party that will keep the Conservatives from veering too far to the right, nor keep Labour from veering too far left. They also believe that they have massive support within the UK when in fact about three-quarters of their previous votes were protest votes against Labour or Conservatives.
After going into coalition with the Conservatives and reneging on the tuition fees they lost the protest vote as well as student votes, present and future. The message by Nick Clegg that he and his party will go to bed with anyone revealed them to be political tarts.
Scottish National Party
Nicola Sturgeon is a phenomenon but in many respects similar to Nigel Farage of UKIP. She is a charismatic speaker with a message of a threat, in her case though it is clearly the evil English who for centuries have been suppressing the birthright of the Scots, which is something they should pay dearly for.
Worse still is that whilst the Scottish Labour Party is socialist, her party borders on communist. Really the party is wrongly called Nationalist because it cannot be true. Why would a party claim to stand up for national sovereignty and identity and also wish to be consumed by the EU, which is all about stripping identity and nationality. Therefore her party is really the Scottish Anti-English Party.
Nigel Farage is also a charismatic speaker and the core message is still the same. The UK as a group of nations should exit the EU and re-assert our national identity. Quite simply that trade and political union are not connected and probably should never be. That message was clearly put across but was often buried in smear from hard left activists that clearly do not believe in democracy.
Even the newspapers were in on naming-and-shaming in a massive way, totally ignoring serious misdemeanours of candidates of all other parties while damming UKIP people for really minor transgressions. Nigel Farage was against his party using the same tactics but this had no effect on those who were attacking UKIP. Overall UKIP did very well considering the newspapers and television broadcasters were very hostile to the party.
Ed Miliband had taken over a party that had run out of steam after being in power too long. His popular support within the party and amongst the electorate at large was suspect because it appears to have been a stitch-up by the unions to put in their own man against his own brother who had better credentials.
It quickly had emerged after the 2010 election that the economy was in a disastrous state, but that all through the last five years it was claimed by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls that it was nothing to do with them, it was the banking crisis. Despite their denials, the public at large didn’t accept this and their plan for the next Parliament was to continue the policies of the last Labour government. Clearly Labour couldn’t be trusted with the economy.
Then Nicola Sturgeon entered the picture and started bleating on about how the SNP must work together with Labour to keep the Conservatives out of Westminster. As the opinion polls regularly showed, Labour would not gain sufficient seats to command a majority without the SNP, especially as it was Labour seats in Scotland that the SNP would be hoovering up.
Labour denials that they would not do any sort of deal with the SNP were about as believable as their denials about them not causing the deficit. Other than the state of the NHS and how it would be safe in their hands, the only other message was that by stopping non-domicile status and bringing in a mansion tax there would be enough money to spend more on public services and to somehow magically balance the economy quicker and fairer than the Tories.
David Cameron and his message was that they had done well with the economy and jobs and had reduced the deficit and would continue to do more of the same. The electorate had to realise that this could all be for nothing with a return to Labour policies.
There were and still are contentious issues by those who claim that it is the poorest who are paying for the banking crisis. The truth is that the government is overspending on public services, including welfare, and the only solution to balance the books is to cut it, or at least hold it back while tax and other receipts catch up.
Why the Tories won
The ideological split over the issue of whether beneficiaries of public expenditure have a right to expect ever more, even if the money has to be borrowed, or to cut back to what we can afford, left the voters in a quandary.
The deciding factor was Nicola Sturgeon and the anti-English rhetoric of the SNP. Her continued efforts to force Ed Miliband to admit he would have to do a deal with her and she would exact a high price for keeping the Tories out of Westminster turned her into the enemy within. It also made the thought of a Labour-SNP government toxic to the electorate.
At a stroke Nicola and the SNP made the enemy within more important to the UK electorate than the EU enemy abroad. It became more important for the English to vote Conservative to save themselves from being dictated to by the Scottish than it was to protest about the establishment parties and the EU by voting UKIP.
The unintended consequence of Nicola trying to keep the Conservatives out of Westminster actually resulted in them being given a majority. Now all the Conservatives need to do is devolve more power to Scotland and move the Trident base elsewhere to neutralise the SNP, and if they hold a referendum on EU membership to neutralise UKIP, they can win the 2020 election as well.