Right up until the polling stations closed at 10pm GMT on March 7 all the pollsters and pundits were of one mind — this election was neck and neck, too close to call and would result in another coalition government. At the time of writing and with 13 seats still to declare the Conservative Party is just four seats short of an overall majority and every pollster and pundit in the UK must be ruing the fact that they have been proved so comprehensively wrong. The UK 2015 general election has been something of a political slaughter, and it is likely that three party leaders will have resigned if not by the end of the day then within the week at the latest. The Labour Party has been all but wiped out in Scotland, with the Scottish National Party gaining 56 out of the 59 seats in Scotland. The now-ruling Conservative Party is going to have to make some very quick and radical decisions, with possible fiscal autonomy being one of them, if there is not to be a call for another referendum on whether Scotland should remain a part of the UK or not.
Elsewhere, British politics has bid farewell to some prominent figures. George Galloway, a man not unknown here in Pakistan, found his Respect Party defeated in a rare gain by the Labour Party. He was defeated by a woman of Pakistan origin, Naz Shah. The election campaign of some parties were characterised by being among the dirtiest in terms of personal attacks that the normally staid and phlegmatic British electoral process has seen for a generation or more. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), failed to win a seat, again losing to a Labour candidate who somewhat ironically was a UKIP defector.
The Conservative Party was the clear winner, which it was not in the last election. It now has a mandate to govern albeit likely with a very slim majority, though it will have won less than a third of the total votes cast. A result that two-thirds of the electorate is not going to welcome.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2015.