Why Is The General Election So Close?

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TheCasual MK2
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I'm fairly new to politics. I've always had a passing interest, but Scottish Referendum really sparked my interest.

Is it because both of the two major parties have poor leaders?

The last four years of New Labour where a disastrous. The falling out of Blair and Brown, the financial crash and the fallout of the Iraq war. But still Cameron couldn't win a majority.

Ed Milliband has had four years to build a strong stable shadow cabinet, but still people don't seem convinced by him or his policies.

Or is because the Scottish Referendum has shook up Scottish Politics and obviously causing major losses to Labour?

Obliviously there's also been a raise of UKIP and the demise of the Lib Dem's because of going against there principles to form a coalition with the Tories.

Or has the internet and social media allowed the the smaller parties to gain publicity that they couldn't afford in the past?

I've also notice it seems to be hard to come back and regain power after one term.

Just interested in what more knowledgeable people think?
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Arkasia
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It always has been close. Generally Labour and the Tories have a core of around 30% of firm supporters, and the rest either vote for smaller parties, or switch their votes based on whichever seems the best at that time. People are also very short-sighted, so after 4 years of one party, the public tends to sway in the other direction, as they remember all the bad stuff the current government did, and think the next one will be better (it almost invariably isn't).
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username878267
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Tories are seen as heartless and labour as incompetent.
in 97, Blair made Labour seem competent, in 2010 Cameron made tories seem nice with the whole 'hug a hoody compassionate conservatism'.

The reality is now that the public still feel the tories are the nasty party who only care about the rich but don't trust labour on the economy. So it's resulted in a deadlock. An unpopular government facing an unpopular oppostion.
My right wing american friends used to say 'If you're left wing you don't have a brain, if you're right wing you don't have a heart.'

Obviously I disagree with that but it seems plenty others don't.
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TheCasual MK2
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(Original post by Arkasia)
It always has been close. Generally Labour and the Tories have a core of around 30% of firm supporters, and the rest either vote for smaller parties, or switch their votes based on whichever seems the best at that time. People are also very short-sighted, so after 4 years of one party, the public tends to sway in the other direction, as they remember all the bad stuff the current government did, and think the next one will be better (it almost invariably isn't).
That's quite interesting.

I saw something on the TV the other day. A expert said what made both Thatcher and Blair so successful at elections where there ability to attract voters that wasn't Tory or Labour. Both Cameron and Milliband don't have that.
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Arkasia
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(Original post by TheCasual MK2)
That's quite interesting.

I saw something on the TV the other day. A expert said what made both Thatcher and Blair so successful at elections where there ability to attract voters that wasn't Tory or Labour. Both Cameron and Milliband don't have that.
Yeah, Thatcher was very much a product of her time, and I would argue very much exclusive to her time (in any other era, she wouldn't have been as successful). She was strongly supported by her party and by many neutrals (as well as a fair few Labour voters) because they saw the direction Labour was taking the country in terms of the economy, and the dominance of trade unions (Callaghan was pathetic in charge). One could make the argument that her being a woman was just an extra incentive, the same way a few pessimists might point to Obama's popularity being compounded from his skin colour (not my view, just one that's out there). Similarly, Major was awful as PM leading up to the 1997 elections, and Blair looked promising, so many voters (including the ones who supported Thatcher originally, and were annoyed at the betrayal of her party) swung in the opposite direction and voted Labour, which is why Blair won a landslide victory.

The difference these days is that the parties are all slowly moving to the centre, with the differences between the Tories and Labour becoming increasingly small. This means that whilst votes still swing, minority parties are increasing in number and in power, which is why the last election, and probably this one, required a coalition as a solution.
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username878267
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Also remember the Tories have pretty much the entire media doing their propaganda for them. The media set the agenda and have been so disgustingly, unashamedly biased.

A classic example, when 100 business leaders wrote a letter supporting the tories it made every paper and media outlet. Hardly any in contrast reported the 100 doctors criticizing them. Not even the BBC. Their pro-tory bias is astonishing and they're meant to be neutral.
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The Dictator
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(Original post by Bornblue)
Also remember the Tories have pretty much the entire media doing their propaganda for them. The media set the agenda and have been so disgustingly, unashamedly biased.

A classic example, when 100 business leaders wrote a letter supporting the tories it made every paper and media outlet. Hardly any in contrast reported the 100 doctors criticizing them. Not even the BBC. Their pro-tory bias is astonishing and they're meant to be neutral.
I prefer to see the BBC as being left-wing biased.

Nevertheless, the BBC shouldn't even exist.
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username878267
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(Original post by The Dictator)
I prefer to see the BBC as being left-wing biased.

Nevertheless, the BBC shouldn't even exist.
The BBC are incredibly biased towards the conservative party.
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The Dictator
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(Original post by Bornblue)
The BBC are incredibly biased towards the conservative party.
Any bias to ANY political party in a state-owned institution is wrong. Hence why the BBC should be privatised.
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username402722
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It is close because the Labour Party chose Ed Miliband instead of David Miliband, and kept Ed Balls in a financial shadow role.
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username878267
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(Original post by The Dictator)
Any bias to ANY political party in a state-owned institution is wrong. Hence why the BBC should be privatised.
The BBC is biased so therefore it should be privatised? Ummm, no. It should just be less biased.
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The Dictator
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(Original post by Bornblue)
The BBC is biased so therefore it should be privatised? Ummm, no. It should just be less biased.
Um, yes. I would rather not pay for something which I don't watch on a regular basis at gunpoint, thank you very much.

The BBC is a product of the quasi-communist belief system that not so long ago drove Britain. Subsidised state propaganda is not my cup of tea, however it might be yours.
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username878267
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(Original post by The Dictator)
Um, yes. I would rather not pay for something which I don't watch on a regular basis at gunpoint, thank you very much.

The BBC is a product of the quasi-communist belief system that not so long ago drove Britain. Subsidised state propaganda is not my cup of tea, however it might be yours.
The BBC is left wing?! HAHAHHAHAHHAHAH
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billydisco
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Because usually with a party like Labour (who cripple the country EVERY time they come in to power) it'd be a no brainer. However, during Labour's last 13 years they destroyed this country so much, not only did they create a whole social class of people who do not work, they also inviting as many immigrants in to this country who despise traditional right-wing England......
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Smonnie
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The political landscape of the country, as someone pointed out, is such that the two biggest parties have similarly-sized core memberships.

As such, in my view, political success is as much as about personality as it as policy. As such, the examples cited previously are highly pertinent. As such, charismatic characters such as Blair and Thatcher have succeeded in recent times, whereas Major and Brown have been less successful. That is why, despite being in opposition, Milliband has suffered - and also why Labour would have probably won this election had they appointed Ed's brother as leader. People also seek change, where the alternative is viable and reasonably attractive. This is why Cameron won over Brown, despite being relatively bland.
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meenu89
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With the bias in the electrol system, it should have been very hard for Miliband not to win.
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ottom
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(Original post by barnetlad)
It is close because the Labour Party chose Ed Miliband instead of David Miliband, and kept Ed Balls in a financial shadow role.
Yes, Labour would be facing a big defeat if they had chosen David.
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username878267
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(Original post by meenu89)
With the bias in the electrol system, it should have been very hard for Miliband not to win.
With the huge bias in the media it should have been very hard for Cameron not to win.
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Quady
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(Original post by Bornblue)
The BBC is left wing?! HAHAHHAHAHHAHAH
I think this kinda exemplifies its pretty neutral.
Peeps on the left think its biased to the right.
Peeps on the right think its biased to the left.
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Rakas21
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For me it boils down to two things..

1) People prefer Cameron to Miliband and the Tories to Labour on the economy. This is compounded by Miliband and Balls being prominent figures in Brown's government.

2) The Tories are strategically idiotic. They got an English majority in 2010 but failed to win a UK majority because across the North East, Scotland and Wales they gained just six seats from 2005. While Osbourne is making progress in the cities (probably not in this election but he's thinking the right way), the Tories have done nothing in Wales, Scotland and the North East to endear the electorate to them. Indeed some welfare policies like the spare room subsidy and disability review have in these areas fed into the 'nasty party' narrative.
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