Following tonight’s final debate, ComRes have polled for voter intention, and the result is Lib Dems 36%, Conservatives 36%, Labour 24%. This is an important result, because it shows the aggregate effect of all the debates and everything else that has happened. Conservatives were quick to jump on two early polls which suggested Cameron had won the debate, but the key issue is not “who won tonight’s debate” but “who won the series as a whole”. The answer is quite clearly that Lib-Dems have shot up by a figure greater than 15%, and a totally different outcome is now expected from the Cameron-win-or-hung-parliament of two weeks and one day ago.
David Cameron has been pedalling the line that a hung parliament would be an unfair and undesirable result given that the Tories deserve to win. But, really, he has not got over the fact that, six months ago, he was nine points ahead in the polls. He is probably (though with certain rather obvious reservations) right that it would have been unfair for him to be neck and neck with Labour in terms of numbers of seats with a nine point lead — always providing that we accept that someone who scores a third of the vote should deserve to get more than half the seats. But his idea that it is unfair for him to not win the election when he doesn’t even poll the highest number of votes is patently absurd.
Cameron needs to have a good long look at himself. He paints himself as a liberal, progressive, ‘changed Conservative’. But, in reality, his entire approach to the election is that Labour has been in for 13 years and it’s now ‘his turn’.
It is not his turn. He has failed to persuade the majority of voters that he is Prime Ministerial material.
On tonight’s poll, based on the BBC’s uniform swing seat calculator, Tories would get 285 seats, Labour 182, and Lib Dems 157. Others would get 26. Cameron would not only be far short of the seats he needs to win, but would also be far short of the seats he needs to form a government with all of the ‘others’ as coalition partners, enabling him to side-step the question of a coalition with the Lib Dems and the requirement for proportional representation.
In any case, the Lib Dems are not offering anyone a coalition. As Nick Clegg has repeatedly pointed out, the electorate must decide who they want to run the country. Cameron does not seem to get this: his notion that he has some implicit right to be the next prime minister based on the same poll as his (now) main competitor is laughable. His notion that this status quo ought to continue until some serendipitous roll of the dice gives him that role is worse than laughable.
That 36:36:24 yields a result of 157:285:182 is surely the most compelling demonstration that our electoral system does not properly reflect the will of the people. Britain is demanding change — and real, not cosmetic, change.