Blog Posts by Alex Stevenson

  • What the Conservative victory means for Britain

    A protestor's poster promises riots if the Conservatives win.


    Now we know the make-up of the next parliament, and the astonishing outcome of an election that has given David Cameron the chance to lead a Conservative-only Cabinet, we can start to build up a picture of what the next five years has in store for British politics.

    We treated the party manifestos differently in this campaign. Because of the nature of coalition compromises their policies were viewed as mere possibilities, not plausible outcomes. Suddenly that has all changed. The Tory manifesto is now the future of the UK. You can read it here – or just glance through the points below to get your head around what the future holds.

    Question-marks over Britain’s place in Europe and the world, and our internal unity as a country, will continue to hover over a Conservative government. Cameron has no choice but to stick to his promise of delivering an in-out referendum by 2017. He must hope to achieve a renegotiation with Brussels that convinces a majority of voters – not to mention a

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  • General election 2015: The ten biggest scalps of election night

    The national picture has produced a surprising national result, but the last few hours have been equally shocking for the large number of big names whose political careers have been unceremoniously halted. Here’s our view of the top ten.

    Jim Murphy

    The Scottish Labour leader is arguably the highest –profile casualty of the night. He may not have been in government, but his task was to first stem the flow of votes from Labour to the SNP and then start clawing back the popularity lost in last year’s independence campaign. In that task he has spectacularly failed. He offered a gracious speech after being defeated and has vowed to continue in the job – but will not be doing so from the green benches of the Commons.

    Vince Cable

    It’s ironic , after so many column inches devoted to see his leadership machinations, that the man most visibly uncomfortable with being in government with the Conservatives won’t even be around to put himself forward as a successor to Nick Clegg. The business

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  • Just waking up? Here’s what Britain faces after a night of shocking election results


    Nearly everyone got this election wrong – and now it’s time for the fallout.

    In the last week of campaigning one group of clever academic types adjusted their assessment of the chances of a hung parliament from 90% to 100%. Next to no-one thought a Conservative majority was possible.

    It seemed incredible at first, but the unthinkable has happened. Throughout this election campaign the experts have failed spectacularly. “It’s a disaster for the pollsters,” Professor Jon Yonge of the University of Liverpool told us.

    It wasn’t even that: many felt the combination of Labour and SNP MPs would provide an irresistible anti-Tory majority which would force David Cameron to resign. Instead the Conservative leader’s prospects of continuing to govern became irresistible as the Tory seats forecast rose.

    That means Britain is waking up to the following:

    David Cameron will remain in power as – for the first time since 1992 – a Conservative PM winning an overall majority.

    The SNP’s extraordinary swathe of

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  • QUIZ! General Election 2015 - Which Political PR Disaster Are You?

    Work out which media calamity you'd be with our quick and easy quiz

  • QUIZ! Which Westminster Extramarital Affair Are You?

    Which sort of romantic liaison would you end up in if you were in Westminster?

    There have been some saucy and scandalous political affairs down the years - from the Profumo scandal in the 1960s, to John Major and Edwina Currie in the 1990s and even, more recently, Chris Huhne and Catrina Trimingham.

    If you were getting up to extramarital funny business at the heart of the UK's government, what sort of affair would you end up being in? Take out test and find out....

    Then once you've done this quiz, find out which UK prime minister you're most like.

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  • Two clues to the Tories' post-election plans

    Questioning the legitimacy of a Labour-SNP government and sketching out the draft of a Tory Queen’s Speech: it feels a lot like we’re picking up the first clues about what will happen in the critical days after May 7th. And all the indications are it won’t be very pretty.

    It’s not supposed to be like this. Election campaigns are meant to build up to the messy climax of election night, when voters set the country on a decisive course by clearly indicating their will to politicians.

    It wasn’t like that in 2010 and it’s almost certainly not going to be like that in 2015, either. Instead the real politics of deciding who gets to run the country will take place over the course of the rest of the month. The politicians have seen it coming – and today the Conservative leader is putting down a marker about what he might do if/when he falls short of winning outright control of the Commons.

    Cameron makes very clear that’s not what he’s talking about, of course. Writing for the Telegraph, he

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  • Insulting voters can only lead to defeat – for both the Tories and Labour

    Shutting out the voters might seem like a sensible strategy, but it can only lead to one result: a slap in the face come polling day.

    Terrified by the fear of another Gillian Duffy moment, the parties have adopted a cautious approach to these precious few weeks that tries to avoid calamity at the expense of giving themselves a chance of actually changing the game. Elections should not be shutting-down operations, but that is the approach taken by the Conservatives and Labour.

    Lynton Crosby might be placing his faith in a late incumbency swing, but there are no signs of it materialising yet. Labour stands more to gain from seeking a sudden moment where longstanding perceptions shift. As #milifandom shows, any progress they have made in this campaign isn’t really of their making.

    It’s ironic, really. Gordon Brown’s ‘bigotgate’ disaster helped bring down the New Labour government because by writing off Duffy Brown was writing off millions of other voters, too. Yet in strenuously trying to

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  • QUIZ! Which UK Prime Minister Are You?

    Take our test to see which UK political leader you'd be most like if you ever find yourself in No. 10

    The UK general election is just weeks away, with May 7 edging closer and closer.

    But which leader, past or present, would you most be like if you were given the keys to 10 Downing Street?

    Once you've taken our quiz, don't forget you can get the latest from the campaign trail with our general election live blog.

  • Miliband is now most likely to be next prime minister

    It all comes down to numbers. Try playing the BBC’s majority-builder game, which offers some likely scenarios and gives you the chance to work out plausible governments.

    More often than not you’re likely to find the Conservatives fall short, even with Lib Dem and DUP support. Labour is often relying on either the SNP and/or the Lib Dems to get into power.

    That reflects the balance of probabilities as assessed by the Political Studies Association, a group of unspeakably clever academics who suggest the most likely scenario is bad news for Cameron.  

    "The single most likely outcome is at the bottom of the pie chart,“ says Dr Stephen Fisher of the University of Oxford.

    [UK General Election 2015 Live]

    "That is a seriously hung parliament with the Conservatives as clearly the largest party but a majority on the left, including the SNP and Liberal Democrats.”

    His findings are supported by the academics at, which give the Conservatives a mean 284 seats, compared to 276

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  • The 2015 campaign has reached its watershed moment

    Midway through the general election campaign, both Labour and the Conservatives are changing their tactics – and it’s a triumph for voters.

    “I’m not going to talk about anything other than winning an overall majority,” David Cameron rather steadfastly insisted on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show this morning. His actions - and those of Labour this week - suggest the alternative is exactly what both the Conservatives and Labour are focusing on.

    Back in 2010 the British electorate delivered an equivocal verdict on David Cameron and Gordon Brown’s parties. Neither were really trusted enough to rule by themselves. Voters set up a scenario where both would have to act more cautiously and carefully. Whichever ended up in power, the Tories or Labour would have to behave differently.

    In the event, not that much did change. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats’ staunch embrace of power the resulting coalition felt more like business as usual than anyone could have anticipated. That experience has defined

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