The essay crisis election
And so, defying all expectations, the Tories have secured a slim overall majority. David Cameron has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the manner in which he was reputed to excel at university assignments begun at the last minute. It was only the exit polls, announced as the polls closed at 10pm last night, that hinted at the scale of the upset to predictions by all the polling companies of a dead heat.
What appears to have worked for the Tories is the ‘air war’: their stark warnings via the mass media about the chaos that would ensue if Labour scraped into power, supported – and held to ransom – by the Scottish Nationalists. This followed on from their mantra, repeated ad nauseam, OUR LONG-TERM ECONOMIC PLAN, which emphasised their competence with the national finances, at least in comparison with Labour. Although not a very edifying campaign – I looked in vain for any enunciation of core beliefs such as the rule of law, limited government or the importance of thrift and charity – it was ultimately effective.
Now comes the hard part: governing with a slim majority and a tribe of independently-minded backbench MPs who understand that concessions for their constituency will be available when almost every vote hangs on a knife-edge.