UK General Election – So, what happened?

The Saint ReportPlanning and Zoning, Politicians and Planning, saintblog0 Comments

By Nick Keable

Vice President, UK Operations, The Saint Consulting Group 

Here we are in limbo then; a bizarre election, backroom deals in progress and Gordon Brown still in Number 10.  What happened?  In short:

Conservatives – They did well but not well enough.  It was always a mountain to climb statistically but they were in the end just 20 seats short of a Parliamentary majority.  That equates to just 16,000 votes in 21 crucial constituencies out of the 28.6 million who actually voted last Thursday.  (Interestingly, this deficit almost matches UKIP’s vote; no UKIP, and the Tories would have won). It will be argued by some that the Tories’ overall strategy of the last two years – ‘don’t tell everyone our agenda until the election is called so that Labour cannot attack it’ – has backfired, as it turns out that not enough people bought into their offer when they finally went public.

Labour – A bad result but not as bad as they feared.  At times, it looked like it might be a rout, but they managed to pull back from the brink.  Their strategy is proof that negative campaigning works; they frightened enough of the voters into fearing the Tories’ agenda.  Labour is of course considerably helped by the imbalance in the large number of small constituencies they hold in London, the West Midlands, Merseyside, the North East and Glasgow which tends to inflate their number of seats for their share of the vote.

Liberal Democrats – At first sight, a bad day at the office.  Despite the very public ‘Nick Clegg bounce’, they actually lost five Parliamentary seats.  But, compare that with where they were a year or so ago, and it could be said the bounce worked.  Instead of losing 10-20 seats as they were fearing, they only lost 5.  Moreover, although not doing very well, they now hold the balance of power and are being courted by both the Tories and Labour as the kingmakers.

 And what does this mean for the property industry?

 Assuming a political deal can be struck quickly, and the markets don’t turn their negative attention from Greece to London, it is still not clear what part the Tories plans for planning reform will play in the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat world order.  The jury’s out.  For now.

Nick Keable is vice president for UK operations for The Saint Consulting Group, email: keable@tscg.co.uk, phone +44 207 592 7050

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