Episode 13, available later this afternoon, will be the final pre-election ELECTION podcast. During the episode the panel will take a look back over their predictions and expectations for the campaign, and see how they compared with the reality of the last thirteen weeks.
The series has featured a wide range of guests, and below are some of their thoughts about the election, from a variety of perspectives.
Lord Maurice Glasman, one of the architects of the movement known as Blue Labour and the first guest had a pretty clear view about what he thinks is going to happen on Thursday 7 May –
I think the first thing we’ve got to say about the election is that no-one’s going to win, the consensus is yet to be fully forged and put to the people…I think that there will be another election within 18 months and that’s going to be the important election, I think this election won’t resolve, so let’s keep our eyes focused on two years down the road.
Martin Jacques, one time editor of Marxism Today and now one of the leading Western commentators on China featured in episode three and discussed the reasons for the “palpable” discontent amongst the British electorate –
…People are discontented because you know if you ask them will your children enjoy a better standard of living than you, people in the great majority now think that their children will be worse off when they grow up than they have been. (Whereas in China)…the living standards are doubling…so they are filled with optimism and we are filled with pessimism. So I think there is a sense in which the system we have got...isn't delivering any more and there’s a general loss of faith in the system and its institutions and in the governing elites...Now I don’t know where this is going to lead but it’s clearly true.
John Naughton, chronicler of the Internet from its early days and the author of the book From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What you really need to know about the Internet featured in episode four and was asked whether he thought that Facebook might actually decide this election –
Yes, in this particular case, in some seats it might be quite critical. But what would make it really critical I think is if Facebook were able to encourage more younger voters to turn out, because that could have a significant impact on the coming election. In the last election I think only 51% of young people voted…but if Facebook did use the same technique as they use in the US, which is to put on some people’s pages an ‘I Voted’ button and have say pictures of 6 of their friends who had also announced that they had voted, that’s what had an impact in the United States, and who knows that might have an impact here, and if the impact were on younger people I think it be might significant.
And Clare Jackson, historian and television presenter gave her perspective on the future of the union between Scotland and England if the SNP became the lynch-pin of the next government –
I think it’s interesting how notions of coalition have become more mainstream than they were. You know the first past the post system doesn't usually result in coalitions and just as the PR system in Edinburgh wasn't meant to produce a single party government…(but) it did, and both sides are now getting used to political novelties and I think one of the interesting things is how fast politics is changing and how fast people’s identities and allegiances can shift. So, I think it’s really an interesting time, the last election and presumably the next one showed there was quite a lot of unknown unknowns…If you’re being optimistic, this is a time for opportunity.
Keep an eye out for Episode 13 later on today to hear the panel's final thoughts before the election. And remember to come back next week for the last episode of the current series of ELECTION - though they'll be back next year for series two on the US Presidential Election. So watch this space!