Politics. Generally one of those subjects that can bore everyone to sleep. Yet, over the past 5 years, and certainly since the Scottish referendum, politics has been rather engaging, with discussions about the parties, and the people leading them becoming something rather regular. But as we near the May General Election, could the impending vote start to alter the feel good factor the UK economy, and our own industry, is experiencing right now?
One of my fears, and a fear voiced by some others I have spoken to in the past few weeks, is that the upcoming General Election might throw the spending patterns of people off, at least until the result is known.
It is quite feasible that the general public worry about the outcome of the General Election. When you look at voter loyalties, there seems to be very few sat on the fence. Labour voters are staunchly Labour, Tory voters are staunchly Tory. Lib Dems, well, there’s probably not many of them left. UKIP has surged, the SNP could hold the final decision. And therein lies the problem. UK politics is very fractured at the moment, and it’s highly unlikely that any single party will win outright rule. Therefore, whatever we vote, we’re going to get some form of government no one voted for at all in the way of a hung parliament and a cobbled together coalition.
All of this creates uncertainty. And if there is one thing that spenders, the stock market and currencies don’t like it’s uncertainty. If people think that their vote is going to be wasted and the country will end up with another coalition no one voted for, it could quite easily create unease and caution in the UK’s spenders. Something not so useful for our own industry.
The country seems very split to me right now. The lines between the general public on the red and blue sides have never been so polarised. The mood after the General Election is likely to be very happy for one part of the population, and very negative for the other. It’s going to need some time for the UK to settle down after that.
I’m going to write a post about the upcoming election in my own personal column on DGB in the future. But for now, I would say that we should all make the most of a confident consumer whilst the mood remains positive. We’re about to head into Spring. The weather is hopefully going to get warmer. The days are getting longer. The conditions for business are still going to improve as we head towards the big day. Until then, we need to make hay while the proverbial sun is shining.
What do you think? Could the election spoil things? Will it not have an effect at all? All comments as always welcome in the section below.