Journal opinion: Anything can happen in the next 100 days

The Journal's opinion column for Tuesday, January 27, as we look ahead to the general election 100 days away

Rui Vieira/PA Wire A ballot box at a polling station
A ballot box at a polling station

Anything can happen in the next half hour!” was the frantic promise at the start of every episode of Stingray.

Well, it’s 100 days to the general election. And anything can happen in that time.

Stingray, the 1960s Gerry Anderson series, was populated by unconvincing puppets moved jerkily by an unseen hand. Nothing like today’s politicians, then.

This is without question the most unpredictable election of modern times. The current predictions are also that it will be extremely close, with Labour and the Conservatives perhaps separated by just a handful of seats.

The Liberal Democrats seem certain to lose seats – but can they avoid the meltdown the polls predict?

Chris Radburn/PA Wire Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron
 

UKIP look likely to finish third in the popular vote – but will they translate that into significant numbers of seats?

Will their surge – and that of the Greens – be slowed by a harsh spotlight being thrown on their manifestos?

Can the SNP really trounce Labour in Scotland, potentially putting themselves in a position of power in the government of the UK?

The national focus will probably largely stay away from the North East. As we report today, Berwick is a key Con-Lib Dem marginal. Redcar and Stockton South will need to be taken by Labour if Ed Miliband is to be the next PM.

But there is much to fascinate beyond these three seats. The advance (or otherwise) of Ukip in what has always been Labour territory is something to be watched closely.

For the voters, it’s the chance to take what these politicians are saying and question it hard. And above all, make sure they aren’t pulling your strings.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer