As more and more results come in it is clear that the polls have been wildly out. Having spent weeks talking about possible permutations for coalition government it seems that the Conservatives are set to get an outright majority. The party have plundered Liberal Democrat seats, taking many more constituencies from their coalition party than was expected - enough, on current forecasts, to get more than the 323 seats the party need to govern.
This outcome re-sets the political debate. The Conservatives have increased their number of seats and, if the projections are correct, will possess a significant mandate for their austerity agenda. What will this mean in practice? According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies the Conservatives are planning spending cuts of around £33 billion after 2015-16. The party's plans to balance the budget mean we will see significant cuts to public services and limited investment. Looking back to 2010 we are not even half way through the cuts the Tories need to balance the budget by 2020.
This election result – if realised - will therefore have significant implications that will be felt for many years to come. The size and role of the state will change significantly under a Conservative majority government; meaning that next time the General Election rolls around politics may look very different indeed.
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