It all comes down to Brexit
At the beginning of the year, I made some predictions. One of these was that we wouldn’t have a snap election this year. I was wrong. So having had 4 hours to think about it, here are my initial thoughts on what is going to be an awful 7 weeks.
This article will NOT reveal who I am going to vote. I think I have worked out who, but when I write on here, I will write objectively. Don’t take anything I have written to be showing support to any party.
This was the most obvious time for May to hold an election. The opposition is in disarray. She can win the election comfortably without showing too much of her Brexit hand. The markets believe so with the pound jumping after the announcement. She also won’t be busy negotiating in this time as the French and German leaders have their own elections to worry about. Furthermore, this election will make Theresa May more legitimate as she is voted in as a Prime Minister.
To May, To EU
Needless to say, this election will be about a single issue. Brexit. The reason this election was going to be called, was so that when May increases her majority, she will be in a stronger position to do what she wants. Without a strong opposition in the House of Commons, she will appear stronger when negotiating with her European counterparts. She feels that this will help her get a better deal for Britain, unless this spectacularly backfires.
One question that people ask is “What about the Fixed Term Parliament Act?”. This was bought in during 2011 in order to stop leaders tactically deciding when elections are. However, if there is a vote of no confidence in a government OR two thirds of MPs vote for it, there can be an election earlier. The vote will be tomorrow. With Tories, Labour, Lib Dems & UKIP all seemingly agreeing, it is 99.999% certain that an election will be confirmed tomorrow.
Blue is the colour
So far, this commentary has implied that the Conservatives are going to get a big win. You may be sitting there thinking this isn’t going to happen and that *insert party* are going to do well and surprise us all: Get real.
May will be marketing this election as a vote for a strong and stable government (Conservative) or weak and disjointed government (Labour). It will be successful as people desire a strong and stable government in these uncertain times. In fact, with this strategy, she probably won’t have to reveal her Brexit plan at all. Although, one would hope that she does. I believe that she will be fronting a hard Brexit, although I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
So how do Labour take on May? Well the only strategy is to do the opposite of what May says. If they both agree on the same approach, it solely comes down to who people trust the most in the role of Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn has the charisma of a slug.
Therefore, Corbyn has to go for the opposite approach. Does this mean remaining? It could attract some new voters, but the Labour heartlands are already Brexit and alienated by Corbyn, therefore, that strategy could destroy the party. Furthermore, plenty of remainers felt betrayed by his performance before and after the referendum. Therefore, his only strategy seems to be to back a Brexit. More specifically, whichever one Theresa doesn’t back.
A statement earlier from Corbyn suggested that he would focus on other factors which aren’t Brexit to try and gain votes. His statement didn’t mention Brexit once. This is an early showing that he isn’t able to campaign effectively, missing out the only issue in a single issue election.
Red Dead or Redemption?
Labour will lose a lot of seats. They only have 229. They will definitely fall below 200. Worst case scenario will be that they fall to 150. As the second largest party in the UK, that would be embarrassing. However, the reaction of plenty of centrists that I know is “This was always going to happen, but at least Jeremy Corbyn is going sooner rather than later” Yeah, the thing is, you might be wrong……. Corbyn has proven to be incredibly stubborn, refusing to quit after a vote of no confidence. You would think that a heavy loss would make Labour wake up and smell the coffee. However, having polled poorly throughout the year (23% on YouGov), there hasn’t been an urgency from members to get rid of him. Even after a resounding defeat, there still may not be.
May has taken a risk. If Corbyn goes, the Labour may install a strong leader and pressure her like an opposition should do. However, if Corbyn stays, which with the current Labour membership is likely, it will be the death of the labour party.
The Lib Dems will benefit from the election. Well, if we’re honest they can’t be in a much worse situation. They have the clearest position right now and will try to appeal to 48% of voters. They also managed to claim a shock victory beating Zac Goldsmith in Richmond. However, they have alienated themselves from 52% of voters and won’t win them back. Furthermore, they have come across as petty to a proportion of remainers. Farron has come across as whiny and has not done a good job of appealing to those that he needs to. Scotland, where plenty of remain votes came from, probably won’t back him either. Furthermore, most of the potential swing seats for Lib Dems are in Cornwall, an area that voted Brexit, so Lib Dems will probably struggle over there.
He will need to really perform to do as well as he hopes. The reality of it is that gaining 10 more seats would be a huge success for them.
After an embarassing defeat in Stoke for Nuttall and the resignation of Douglas Carswell left UKIP without an MP. Will they do well? Probably not. Most brexiters will probably vote Tory as UKIP are only bothered about one issue and not relevant anywhere else. They also don’t have their star man Farage, and so far, nobody else has shown themselves as able to lead that party.
All in all, this is going to be another seven bitter weeks. At the end the Conservatives are going to have a large majority and a mandate to carry out the Brexit of Theresa May’s choosing.
When all is said and done, Brenda from Bristol seems to summarise the situation best.