THE BLOG

An Unexpected Election

19/04/2017 08:26 BST | Updated 19/04/2017 08:26 BST

2017-04-19-1492560305-4896343-33739095305_ef448857c3_z.jpg

Credit: Jay Allen. Copyright: Crown Copyright

So here we have it.

A year after the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union we have yet another nationwide vote that could prove to be just as politically fascinating. Will we see the Tories win a landslide? The decimation of the Labour Party? The resurgence of the Liberal Democrats? UKIP petering out? These questions and many more will be answered on June 8th as our country goes to the polls in this snap General Election.

Much of the evidence suggests Theresa May achieving a landslide on par with that of Tony Blair in 1997 and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. YouGov's latest polling suggests the Tories winning a whopping 44% of the popular vote whilst Labour would come a distant and disastrous second with only 23% of those asked being prepared to vote for them. One can thus insinuate that this polling lead (despite what she says) is probably the chief factor behind the PM's decision to call for an early election. Nonetheless there are so many factors to consider besides that major nation defining issue of Brexit. There are a plethora of other issues that carry a level of importance for voters, ranging from the current state of the NHS to the housing crisis and austerity.

However I believe it is crucial to understand that despite the obvious importance of these issues, they will not be the main determinants behind the result of this election. These were all issues that were at the forefront of much of the electorates mind in 2015 but the Conservative Party still won a majority. That election's success was built on the economy and an opposition leader who people failed to view as a potential PM (words that still ring eerily true two years later). This election will be very much fought around the issue of Brexit and will be fundamental in defining the UK's future relationship with the EU.

I believe that the real winners on June 8th will be the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats as they pick up much of the Labour vote in marginal seats, whilst a large amount of UKIP's vote will return to the Tories. A lack of a coherent unity and an ineffectual leader in Labour will prove to be a hatchet to a number of their seats, especially outside of London. Although I do not expect that they will haemorrhage seats in the numbers that some people predict. This is because at their core many Labour leave voters are still just that; Labour voters. This was so clearly illustrated in Labour's recent win in Stoke Central, a Brexit supporting seat.

Many seem to forget that there is a quiet majority who voted for Brexit and a silent plurality who voted for the Conservatives in the last general election. These groups will vote in the direction that they have previously and there is little evidence to suggest that there will be a change in their views. It also is critical to note that the polling for elections in our country has often underestimated the support for the right, therefore it is a very real prospect that the Conservatives could get even more than the 44% forecast by YouGov in their most recent poll.

Theresa May has taken what seems like a cynical attempt to broaden and consolidate her party's grip on power. Yet regardless of her motives it is a calculated risk that is very likely to pay off with such a divided opposition. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, 'A house divided against itself cannot stand', words that ring prophetically true to the current state of British politics and the oppositions lack of readiness for government.