THE BLOG

The Lady Is For Turning

20/04/2017 11:54
PA Wire/PA Images

After several months of claiming that she wasn't interested in calling a General Election, yesterday the Prime Minister announced she would be... calling a snap general election.

Think that took everyone by surprise a little.

Plenty of people over the last twenty-four hours, have explored why, she decided to throw this particular grenade into the middle of the British body politic, - which will among other things, screw over the Gorton by-election, seeing as Parliament may have been dissolved before May 4th, requiring the people of Manchester Gorton, to vote twice in one month - though like many, I suspect the Labour party being twenty points adrift in the Easter polls probably had something to do with it.

Instead I'm going to look at how this may well effect each of the Britain's three main parties (by which I mean, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats).

The Conservatives

Unless it's revealed on election day, that Liam Fox's post Brexit trade policies involve drug dealing, then I think it's safe to say the only way for the Tories is up. While I'm not convinced by Elections Calculus' suggestion of a plus 100 seat majority, I do think that Mrs May doesn't need to think about finding somewhere else to live.

The big question is what are the Tories going to look like after the election, and how will this affect Brexit? If the majority of the Conservative bench are old Peter Bone style Eurosceptics, then I imagine we'll be in for the hardest of hard Brexit's. If on the other hand if most of them are at best apathetic towards Europe, then we may be seeing a change to Soft Brexit.

Of course, this might be what the Prime Minister had in mind in the first place.

Labour

Labour conversely are most likely going to find this election somewhat.... painful. Unable to vote against it, without coming across as anti-democratic, they head into this election with the most left wing leader since Michael Foot, the worse polling numbers since 1983, and divisions that have never been more obvious to the general electorate.

The two questions that Labour will have to answer this election, are A: How are they going to cope without Scotland? (I don't see them getting that many seats back from the SNP) and to paraphrase the old Limbo slogan, how low can they go? That is to say, what precisely is Labour's vote floor?

I personally think they'll hit about 180 seats and stop, but after the last two years, almost nothing is certain any more. They will probably remain the official opposition, unless Corbyn announces a Labour government's first act of foreign policy will be returning Gibraltar to Spain. Of course, we also need to consider whether Corbyn himself will resign or if he'll have to be pushed.

My advice to Labour members is prepare for a rough night.

Liberal Democrats

I think we should be realistic about the Liberal Democrats chances and I speak as one of their supporters. The likelihood of the Lib Dems getting back to where they were in 2010 is slim. I think the best they can hope for is a net gain of about ten seats.

However, where this election is concerned I don't think seat count is what is really important - though obviously, I would love to see more Lib Dems in parliament - what is important is coming back after 2015, and proving that far from being a dead parrot, we are alive, kicking and deserve to be listened too. Though of course I won't complain, if somehow, we end up as the Official Opposition.

I suspect that at this election, the Lib Dems will focus on heavily Remain constituencies and run heavily on being Pro-EU and anti-Brexit. But this will provide a solid base to build on in the future. Liberals are used to having to work hard. It's not something they are particularly afraid of.

Whatever the outcome of this election, one thing is absolutely crystal clear. The next few weeks, are going to be very very interesting, and I mean that in the Chinese sense of the word.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS