As a divided Britain readies itself to vote, let’s evaluate the potential crushing the Left will receive plus the chances of any real threat to Brexit rearing its head.
For some, Prime Minister Theresa May’s snap election U-turn was seen as brilliant; a greatly tactical move that could result in devastation for her fractured opposition. Others have viewed it as a devious ploy to undermine her opponents and secure the Conservative Party’s grasp on power, unchallenged. For someone who had insisted consistently there would be no election until 2020, this seems to be the political equivalent of a masterful handbrake turn, performed whilst fleeing the police. I suppose the question now is will it cause her opponents to plunge headlong into oncoming traffic while she makes her getaway.
Speaking for myself, I can hardly say the news came as a shock; the chances of waiting until 2020 for a general election always seemed remote. Since last years Brexit referendum on whether or not to leave the anti-democratic globalist edifice that is the EU, the UK has found itself more divided than ever. In this climate waiting three years for another election was a big ask; 2020 may as well have been 2050.
But here we are with an election just around the corner (June 8th to be precise). The results is widely expected to be a wipeout for the Labour Party, with some calculations predicting a reach of 412 seats for the Conservatives, with Labour falling to 150 or less, its lowest number since the Second World War.
May has taken to campaigning in Labour heartlands (which is, no doubt the very place she intends to kick Labour in the groin). In an article for the Western Mail she said the election was an opportunity to give the UK “the strong and stable leadership it needs to see us through Brexit and beyond”. She also accused rival parties of “seeking to disrupt our negotiations, even as 27 other European countries line up to oppose us”.
Clearly May’s reason for holding an election is to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations; she wants a strong mandate in parliament going into what are likely to be fraught negotiations with Europe over Britain’s exit from the EU.
The Conservative party has a relatively slim majority in the House of Commons, won in 2015 under the previous leader David Cameron. Since that election however, the Labour Party (the main opposition) has collapsed in the polls, leaving her in a much stronger position and thus making an election win significantly more likely.
But, in the 650 lower house of parliament, who else could gain from this election?
The answer, as far as I’m concerned, is the Liberal Democrat Party.
There are numerous different reasons for this. Since Democratic Socialist Jeremy Corbyn unexpectedly won the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015, the party has undergone a painful transformation which has pushed it to the hard Left. Despite a leadership challenge last year and despite a period of time in which a wave of mostly Blairite MP’s gave motions of no confidence towards him, Corbyn has held the leadership. The party has alienated many of it core voters who now view it as broken and under weak leadership.
In addition to this, under the leadership of May, the Conservatives have moved further to the right, particularly regarding negotiations on Brexit (ie what sort of deal the country will eventually get). The center ground in British politics is now wide enough for the Liberal Democrats to sail through on a centrist Brexit-sceptic manifesto.
This makes things more interesting; obviously they are a small party that could never win enough to rule on their own, but if the Liberal Democrats can secure enough seats the end result will be more than just a thrashing for Labour. Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, who have in all reality accepted the democratic result of the referendum, the Lib Dems (traditionally a highly pro-EU party) are campaigning on mostly anti-Brexit sentiment. Their leader Tim Farron has expressed his desire for a second referendum on whether or not the UK should remain or leave the EU (although technically the latter process has begun).
This is nothing radical of course – many sour MP’s have come out publicly, asking for a chance to overturn last year historic referendum. What makes his plea different from most is that he wants a referendum on the terms of Brexit – and only once a deal has been reached. In theory, a referendum like this could only take place in a year or two’s time (once May has struck a deal).
The Lib Dems were in coalition with the Conservatives from 2010 to 2015. Farron has ruled out his party entering another Con-Lib coalition. What this all means, as far as I’m concerned, is that regardless of how well they do the Liberal Democrats do not pose a direct challenge to Brexit. If they were to U-turn though, and form a coalition, things would be very different. This is because they would be in a position to thwart the Prime Minister’s plan for a hard Brexit, potentially softening the outcome.
Whatever the case, the Lib Dems are sure to sweep up anti-Brexit votes. Whether or not they could be successful in coalition is anyone’s guess.
Meanwhile the Scottish National Party (SNP) is predicted to hold most (If not all) of its seats. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) however, is destined to dissappear. This may surprise some – the party was instrumental during last years referendum under the leadership of Nigel Farrage, but they now find themselves largely without purpose and under a weak, un-charismatic leader.
Let’s get back to Labour though. Harsh though it may seem, I’m looking forward to seeing them annihilated. I have watched in glee as Corbyn has killed the party’s image with his Lenin beard, with his Marxist fantasies and with his complete detachment from political reality.
They are going to learn the hard way. If your strategy for winning over voters in industrial towns is knocking on their doors and lecturing them about the glories of wealth redistribution, whilst reprimanding them for voicing concerns on immigration (or simply ignoring them altogether), don’t throw your toys out the pram when you get spanked on election day.
The one debate that mattered the most when it came to last years referendum was the debate on immigration. The Right participated in that debate. Labour chose to ignore it. They chose to ignore the concerned voices of so many working people. They’ve paid the price for that and will continue to do so.
Bearing in mind it was many traditionally Labour held industrial areas that became swing areas during the referendum, pushing the Leave campaign over the finish line, I don’t think the Conservatives will have too much trouble snatching these seats. Yes, it’s true many vote Labour instinctively in these areas – in primal fashion – but I still don’t fancy their chances. I feel that across the western world right now we are witnessing the decline of the Left. As it stands they are in dire need of re-invention.
I think this will be reflected when voters go to the polls on June 8th. As with any election nothing is certain. If the Conservatives do grab a significant majority both Labour and the SNP are sure to come out with accusations of a one party state being formed.
Ostensibly though, there is no threat to Brexit hiding in the grass…Not yet anyway.