Here at Snapdragon we pride ourselves on political insight, analysis and, importantly, being one step ahead of the curve. As a perfect allegory for our own approach, Theresa May called a snap General Election to be held on the 8th June 2017, in an attempt to take action and stay one step ahead of her political opponents.
But has it worked?
Having lived in some version of the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency for 20 years, I’m not used to political uncertainty or excitement. For almost all of those 20 years the Parliamentary seat was held by former MP and Oscar winning actress Glenda Jackson. Although her majority dwindled towards the end of her incumbency (reaching a mere 42 in 2010), her tenure was relatively uneventful and Labour were able to entice voters in the worst of climates. How times change.
The seat, currently occupied by a leading Labour light, Tulip Siddiq, is considered a key marginal by the Conservatives and the word on the ground a couple of weeks ago was that, in light of a surge in support for the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, it will again be a close call on June 8th. Recent events have however swung the balance back in Labour’s favour.
Declined TV debate invitations and a critically neutral reception to the Conservative manifesto have caused the exact uncertainty that Mrs. May was trying to avoid.
Snapdragon’s resident Conservatives have offered their views, and the theme continues.
“The announcement of the General Election took me by surprise, but thinking about the situation presented to Theresa May, you can see why she chose to spring the surprise.
In one fell swoop, she can deal with the devolution issue in Scotland if the Conservatives can gain a handful of seats from the SNP and demonstrate a decline in support. If a Lib Dem resurgence doesn’t occur, former Lib Dem strongholds will no doubt continue to become Tory strongholds. If Corbyn and the Labour Party really do as badly as the polls predict, former Labour heartlands will turn blue thanks to the fall of UKIP support post-Brexit. And finally, if this all occurs and Theresa May remains Prime Minister with a much-increased majority, she will have a platform that she has won in her own right and with her own personal agenda.
However, the one word all of this relies upon is if. A week ago, I would have argued this prediction was certain. However, the calamity of the social care manifesto announcement has spiced up the race somewhat. The narrowing of the polls is most certainly exaggerated but is it working in the Conservative’s favour by scaring voters into thinking they could wake up on June 9 with Jeremy Corbyn outside Number 10.
There is no doubt that the Conservative Party will return with a healthy majority, just quite possibly slightly less than they could have achieved if it wasn’t for a dreadful policy idea and its subsequent handling.”
“In her statement announcing the snap election, Mrs. May predicated her reasons for doing so on ‘divisions in Westminster’ over Brexit. Don’t be fooled. This is a façade.
With the Government, almost all Conservative parliamentarians, and enough parliamentarians from opposition parties, accepting the result of the EU referendum, such divisions amount to nothing in practical, legislative terms; as demonstrated by the EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill the Government can force its Brexit agenda through Parliament.
The only reason why the Prime Minister called this election is because she saw a drastic lead for the Conservatives in the opinion polls and (understandably) wanted to cash in a landslide.
With a week to go before the General Election it now looks like we are not looking at landslide territory for the Conservatives; through various indicators of public opinion the party’s lead at the time of the General Election being called appears to have eroded significantly. This is the product of a poor manifesto launch from the party, complimented by a campaign lacking passion and ideological coherence. Credit where its due – it is also the product of a better than expected campaign from Labour and Jeremy Corbyn.
However, the fundamentals and overall direction of travel still seem largely unchanged; there is a consensus among political commentators, that, at the very least, the Conservatives will be the largest party on 9th June. What now divides opinion is what we can expect the extent of the party’s performance to be in this regard.
Looking at things on a seat by seat basis, my hunch is that we are looking at the 2015 General Election result with a few handfuls of Conservative gains sprinkled on top. Could I be wrong? Yes. Could Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister? Of course. When will we know the result. 9th June.”
One thing is for certain in the run up to the 2017 General Election. No one cares to predict the precise outcome. The opinions of one of our resident lefties does nothing to dispel the uncertainty, and perhaps suggests Mrs. May’s position may be in question.
“The UKIP vote will hopefully completely collapse, the Tories will maintain their core vote as usual, the Lib Dems will pick up a few but Labour will not do nearly as badly as some have been predicting. Instead of focussing only on who will replace Jeremy Corbyn afterwards – we might now want to focus on who is going to replace Mrs May after her disastrous performance, with Brexit still to bite. It says something when she is too scared to even appear on Women’s Hour..”
Although anything but a Conservative majority would offer long odds, the political zeitgeist seems to suggest that anything is now possible. Could an ‘unelectable’ Jeremy Corbyn come up Trumps?