The polls have settled into one of their periodic lulls. They consistently come back with Labour and the Tories pretty much neck in neck, both of them in the very early 40s. Some of them have the Tories a point or two ahead, some of them have Labour just ahead. UKIP are still dead and buried and the Lib Dem poll numbers refuse to budge at all from around 7%.
I don’t think there will be an election in 2018. Or 2019, for that matter, but that’s a long way to be looking ahead. However, I can’t rule it out. So, let’s say we go into a general election sometime over the next eighteen months with the poll numbers being roughly what they are now. To make this easy, let us also say that they are correct and that they fail to move very much during the election campaign. Labour are within less than 1% of 13 Tory held seats post-2017. Let’s say that Labour takes all these seats off of the Tories as well as a handful from the SNP to end up with 280. Let us also say the Tories gain no seats and end up around 300 (as in, no way to repeat a Tory-DUP government). Let’s give the SNP 30 and the Lib Dems their current dozen. I want to stress, I do not think any of this will actually happen; I’m doing this to get to the next bit.
Labour could theoretically form a government with the SNP and the Lib Dems, if Plaid played along. It would have a working majority of less than 10, but it would have a majority nonetheless. How stable would such a government be?
I would say, not very. For a start, you would have the vast majority of the MPs across the whole thing who didn’t believe in Corbyn from the get go. How that would play out would depend on where Brexit was at the time, of course. If it could be still be stopped, this would almost certainly be the price Corbyn would have to pay to get both the SNP and the Lib Dems on board, both of whom he would need. Would Corbyn bite this bullet? Many pro-Remain Labour assume this would be the case, but I’m not so sure.
Corbyn has enough problems keeping his own party together as is. The SNP would simultaneously push him both to the left and to the right in various policy areas, all the while trying to do what they are always trying to do: destroy Scottish Labour once and for all.
No, I don’t think it would really work, this rainbow coalition. Of course, again, I don’t think it will ever happen anyhow. For while Labour are less than 1% away from winning 13 Tory-held seats, the Tories are less than 1% from winning 15 Labour-held seats. That would give the Tories back Cameron’s majority. Again, all very much depends on where Brexit is at whenever this election is called, but I know which of those two scenarios I think is more likely at present.
John Chandler says
The LibDems naively put country before party in 2010, and got stung badly. I really cannot see the LibDems going into coalition for a long time, indeed it’s been made very clear that a coalition with Corbyn or the Conservatives are both off the table. Besides, Labour see themselves as the only righteous anti-Tory party and would rather see the LDs, Greens, and SNP disappear.
For Labour to co-operate with the SNP means co-operating with a party the achievement of whose main goal would mean, on current trends, that Labour would never form a government, majority or minority, in the UK-minus-Scotland ever again.
They’d be crazy to do it.