I know we have still have three days until it’s all over, but I don’t see what’s going to change in that time that will give us any more clarity on what will happen. It is now in the hands of fate.
The polls over the weekend have the Tories going up a little and Labour either flatlining or decreasing slightly. The Lib Dem numbers are dire. The poll lead is around about ten for the Conservative party, and given the Lib Dems look like they will to struggle to get over the line in most of their target seats in the south while the Tories look to be steaming ahead in the Midlands and the north, and all as they look like managing to hold on in most of their Scottish seats, it looks a hell of a lot like a Tory majority. And if we were being honest, it looks like a Tory landslide is on.
What are the shreds of hope to cling to if you fear this result? Well, the big one is that it looked a lot like a Tory landslide last time and in the end they didn’t even get a majority. Yes, the polls gave us more to cling to in that respect last time. But who knows: one theory goes, Leave is overweighted in polling at present. Not by much, but even if it is overweighed a little across the country, this could swing enough seats to deprive the Tories of a majority. Yes, this is real straw clutching stuff, but that’s where we are.
The Labour vote could hold up in Tory/Lab marginals, as they did just enough last time, while the Lib Dems could do better locally than the polls suggest. Who knows, perhaps this is possible.
I have a confession to make, one which some of you will hate me for: some small, perverse part of me is hoping for a Tory majority. There have been many things about this election campaign that I have found exhausting, but most of it has come from what is my own side. The idea that the election was a mistake because we were going to get a People’s Vote instead is beyond muddled thinking and firmly into delusional territory. This would have required a government of national unity and thus someone to be leader of the Labour Party who was not Jeremy Corbyn. This is just basic politics. Even if everyone had gone for it, I don’t think Corbyn himself would have wanted to lead such a government anyhow. He has no desire to “unite the centre-left” – he wants to obliterate all other pretenders and be there waiting when the Tories screw up to the point that voters will be so desperate to get rid of them, they’ll even vote the Trots in. Of course, you have to wonder how much more badly the Tories could screw up in order to reduce the electorate to this state – if ever a party in government was subconsciously desperate to be put into opposition, it’s this version of the Conservative party – but this is a core Corbynista belief that was never going to be overcome.
The Lib Dems were handed a golden opportunity by the locals followed by the European election results. They became the de facto gathering ground for the new centrist, anti-Brexit surge. The problem is, they never really wanted this to happen and we’re completely ill-prepared for it. The best analogy I can come up with for what has happened to the Lib Dems this year is this: they were like an indie band who had flirted with success but never really made it. Almost a decade ago, they were given a shot at a major label release, which they blew by making a concept album that most people hated. After a few years, they were little more than a pub band. They were about to break up, but a few of the members had written a catchy pop song and wanted the band to record it as one last kick of the can. Somehow, it worked, becoming a massive hit, and the band were more popular than ever. In reaction to this, the band did not try and record more songs like the one they had a hit with, but went back to what you might call a “core sound” – which everyone hated and they slunk back to anonymity very quickly.
I am with those that want a hung parliament. It is our last shot of Remain before we enter what will be at least a decade of a strange experiment with attempting to be outside of the European Union that will almost certainly end very badly for all of those outside of the financial sector. I don’t like Boris Johnson. The Conservatives’ election campaign has been cynical in the extreme, essentially trying to say as little possible in the hopes that their foes self-destruct. But of course, they have been proven right: their electoral challengers have all blown themselves to pieces over the last six weeks, usually in ways that would have seemed scarcely possible back in October.
Labour deserve to lose this election. If they did, who knows, the party might finally see the Corbyn experiment for what it is: a horrible mistake, one that follows on from all of the horrible mistakes the party has made since it lost in 2010. How many elections does Labour have to lose before they realise “one last heave” hasn’t worked? I fear that if the Labour vote holds up enough for a hung parliament, or even a narrow Tory majority, the leadership will use it as a poor man’s version of 2017 – a slightly less glorious defeat. At least if they get mauled, the Corbynistas have few places to hide. They will try and blame the Lib Dem surge but if that fizzles out as much as the polls suggest, it won’t wash.
Given the Lib Dems seem not so much incapable as completely unwilling to move beyond messaging and campaigning that appeals beyond their core 7%, we are back to where we were: the country needs a functioning Labour Party capable of winning a general election again. It pains me to type that, but it’s almost certainly true. I mean, who knows, if Umunna, Berger, Wollaston, Philip Lee all manage to win their seats, the Lib Dems have a sliver of hope of transforming into something meaningful. Yet given how unlikely that is, we’re back to where we started.
I will be hoping for a miracle on Thursday evening at 10 PM. I don’t expect it to arrive.
Labour and Conservatives have successfully worked together to marginalise the Lib Dems (and other parties). In the one debate that the BBC included Jo Swinson, the BBC contrived to have an audience in which there was one self-identified Liberal Democrat. The BBC decision was that the audience should reflect the composition of the House of Commons.
Apart from this event, Corbyn and Johnson have refused anything that involved Lib Dem representation. This has worked. Labour campaigning has been better focused on attacking Jo Swinson than on attacking Johnson – I think this fits in with the narrative about Labour that you give.
Although I infer that you think the Libe Dems should have given a stronger centrist message, I fail to see anything in your writing that points to what might have worked better.
In retrospect, Vince Cable had already committed to stepping down, so the change of leadership was unavoidable, but in the event problematic. Jo Swinson needed much more time to establish herself. Lib Dems agreeing to an election can be portrayed as foolhardy, but with SNP having reason to back an early election, I doubt there really was a choice.
Your analogy does not work, the messaging has not retreated, but remain voters in most seats have seen that a Lib Dem is not placed to win, so will not vote Lib Dem.
If Brexit is enforced by the end of Jan, we may see polls do odd things. so far as Lib Dems are concerned, I see no reason why they should hold back, why the gloves should not be off, slating Labour’s Tory Brexit collaborators (including Corbyn of course), attacking Tory lies, while accusing the BBC of easing the path for Conservatives and Labour and thereby assisting Brexit by a failure to scrutinise.
Gerry McGarry says
Remain alliance says
Like you I am done my friend
But I suspect the corbyn brand is not finished
A near certainty tory majority and scorched earth thatcherite deregulation hard brexit will in my opinion lead to the break up of the uk
The empire strikes back second austerity will wipe out the economic prospects of the idiot working class who will give the conservatives their majority
Corbyn or McDonnell only need to stick around as brexit will be solely owned by the tories
The fickle leavers will quickly repent when the tories so called base are impoverished
Thank you nick
Hard times by Dickens
George Lee says
Lib Dems only have themselves to blame. I live in a once Lib Dem constituency that the party is focusing on to win back. Not a chance despite dally barrage of leaflets through the post.
For a start I still do not know the name of the candidate. All the messaging is from the party not from the candidate.
I don’t know the candidates name – I have seen it. I guess she could be Iranian but that is just a guess.
If you don’t have an English name you need to repeat it a million times – and show some photographs out and about canvassing.
None of it – just wistful stuff from Jo Swinson about a blissful future.
Consider this a rant.
David Evans says
It all depends where you think we started. We have allowed ourselves to become a niche liberal party once again, as we were in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. And Mark Pack’s core vote strategy is driving us ever further down that cul de sac.
We are on the cusp of being a party obsessed with sex, sexuality and a few other trendy Me too causes. The car crash that was Jo Swinson’s interview on Womens’ Hour re gender self determination showed how out of touch so many of our new activists are with the problems affecting most people, and how our leader is prepared to follow them into every bear trap possible. “How many transgender people are
there?” No idea.
I’m sorry, but it’s simply not good enough and hasn’t been for 10 years now