I was going to do this article about the election result scenarios for all of the relatively major parties in the UK, but then realised I was falling into the “BBC leaders debates” trap of having to focus on about eight of them at least. So I thought, let’s stick to the big two; that more than enough.
The Tories, as you already know and I myself have written about, are in a triumphant mood. They figure the advent of the Corbyn era means that not only is 2020 a shoo-in for them returning to government, that election may see the death of the Labour Party. But like everything in politics, this has up and downsides to it: the expectations have now been cranked unbelievably high for whomever enters 2020 as Conservative leader. Anything less than a resounding 150+ seat majority begins to feel like failure. But only a bit: it’s hard for a party to breath down your neck when you’ve just increased your party’s majority having already been in government for ten years. So unless there’s some sort of miracle and the Tories do not increase their majority from the razor thin one they have now to a comfy one, expectations will be said to have been reasonably met.
For Labour, there is, obviously, more of a problem. What does a successful 2020 general election look like for Labour from here? Many obituaries have been written for the party already, and we’re not even a month into Corbyn’s reign. I think success for Labour essentially entails doing no worse than 1983. So they lose no more than 30 seats net, essentially. Which may actually be doable – while it is weakening, Labour’s core vote is still stronger than most pundits credit it with. Staying still or even a net gain of seats would be a wild success from the perspective of 2015.
The reason this 200-odd seat scenario would equal success is that, whatever anyone in the press said, it would definitively mean that the Labour Party was not on its legs. Labour can come back from 200 seats, in other words. It means the core is still reasonably strong.
Sub-200 though, starts to look tricky. The point is that Labour can’t do so badly in 2020 there’s no way back. I vacillate on what I expect to happen here: part of me thinks, Labour won’t do worse than 200. They always do slightly better than expected. Until I think of 2015 and remember that, yes, Labour did quite a lot worse in that election than I had anticipated beforehand. So who knows.
Either way, a Tory government for the next ten years at least. Unless something really odd happens and parties start to fracture left, right and centre. But history tells us that is fairly unlikely.