Despite the Conservative party getting their election campaign off to what has by consensus been a rocky start, they are still around 10-12 points ahead of their nearest competitor, the Labour Party, in the polls. Some people are confused as to how this can be – and what can be done by opposition parties to bring the Tory lead down. Thankfully, I believe there are easy answers to these queries.
For a start, Labour cannot win this election and further, I find it very difficult to imagine a way to them even being the largest party. I don’t think they will do as badly as some Tories are fantasising about – I don’t think they’ll fall below 200 seats – but I think they are on course to do not very well at all. Perhaps Labour squeezes their possible vote as much as possible, but when one looks at some of the regional polling it is truly abysmal for Labour. They can try and squeeze the Lib Dem vote further, which they will do for two reasons: one, it is their quickest way to at least hanging onto some of their seats in this election and two, the Lib Dems doing badly in this GE is of paramount importance to the Labour leadership. If the Tories win, it’s not the end of the world; what is the end of the world for them is if the Lib Dems do well. If the likes of Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna retain seats in the House of Commons, despite leaving Labour. This will validate their decision to do so and will leave Labour open to more defections to the Lib Dems that could become a flood.
Given where Labour are, the election, as I have said many times already, hinges on how well the Lib Dems can do in southern England in Lib-Tory marginals. If they take 50 off of the Tories, I don’t see Johnson’s route to a majority; if they take 20, it will be close; if they take none, the Tories will win the election.
Boris Johnson’s plan for this election is to make it all about Brexit without his deal coming under any real scrutiny. He wants to present himself as the only party leader who can end uncertainty on Brexit and move the country on. He knows that the deal is weak and susceptible to massive attack.
The only party currently attacking the deal is the Brexit party. This is ineffective because one, Remainers don’t listen to the Brexit party for obvious reasons and two, by Farage deciding not to stand, the Brexit party have negated themselves as an electoral force at least capable of shifting results in several seats. They are slipping in the polls and without some magical intervention, will continue to slip.
Labour doesn’t want to attack the deal in any detail because they want to make the election about anything other than Brexit. The Lib Dems aren’t attacking the deal because…..answers on a postcard, please.
The whole election hinges on whether or not Boris can convince enough people in about 100, 150 key seats that if they vote for him, Brexit will “get done”. The Lib Dems need to convince people that this isn’t a wise use of their vote mainly because Boris won’t get Brexit done at all, and his deal simply opens us up to either a no deal Brexit in the near future or for the Brexit negotiations going on forever and ever. Perhaps the Lib Dems are getting this message out at local level effectively. Maybe enough Lib-Tory waverers will take the plunge and vote Lib Dem no matter how little the campaign does to convince them to do so. Maybe. Maybe not.
The Tories are so far ahead in the polls because we are having an election on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and he is being allowed to skim by because no opposition parties seem willing to directly attack his deal, apart from BXP who have made themselves not matter. Until his deal comes under fire, the Tories will probably remain comfortably ahead in the polls; if he makes it all the way to polling day like this, he probably gets himself a decent majority.