The news this morning is that a Labour PPC has stood down from running after being accused of calling a fellow Labour councillor in the same area “Shylock”, his excuse being that he apparently had no idea that Shylock was Jewish. It’s not just the Tory campaign that is in meltdown then. Also nice to see stupidity trotted out as an excuse in any political situation. “Look, it wasn’t that I was being anti-semitic, it’s just that I was throwing around a literary reference without knowing almost any of its implications. I’m thick, not evil!” The incident brought home to me the mountain Labour have to climb in this election.
I get the tactical voting to stop Brexit thing, I do. I see the good intentions there, when they are there, and not just a means to get people to vote for whomever someone wants people to vote for. But there are a few things to consider that aren’t being discussed widely. One is that Labour aren’t going to win. I think it’s highly unlikely they will even be the largest party. I figure their range is 200 to 250 seats. I don’t think they will win many seats, but I don’t think they’ll lose a lot either; this idea that the Tories are going to take a whole bunch of Labour heartland seats, well, we heard that in 2017. In a sense, if you are a Remainer, worried about how to tactically vote correctly, this isn’t what concerns you – as long as the Tories don’t get a majority, then fine.
The only way this will happen is if the Lib Dems do reasonably all right. I have been saying to people recently that if I was only given the Lib Dem seat projection out of the exit poll, I could probably guess the rest of it fairly accurately. If the Lib Dems flop, I think that’s your Tory majority right there. There are two reasons for this. One, the Lib Dems are the X factor in the election. What’s changed so massively since 2017 is the return of the Lib Dems as a political force to be feared/hoped for. How that plays out will massively affect the election. Two, most of the Lib Dems seats, by a huge margin, are Tory facing. If the Lib Dems do well, in other words, they will take a lot of seats from the Tories. Yes, they are targeting a few in London that are Labour-held, and seats like Cambridge, but overwhelmingly the Lib Dems are targeting seats in the West Country and the Home Counties that are Tory-held. If the Lib Dems pick up a lot of them, it becomes difficult if not impossible for the Tories to win a majority.
A simpler way of putting it is this: there are two armies, Labour and the Conservatives, and they fought themselves to a stand still last time round. They may do so again, only Labour is significantly weaker this time out. The Lib Dems are like a guerrilla army attacking both, but mostly the Tories. If they are repelled easily, the Tories hold the advantage; if they make significant incursions, the Conservatives will be too weakened to win.
A hung parliament is much better for stopping Brexit anyhow. If the Tories get a majority, the Withdrawal Agreement goes through and we leave the EU in the next few weeks; if Labour wins, they will get a new deal, which will be the same deal with tweaks obviously, and then convince people to vote for it in a new referendum. And before you say it, of course they’ll campaign for their own deal; anything else is absurd. Only a hung parliament leaves Remain as a realistic option. How do you get a hung parliament? Vote Lib Dem.