Last night’s release of the MRP poll from YouGov gave us our first concrete sense of where the voters are at the moment. Not just a poll but a country-wide prediction of seats. It put the Tories on 359, Labour on 211, SNP 43, and the poor Lib Dems on 13, technically seven down on where they came into the election. This MRP poll is being taken very seriously by pundits because when they it did at the same point during the last election, they made a prediction that was remarkably close to what we ended up with.
Yes, it’s simply a snapshot of where the country is right now. There are two weeks left in the election campaign and a lot can happen between now and then. But it is worth considering where we are. There are two realistic scenarios facing the Labour Party. Either the Tories are going to win a majority, meaning Labour have lost four elections on the trot, to a Conservative party that has cut public services, brought about the Brexit crisis and now installed as leader a man most noted for having terrible hair, sleeping with any woman who will let him and being economical with the truth to an astounding degree. Or there will be a hung parliament, one in which their hated enemies the Lib Dems and the SNP will try and force their extraordinarily unpopular leader out the door so that some sort of anti-Tory rainbow coalition can be attempted. All this comes after nine and a half years of a Tory occupying Number 10 and the Conservatives being widely disliked across large parts of the UK.
It is obvious why this is about to happen as well. When the 2015 general election came and went, I wrote an article on this site entitled “The Left has just waster five years. I hope it doesn’t waste the next five” (you can read it here: https://nicktyrone.com/the-left-has-just-wasted-five-years-i-hope-it-doesnt-waste-the-next-five/). I am depressed about how spot on I read the situation. If anything, it has been worse than I predicted in 2015.
Having wasted five years under Ed Miliband, assuming victory was all but assured at the next general election, Labour then picked Jeremy Corbyn, a serial backbencher who was a noted Eurosceptic Marxist, to be leader. Then, there was a snap election in 2017, one in which Labour lost for the third time in a row. This was chalked up as a victory, simply because they were expected to be destroyed and only lost really badly. It will be interesting to see how the 2019 loss will be spun, but the Left will spin it in some way that suits them. Probably blame the Lib Dems.
If the Tories win and the Lib Dems do badly, both of which look likely, Corbyn will try and stay on to guide Rebecca Long-Bailey into the leadership. Looking at what has happened within the Labour Party over the last five years, he is likely to succeed in achieving this. No threat to leave the Labour Party and join the Lib Dems will be plausible after all of those who defected lost their seats. This instantly makes the Tories heavy favourites to win the next general election, which after the repeal of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, they can call at any time.
Would losing a fifth election in a row do it for Labour? Would they finally figure out that they need to come up with leader and a plan that could help them win the seats they need for a majority? My bet is that no, they would not. They would keep going down the road they picked in 2010, one that has led them to nothing but loss and misery.
I could name this article “The Left have just wasted ten years. It looks likely they will waste another ten”. But I’ll leave it there.
Depends what you mean by ‘waste’. If the plan is to keep losing elections in order to prove that democracy by its very nature cannot bring about the Socialist Utopia, and that therefore general insurrection is necessary to destroy the capitalist system once and for all, then they’re doing splendidly.
Remember comrade: the worse, the better!
Alex Macfie says
YouGov’s hung Parliament prediction in 2017 was what its model was saying *immediately before* the election, not 2 weeks before. It’s an evolving model, in which estimates change as a result of different voting intention data received over time.
Also the model is based mainly on demographic factors, and tends to assume that the same type of voter will tend to vote similarly regardless of where they live .So it is not so useful for predicting constituency-level factors, in particular tactical voting (they admit that the constituency level sample is too small for accurate measurement).