Firstly, before I get into this blog entry, it is just my opinion and my feelings looking at the results and my feelings on the campaign. So this isn’t an entry stating facts or claiming to be unbiased. This probably will be biased, but I will endeavor to be as fair as possible.
Well once again the polls in the lead up to the election were wrong. I truly hope this starts a detailed look into opinion polls as they have been proven wrong in the 2017 UK General Election, the United States Presidential election, the BREXIT referendum and the 2015 General Election. I think it is safe to say that opinion polls need to be scrapped or totally overhauled.
This election has been a disaster for May who was hoping to increase her majority in Parliament. Instead she has lost seats and at the time I am writing this article, is looking to form a coalition or an unofficial coalition with the DUP. Corbyn has exceeded all expectations and confounded the media. The SNP have been the biggest losers. They have lost many seats and the apparent drive for Independence referendum as their main policy has spectacularly back-fired. What is most shocking about Scotland is the gains of the Conservatives in an area that no one expected them to have success.
Why the Conservatives snap election back fired.
There are numerous reason why it has back fired so I will cover the main reasons I felt it did. Firstly, there was no appetite for an election. This is the third election or referendum in two years. Also following her consistent statements confirming there would not be an election she then completed a “u-turn” and called one. Despite viewing myself as centre to centre right supporter after the results, I still feel she has done the right thing even though she has risked and nearly lost the election to the socialist and hardline left of Corbyn.
The no-show in head to head to debates also was widely criticised and to young voters who were so crucial in this election, it did not go down well. From watching PMQ’s weekly her decision not to debate Corbyn was baffling considering that during PMQ’s she came across comfortable and could deflect and defend Corbyn’s criticism of her comfortably.
Finally, another key reason for the Conservatives lost majority (despite them still winning most votes and seats) was the lack of clear policy and the robotic PR press bytes. Whether it was over confidence or wanting to keep her cards close to her chest for BREXIT, they did not discuss their policy which allowed the more pro EU partys to go on the attack and exploit the lack of information provided by the Conservatives. Equally some of their policy’s, although I admire the guts to announce them, were incredibly misjudged and required quick u-turns as it impacted their strong hold in the older generations. Any political party should do what is right for the country. However, whether people like it or not political parties tailor their manifesto based on their supporters views and compromise their ideology. The Conservatives made a basic error in their manifesto and paid the price.
The rise of Corbyn
Now this will be controversial but I am going to say it anyway, Corbyn’s success reminds me of Trump’s, Sanders or Macron. Much like Donald Trump, the media, political establishment and to some extent “lobbyists” did not want them to win.
What they have in common is that they framed themselves as anti establishment and not part of the political elite. I will go into more details about this later. Furthermore, what the Labour party did so well was canvassing their target audience and included in their manifesto what young people wanted to hear. Whether it was possible or not is another question (I have major doubts), but when you are the opposition in an age of anti establishment it was a heavy draw for young people. Furthermore, having a generation that has only experienced centralist governments means there is a significant proportion of the electorate that have never experienced a socialist/hardline left government.
Also they were able to gloss over and persuade people to ignore organisations such as the IFS which confirmed that the manifesto and estimates of not only Labour but also Tory’s did not add up financially. Labour were able to brush off this potentially awful assessment of their manifesto whilst the Conservatives were not to do so.
The final reason is linked to the first reason for their success. Their campaign as well as targeting a key audience for them also mobilised and drew out the passion in the general public to get votes for them. The Conservatives on the other hand was extremely poor and negative.
Who is the actual winner
The media and Labour supporters are framing this a Labour victory. From my perspective I view it more as a Conservative loss than a Labour win. We cannot forget that Conservatives comfortably have more seats than Labour and Jeremy Corbyn is not close to having a Labour majority government, no matter how people look at it.
With the apparent unofficial coalition with the DUP we are still likely to see a Conservative government for the next 5 years. This means we are highly unlikely to see any major change to policy. Have the Conservatives got what they wanted from the election, absolutely not, but neither has Jeremy Corbyn or the left. Labour can be happy that they are starting to turn the tide in their favour but we cannot gloss over the fact they still have a long way to go before we see a Labour and a government firmly on the left.
The Rise of Cult of Personality such as Trump, Corbyn and Sanders
The success based on the strategy of cult of personality is proving successful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, since the financial crisis, the establishment have protected their interests and become complacent. The members of the public who are not part of the establishment are wanting change. In the case of Trump he managed to gain votes from areas of America (the rust belt) that has always been democrat and was no go areas for Republicans. His anti establishment push was a calculated gamble that although meant alienating many Republicans allowed him to tap into the feeling of anti establishment that was so prevelant. This was the same for Bernie Sanders when he competed against Clinton. Equally much like Theresa May, Hilary Clinton ran an incredibly poor campaign and no matter what they said, came across as the establishment looking after themselves which was shown to be incredibly toxic.
What is clear is that currently, if you are associated with the establishment, the general public view you as damaged goods. Ironically Jeremy Corbyn is part of the establishment. He is a career politician and although stuck to his principles has shown the calculating compromises and questionable loyalty and distorting of the truth that is a major trait of the establishment. However, he and his team have brilliantly managed to gloss over these traits and evidence of his misleading of the general public (for example his proven lies about Richard Branson and Virgin Trains).
Looking forward I cannot see Theresa May staying in charge for the full term. She is too damaged to remain as PM long-term. However, like many people I am sick of elections so I hope that she does not leave in the next couple months as from a BREXIT perspective the uncertainty in the market place of another election in the midst of that process would be an unimaginable disaster where no matter who wins the election the whole nation will lose out.
For Jeremy Corbyn it looks like his leadership is safe for now. What will be interesting and the real challenge is if the Tory’s smarten up their campaigning and have a new leader such as Boris Johnston. Someone like Boris appeals to the UKIP voters and anti-establishment vote due to saying what he think no matter how shocking, whether the Labour support and youth vote can be maintained in the next 5 years is also incredibly important.
For me personally, I cannot see a time I would vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I like some of his policy’s but I have too many doubts about his character (rightly or wrongly) and feel he is too married to his ideology even if it doesn’t work in the real world. However, a main area that puts me off voting for him is some of his support. I love a good debate with people with different political opinions, however, too often his supporters rather than accepting my opinions or his critics opinions based on our knowledge are put down as stupid, part of the machine and other insults which are just untrue. Furthermore, some of his supports act with moral superiority complex which for me is not the case 100% of the time and they do not see fault in anything he does or say which for me is incredibly dangerous. Until that passionate support can actually engage in a debate, where we might have to agree to disagree but does not descend into insults and acting like you are better than the other person then I don’t see a time I could vote for him. I will be the first to admit that at times I am as guilty as his supporters. However, where I will apologise and explain why I feel that way, or why I said what I said, I have never experienced that from his supporters who instead from my experience continue their attacks.
I truly hope this changes but based on the division in this nation and reactions that I experienced from people hoping my family members became disabled or needing the health service to promoting the idea of banning certain sections of the population from elections after the BREXIT referendum, I feel these divisions will only get worse to the detriment of everyone in the nation. Furthermore, I would like to add that both sides are guilty. i can only speak to what I have experienced from the Labour support. But I have no doubt if you are a Corbyn fan you have suffered as well.
The result means that whoever remains in charge will be held accountable and will not be able to force through changes due to the tiny majority/coalition.
This means politicians are going to have to fight and compromise to do the right thing which is always a good thing for the country. However, from my perspective what concerns me is whether Labour or the left will try to obstruct the BREXIT process even if it is to the detriment of the country. I truly hope that all party’s and supporters work together to move this country forward and do what is in EVERYONES best interest.
This election has been a massive success for Labour and very embarrassing for the Conservatives. But we are now in totally unchartered waters which means that we a situation where no-one can predict what will happen. I hope that as a nation we can return to a centre ground as the divisions between left and right are spreading. This is leading to a more divided and tense nation at a point we need to work together no matter our political opinion to improve the lives of everyone.
Finally, I would like to congratulate supporters of all party’s. Democracy was at it’s best yesterday and no matter you allegiances I hope that we as a nation can move forward and leave the sad and divisive campaigning in the past.