I’ve been involved in electioneering in #GreatBritain, actively and as an observer, since the #GeneralElection of 1979, when I was also a successful #BritishConservativeParty municipal candidate. And I have never seen a General Election as remarkable as the one just finished (#GE2017). Remarkable not just because so few expected it (except, sigh, for #YouGov). But because the results themselves are still so confusing.
First, the overall picture. Well, I should have stuck with my original April prediction, and the reasons for it, when I said that this might all backfire on #TheresaMay. I suspected then that the pollsters and pundits were overestimating May, underestimating the holding power of #Labour, and not factoring in the likelihood that #Tory #Remainers would, well, ‘remain’ at home.
That said, my June adjustments weren’t without merit. They just didn’t take account of certain things that really only became apparent on polling day itself.
Young people turned out in droves – good for Labour. The #LiberalDemocrats did a teeny-weeny bit better than my second prediction assumed – bad for Tories. Not all of the UKIP vote in the North of England went to the Tories. Some 30% went to Labour – bad for Tories. #ToryRemainers did stay at home, especially in London – good for Labour. All of which might have made for a better night for Labour, but for the unexpected success of the Tories in #Scotland.
Ok. That is the big picture. But it wasn’t as simple as that. Take these two stats for example. At 4 o’clock in the morning (UK time). Within minutes of each other. The Tories won #Mansfield in the North of England from Labour with an 18.5% swing. While #ReadingEast was won by Labour from the Tories with a 16.5% swing.
Never, not in almost 40 years of interest in British General Election campaigns, have I ever experienced results of such complete and utterly opposite trend. What did it mean?
I’ve been scratching my head. I think the answer is this. People were just bloody weary. Weary of politics. Weary of politicians. They treated the whole production as one big By-Election. And just decided to rebel against everyone and everything.
Labour pushed out #Conservative. Conservative pushed out Liberal Democrat. Liberal Democrat pushed out Labour. And everyone had a shot at the #SNP in Scotland.
People saw through Theresa May and #NicolaSturgeon’s manipulation, and gave them both a bloody nose. They saw authenticity in #JeremyCorbyn and #RuthDavidson, and again, rewarded them both. Plus. The great British public decided they wanted to take it a bit easier on the #Brexit negotiations.
Where does this leave us? Well. I could go into a long ‘constitutional’ chit-chat. But, I’ll spare you. Here’s my very brief prediction of a timeline. May becomes #PrimeMinister. Supported by the #DUP. Eventually, there will be a vote of no confidence (may even come from her own side). #BoJo will be given a shot. He will fail. Corbyn will take his chance. He’ll let everyone see a juicy Labour Queen’s Speech. He’ll wave from No. 10 a few times. Suffer indignities at the hands of the Tories. He’ll wring his hands. Grimace. Shake his head. Shrug. Go back to the country. And get an enhanced mandate.
Why doesn't May just do the decent thing, and resign? Because she's a self-centered, selfish, stubborn pig. She didn't call this General Election for the good of the country, or for the good of her party. She called it to enhance her own personal position. Period. She knows she can't call a second General Election herself. She would be excoriated by the voting public. She knows her party grandees want rid of her. So, she's doing the only thing she can - for herself. Hanging on grimly.
Right. That’s really all I have to add to my #BBCExitPoll post of last evening. Save for a final personal note.
#NickClegg lost his seat last night. And I’m sorry. Theresa May made great play of the fact, when she took over as Leader of the Conservative Party and #BritishPrimeMinister, that she was putting the #Cameron legacy firmly in the past.
That legacy, at least in government, and to a very large extent, was the #CoalitionGovernment of 2010-2015. Which I believe, speaking as a wettish Tory, was one of the best experiments in governance I have witnessed in Great Britain. Not least because the charm, intelligence and patience of Nick Clegg brought out the better instincts of #DavidCameron.
I will miss Nick Clegg. So will the #UKParliament. And the people of Great Britain owe him a huge debt of gratitude. He was, in every sense of the expression, a selfless statesman.
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