Thursday 8 June 2017

Election night thoughts

With just over an hour before the polls close I thought now would be a good time to review the election campaign and make my predictions for tonight's result.

Thinking back to 7 weeks ago when Teresa May I imagined that this would be the most boring and predictable General Election campaign that I'd ever witnessed. It's turned out to be far more interesting than anyone could have imagined. This is because it hasn't gone to script.

Teresa May was the 'strong and stable' leader who would lead the Conservatives to a crushing landslide victory over Jeremy Corbyn's party. The electorate would deliver a damning verdict on Labour's 'Hard Left' manifesto!

I have to admit, this is what I thought so I've been proved wrong along with many others but this election has revealed a number of things:

1. Teresa May isn't very good on the campaign trail. It's no wonder we saw so little of her during the EU referendum campaign.

2. The Conservatives have led a poor campaign. It hasn't been particularly inspiring. Teresa May has been evasive with the public and the media and that's before we even mention the 'dementia tax

3. Jeremy Corbyn has had a really good campaign. He looks like he's enjoyed it. He looks comfortable and has grown into the role of Labour leader. I have to admit I've found it unexpected.

4. Two party politics is back in fashion. After 2015 it seemed that the old two party politics were over. Although the Lib Dems suffered a humiliating loss of seats, the likes of UKIP and Greens gained a much larger share of votes and in Scotland, the SNP became the dominant party.

Things look very different now. The expected Lib Dem revival hasn't taken place and following Brexit, UKIP have become an irrelevance. The Green Party seem to be suffering now that the radical left option has been filled by Jeremy Corbyn. It seems only the SNP will remain in a strong position following tonight's result.

5. Terrorism and security have become significant issues. The campaign has sadly been overshadowed by the awful events in Manchester and London Bridge but it's raised awkward questions for both Corbyn and May. Firstly due to his previous support for the IRA and voting record in anti terror legislation and for May her record as Home Secretary.

6. Brexit has been surprisingly absent from the election debate

It's this point which has stood out as on a personal level as it's the most important issue for me.

This morning I decided to vote for the Liberal Democrates and my vote for them was based purely on the issue of Brexit. I voted Remain in last year's referendum and although I accept the result and don't want a re-run I certainly don't want a 'hard brexit' and want continued access to Single Market.

Of course there are other issues, like the the NHS, and public services, immigration and social care but for me, everything begins with Brexit. The direction which the country will take and how it deals with the issues mentioned will influenced directly by Brexit.

The Lib Dems won't win in my safe Tory constituency but I feel comfortable voting Lib Dem knowing that my vote is making my feelings known on the issue of Brexit.

Both Labour and the Conservative have had almost nothing to say on the issue which I find both ridiculous but unsurprising in equal measures. Teresa May seem determined to continue down the road of a hard Brexit and Labour seem to have little interest in the topic but then that was the case during the referendum.

It seems clear the Conservatives are going to win tonight probably with a majority of between 50 - 75 seats. It will not be a great victory for the Tory Party or Teresa May. Due to her performance she is very much a diminished figure and politician.

Jeremy Corbyn has exceeded all expectations but then those expectations were low to begin with. Corbyn has energised his base but I don't think it will translate into more seats, He will simply win more votes in already safe Labour seats.

I've written extensively about Jeremy Corbyn since he became leader of the Labour Party. If you've read any of my previous posts it will come as no surprise to know that I think he would be an mitigating disaster for this country.

This election is not a great election for somebody like me. I firmly believe that Brexit has and will damage this country; both Corbyn and Teresa May will simply damage the country in different ways. If I had to say who would be worse Teresa May and the Tories will be the lesser of the two evils.

I never thought I'd ever say that.

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