Two days ago the United Kingdom voted in a snap general election with unexpected results. The Conservatives won with 317 seat in the houses of parliament, but 9 short of a majority. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thinks that with 262 seats Labour have won. Yes they gained seats but still fell way short of a victory so have no real reason to celebrate. Crazy isn’t it?
What was expected when the election was first called was that the Conservatives would widen their majority over Labour considerably, they would have been far better off and retained their majority if they had not called the election. The reason the election was called was to gain seats for the Tories and give Theresa May a stronger mandate for the soon to be started Brexit talks. I guess that due to the lost seats the prime minister has a weakened mandate for the Brexit talks, but the one bit of good news is that the SNP lost 20 seats to the Tories mainly.
What went wrong for the Conservatives?
In my opinion it was an uninspiring election campaign with an uninspiring manifesto, complacency perhaps. They should have offered more of what people want but not pie in the sky. I don’t think that the election should have been called, not when we had the Brexit referendum last year, a general election the year before and so soon after council elections. People get fed up with elections and politicians they want stability.
The campaigning on behalf of the Tories seemed low key in comparison to Labour. Theresa May was widely criticized because she refused to join a television debate where there was a leader or representative of each party. Jeremy Corbyn also refused but got Brownie points because he changed his mind on the day of the debate. The not very popular Amber Rudd represented the Tories and the audience seemed very biased towards Labour.
The election was supposed to be about Brexit but I think that a big mistake was made in not putting the popular Brexit campaigners like Boris Johnson, David Davies and Andrea Leadsom in the spotlight more. Although Theresa May appeared on the same programme as Jeremy Corbyn for a debate, they didn’t appear together. I think that as with question time in parliament May would have walked all over Corbyn and shown him up for what he is.
What went right for the Labour party?
The Labour party manifesto couldn’t have been much bettered for promising everybody but the wealthy and business owners what they wanted, but in my opinion was unachievable, would harm the economy and raise everybody’s taxes. A lot of people bought into the promises and especially young people who had a higher than usual turnout to vote.
Jeremy Corbyn seemed to have a personality makeover when he appeared on tv, more affable and less short tempered when asked questions that he didn’t like. I think that a lot of his supporters believed – or wanted to believe – that he wasn’t friendly with terrorists when there is clear evidence that he was.
Corbyn unethically took advantage of the aftermath of the Manchester and London terrorist attacks by first of all campaigning at a time when all of the party leaders had agreed to hold off on campaigning out of respect from the dead. Then blaming Theresa May for cutting the police force by 20,000 when she was home secretary – a lot bought into that when the police cuts had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks. The police turned out bravely and shot the 3 London terrorists within 8 minutes. The speed and efficiency shown by those police officers saved lives should be commended and not sullied by Corbyn’s words.
The Labour party reached young voters through social media and especially Facebook. I saw a series of adverts and shares from Labour supporters, one was totally unethical and scaremongering asking if you had bought medical insurance because the Tories were going to privatise the NHS. All in all the Labour party campaign was much better organised than the Tories despite the lack of ethics shown at times.
What happens next?
As we now have a hung parliament no party has a clear majority so need a coalition or alliance with another or other parties to get policies passed through parliament. It was announced yesterday that the dubious Ulster Democratic Party will be forming an alliance with the Tories. Not much better than the Labour party forming a coalition with the SNP and Lib Dems. Already an online petition has gained 300,000 signatures of those opposed to the idea.
There have been calls for Theresa May to resign, but if she resigns now it would harm the Brexit negotiations. Her party seem to have lost faith in her leadership but I don’t see a clear candidate strong enough to be party leader and prime minister except perhaps for the leader of the Scottish Tories Ruth Davidson. There is talk of another general election later in the year, please noooooooo.
Certain Labour supporters threatened riots and strikes if Labour didn’t win. On the day of the election some of those supporters were gleefully bragging about buying up Tory supporting newspapers to stop voters from reading anything that didn’t support their party. Neither of those bully boy tactics have a place in a civilised society.
I just hope that the Brexit negotiations with the EU can go ahead calmly and without interference from the most outspoken remainers, that’s the only way to get a good deal.