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The UK General Election

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, November 4th, 2019 - 10 comments
Categories: Austerity, Brexit, electoral systems, First Past the Post, MMP, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

On Thursday 12 December the UK will be going to the polls. The UK is supposed to have general elections every 5 years, December’s poll will be the UK’s 3rd general election in four and a half years.

It is risky to make predictions about what will happen in elections, and in the current climate particularly so. The UK is deeply divided on the issue of Brexit, but also on austerity and on the continued membership of Scotland and Northern Ireland of the United Kingdom. 

The polls suggest that the Conservative Party are ahead. Before the 2017 general election they put the Conservatives 20 points ahead of Labour, on election night the Conservatives lost their majority and Labour made significant electoral gains. On the eve of the Brexit referendum polls were showing remain would win, the polls were wrong. Even if we look at the 2015 and 2010 UK elections, the polls weren’t that reliable in picking the results. 

Globally we have seen trends of campaigns making a big difference. The 2017 NZ election saw Labour win an upset victory over the conservative National Government where Jacinda Ardern became Prime Minister. In 2015 Justin Trudeau’s Canadian Liberal party went from 3rd place in the polls at the start of the year to government a few months later, though in the recent election saw a sudden and significant decline in support for the Liberals in Canada. 

The 2019 election will be the first December election held in the UK for over 100 years. Generally it’s agreed its best not to hold elections in the middle of winter, the impact of this is as yet unknown. Also a general election after 2 years of Brexit paralysis will be an opportunity for an increasingly frustrated and angry public to punish those they deem responsible. 

Image result for uk general election

Of course one of the major factors in this election, like all elections to the House of Commons is the electoral system. Nearly a year ago I posted about electoral reform, and outlined why I don’t support the First Past the Post electoral system. Specifically First Past the Post often produces results that don’t reflect public opinion. For example in 2017 the Conservatives nationally won 42.4% of the vote, and have been supported in government by the Democratic Unionist Party who got 0.9% of the vote nationally and 36% of the vote in Northern Ireland. The full results can be seen here. So for the last 29 months the UK has been government by parties that over 56% voters didn’t support. The Make Votes Matter campaign are building support for Proportional Representation in the UK so that the nationally vote actually matter.

Despite the broken electoral system, and general cynicism about UK politics, it is important that all allegeable voters turn out to vote. If you live in the UK, you have till 26 November to enrol to vote in the coming General election. You can register to vote here.

I will be doing regular posts during the election, focussing on key issues and developments.

To support Momentum campaign for a Corbyn led Labour Government in the UK you can give your support here: https://momentum.nationbuilder.com/donate

10 comments on “The UK General Election ”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Good on you Nick, we need to see what is happening in UK. Seeing that our legal system, and thinking approach is closer to UK, it isn't helpful to be hypnotised by tweety-pie in the USA.

    You mention austerity being in people's minds. I know that there have been some bad 'welfare' reductions in the UK. Have people blamed these as being the fault of the EU?

  2. Ad 2

    This is UK Labour's introduction to itself:

    https://labour.org.uk/issues/

    "We have a vision for a country that works for the many, not just the privileged few. And we have a plan to make this vision a reality. Explore our policies and campaigns to find out where we stand on the most important issues."

    None of that is a relevant talking point leading to the next election in 6 weeks.

    Politics in the UK (and many other western democracies) is no longer about who gets what (which is always a matter of compromise), but about profound questions of identity (which it is not).

    Helen Clark was able to do that against Don Brash after his Orewa speech (though that was a mightily effective speech for the Nats). It can be successfully done by the left.

    Corbyn did great in the local elections this year, but at 16 points down the polls have run away from him.

    Unless he can frame Labour into British identity even more successfully than Boris and the Conservatives have, he will never get those millions of now-gone Brexit/Remain voters back.

    Corbyn needs to re-frame Labour around the identity of the UK. Unite the many as a nation.

    • Hanswurst 2.1

      None of that is a relevant talking point leading to the next election in 6 weeks.

      Politics in the UK (and many other western democracies) is no longer about who gets what (which is always a matter of compromise), but about profound questions of identity (which it is not) […].

      Unless he can frame Labour into British identity even more successfully than Boris and the Conservatives have, he will never get those millions of now-gone Brexit/Remain voters back.

      Do you have some links to support that, or is it just your reckons?

      • Dukeofurl 2.1.1

        yes. Its like the RWC commentary , so often the journalists and commentators project their own hopes/disappointments onto the teams both before and after games.

        The exit polls after the Brexit referendum are interesting as it said 30% of Lib Dem voters and 36% of SNP( just behind Labours number) supported the leave option. I can imagine those sort of numbers were highly regionalised too. ( this was based on 2015 election, not 2017 one)

        I can suppose that since leave was majority supported by the 45+ age group that a lot of the 20% gap in overall vote leave vote between labour and Tories was because of the different age profile of those parties supporters.

        As usual , the final result will be decided by those that make up their minds on the day of the election or just before.

  3. Dukeofurl 3

    "So for the last 29 months the UK has been government by parties that over 56% voters didn’t support. "

    I dont think there has been a government in the UK supported by a majority since 1931.

    And proportional voting ( the 'alternative voting lost a referendum in 2011 by 68% against, doesnt always deliver. The Greens in Australia got 10% of the primary vote, but under preferences only 1 seat in HR, as being 3rd mostly means your other choices go to other parties)

    an UK MMP style system would likely have regional constituencies ( which we dont) which will still lead to DUP and SF getting the lions share in Northern Ireland. Other regions of UK can be also be heavily lean to one or more parties. The Lib Dems are strong in only some regions as well.

    Scotlands MMP has led to SNP getting more seats than its vote share . [2011 45% of vote got 53% of seats]

  4. greywarshark 4

    Women are finding that the debate in the UK gets dirty when the attention is on them, and the discussions about matters of importance rarely pay attention to matters that women have a particular interest in.

    March 2018 https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/03/28/it-s-very-male-dominated-space-welcome-sexist-world-brexit-and-climate-science-denial

  5. Gosman 5

    Your Jacinda Ardern analogy is possibly apt if the UK Labour party ditches Corbyn for someone electable then it would improve their odds significantly.

  6. greywarshark 6

    I just glanced at Joe Bennett's book Mustn't Grumble about his English holiday.

    One despairs that such a race can ever come out on top. Joe advises about his accommodation after musing how he would like to instal, world-wide, a shower that is simple, quick and effective:

    But I doubt that even this would fix the shower in Mr Surly's guest house. When I turn it on in the morning it delivers cold water in pulses. Between pulses the showerhead droops. During pulses it swings around on its armature like an alien seeking prey. When the stream of water finally steadies itself the whole thing vibrates as if striving to wrench itself from the wall. It looks close to succeeding. Naked, I reach through the water to adjust the temperature control. I try it on the red end and the blue end. The water remains cold and I remain unshowered.

    This was written in 2006, and the 13 years since may have seen some change. Though 13 is supposed to be an unlucky number. This may be a telling analogy for why the UK are anxious to become something different. Perhaps they should put red shoes on, or should they be silver, click them together and wish to be anywhere else except 'here' and in Kansas.

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