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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Considering the Election Results (and my Predictions).

Well, the dust has settled. All but one of the constituencies have returned their result and it’s clear that we have a Hung Parliament where no one party has a majority. Teresa May has been to see the Queen and has been ‘invited’ to put her Government together being the leader of the biggest single party and the one who garnered the most votes on the day. We’ve had Minority Governments before now so that’s not particularly unusual. What is different, of course, is that we are at the start of a long and difficult Brexit negotiation and that the whole point of this ‘snap’ election was to strengthen the Prime Ministers hand. Of course it has backfired spectacularly and has actually weakened her position – probably fatally – and that of the governing Tories. Teresa May won’t go today or next week but I doubt it she’ll be PM or leader of the Conservatives by Christmas. Not with last night’s results hanging around like a bad smell. But if I’m making that prediction how did I do with my election predictions back in April?

Prediction: I think that it’s highly likely (75% plus) that the Conservatives will win.

OK, I was wrong. But so was just about everyone else up to a few days before the vote. The late predictions of a Hung Parliament where being dismissed right up to the point when it became obvious that the Tories couldn’t win. Interesting the (much initially disputed) exit polls from the BBC/ITV/Sky News teams proved to be almost – impressively – spot on.

Prediction:  The Labour Party is still in far too much of a mess and will probably quickly descend into in-fighting during the next 6-7 weeks of campaigning. Their prospect of winning is slim especially when they’re so far behind in the polls.

Wrong again. Not only did the Labour Party not descend into in-fighting it pulled multiple rabbits out of hats (including one constituency that had been Conservative since 1918). Although they didn’t win a majority they gain seats from across the UK and the result cemented Corbyn into his position as leader.

Prediction: The SNP safely in Scotland can only take a single seat from the Conservatives and will probably move Heaven and Earth to make that happen.

Wrong AGAIN. The SNP in Scotland were far from safe and ended up losing seats to the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems. In fact if it wasn’t for Conservative gains in Scotland Teresa May’s prospects would be looking MUCH grimmer today.

Prediction: I doubt if UKIP will gain any seats (or if they do it’ll be a maximum of 1 or 2 and anything they take will probably be from the Tories rather than anyone else.

UKIP actually did very badly on the night losing their only MP and also losing yet another leader after he failed to gain the seat he was standing for (which incidentally had the highest Leave vote in the Referendum). If he couldn’t win there where could he win? Generally the UKIP vote dropped between 10-15% right across the country.

Prediction: how well will the Conservatives do? I’m betting not nearly as much as they want or need. I’m guessing that their present majority of 17 will increase to somewhere between 25-50.

Dead WRONG. After losing 12 seats and with Labour gaining 29 (so far) the Conservative majority of 17 has been reduced to a deficit of 8. This means that they will be relying on the Northern Irish DUP party to provide them with the 10 seats to get them across the threshold of a majority government. How long this will last or if it will even work is anyone’s guess. I think it will work for a while but am guessing that existing (and now exacerbated) divisions in the Tory party will tear them apart.

Prediction: What about Labour? I don’t think they’ll do as badly as some people think. They still have quite a lot of core believers out there and Corbyn is still very popular at the grass roots level. The upcoming election will hurt them but I doubt if they’ll lose more than 30 seats, 40 tops.

Dead wrong AGAIN. Labour lost a few seats here and there but, to everyone’s evident surprise, picked up an additional 29 (so far) including a few that no one would have predicted even a few days ago. Presently there is a THIRD recount going on in KENSINGTON which means that it’s really, really close there which is itself bloody amazing. No one would have predicted that Kensington would be under any kind of threat. Labour confounded all expectations and the cause of that was probably mostly down to Jeremy Corbyn who has a massive grass roots (mostly young) following.

Prediction: The Lib Dems have an opportunity here and will probably take it as the only Party to actively oppose Brexit. From their meagre 9 seats, and despite a lot of mistrust and, to be honest, downright disgust at their previous behaviour (including from yours truly) I’m estimating that when the dust is settled they’ll have at least 15 and if they’re lucky maybe 20 MP’s in the new Parliament.

Despite the totally delicious experience of seeing Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems previous leader who cozied up to the Conservatives in the last coalition government lose his seat last night the Liberals did rather well with a total of 12 seats (a gain of 4). So I wasn’t that far off here.

Prediction: I think the SNP might lose a seat or two (possibly) but I think they might be able to make a clean sweep and be the only political party in Scotland.

Wrong again. The SNP lost 21 seats last night much to my surprise (and others) with very large swings towards either the Conservatives or Labour. Despite still being the largest party (by far) north of the border I think that the proposed second Independence vote will probably be off the cards for a while but might become unnecessary with the knock on effect of the results on the beginning of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

So overall my predictions were almost all completely wrong. Luckily I didn’t place any bets so my only ‘loss’ was a bit of face. The result (from hearing the reactions of people last night) caught most people by surprise. It’s one of the great aspects of an established democracy that things like this can happen and political climates can change literally overnight. It’s certain now that, no matter what else happens, we won’t be getting an anticipated Hard Brexit. So that’s a good thing. How else it will affect the details of the negotiations I won’t even speculate. It’s certain that May (or whoever will be PM in the next few months) will need to take much more notice of the Remain MPs on both sides of the House (but most especially in her own party) as well as the Remain voters who seem to have given the Tories a well-earned kicking. With things as they are, indeed the exact opposite of what the PM wanted and needed, it’s entirely possible that we’ll need yet another election to get things decided one way or another. It’s highly unlikely that it will happen this year but it might have to happen next year or 2019 at the latest – probably several months before the Brexit deadline. But I’ll stop predicting things now. I obviously don’t have the talent for it.  


VV said...

I wish you all luck with Brexit. I've been reading up on the results today trying to understand your government.

CyberKitten said...

Oh, a LOT of people are trying to understand our electoral system and the way the Government functions. [grin]

I might be able to answer some simple questions you have - probably.

Brian Joseph said...

A lot of people have predicted things incorrectly lately. You are in good company :)

I am currently reading Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope. A lot of the book involves Parliamentary Elections in the 1870s.

I am far from knowledgeable about the British Government or The Electoral Process. On the surface what is going on in this book seems not so different from what is going on now.

Mudpuddle said...

politics, being how people operate en masse, has been largely the same for centuries, imo... the details are interesting, tho... tx for the report and summation: i see the attraction of following how it goes...

CyberKitten said...

@ Brian: In some ways it has a 1970's feel about it but without the political and economic crisis (maybe that's to come!). The country is polarizing into Left and Right again so the smaller parties are being squeezed. Corbyn read that right and has started the process of moving Labour back to the Left of centre where it belongs. With luck the Tories will start tearing themselves apart soon. The only things stopping it happening are the fear of Corbyn forming a government and, of course, the Brexit process which they're trying hard not to derail.

@ Mudpuddle: After our political scene being very boring for a while now it's become fascinating (to me at least) in the last 10-12 years. I stayed up till 5.30am Thursday night/Friday morning watching it all happen live. I loved it - the drama, the anguish and the triumph. How some people can find the event boring is beyond me - putting to one side, for a moment, how *important* it all is!