The worst kept secret in British politics

This isn’t Corbyns election to win, but Mays to lose.

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To the surprise of no one, Theresa May is set to announce an early General Election. Slated for the 8th of June this would be an astonishing 2 months away, quite a short time in which there will have to be fierce campaigning. Normally we have a good amount of time in which to prepare ourselves physically and mentally for the political grind to come, but this is such a short timeframe that the opposition parties will be forced into some quick action or lose ground. However, while it has been on the cards for some time it was never certain that it would happen, Theresa May said a few times that there would be no early election.

There are a a growing number of reasons why it was becoming increasingly likely that Theresa would call an early election, here are a few of them.

Lets get the most obvious one out the way. Brexit. Even a year after the referendum the battle for what Brexit means, looks like and the results of are still being waged in what seems to be the political equivalent of the western front. No matter what happens both sides seem to be entrenched in their post referendum positions.  The Remainers battling to either prevent Brexit all together on the fringes or to lessen the impact of what they see as “Hard” Brexit and bring about a change which would result in “Soft” brexit. On the otherhand for the most part the Leavers wish to leave as soon as possible and get on with it, although to some its almost as though they wish to leave, no matter the cost. A general election would bring some reprieve for this horrible political quagmire, as presumably if May wins then her version of Brexit will be given a clean mandate. If there is no majority however, then thats where things become more like the Somme than the allies reaching the Hindenburg line.

The second reason, Theresa Mays’ legitimacy as Prime Minister, which you could argue is more important that Brexit. There is a widely held view that Theresa May has no mandate to govern the nation. While technically she is the leader of the largest party in The mother of all Parliaments, she was elected (if you can even call it that) as the leader of the Conservative party and not the country. She has her own path she wishes to take the Conservatives on which is just different enough to Cameron and Osbornes which it is seen that she requires a new mandate as this isn’t the Conservative party which the country voted for in 2015.  Winning this snap election would provide May the mandate she needs from the public to govern and quash any criticisms of her legitimacy as Prime Minister.

The third reason, and perhaps the most cynical reason to hold an early election, is the complete and utter collapse of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition. Ever since Corbyns election (and subsequent re-election a year later) the party has descended into a complete and utter farce. Constant infighting, media leaks of supposed unhappiness and poor leadership have crippled the party to the point where it no longer seems capable of putting up a half decent opposition to the Conservatives. Whether you believe the polls or not, especially after Brexit and Trump, the situation looks even more dire. The Conservatives are consistently 15% ahead of Labour, sometimes even as high as 20% in the lead, this would lead to a total wipe out of Labour in the marginals and leave only the safest seats remaining in their hands. Finally the Conservatives would have revenge for their catastrophic defeat at the hands of Blair in 1997, which Labour only had a 13% lead. Not calling a snap election in this political climate would seem a poor decision, after all why have a small majority of 16 when you can have a large majority of 160, maybe even more?

Whatever your opinions on the snap election, whether held with good intentions or cynical machinations it has been announced and it is coming. The next two months will see and intense struggle within the Labour Party, the triumphant mood within the Conservatives which they believe will see them to a comfortable victory and the smaller parties fighting for the scraps fringes. It will decide the fate of a nation, perhaps even that of a continent. Most important of all, its not Corbyns election to win but Theresa Mays to lose.

One problem with democracy in the modern age

It’s no surprise that there are problems with democracy, just like any political system it has it downsides but it is closest system which allows the peoples voice to be heard while keeping it within a reasonably measured approach to practical government.

One of the biggest problems exists within the underbelly of democracy, which seems to be a modern phenomenon, is the lack of acceptability of the result from the side which loses. If you’ve ever used Facebook in the last year or so, you’ll have seen posts which have gone viral, railing against an important vote which took place. The post is always written by someone who was on the losing side of the vote, in this they raise up the thought that we don’t live in a true democracy (although it would be a great democracy if they won). In on viral image I saw recently one of the central points was how only a small part of the population voted for Brexit, comparing the percentage in a pie chart of the leave vote with various chunks of the population of the UK, such as those who didn’t vote and more importantly those who weren’t eligible which is completely ridiculous.

When we cast our ballot what we are essentially doing is signing an agreement to the terms and conditions of the system in which we cast them, accepting the political system for what it is, whatever its faults and the outcome. There’s nothing wrong in disagreeing with how the system works but the level of rejection of the system when things don’t go the way  people want is unparalleled. This isn’t the problem for me, its the fact the proponents of this idea are attempting to delegitimize the results. I mean no amount of viral posts, protests, false legal objections and more will be able to change what happened. . With Brexit its a bit different since it’s essentially a once in a generation vote but with major general elections its a bit foolish as it come around once every 4-5 years.

There’s no clear way to combat this but it does pose some pretty interesting problems for the future. The extreme polarization of politics, waves of discontent with the system and aggressive conformation bias are creating an undercurrent within democracy of immense pressure. It’s not certain that the system can survive in its current form if this continues but that’s another post for another time.