I have had some really interesting conversations over the last 6 weeks of this general election campaign and thanks to all the comments and questions I have had from those who have read these ramblings!
In over 30 years of deep involvement in every General Election I don’t think I have ever been so remote from the day to day planning and intensity of a local campaign as this election. It has certainly made me see the impact of the Campaiagns as an average interested voter rather than a party loyalist. Last week In particular I was completely turned off by all the campaigns. They were truly dreadful. But these final few days are fascinating. There are plenty of subjects to follow up with after the election weekend On this blog – assuming we have a functioning government by then. Of course it’s not guaranteed.
Here are a few thoughts – with a few more to follow if I get the chance before Thursday.
1. For a Brexit Campaign there has been very little extra detail and light shed on what the next stages of Brexit will look like. The campaign has been truly awful on this and this is the same for all parties. The Tories ‘get Brexit Done’ is a nonsense and Labour’s plans remain a mystery once you look further than the idea they can get al sorted and everybody happy within 6 months! There will be a lot of disappointed Brexit voters when they realise there are years of ‘getting Brexit done’ ahead of them. As I tweeted this week there are over 700 deals and treaties the UK falls out of that need re-negotiating when we come out of the EU and trade deal with the EU that simply can’t be done by December 2020. The Brexit drama will continue to dominate Westminster politics for some time to come. It is the most damaging self inflicted wound a country can impose on itself. It can’t simply be brushed under the carpet to ‘get it out of the way’.
2. Labour should not be in the position of hoping that denying the Tories a majority is a decent outcome. At this election Labour faces a Tory PM in Johnson that the majority of the electorate has an unfavourable opinion. There has been no functioning government for months and austerity is causing misery across the country. The GDP figures show again today that the economy is teetering on recession. At times like this a moderately led Labour Party with a decent leader should be looking at being 10-15 points AHEAD in the polls not satisfied with coming a close second again. It is deeply frustrating that the Labour leadership and their entourage seem happier with gathering votes for a supposed Left Wing Manifesto than genuinely understanding how to win a coalition of voters to win a majority. More of this will be written about if we fail to win again and Corbyn does the decent thing and resigns.
3. The result is still difficult to call. The last 48 hours will hinge on whether enough people petrified of a Johnson government but equally distressed by the prospect of a Corbyn led government hold their nose and Vote Labour. This is the discussion I have had with hundreds of people over the last month. I have had messages, texts and emails from so many people distraught at the options they have in front of them for this election. My favourite political magazine The New Statesman this week summed it up when they were unable to endorse anybody and as the Opinion said – Britain Deserves Better !
4. Whilst some opinion polls would suggest Loughborough is likely to remain Tory I think it could be really close. I may be completely right or wrong! The Labour candidate Stuart Brady is the most impressive and most capable of being a good MP for Loughborough. This isn’t always a guarantee of victory.
5. Usually the national poll and national swing are enough to get a general snapshot to predict the outcome across the country. With so many factors at play we are going to have to watch the regional and national swings (Wales and Scotland and NI) as well as some of the effects fo tactical voting in some key individual seats. it will be a an exciting evening on Thursday
I will live Blog on the evening of the election through the middle of the night.. until it is clear what the outcome looks like and what has happened in Loughborough. I will be live tweeting at @andyjreed_obe and linking to this site!
More importantly unlike previous elections I will follow up on this Blogging site with some conversations about the wider implications of how the campaign has been conducted. The lies and exaggerations from all sides have been deeply depressing. We have seen the Trumpification of the electorate system and certainly plenty of Russian interference again.
Do any of my regular readers want to be brave enough of making a prediction before Polling Day. I am not sure I can call this election.