Saturday, May 20, 2017

General Election 2017

A key issue in the UK election seems likely to be not so much which political party is likely to win the general election - most believe that the Tories will win by a considerable margin - but what will happen to the Labour Party in the election aftermath?

An aftermath of many UK general elections over the years is that the leader of a political party which the voters have failed to support in the ballot box, has offered to stand down or to seek re-election as leader. On the Labour side Gordon Brown Michael Foot and Ed Miliband come to mind. However Neil Kinnock waited a while before standing down.

Interestingly, the intelligent Labour supporting magazine, the New Statesman, stated recently of Jeremy Corbyn, that:

...he would not. "I was elected leader of this party and I’ll stay leader of this party," he said. Gordon Brown made similar statements in 2010, later saying that he wanted to stay on until David Cameron had formed a goverment. However, he was forced to stand down by pressure from his own MPs. 
In Jeremy Corbyn's case, he seems to have regretted the interview with Buzzfeed. Shortly after the interview, he told the BBC he would carry on if he won the election,

If Jeremy Corbyn loses the General Election badly and fails to stand down then UK politics could become rather interesting. Many who were until recently Labour MPs and others in the country could consider breaking away to form a new political party. 

Creating a lasting major political party in the UK could prove difficult as the history of the SDP illustrates. The SDP was formed by four disaffected Labour politicians in 1981 but merged with the Liberal Party in 1988. The SDP attracted people from all political parties and none, yours truly included.

A large number of SDP members in 1988, left  the party, yours truly included, disappointed by the SDP's merger at that time with the Liberals. 

The position in 2017/2018 could be substantially different,  as the political style of Jeremy Corbyn seems far less orthodox than those of his predecessor Labour leaders. The younger voter is attracted by that unorthodoxy but not so many of their elders who might thus feel sufficiently frustrated, to consider an SDP mark two.

The surprise in the UK General election so far, is the apparent lack of impact being made on the voters by the one significant political party which is clearly against the UK leaving the EU. The fact that the majority in favour of quitting the EU was fairly close 52/48, logically should give the political party standing in favour of remaining part of the EU, a large number of supporters.

In reality the position so far at least, appears to be that the Liberals having been decimated by the Tories in the 2015 General Election, may not according to the latest opinion polls, even manage to recover most of the seats they lost two years ago. 

Possibly   EU civil servants have played a role in this by in making public some of the private discussions with the PM that took place at No 10 Downing Street. Such behaviour riled many in the UK of all political persuasions and may have led them to rally around the PM. Nonetheless, if that is the principal reason for lack of interest so far in the Liberal Democrat stance which I interpret as seeking to remain in the EU, then the Liberals' popularity should increase substantially over the next two or three weeks. 

We can but wait and see.

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