Saturday, December 14, 2019

December 2019 General Election Result

The outcome of the UK general election of an eighty seat Tory overall majority I believe surprised everyone. Pollsters had been forecasting a Conservative Party majority during the weeks beforehand but with much caution about normal errors in making such forecasts. Then the predictions for Labour began to improve slightly during the weeks prior to voting day. The Brexit Party withdrew candidates from  Tory held seats and the LibDem vote began to drift towards Labour; for some reason the  the gap between the two main parties then appeared to be narrowing slightly.

Added to the above was the fact that the constituency boundary commission's report into the need to alter boundaries to reflect population changes, had not been acted upon for some six years. This meant that the Tories needed to win by more than seven or eight percent to be able to form an effective government. Ironically perhaps the fact that whole swathes of constituencies in what used to be Labour heartlands, have now voted Conservative many for the first time probably means that that Boundary Commission anomaly  was in any event irrelevant to the outcome although altering constituency boundaries to ensure that each constituency has  roughly the same number of voters clearly makes sense.

In the event the result giving the Conservatives a majority of eighty seats surprised even those at the Tory HQ. 

Upon reflection,  the Labour Party failed for a number of reasons. Sitting on the fence about Brexit rather than accepting the people's referendum result of 2016 was of course one reason. Another though, was the ideological extreme left wing nature of Labour's manifesto pledges, added to which was the sheer number of extra pledges made by Labour during their election campaign over the six weeks prior to election day. Jeremy Corbyn himself was the most unpopular political party leader that I can recall since the time of Harold Wilson. Had Labour been led by say, David Milliband, Neil Kinnock or Tony Blair the result could have been very different but so would the party's policies have been.

A decent party leader losing by so large a number of seats would surely normally offer him or herself for resignation, yet Jeremy Corbyn so far has not, perhaps underpinning the reasons for his unpopularity. Jo Swinson resigned immediately though the SNP leader in my view behaved like  more football hooligan than a decent political leader by thrashing her arms about at the result in Jo Swinson's constituency, rather than shaking hands with the loser, which would have been in my view, the correct response. If the Scots wish to go independent then I would not stand in their way though their bankers might.

As for the future; the UK Government will clearly need to provide infra structure and other support for the parts of the country in the North that were formerly Labour strongholds; taking the UK out of the EU will be less difficult now though my own view  that the UK should simply leave and then negotiate afterwards about trade, fishing and money, is unlikely to be accepted. Then reorganising the railways without returning to the dreadful old days of British Railways will be needed and soon. Defence should be carefully reviewed and possibly stepped up though two aircraft carriers seem rather too many and too late. Ceasing to build huge nuclear power stations for electricity generation would also be apt and not only because of the major problems the French/Chinese builders are experiencing. Wind power is thriving but  perhaps even some small local nuclear power stations might considered; Rolls Royce for example presumably already builds the latter for naval ships?

House building for people who cannot afford their own privately built homes must be a priority and such building should be by local councils which have duties to shelter those who are unable to afford commercially provided homes.

These are of course early days but those in society who do not accept democracy were already protesting with some violence near to Downing Street on the day after the rest of the  UK adult population had had the right to cast their votes. That itself indicates the need for police numbers to be increased.

Finally; as Tony Blair once remarked: "Education, Education Education."  Hopefully the Tory government will appoint a minister as accomplished as Michael Gove, to oversee and improve the education of the nation's   children and older students.

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