Ed's Election round-up
8th Nov 2019 / By Ed Barker
Well here we are. After a year or two of constant uncertainty, disagreement and open pitched battles in public we are headed towards a General Election.
We could argue this has been inevitable since the outcome of the 2017 election when the Government has been relying on wafer thin majorities for legislation to pass; at the same time being beholden to the DUP, the Brexiteers or remainer rebels. The formula was inevitably going to lead us to this point – a delightful winter general election to warm us all.
It has been an interesting last few months up until this point – after only three months of the new PM and his cabinet, we have had a prorogued parliament that never was actually prorogued, a Queen’s speech, a bonfire of Tory MPs who defied the party over No Deal, an extraordinary Saturday sitting of Parliament (that was actually quite ordinary), the most demure party conferences known to man, a new deal struck with the EU that was then spurned by Parliament and a farrowing crate debate that never took place.
Now a general election to be the final encore of the 2019 show, which has been helpfully scheduled for the same day as our Young NPA National conference (there is probably a joke in there somewhere).
NPA getting busy
Now that the campaign is upon us, you can be sure that the NPA will be very busy getting the key messages out to all candidates. We will be contacting all standing candidates with our NPA 2019 election manifesto (keep an eye out in Piggy Points and web for it) and of course be asking members up and down the country to send information to their local candidates or let us know of any hustings events they go to.
As has been widely publicised, a number of MPs are stepping down, which means it is an excellent opportunity to get in there and make ourselves known whilst they are new to the role and getting to know their constituency. New MPs also have a knack of being very keen and very ambitious and struggle to say ‘no’ to anything – so it is an opportunity for us all.
Add to that the fact that food and farming have probably been as high up the electoral agenda as has ever been seen – there is a lot for us to get involved with. Now is most certainly not the time to be shy. Soon we will see all of the parties’ manifestos and be sure to compare them equally for all members to see and nobble their local candidates on anything that we like or do not like.
After 2018 and 2019 I think the business of predictions can go out of the window. One thing we are sure of is that the polling and demographics of this election are unlike any we have seen before. there has been an unparalleled set of sub-plots in each region that we probably haven’t seen before.
In an election that will be defined in part by Brexit, the plight of tory suburban remainer seats will differ totally from labour leave seats in the north – as will Scottish seats or university cities. Each one has such different dynamics affecting the voters that national polling will be a bit of a red herring.
We can be sure that Labour and Tories will lose votes to remainer minded voters in suburban London areas of cities (Zach Goldsmith’s Richmond Park constituency is one such seat that could go to Lib Dems) whereas University cities like Cambridge could also go from red to yellow.
The delightful ‘spanner in the works party’ (the Brexit party) will likely cut votes from both red and blue – and this could have a substantial effect in Labour leave seats and bluer than blue seats in the South East.
The question will be which of red or blue votes will be lost the most. Now add to this remainer alliance seats (Greens, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems) who have agreed to not stand in certain constituencies to help one of those parties win.
This could work very well, as it did in the recent Brecon and Radnorshire By-Election where the Libdems stood alone against the Tories (no Greens or Plaid) and yet the Brexit party stood, affecting the tories. In Scotland too, it is projected that both red and blue will struggle and SNP will benefit (SNP do extremely well out of the First Past the Post system).
For these reasons, the Tories and Labour will have to make up for likely lost seats before they have even began (incidentally if you would like an excellent explanation on why the tories will struggle to penetrate labour leave areas, the read this excellent thread https://twitter.com/caprosser/
Getting over that 326 seat mark will be a real feat and the dynamics of the election campaign will be very influential (as it was in 2017); rarely can any party control what gets discussed and talked about and despite the fact that this is poised as a Brexit election (a ‘Brexlection’) it could well be that in 2-3 weeks time the voters are bored of that and are more interested in other matters by then. Certainly that is what Labour are hoping.
There are of course events that can take over – an NHS winter crisis, a foreign affairs issue – it can all come into play.
Whatever happens we at NPA will be following matters closely and helping you as members to make sure your voice is heard. Keep an eye on the usual channels – this website, Pig World, Piggy points and our Twitter feed – for what we are saying to all parties ahead of the election.