Future Look: How Boris Johnson won the 2019 general election
There are several reasons why Boris Johnson is now likely to call a general election and win it – and do so with a better majority than Theresa May. In brief, the next general election will be about Brexit and BJ has the upper hand when it comes to making a firm commitment – unlike Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. People are so fed up with Brexit – they’ll now vote for certainty and we know on this matter the centre-ground has collapsed – it’s in or out. Second – the dramatic shift in Welsh politics will be as seismic to Wales as the SNP were to Scottish politics in 2015, therefore, further significantly reducing Labour seats nationally. Third – The LibDems will split the remain vote further and erode Labour’s ability to fight an election on that issue alone.
If further reasoning was needed to support this argument it would be that Jeremy Corbyn is not seen by voters (ones that actually vote) to be as electable to Boris Johnson (according to many polls) and the highly successful campaign to smear its leader (and party) with claims of institutional racism has paid off.
Wales will rob Labour of vital seats
Mike Smithson from Political Betting – It is not often that all eyes are on Welsh politics but yesterday’s Tweet from the respected Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University has really set things going.
We don’t get very much Wales only polling but what there is generally associated with Professor Scully. And for him to be trailing his survey for ITV in this way suggests a sensation.
His tweet reminds me of a similar one from Ben Page of Ipsos-MORI in late 2014 relating to a poll that his firm had produced for STV. There was a similar big build up and then the numbers can and which point pointed to the total collapse of Labour in Scotland. This is, of course, what happened six months later at GE2015. Labour moved from holding 41 of Scotland’s 59 seats to just a single MP.
We know from Wales only polling over the past nine months that Labour’s once-invincible position in the Principality is on the decline. Last December Survation had Corbyn’s party in 47% with Scully’s YouGov poll at 43%. In May that was down 25% with the Brexit party just two behind.
At GE2017 Labour won 28 of the 40 Welsh seats. If that number is substantially reduced and there is still no recovery for the party in Scotland then it is very difficult to see how Labour can win most seats overall in a UK general election.
From Simon Wren-Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford comes a look to the future as he sees the Boris Johnson general election win.
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In November, many people were shocked. How could someone who had been free with racist slurs towards many minority groups, who had arranged for an opponent to be beaten up, who had been sacked twice for lying and yet had continued to lie frequently, who had been the worst foreign secretary in decades, and who had wasted a lot of public money on blunders as Mayor of London go on to win a General Election? That he became Tory leader in the previous July could easily be explained, given the nature of his electorate then, but winning a General Election was something else.
He had been elected as leader in part because the party saw him as the only person who could prevent Nigel Farage taking many votes away from the party. Essential to Johnson’s strategy to starve Farage of votes was to follow through on his commitment to leave with No Deal. After brief talks with the EU in which he tried unsuccessfully to change the withdrawal agreement, he reported back that the EU were being obstinate and obstructive, and therefore No Deal was the only way the UK could fulfil its promise to the people to Leave.
Parliament voted (narrowly) against leaving with No Deal and instead instructed Johnson to seek an extension. He then obtained a six months extension to Article 50 to allow time for either a referendum or a General Election. He had, unsurprisingly, chosen a General Election, as his parliamentary majority (with the help of the DUP) was in danger of disappearing altogether.
By championing No Deal in the run-up to the election, he managed to drastically reduce the Brexit party’s support. Those who favoured No Deal soon realised that it was pointless voting against a leader who was holding an election explicitly designed to get a mandate for No Deal. In contrast, the vote among those that were against No Deal was badly split.
As the election drew near Labour regained the lead among opposition parties because of its anti-austerity stance, its strong programme for economic reform and additional public investment. However, the LibDem vote remained strong partly because many Remainers did not trust Corbyn on the Brexit issue. The unequivocal commitment by Labour not to try and renegotiate Brexit and instead support Remain as part of their manifesto came too late. Many also found it impossible to vote for a party that had been described as institutionally racist by the EHRC. Despite hopes based on 2017, the increase in Labour’s vote during the campaign was modest, partly because the broadcast media gave a generous amount of time to the Liberal Democrats and also followed attack lines from the right-wing media when talking about Labour.
Although the Remain vote far outnumbered the pro-No Deal vote, the split in the Remain vote was disastrous in the UK’s FPTP electoral system. It led to the Conservatives beating Labour in nearly all Lab/Con marginals. Cummings did for Johnson what he had done for Vote Leave. In addition, the fact that Johnson had cut stamp duty and taxes for higher-income earners, together with the slogan ‘vote Swinson get Corbyn’, limited the number of Tory Remain voters who defected to the LibDems. Once again the proportion of LibDem seats was far below their proportion of votes.
Recriminations began almost immediately. Those who voted LibDem blamed Labour for not replacing Corbyn as their leader. Labour blamed the LibDems for splitting the anti-Tory vote. Both were correct. It was Corbyn more than anyone who was responsible for creating and sustaining the LibDem surge at the European Elections by refusing to unequivocally support Remain, even though it would be impossible
for Labour to get a soft Brexit through parliament. However those who voted LibDem because only the LibDems were the true Remain party had succeeded in destroying the Remain cause, and those who had voted LibDem because Labour was institutionally antisemitic had kept a party in power where almost half its members would not accept
a Muslim as the country’s Prime Minister.
With his enhanced majority Boris Johnson took the UK out of the EU without a deal in December 2019. The year that had looked so hopeful for Remain when the UK failed to exit in March ended with the worst form of Brexit possible.