Despite a lot of churn in the polls the final week of campaigning in the British general election looks set to end with the re-election of the current Conservative Party government on Thursday. The main question now, aside from the accuracy of the polling, is the possible size of the Tory majority in the House of Commons. Most educated observers seem to be betting on a margin of twenty to forty seats in favour of Boris Johnson, partly based on some interesting polls coming out of Wales and Scotland. In the Welsh constituencies, and as in the Brexit referendum of 2016, a major factor seems to be the influence of migrant voters from England, particularly retirees, which may be tipping the likely outcome for Westminster in favour of the Conservatives.
Of course this is a discussion that makes a number of people uncomfortable and for obvious reasons with the rise of more toxic forms of populist nationalism but recent studies have pointed towards the emergence of a distinctive English voting bloc in some parts of the Principality. Which bodes less than well in the forthcoming election for the Labour Party, Lib Dems, Greens and even Plaid Cymru – which had looked like it might benefit from growing restlessness over the normally somnolent constitutional question – as the Remain or quasi-Remain parties lose seats that they can ill afford to lose if the Tories are to be booted out of office.
There are similar worries in the Scottish constituencies, though the polling is more mixed north of the border. Boris Johnson’s party seems to be not just holding its own but might actually be gaining ground at the expense of Labour as pro-union, pro-Brexit voters abandon their traditional voting habits. I’ve seen widely different predictions of how the SNP might fare, from wiping the floor with the unionist parties to standing still or even losing seats. I’ll leave the predictions to others better informed about the electoral churn on the ground.
More generally, this seems to be very much Boris Johnson’s election to lose as he faces his biggest opponent: himself. If his handlers can avoid adding to his ever-growing list of egregious gaffs with the press and the public he should be best placed for a return to Downing Street. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn, besieged by an almost universally hostile news media and the odd obsessive celebrity with no appreciation of history or the truth, is unlikely to achieve his dream of taking high office. Which is not just a shame for Britain but also for Ireland as Corbyn and his deputy John McDonnell would have been this country’s two closest political allies to enter government in London. Here’s hoping that the polls are wrong.
When the IRA directed a campaign of terror across the United Kingdom, Corbyn empathised with their ‘plight’…
For those who remember the ideological origins of the online magazine, and the wannabe revolutionary personal histories of most of its editors and writers, this is hilarious in all sorts of ways.