Theresa May’s early election has not panned out quite the way she hoped for. Let us not lose sight of the fact that her Conservative Government was re-elected and she remains Prime Minister.
The Tories won 42 per cent of the vote. This is very creditable. They have not done this well since 1987. May led them to a larger per centage of the vote than Cameron did. Under him the Conservative Party won 39 per cent last time. By rights the Conservatives ought to have a healthy majority. Bear in mind in 2005 Blair won a clear Victory with 35 per cent of the votes. This was not a landslide but Labour had an undoubted majority in the House of Commons.
British politics is a funny old game. First past the post means there is no clear Relationship between share of the votes and seats. By rights the Tories should have seen a net gain of seats but in fact they lost 19 overall.
Labour outperformed all expectations. They increased their share of the vote to 40 per cent of the vote. Labour gained plenty of Members of Parliament. These were mostly from the Conservatives but a few from the SNP too. Corbyn was castigated by many commentator and indeed moderates in his own party. Labour’s turnout was much better than anticipated. Labour polls very strongly among the Young especially undergraduates. This segment of the population tends to be very apathetic about élections but surprisingly they voted in large numbers. Things look sweet for Corbyn/ He is already popular among grassroots Labour members but now that he defied the doomsayers his case for continuing as leader is very strong indeed.
A rational Labour Party would kick Corbyn out. His job was to become Prime Minister. He failed.
The SNP are still the largest party in Scotland with 39 per cent of the vote. They also have 35 seats which is far more than the second biggest party the Conservatives. Therefore this was still a tremendous night for the SNP. Let us not overlook the fact that the SNP won convincingly/ Their 2015 was a one off and could not be repeated.
The real losers of this election were the Liberal Democrats. Their share of the vote was a dismal _ per cent last time. It has Fallen to 7.’ per cent this time. It is true that they have had a net gain of 4 constituencies.
The Lib Dems will probably do considerably better next time. They cannot do worse. The party may well have a leader with more gravitas. Sir Vincent Cable is their only MP with name recognition.
This was a disapponting night for Plaid Cymru. If they were going to make inroads into Labour constitutencies this seemed to be their chance. They gained only one seat.
The Greens also had a bad night. They had a realistic chance of gaining Bristol East and failed/ Their lone MP Dr Lucas has made her Brighton constituency a fortress. But if they cannot gain seats in this election when can they ever do so?
UKIP lost their only constituency. Their share of the vote dropped dramatically. The party did not come anywhere near capturing any constituencies. The UKIP is set to fade into irrelevance once Brexit is completed/ Their leader has Fallen on his sword.
Next time Remain-Leave will not be a factor. The referendum will be a fading memory and Brexit will have been accomplished. The Liberal Democrats did well in some Remain constituencies. Next time this will not militate in their favour.
The DUP strengthened their grip on Northern Ireland. The wiped out the UUP which till 2005 was the dominant unionist party. Likewise Sinn Fein confirmed their position as the main nationalist party. The SDLP lost all their seats. However, they lost Foyle so narrowly that they have a good chance of grabbing it back next time.
The Conservatives now have to come to an understanding with the Democratic Unionist Party. This will give them a wafer thin majority. At this stage a formal coalition is not contemplated. It is surprising that the DUP do not want the status or money of one of their number being deputy prime minister or secretary of state for Northern Ireland. The DUP will be deeply satisfied that their position within the United Kingdom has been copper fastened. May called her party by a name is has not used in England for décades: the Conservative and Unionist Party.
The government probably cannot last a full term. Their may be a motion of no confidence that the government loses some time. The DUP could pull the rug out from Under the Tories feet any time. The Conservatives will be very vulnerable to rebellions from their own side. May will be a hostage to hardliners both Remainers and Brexiteers within her own ranks. Therefore the next election might be soon. There is no appetite for another election soon as there have been two élections and a referendum in two years.
The tea leaves seemed to say that calling this early election was an astute decision. However, in the campaign the Conservatives fell back considerably and Labour made major advances>. The Tories concentrated very strongly on May as she outpolled Corbyn as a leader by a very long way. She was wooden and she only met Conservative audiences. Corbyn did some real campaigning and his courage in meeting ordinary people paid dividends.
As all boded well for the Tories they chose to play it safe. The figured that barring any balls up they would win handsomely. That is why we saw very little of Boris Johnson. He can shake things up but also say things which are egregiously stupid.
Diane Abbott was calamitous as Shadow Home Secretary. She had not mastered the Fundamentals of her brief. Her performance in interviews was so abysmal that it was announced that she was ill and she did not appear for the last few days of the campaign. This was a loss of nerve by Labour. This damage limitation was too late to change things.
May seemed to panic after the terrorist attacks. She said that she would tear up human rights legislation if it got in the way of tackling terrorism. That was sheer electioneering and very foolish/ Her rhetoric was irresponsible and self- defeating. Why did she not tear up such laws already? Even in the Second World War such laws were not totally held in abeyance. She campaigned to be in the EU which ensured that laws made it very hard to deal with terrorism. May must have decided this would burnish her counter terrorism credentials/ This was territory where Corbyn would not follow. He is notoriously pro terrorist.
Paul Nuttal of UKIP decided to out security her by musing about re introducing internment.
The cataclysm of Corbyn as Prime Minister has been avoided. There will probably be a leadership challenge in a year but Corbyn will likely win. He is in his late 60s. Age is not necessarily a problem as we dwell in a greying society. This will especially be unproblematic as the Lib Dems may well have an elderly leader in the shape of Sir Vince.
Labour may think they are very close to office. They are tantalised by the notion that with one more push they will win a majority. This is not necessarily true. The economy could improve and austerity be eased off. This would rob Labour of their slogans. Brexit might be negotiated successfully. Theresa May might hand over to a popular successor. In fact the Outlook is rosy for Labour. It is probable that the economy will stagnate and Brexit negotiations will go badly. The EU wants to play hardball/ This is especially so since they sense that May is in a feeble position.