Going by the various polls, May’s Conservative party have the best chance to win and if they do, the question is how big the margin of victory be and what will be the economic and political consequences with the ensuing Brexit
Andy jalil –
In every sense of the word this will be a Brexit general election. The parties will of course talk about the economy and public services, Prime Minister Theresa May will, however, turn it into a referendum on her vision for Brexit and pressing on with the job of implementing the people’s decision at the EU referendum last June.
Going by the various polls, May’s Conservative party have the best chance to win and if they do, the question is how big the margin of victory be and what will be the economic and political consequences with the ensuing Brexit.
Depending on the polling company, and the method of weighting the probability of voting, the Tories have at least a 10 percentage points lead in the polls and possibly a 20 point lead, with one poll putting the Conservatives at a comfortable 46 per cent.
To close and overcome such a gap, between now and June 8, would require a massive effort by the main opposition Labour party.
Its leader Jeremy Corbyn would have achieved one of the greatest comebacks in political history.
His party polled 30 per cent of the vote in 2015, seven percentage points behind the Tories, who won with 37 per cent.
The latest polls show the Conservatives up nearly seven percentage points since the last General Election, and Labour down by a similar figure.
The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem), with just nine MPs and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) whose leader Nicola Sturgeon remains obsessed with the idea of Scottish independence, will fight the election on the cause of opposing a hard Brexit, offered by May, who has made clear the UK would leave the single market and customs union under her strategy.
Corbyn is unlikely to openly oppose a hard Brexit in fear of losing working class voters in the North and Midlands — staunch Leave voters — who might move to the Conservatives or even the UK Independent Party (UKip).
He will fight on the economy, NHS and living standards.
His commitment to “a Brexit that works for all” has been vague.
May knows she will never have a better opportunity to turn her slender majority into a three-figure one, or enjoy such weak opposition.
There is, however, some risk for the Prime Minister.
Tory officials are concerned about the Lib Dem recovery in the South-west, where the Tories won several seats from the Lib Dems at the 2015 election.
But May’s chances of winning a bigger majority are strong. If she does, it would make it easier to push through Brexit as well as her domestic agenda.
With a bigger majority she will claim a people’s mandate for her hard Brexit.
The growing prospect of soft Brexit alliance between pro-EU Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems and SNP is likely to be demolished altogether in that case.
The 30 pro-EU Conservative MPs will be hesitant in defying the prime minister’s line during the election.
They would be much less likely to fight for soft Brexit if she has won a personal mandate.
The House of Lords will still have a soft Brexit majority.
Peers will no doubt put pressure on May, but without much backing in the Commons, Lords will be powerless to stop hard Brexit.
So if the Tories win, how great will be their victory? If during the campaign their share slipped back towards 40 per cent and Labour’s edged up towards 30 per cent, the electoral calculation could vastly change with the margin of victory much smaller.
But the other possibility could greatly increase the Tories majority, if the UKip vote holds up in some areas, thereby damaging Labour, but falls dramatically in others, thereby helping the Conservatives.
The circumstances point to a big Tory win with an overall majority of at least 100, quite possibly even up to 150, and what will be the consequences of such an emphatic win? Quite a few thoughts arise.
First, it could result in a much more radical Tory government, which will be pushing hard for its policies particularly with regard to public services such as education and will see the return of grammar schools which May has in her plans.
Second, it could be the election which proves the tipping point for Scottish independence.
Third, it could be the start of a fundamental realignment of centre-left politics in Britain.