This was the Daily Mail report today:
Bloomberg analysis of Theresa May’s difficulties:
There now seems to be a serious chance that there will be a general election in the first few months of 2019, something I predicted (though not with great confidence) in previous blogs over the past year.
In previous blog posts, even recently, my prediction was that any general election in 2018 or 2019 would result in a hung Parliament but with Labour as largest party. The end result would then probably be a Labour minority government.
The Daily Mail seems to think that an early 2019 General Election, possibly as early as March, would result in a crashing defeat for the Conservative Party.
What has caused this situation is not so much Brexit, or the fear of Brexit, as the sheer incompetence of the present Government. Look at one of the least competent Cabinet Ministers (even in a poor Cabinet), Chris Grayling, who has been a member of this Cabinet and the two previous ones! A typically-psychopathic type, if I may play the armchair psychologist, who has messed-up in every job that he has ever had. Here he is explaining or rather not explaining what the Government will do if (when) Theresa May’s pathetic “deal” is rejected by the Commons:
Incompetence is a killer vote-loser for any government. Taking the years 2010-2019 as effectively one government and not three, we can see incredible incompetence across the board, from social security/”welfare” issues, pensions, HS2, transport (especially rail) generally, nuclear power, the Brexit mess (failure to prepare for a WTO Brexit from the beginning), continuing mass immigration, NHS issues…you name it.
True, many (including me) have little confidence in the competence of any Corbyn-led Labour government, but will the voters prefer to vote for Corbyn-Labour, which might be incompetent, or for a “Conservative” Party which has been proven, in spades, to be incompetent and incapable?
What about Brexit itself? It may be that Brexit, though certainly a major issue for the voters, will not play to the decisive advantage of either party. About half the country favour Remain, about half prefer Leave, with divisions in both main camps. It should be recalled, though, that “Brexit” and “Leave” are to some extent manifestations of dissatisfaction with the general way in which Britain is working, or rather not working for many many people.
My money at this stage is still on a hung Parliament with Labour as largest party, because there are huge numbers of people who will not vote Labour (ever, anyway, whatever), others who will not vote for a Labour Party led by Corbyn, yet others who will not vote for a Labour Party in which deadheads such as Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler might well become Cabinet ministers.
Even psephologists struggle with election predictions. It is the “Glorious Uncertainty” of both the English racecourse and the (mainly) English electoral system. Raw percentages count for only so much, because of First Past The Post voting and the way that boundaries are sliced up.
In the end, the “True Blue” and “Deepest Red” constituencies are not the deciders. The marginal constituencies decide. How many marginals depends. Some put true marginals at 50 (out of 650), others at 100 or even 150.
One has to make an educated guess. My guess is based on the fact that life has become progressively tougher (financially and in other ways) for most people over the past 8 years; in fact the past 10 years, 2 of which were Labour, but mostly the past 8, which have been years of “Conservative” rule. In those years, only the most wealthy or affluent 10%, maybe even 5%, have really prospered, as seen in the cartoon below from the days of the Con Coalition
The roads are potholed, the railways expensive and chaotic, the social welfare system has become both cruel and shambolic, mass immigration continues all but unabated, education has become a joke, pay in real terms is greatly less than it was in 2010, let alone 2005, crime is often not even investigated by the police, and most local authorities are both cash-starved and incompetent. The Army has shrunk to 78,000 men (and women, now), and the same is true, mutatis mutandis, of Navy and RAF.
Does any of the above encourage people to vote Conservative? I think not. They might not all vote Labour, and there are no other options with much credibility, but it may be that enough people will either vote Labour or stay home to give Corbyn-Labour a majority. I am tempted to predict that. On balance, though, I think that I stick with hung Parliament as my present prediction, always recalling, as Harold Wilson famously said, that “a week is a long time in British politics”.
Below, an amusement: me aged 9 or maybe just turned 10, with then PM Harold Wilson. St. Mary’s, Scilly Isles, September 1966. I am the eldest boy in the photo.