Two days ago, I wrote a blog piece entitled “Can The Conservatives Win A General Election (or are they doomed)?”
My conclusion was that the Conservatives are unlikely to “win” a general election in the sense of achieving a House of Commons majority, but that it is not unlikely that the Conservative Party might, after a general election in late 2019 or early 2020, still be the largest party, i.e. the party with the largest number of MPs.
Until recently, I thought that Labour would probably be the largest party in the Commons after a 2019/2020 general election; now I am unsure. I still think that Labour might beat the Conservatives in terms of numbers of MPs, but the chances must now be close to 50-50.
I now want to lay out my thoughts about Labour’s chances
Just as the Conservative Party has been running out of rank and file members and also (good) ideas for several decades, the Labour Party, though in recent years, under Corbyn, increasing its membership and activist support base, has at the same time been —-what would be the correct term?–laagering or hunkering-down or being concentrated in ever-fewer loyal constituencies. The membership of the Conservatives is still getting older on average (the majority now being over 51, and almost 50% being 65+ years old), whereas the Labour membership is more evenly-aged and far greater in numbers. The Conservatives can muster, at least on paper, about 160,000, whereas Labour has over 500,000 members or registered supporters. All the same, Labour now has 247 MPs, while the Conservative Party has 311.
It is a truth universally acknowledged…that it is better to win 2 constituencies barely than it is to win 1 constituency by a huge majority. That in a nutshell is the problem faced by both major System parties but particularly Labour:
“Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party now has the 10 of safest seats [sic] in the UK, according to a new House of Commons analysis of marginal constituencies…The briefing adds that the number of very safe seats – those won by a margin of over 50 per cent – increased by 21 in 2015 to 37 in June’s election. Labour have all of the top 28.” [The Independent]
Piling up votes in safe seats does nothing, or very little, for a political party under the British “First Past The Post” [FPTP] electoral system. Labour is piling up empty votes. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Labour is now, to a large extent “the party of the blacks and browns” and other ethnic minorities (except Jews). The tendency of the ethnic minorities to huddle in concentrations, whether for historical, economic, cultural or other reasons, has resulted in concentrations of the Labour vote in areas already historically Labour-voting.
Another aspect to the above is the flight of white English people out of areas becoming “diverse” (in reality, changing from white non-diverse to non-white non-diverse), thus concentrating in those “ghetto” constituencies (or particular wards within constituencies) the “ethnic” vote.
Coming to Brexit, Corbyn has managed to sit on the fence so far. More Labour voters voted Remain than voted Leave, but more Labour constituencies voted Leave than voted Remain, another proof of the concentration of the Labour vote.
In one sense, Corbyn’s fence-sitting means that Labour can in theory appeal to both Leave and Remain voters; in practice, it may make Corbyn and so Labour seem undecided and indeed the victim of events, rather than the setter of the agenda.
Beyond all that, though, Labour has a policy message which might appeal to many, if it can be heard: nationalization or more regulation of public utilities and rail transport, curtailment of the excesses in the private-rental housing sector, an end to the demonization, bullying and even quiet killing by neglect of the disabled, sick, unemployed etc.
Even if Labour is the party of “blacks and browns”, that voter bloc, when combined with the votes of public service workers and those dependent on State benefits, must in theory add up to a vote of something like 30%.
Many commentators have said that, after a period of fragmentation, voters are returning to the main two parties. They say that because, in 2017, the main two parties got 89.1% of the popular vote (Conservative Party 48.8%, Labour Party 40.3%). This consolidation, however, was the result of specific factors which no longer apply.
In 2017, the LibDem popular vote slumped further from its post-Con Coalition collapse in 2015: from 7.9% in 2015 to 7.4% in 2017. Likewise, UKIP, having attained 12.6% in 2015, fell back to 1.8% (UKIP contested only 378 seats). In other words, Con and Lab were really the only two games in town in 2017.
The situation today is very different. The LibDems can appeal on several fronts: to Remainers, because the Liberal Democrat Party is the only unalloyed Remain party of any importance; to those who dislike both main System parties; to the “socially liberal” in London and the South of England (mainly). The LibDems are therefore in theory able to draw from the dissatisfied of both Labour and Conservative. It is important to understand that this is not a “LibDem surge”, more a negative vote against the two main System parties and Brexit Party, though also a vote for a clearly pro-EU party, the only one left [in England].
Then we have Brexit Party. Its mere existence, even on 10% or 15% of the nationwide popular vote, means that the Conservative Party can almost certainly not get a Commons majority. If Brexit Party stands (as promised) in 650 seats and gets an average 20%, then Conservative MPs will die like flies as their seats are taken by the LibDems, by Labour and, in a few cases, by Brexit Party itself.
Labour is fighting against the Jewish-Zionist contrived “antisemitism” protest or faked “storm”. That is not too interesting to the general public, but may support a wider narrative about “Corbyn the extremist”, someone supposedly not patriotic, a supporter of radical and in some cases very unpopular causes in the past. There again, there is the public scepticism about whether Corbyn can do the job of Prime Minister. However, it might be said in response that if Boris-idiot can do it, why can Corbyn not do it? That does rather beg the question, though…
Looking at the electoral picture in the round, I think that Labour will be able to mobilize its core vote of maybe 25%, maybe beyond that to 30%. The Conservative vote is tied to Brexit Party. If BP stands in 650 seats and if BP can get 15%, then I cannot see the Conservative Party getting more than about 30%. The LibDems will siphon off quite a few Remainer votes from both Lab and Con; overall that LibDem vote might amount to 15% or even 20%. “Socially-liberal” Jo Swinson is very pro-capitalist and her party might be an option for pro-EU former Conservative voters as well as some pro-EU and anti-Corbyn Labour ones.
The upshot seems to be that any 2019 or early 2020 general election might produce a Commons with Labour as largest party but as many as 60 MPs short of a majority; alternatively, a Conservative bloc far larger than that of Labour but still about 10 short of a majority. In other words, about where things are now.
My conclusion is that Labour might “win” in the sense of becoming the largest party in the Commons, but cannot at present get a majority.
Update, 21 September 2019
This, below, is all too typical of the sort of person now prominent in “Labour” and what is left of the trade unions:
“Riccardo La Torre, firefighter and Eastern Region Secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, branded the coast patrol “despicable” and said: “These have-a-go, racist vigilantes have no place in any kind of enforcement or emergency activities and will only serve to make conditions and tensions worse.”
“These groups claim to be the voice of the working class, but now they want to act as an arm of the authorities by patrolling beaches to apprehend struggling working-class people desperately trying to get to safety.” [https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/far-right-britain-first-beach-patrols-calais-dover-anti-migrant-a9113471.html]
So “Riccardo La Torre” (que?), a regional secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, thinks that migrant invaders from Africa and the Middle East are “working class people, trying to get to safety”?!
From, er, France? There you have in a nutshell, the craziness that is much of “Labour” now. Alien migrant-invaders are “working class people” who should be allowed to occupy the UK at will (and be subsidized too)! Note the fag-end “Marxism”, trying to shoehorn the facts into some 1980s polytechnic back-of-postcard Marxism-Leninism.
Update, 23 September 2019
This creature might well be Home Secretary under a Labour government…