Theresa May has announced there will be a General Election on 8th June.
I think the Conservatives will win this one, possibly by a large margin. May has called this election at a very opportune time for her party. Yes, their majority is wafer-thin, and yes there are many divisions within the Tory Party, but compared to the other major parties at the moment the Conservatives seem much better placed. They are already in government, so they are the status quo choice, and, particularly in times of turmoil, the Tories are good at portraying themselves as the safe option. Brexit hasn’t had time to affect most people’s lives yet, and while austerity is biting the Tories can simply promise that Brexit will fix the issues, 52% of the country will apparently believe them.
Labour are in disarray, with divisions far more noticeable than any in the Tory ranks. Corbyn and the PLP are constantly at war, and this snap election has caught them off guard, they simply do not have the time to repair all the damage in their party, even if they unite immediately, which I think is unlikely. In 2020 Labour might have had a chance if they’d gotten their act together, but now they are on track for electoral annihilation. They’re third in the Scottish Parliament, lost a seat to the Conservatives in the North, and may lose more if their voters stay at home or turn to UKIP or the Liberal Democrats.
The Liberal Democrats haven’t yet had time to recover from the stain of being in coalition with the Tories. Although people are already beginning to return to them, and their position as the most pro-EU party will probably gain them a lot of votes, these will likely be spread across the country, not concentrated in the seats they need, meaning they’ll only make small gains. By 2020 the LibDems might have been able to present themselves as a real alternative opposition, although even then they would have struggled. Now, even with Labour crumbling, the LibDems just seem too small to make much impact.
The SNP should come out of this election well. Having won all but three seats in Scotland at the last election, and a potential boost of support after Brexit, they can probably hold almost all those seats, maybe even all of them. By 2020 it’s possible people would have been discontent with the inexperienced SNP MPs (two have already been suspended pending investigations) but in 2017 most simply haven’t had time to create problems. A strong win, even gains, for the SNP here could push Scottish Independence into even starker view.
UKIP have lost their only MP, Douglas Carswell who is currently an independent MP, although both he and party donor Arron Banks have ruled out standing in Clacton for this election. I can’t see UKIP making any more headway in this election than in the last. With Brexit achieved their raison d’être has vanished. By 2020 they could have been complaining about how it wasn’t done right, but it’s a bit early for that now.
I have no real idea what will happen in Northern Ireland, but it will be incredibly important for its future if the vote swings more towards Nationalists or Unionists after Brexit, if the extremes of both groups see a boost it could be a troubling sign of things to come.
Almost certainly a Conservative majority, anywhere from their current size to a hundred seats or more. Whoever wins, dire days are ahead.