Depending on one’s view-point, December 2019 will be etched into our memories for either good reasons or for bad reasons. For the better or for worse, our divided nation is re-defining it’s future right now, and hopefully getting together in a unified direction. We must all be conscious that it is the children and teenagers, future custodians of the economy, who will inherit the outcomes of the decisions that we as a nation have made through the Brexit Referendum and now this 2019 Election.
The UK election, held on 12th December. Polling stopped at 10pm and within minutes the BBC was predicting a big win for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party based on exit polls. As the actual results came rolling in, the magnitude of the error of judgement from both Labour and Liberal Democrats became shockingly clear. I fell asleep watching the 10pm news and awoke to hear on the radio that the Tories had a majority of 80 seats, putting them firmly in control for another 5 years.
As I’m working for the press at the moment (delivering features to report on the election campaign) I’ve been looking at the analytics in much more detail than I usually do prior to an election , so I was not surprised that the Conservatives came out on-top this time.
What did surprise me about the result was the sheer number of Labour seats lost, particularly across the North and midlands. The Tory Party’s killer line was simple and effective: “Get Brexit done” capturing the mood and the imagination of voters across many labour stronghold constituencies.
Mulling over the stats after the election and the two YouGov charts below stood out to me as highly significant, the numbers speak for themselves. For the record I’d like to see how these compare across the nest 2 elections.
The landslide victory means the UK has now broken the deadlock in Parliament and will be making decisive moves for the next 5 year term. From the media reports, it appears that Corbyn’s strategy was ill-judged as he appears to have lost the trust and confidence of a huge swathe of working-class voters who have switched their allegiance this time round. Ambitions plans from Labour were received as hollow promises and desperation in run-up to the election, for example “free super-fast broadband for all” really did seem like a desperate attempt to win votes and was totally unnecessary.
Liberal Democrats massively under-performed and Jo Swinson, their newly elected leader, resigned the next day having lost in her constituency. Lib Dems were the only party committed to revoke Article 50 and reverse the Brexit process. Their campaign performance was completely off the pace, Swinson did not present well, they were out-manoeuvred by the other parties and did not have the support of the media. Scottish National party did well, winning 48 of the 59 seats in Scotland. There is much talk from the SNP about arranging a second referendum for Scottish independence, but the view is that the Tories will block this move.
So, we are now bracing ourselves to exit from Europe.
By the end of the month, with his new found power-base, Prime Minster Johnson was making it clear that the UK will be holding to the timeline, the two biggest milestones being :
- 31st Jan 2020 – when UK is to leave the EU
- 31st Dec 2020 – when Trade are to be complete
If the Trade Deal is not in place in time then we revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) arrangements. If WTO tariffs are suddenly applied to all goods between the EU and the UK then our customs / borders instantly be clogged up with new checks, balances and documentation. This outcome would challenge co-operation across our boarders with our European neighbours and put a big strain on relationships. This is the ‘cliff-edge’ scenario that nobody want to deal with, where the UK crashes out of the EU in a most undignified way.