Why this won’t be a Coronation for Boris

Order comes from chaos, and Brexitland Britain is a petri-dish of disorder and malcontent. The preening hubris of Conservatives about the coming election is worth listening to. But there are reasons to suggest this will not be the coronation that Prince Boris thinks.

As Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy put it: “All I’m predicting is that this isn’t nearly as predictable as everyone who got their predictions wrong before think it is now.”

This General Election will not just be about Brexit, it will unleash a backlog of anger and discontent, and the unelected PM – blind-sided by a cosy media – may be in for a surprise.

Here’s ten reasons to suggest the General Election won’t be as easy as everyone thinks:

1. There’s evidence that pro-Brexit Labour voters in northern England will find it very difficult culturally to vote Conservative. They may vote for the Brexit Party but in doing so they will split the rights vote.

2. The Conservative Party manifesto is being written by Rachel Wolf, a lobbyist for the fracking company Cuadrilla and major internet companies such as Amazon and Facebook. While this raises serious issues about technology, data and the role of lobbyists, perhaps the bigger question is the role of climate change in the General Election. A survey tells us:

54% of people say climate change will affect how they vote

66% agree the climate emergency is the biggest issue facing humankind

63% of people support a Green New Deal

60% think banks should ditch investments in fossil fuels

The Conservative Party have nothing to say about climate change.

3. 2 million people have registered to vote in the last 8 weeks. All of them are invisible to pollsters.

4. All the polling suggest the Conservatives face wipe-out in Scotland. Shorn of their talisman leader, that’s an unlucky 13 less for Boris Johnson. The contempt shown towards Scotland through the Brexit process has accelerated a feeling of repulsion to Johnson’s government and to the Union that will be given an opportunity for expression.

5. The relentless smearing of Jeremy Corbyn has bottomed out. Everything that has been said about Corbyn has been said, every smear has been thrown at him.

6. The Conservatives are terrible at campaigning. This isn’t just about being Theresa May, this is about being a government that imposed austerity and has presided over social devastation. Boris Johnson is a divisive figure that a few years ago no-one would seriously have believed would become Prime Minister. The Tories may try to conduct the entire campaign in contained set-piece events to invited guests and party members, but this is difficult to sustain and the optics are really bad.

7. The pent-up age demographic that cuts across Scottish independence, Brexit and climate change will be a big player as first time voters get a chance to express themselves. They’ll vote Labour in England and SNP in Scotland in huge numbers. The contempt shown to the idea that the vote should be given to 16 and 17 year olds has a resonance beyond those excluded young people.

8. Brexit weariness is a real thing. The Conservatives will try to frame this as a Brexit election but people will also have an eye to the future and how to reconstruct the country after this interminable process grinds to some sort of conclusion.

9. Jeremy Corbyn is a weak leader in charge of a party riven with division and at times seeming incoherent. But Momentum is a real force and Labour are, arguably much better at campaigning than they are at mobilising at Westminster.

10. The Conservatives have sacked dozens of their own party in the past few months and its unclear who will stand as an independent and who will stand as a Tory. Blue on blue friendly fire may take down several key marginals. Despite frantic efforts to bring them back into the fold, this isn’t a Happy Party. Johnson’s Brexit offering is incoherent and his illegal prorogation will be remembered. He’s a reckless and desperate leader who won’t play well on the campaign trail in front of real voters. He’s a proven liar and racist who will become the focus for the campaign from all sides. This is a rogue government seeking a mandate from a divided country with an incoherent message.

 

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  1. Dougie Strang says:

    Sure hope you’re right. At the moment, the glass I’m seeing through is darker!

    1. Well, yes, anythings possible, I could be completely wrong. There’s the possibility that Corbyn gets annihilated and Brexit forces unite. I suppose I’m just saying ts more chaotic and unknown than is being out out there – which I think in itself is part of the process to sow despair.

  2. Neil D says:

    “Everything that has been said about Corbyn has been said, every smear has been thrown at him.”

    Hmm, we’ll see! The next big antisemitism splash can’t be far off. We’ve all seen before what a desperate, cornered Tory / establishment media machine can pull out of the bag.

    1. MBC says:

      I think the anti semitism thing doesn’t play outside London.

      1. Jo says:

        MBC

        On the contrary, it made headlines right across the print and broadcasting media and featured heavily just about everywhere. The fact that most of it wasn’t true seemed irrelevant.

  3. Graham says:

    Just a wee thing to ponder, an election on 12th December will have the results announced on Friday the 13th…

    1. Jo says:

      That occurred to me yesterday.

  4. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    Dear Bella
    I personally would like to have a clearer picture of who Corbyn is, in view of all the acrimony and demonisation. I wish I understood the problem with anti-semitism, which troubles so many so deeply.

    I certainly don’t believe in the ‘hard-left’ nonsense – indeed, would very much like us to follow Occasio-Cortez’s lead in the US and start to talk boldly about socialism, without that being taken up as necessarily supporting the Labour Party. Could we try to do this…?

    1. Jo says:

      You’re unlikely to see that given so many parts of the UK media, particularly the BBC, have been deeply involved in the poisonous crusade against Corbyn, launched, it must be said, by a fifth column within the PLP. The depths this group have been willing to sink to go way beyond the gutter and into the sewers themselves. It has been the worst smear campaign ever seen against a single individual in politics.

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @Mary MacCallum Sullivan, the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn has been analysed by Medialens in several posts, most recently I think:
      The Campaign To Stop Corbyn – Smears, Racism And Censorship
      http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2019/910-the-campaign-to-stop-corbyn-smears-racism-censorship.html

      Al Jazeera uncover reporting in The Lobby also tackles this issue:
      https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/
      and you can check their claims against mainstream sources about what happened when these influences were exposed.

      There are also new-Labour pro-business elements, which may be the 5th column that Jo refers to.

      1. Jo says:

        SD
        Some good links there. Thanks for sharing.

        Yes, the “fifth column” I refer to consists of many Labour MPs who still hanker after the new Labour days and, incredibly, even Blair himself. Even more incredibly they’re led by Watson, Labour’s Deputy Leader, who has breached so many rules himself he should have faced expulsion long before now. These people made it clear they serve other masters. Their tactics have been filthy and began more than four years ago now. They were happier to see Labour lose the 2017 election than to campaign for Corbyn.

        My recollection is that there can be factions in any Party but Watson is the first Deputy Leader in Labour I’ve known who has actively encouraged and fed division. Previous Deputy Leaders Prescott and Beckett worked to maintain unity. They brought sides together. Watson has championed the opposite along with smears that were truly wicked, even plain evil. (A look at the sources of his personal donations gives a few clues as to whose interests he’s all about.)

        The media came on board with the plot, the BBC at the forefront of course, but also Channel 4, Peston and ITV plus the Guardian and at least half a dozen of its opinion writers who were happy to smear Corbyn daily. Plus all the other usual suspects in the press. All in all, a reflection, an ugly one, on what passes for journalism in the UK today.

        Who knows how our corrupt media will behave this time? Ch4N kicked things off immediately after the vote for a General Election by wheeling out Blair to lament over the prospect of Corbyn as PM.

        It’s going to be a long six weeks!

  5. Daniel Raphael says:

    Been busily sharing many of the articles from BC, this one among them, just tagged to my usual core of UK/US comrades. Keep it coming–indeed, we “live in interesting times” (traditional curse, variously attributed). Salud.

  6. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    Although I am not going to vote Labour, I think Corbyn is a better campaigner than many give him credit for.mainly because he actually believes in what he says and comes across to people who are not the ‘meeja Volk’ as pretty sincere. This was obvious in the two Labour Leadership campaigns where the other four were frightened to say anything which was not in the script and which was anodynised to vacuity. In 2017, the mainstream media rarely covered his rallies, meetings and walkabouts, because they believed their own knocking comments about him. No leader of any mainstream party anywhere in the west had received such a volume of unrelieved nasty comments, with Ms Laura Kuenssberg in the van.

    The Tories hope to gain seats in Leave voting constituencies in the north of England which are held by Labour MPs. However, following the 2016 referendum, analyses of voting in such constituencies suggested that most or close to half Labour voters voted Remain. As Mr Small argues many Labour voters in these areas who are Leavers will find it hard to vote Tory, because their part of the country has suffered badly since the days of Mrs Thatcher. I think Mr Corbyn, with his attitude to Europe (and, I believe that he probably did vote Remain), will resonate with many voters. Labour is actually offering something to Leavers. So, I think that Mr Small might be right about the difficulty Tories might have in gaining seats in England.

  7. Josef Ó Luain says:

    A low turn-out can’t be dismissed. Many people may already be alienated from the democratic process due to the glaring amateurism of their elected representatives throughout the whole Brexit process; the tripe and nonsense that we’re all about to be subjected to in the coming six-week period isn’t going to bring those voters back-on-board.

    1. MBC says:

      But there is pent up rage. Three years of purgatory and economic stasis.

  8. SleepingDog says:

    Perhaps the Conservatives are generally more vulnerable to gaffes. After all, they cannot really afford to utter their core ideology in public. The other parties also lack credibility for various reasons, including the whole out-of-touch-increasingly-elitist-possibly-entirely-corrupt look that politicians as a class have gone for. Perhaps many people will be looking for signs, rather than policies, and events will matter more this election than even personalities. I see this because in the past, attempts to manage events might look like a party being organized, in control, even tough (if that played well). Now, attempts to manage events might look like desperation, petty PR in the face of a rolling, escalating crisis, the proverbial rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

    Pressure groups will understand this well, I guess, and there may be many ambushes of politicians with unanswerable questions that most people want the answer to, and that will fall most on the parties in government. It may seem to many that, particularly at Westminster, the public have had little useful politics in return for their taxes and subjection, while the £4bn+ Parliamentary refurbishment looms in the background. Leaks, accusations of criminal behaviour, reports of investigations, suppression of information, declassified documents, war, pestilence, famine, and death could all play their part in the campaign. One great big flood and…?

  9. Derek Henry says:

    I think we are all in for a shock.

    If not this election further down the road.

    Blue started to appear on the Scottish map again and it had nothing to do with Davidson. She got the credit but had nothing at all to do with it.

    Blue started to appear as opposition to Indy and the SNP stance on the EU.

    Zippy could have won those blue votes or Bungle on a bad day.

    I have wanted Indy all my adult life and I will never vote for the SNP. As they hand Scotland to Brussels. Every week ex SNP voters are phoning Nigel Farage. Or they say they are.

    There is more blue to come I’m afraid if not soon certainly in the future.

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      What utter pish. No more to be said really Derek. As for the article another fine piece Mr Small. The tories will probably still win overall but I’m not convinced they will get the strong majority that they think they will. I also can’t see a big swing to Labour either so the outcome will probably still end in more confusion hopefully the SNP can capitalise on

    2. Grant says:

      Well, if the indy voters won’t vote for the most popular indy party at general elections then of course we will see more blue up here.

    3. Wul says:

      Derek says:
      “I have wanted Indy all my adult life and I will never vote for the SNP. As they hand Scotland to Brussels.”

      If a second Scottish independence referendum produced a “Yes” result then (as things stand) Scotland would be an independent nation, out of the UK and out of the EU.

      Both the results that Derek wants, but he “will never vote SNP”, the one party that capable of achieving independence. Go figure.

      Surely the point of independence is that Scotland gets to decide it’s own future; in or out of the EU? Whatever folk vote for.

      And….this just in….An independent Scotland will still have a parliament and democratic elections!! You can vote for whichever party you chose; “The Scottish Scexit Party”, “Scots against EU Rule” or whatever takes your fancy.

      This myth that an independent Scotland will somehow become a permanent SNP dictatorship must surely be a trolling device. The opposite is more likely; the SNP fades and disappears as their cause is achieved and the Scots’ domestic agenda becomes our sole focus.

  10. MBC says:

    An excellent piece of analysis. I agree with this. In England the rage is coming from Remain voters. It’s they who take to the streets. In Tory seats either the LDs will take them or they will reduce the Tory vote, in combination with the Brexit party. Perhaps Corbyn’s equivocation on Brexit will pay off. The really pissed off Labour Leavers in the north will vote Brexit whilst the rest will vote Labour. There is huge pent up rage about austerity and the NHS. One thing you missed out is the impact of a winter election drawing attention to the impact of austerity on the NHS.

    In Scotland Labour and Tories will be all but annihilated. I agree with other commentators that in Scotland we should make this an election about our politics, our Scottish future, not about Brexit where our view is consistent.

    1. Wul says:

      “In England the rage is coming from Remain voters.”

      Hmmm, I’m not so sure. The Remainers are out there publicly demonstrating for sure. But the legions of quiet seethers, behind net curtains, who never normally vote and “don’t believe in politics”, might make the heroic effort of walking to the polling booth to save the Empire one last time. (As they did in September 2014)

      Agree about Tories & Labour in Scotland. Toast.

      ( Corbyn’s offer today sounds quite good though. Maybe those tens of thousands of under 30’s rushing to register for a vote will give him their support?)

      1. Jo says:

        Wul

        Once again our corrupt media is refusing to properly cover the Labour position and just openly ridicule it. As always, the BBC reigns supreme on this although Channel 4 News and ITV News are not far behind.

        Just this week I’ve been jotting down examples. (I know that’s sad but it reassures me that I’m not going bonkers.). Once again today, for example, the Politics Live programme panel is a 3 v 1 set up + Coburn weighing in with her usual arrogance. Clive Lewis’s lament today about the number of UK billionnaires we have is being savaged by Jo Co & Co! The panel are some guy from Onward, that awful blonde woman who won The Apprentice, Michelle Dewberry with the specs , who is considering standing for the Brexit Party and Steve Richards. Laura Parker the Co-ordinator for Momentum, is currently being set upon by Dewberry while Coburn allows it.

        GAH!

  11. Dr P Ciancanelli says:

    Really Cheered me up! Learned a few things I didn’t know and cheered repetition of the few I do!

  12. James Mills says:

    The Tories ( aided by a compliant media ) have convinced themselves that they will win easily . They have obviously forgotten the words of a wise old Tory of another age .
    When asked why his party had suffered an unexpected defeat Harold Macmillan answered sagely ” Events , dear boy , events ! ”

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @James Mills, indeed, and how these events are created and (mis)reported. I wonder which European country will be first to turn off the Internet during elections to prevent fake news slanting results? If this has not already occurred, or on a partial basis. And how would that play out in the electorate?

      1. SJD says:

        I read the other day that Slovakia plans to outlaw opinion polls inside the final 50 days before an election. Probably too much money involved in the polling industry for such a thing to happen here. Certainly begs the question whether polls reflect opinion or do they shape it?

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @SJD, yes, an interesting question, especially with the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system which may usually slow and suppress the emergence of new parties with radically different platforms: and with no polling histories. If there were no opinion polls, would there be less tactical voting?

        2. Jo says:

          What a great idea to outlaw polls. They are nothing but meaningless distractions.

  13. greta macdougal says:

    There is a certain terrifying type of person who the BBC always manages to find. An older, perhaps less well-off, retired person, who says “I want Brexit because I want Britain back to being just Britain again”. This person will vote for Boris because they believe his lies and promises. Due to our unusually large older population this significant demographic group is likely to go out and vote and seems not to care that their decision will not affect their lives.

    Younger people are being ignored and this is their future. Is there a case for giving a “weighting” to the votes of younger people? It sounds weird, but the demographics are taking us all back to the 1950’s.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @greta macdougal, I have just watched an old Avengers episode from 1967 called Death’s Door, about the sabotage (by dastardly Eastern blockers, probably) of a European peace conference held by the UK on establishing a united Europe. Interestingly, the reason given that someone (by implication, viewers) should support the British attempt to achieve this unity is so that small countries will no longer be preyed upon by larger ones. I wonder if that is an alternative, unselfish view that is prevalent in the older demographic, who may have lived through times when larger European countries did prey on smaller ones (although I am not suggesting that such noble intent ever coloured governmental positions).

    2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      You have to ignore ‘vox pops’. They are cynical and mendacious ploys to present their pro-Tory/unionist propaganda through the mouth of someone with the accident of ‘an ordinary person’. Channel 4 always visits Labour constituencies which voted LEAVE and always has someone who says, “I have always voted Labour as everyone else around here does, but this time it’s Boris and I know others who are doing the same. We need to get Brexit done.” A few months back Channel 4 visited Motherwell and the report had three vox pops – two from Tories and one from someone who is anti-independence.

      So, ignore vox pops.

      1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

        Aaargh -Autocorrect!*&%^$!! “Not ‘accident’ ACCENT!!!

  14. Joel says:

    The article has a glaring omission, where is the Lib/Dems and their support among remain, how will Wales fair, they have moved from leave to remain. These are at least 2 spanners in the predictions.

    It also attempts to gloss over the ‘hard’ lead the Conservatives have.

    1. That’s true I havent gone into the impact of the Lib Dems.

      The Tories do have a hard lead but not in all polls and not in all circumstances.

  15. Jo says:

    Jo Coburn on Politics Live has just said that Trump has “broken convention, mildly” by his intervention yesterday. Mildly! Can you believe that?

    Just imagine if Putin had tweeted his approval of Corbyn. The UK media would have gone into meltdown!

    The point is that it’s totally unacceptable for the POTUS to interfere in a UK election!

    This is just another very sinister factor in our politics…our corrupt media and it’s the one I worry most about.

  16. w.b. robertson says:

    Someone called “Jo” keeps blaming everything in the bad world on the bad, bad media. He/She has the vote like everyone else. For her peace of mind, can I suggest she switches off her eyes and ears for the next six weeks and takes up reading Enid Blyton.

    1. Jo says:

      WB Robertson

      The points being made might indeed be repetitive but it doesn’t make them untrue. Besides, some things are worth repeating.

  17. R. Eric Swanepoel says:

    “They may vote for the Brexit Party but in doing so they will split the rights vote.”

    I think you mean they would split the anti-human-rights vote, as Brexiteers, by and large, seem to want to open up the country for pillage by multinationals and ditch various protections… or did you perhaps leave out an apostrophe? 😉

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