Election Fever?

So, we’re having a general election. Has Theresa May guaranteed her premiership or made a terrible mistake? I can see why she did it: An election will silence those critics who claim she has no mandate, will avoid her having to fight an election midway through the ‘Brexit’ negotiations, preempts any downturn in the economy, and avoids the problems that the potential prosecution of sitting Tory MPs for election fraud would cause her. All assuming, of course, that the opinion polls hold true and the Tories sweep the board: and we all know how reliable the polls can be…

Indeed, as well as the potential for the polls to be overly optimistic about the Conservatives’ chances, there’s the unresolved issue of dodgy constituency boundaries that favour Labour and the risk that election fatigue could skew the result. Not to mention those Tory voters who are grumbling about the threat to the Pension ‘Triple Lock’ and May’s endorsement of the foreign aid budget, who might refuse to support her: while unlikely to be many in number, they could potentially cost the Tories seats. And, that’s all before we consider the possible effects of tactical voting by Remainers and the probability that many Leave-supporting Labour voters may choose to vote for pro-Remain Labour candidates rather than vote Tory, or abstain, giving Remain candidates a boost.

So, while it’s possible the Prime Minister will come out of the election greatly strengthened, there is a very real chance she will be weakened or even ousted, allowing Remainers to derail or even undo Brexit.

The big problem is that, as so often in UK politics, there isn’t really much choice. With UKIP in disarray and no Socialist alternative for Leave supporters and no time to create one, Leave supporters are left with the stark choice of voting Tory or letting in Remain candidates. Hopefully, there will be enough Labour candidates and independents in seats where the Tories are unlikely to win to offset that problem, but it isn’t certain.

Given the alternative, I can only hope for a Tory win, but the mess that the current electoral system has once more created is only going to get worse. It’s very much a ‘damned whatever you do’ vote for a large number of voters. I hold out little hope of reform, regardless of the outcome.

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