Tuesday 18 April 2017

General Election Called for June: Uncle Ken's First Thoughts

Subject to a vote in the Commons tomorrow we will have a general election on the 8th June 2017, a fact which has taken many of us by surprise. My immediate reaction is that the Tories are odds-on to win with an increased majority, Labour are equally certain to remain the official opposition, the Liberal Democrats will win a few seats and the SNP will lose a few.

Labour is now a party which supports Brexit, albeit not the hard version that the Tories now seem to want. Thus, if you are a leftist who voted against the EU last June, a vote for Labour this June makes sense. It is safe to return to the fold, in other words, as Brexit is a done-deal. I have always thought that the eventual agreement that will lead the UK out of the EU would be one that would satisfy nobody very much, but which we can all sort of live with.

In Scotland the Tories are clearly on a roll, and could take a handful of seats off the SNP. The SNP are in a bit of a bind as the country is not just divided along pro and anti European lines but also along pro and anti independence ones as well. This may very well be an election in which some Scottish voters decide to resolve those conundrums by casting their ballots for British parties, and reserving their SNP votes for the Holyrood elections.

Will the people turn out to vote across the UK? There is a feeling across the board that we are all a bit weary of elections, and June comes hard on the heels of May, which is when many of us will be expected to vote in the local elections. All of this comes after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the UK general election in 2015, that was followed by the Scottish general elections in 2016 and then the Brexit vote later the same year.  I am a political enthusiast, but if I am getting weary of it all then God knows how the average punter feels.

We shall see what happens as the campaigns take off. My prediction is based on a reading of the situation today, but there is everything to play for, as there always is in a general election.

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