Mrs May’s Brexit Election Pt 1 – 2-3 June

 2nd June 2017

It is worth taking a look at the BBC’s poll tracker:  “Election 2017 poll tracker: How the parties compare“.  The Conservatives are trending downwards quite dramatically and Labour improving.  One poll has Labour on its highest rating in any poll since 2014.

The London Evening Standard has this: “UK General Election polls: Labour narrows gap again as women and middle-aged voters desert Theresa May“.

  • Before the Tory manifesto raised care costs and scrapped free meals for infants, women were dividing 49-35 for the Conservatives over Labour. Now that gap has closed to 45-44. Among people aged 35-54 there has been an even more dramatic switch.
  • Before the social care row they split 52-34 for the Conservatives. Now they divide 36 for the Conservatives and 46 for Labour. In other words, they have switched sides.
  • Among older voters, aged 55+, satisfaction with May has dropped from 70 to 57, though she is still positive on balance.
  • Satisfaction with Mrs May among all voters is down from 55 to 43 per cent, her lowest ratings to date.

The Torygraph Telegraph has this (based on the same poll): “Jeremy Corbyn approval ratings rise as Theresa May’s popularity hits record low“.

The Conservative Home website has another report from Lord Ashcroft: “Lord Ashcroft: “She called the snap election, and can’t be bothered turning up to it”. My final general election focus groups“.  His Lordship has been sniffing around Wales.  Some of the comments from electors he interviewed are worth reading.  More usefully, YouGov has also been to Wales: “Voting Intention (Wales): Conservatives 35%, Labour 46% (29-31 May)“.

This article in the Spectator is worth reading: “After Theresa May’s missteps, a Corbyn victory is no longer inconceivable“.   The article comes to a damning conclusion: Teresa May has not attempted to sell Conservatism to the public – but to sell herself.

ww-westminsterOne wonders if the Spectator article is a warning to the Wicked Witch.  She called this election.  The Conservative Party tends to have a short way with leaders who do not do well in elections and this was an election she decided to call early rather than seeing out the full term of the Parliament.

According to Reuters: “May’s lead over Labour shrinks to 5 points – Ipsos MORI poll

The Independent has this: “Labour will attempt to form minority government if election ends in hung parliament – The admission from Emily Thornberry – just one week before the election – comes after a polling company’s model suggested Britain could be heading into hung Parliament territory“.  NB: The model is the YouGov model.

We have the first BBC “Leader Debates” this evening.  In reality, this will not be a debate between The Wicked Witch and Jeremy Corbyn, because the Witch has refused to debate with him.  Instead they will appear consecutively and respond to audience questions.

3rd June 2017

The Guardian has this: “Question Time leaders’ special: panel verdict – Theresa May was wooden, Jeremy Corbyn spruced up and emollient. But will this TV showdown actually change anything?”.

Also this: “Finally, the ‘scaremongers’ of Brexit are being proved right – It’s taken a year, but as Britain’s economy slumps and inflation bites, the warnings about the costs of our vote to leave the EU are coming true“.

This article reminds us that the economic consequences of the Brexit vote are beginning to bite.

The Torygraph – Telegraph has this assessment by Charles Moore: “Mrs May is no longer winning the battle for authenticity – Mr Corbyn is” (£).

The Independent has this: “Tories U-turn on plan to build more socially rented council housing – Plan to build genuinely affordable homes ditched by housing minister“.  That is yet another Manifesto U-Turn.

Also this: “Election 2017: Campaigners launch final push to block hard Brexit MPs – Open Britain is targeting thousands of voters through social media and grassroots campaigning in key seats“.

Also this: “Labour ahead of Conservatives in unadjusted poll of voters – Overall result for Ipsos Mori still shows Theresa May ahead by five points – but the gap is narrowing in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour“.

This article suggests that the outcome of the election may depend on the percentage of younger voters who actually turn out to vote.

theresa-may-speechAlso this: “General election poll: Theresa May’s approval ratings plummet as majority of people dissatisfied with her leadership – The findings suggest 50 per cent of people are dissatisfied with the prime minister, while only 43 per cent are satisfied“.

Also this : “Election 2017: How generous of Theresa May to take responsibility for Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit shambles – You should know by now that only Theresa May, and not Jeremy Corbyn, can be trusted not to get the best deal for Britain“.

Also this: “If the polls are right, then it’s all over for Teresa May – and that’s bad for Brexit – Anything less than than a substantially increased Conservative majority will amount to a defeat for Teresa May.  If she fails to achieve it, it is hard to see how her position will be tenable – either as leader of her party, or as head of a government set to steer the bargaining with Brussels“.

Possibly, the best analysis in the broadsheets was this piece by Martin Kettle in the Guardian: “Theresa May is too cowardly to allow the Brexit election we so badly need – Britain is caught in a trap of the prime minister’s making: between a Europe it rejects and an America it should reject. Which is the real ally?

But the Torygraph also has this: “No income tax rises for high earners under Tory government, minister reveals“.  The  person who made this announcement was Tory Grandee, Sir Michael Cathel Fallon KCB, PC, the present Secretary for Defence,  who is standing for re-election in Sevenoaks.

ww-westminster
No tax increases for the rich says the Wicked Witch

This statement will hardly enthuse a State Registered Nurse, or a Care Worker obliged to go to a food bank to feed her children,  now to vote Conservative.  But the policy statement has been defended by Boris Johnson PC, the present Foreign Secretary who is standing for re-election in Uxbridge & South Ruislip and by the Wicked Witch herself.   Whether the statement is true or false why was it necessary to release it right now ?   To encourage the poor to vote Conservative ? Surely not. 

The Evening Standard has this: “General Election polls: The four London Tories under threat as polls surge – At the start of May, five Labour marginals looked at risk. Now four Tories appear to be“.  The article says that its estimates are in part “based on YouGov polling”.

Just before 10 pm the Independent published this: “General Election: Conservative lead over Labour cut to just one point, new poll finds – Survation poll puts two main parties virtually neck and neck“.

Shortly after that the Independent published this: “Keir Starmer reveals details of Labour’s plan for Brexit if they win the election – Exclusive: Sir Keir tells The Independent how his party’s approach differs from Theresa May’s“.

Weekend Reading

The Spectator has this splendid essay by Rod Liddle: “This is the worst Tory election campaign ever – Theresa May has the warmth, wit and oratorical ability of a fridge-freezer. Jeremy Corbyn is doing far better“.

Also this by Tom Goodenough: “Corbyn bursts through 40 per cent in latest Ipsos Mori poll“.

The New Statesman has this: “What’s gone wrong with the Conservative campaign? – Theresa May’s weaknesses and a lack of popular policies have driven the Tories backwards“.

Post Election Scenarios 

Under the UK’s first past the post system, it is not the number of votes cast which determines the outcome of an election, but the numbers of MPs elected for each party.

If one party gets more than half of the total 323 MPs then that party is able to form a government.  If no party gets 323 MPs elected, then the Parliament is “hung”.  In that event, a new government can really only be formed by means of agreements between parties such as a coalition agreement or what is known as a “confidence and supply” agreement.

Here are estimates of the probable distribution of MPs after the election on 8th June.

Seats in the House of Commons  = 650  less Sinn Féin 4 = 646 so  323 +1 = Majority

Party & Last Parliament Nos  Projection – Electoral Calculus Projection – You Gov on 3 June 2017*
Conservative (330) 362 (+ 32) 308 ( – 22)
Labour (229) 213 ( – 16) 261 (+ 32)
Lib Dem (9) 3 ( – 6) 10 (+ 1)
UKIP (1) 0 0
Green (1) 1 1
SNP (54) 50 ( – 4) 47  ( – 7)
Plaid Cymru (3) 3 2 (- 1)
Ulster Unionists (10) 18 18
Other 2 0 2
Majority Con  74 Hung

* These are updated figures posted by YouGov on 3rd June 2017 at 1.21 pm. YouGov says these estimates will be updated daily between now and 8th June.

YouGov’s new Election Centre also seeks to predict the results for each constituency. 

If the Electoral Calculus projection is right, then the Wicked Witch is home and dry.  On the present YouGov projection, there will be a hung parliament.

If the Conservatives fall short of 324 by less than 18 then it might be possible for the Conservatives to continue in government by means of  a coalition or a “confidence and supply” arrangement with the Ulster Unionists.  Likewise, if Labour were to be the largest party but with fewer than 324 MP’s some similar arrangement might be possible with, say, the Liberal Democrats or the SNP.

And if you wish something to reflect on over the week-end:- try the Guardian’s Cartoons.  This one was rather good:

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