That exit poll! What a shock! A big majority for Johnson and the Conservative party? No! Oh please, no!
There was a view that I held, amongst many others, that at the very least we didn’t want to give Boris Johnson a mandate for Brexit or anything else for that matter. So, would we, could we get a hung Parliament? But no, that was not going to happen.
This is a very very significant election. There have been two others: 1945 after the Second World War; and 1979 the beginning of Thatcherism and now this one. This election has given the Conservatives the largest majority since 1987 and it is the worst loss for Labour since 1935.
I shall write a far more academic appraisal of the results in a later piece, but my first thoughts are this was Labour’s election for the taking and yet it was lost. And lost in the Labour stronghold of the north. What does that mean? I think there has to be a huge reckoning within the Labour Party as to what it stands for as so many seats that have been held by Labour for decades and considered the very heart of Labour have been lost. And there has to be an acknowledgement that Brexit is a key factor in Labour’s loss. Unfortunately, people across the UK with the notable exception of Scotland have voted to get Brexit done, and it will get done now – up to a point. It will be interesting to see the state of our leaving in December 2020.
But the reckoning within Labour must be done, as it is the Labour and predominantly working-class leavers who have voted Johnson in. Labour needs to think about who it represents, and what it stands for, and how it will ever get a majority in Parliament ever again with just one Labour seat in Scotland.
And then there needs to be an acknowledgement that Corbyn is absolutely not the leader that the country wants: he is an old-school lefty type who was catapulted into the spotlight, had a brief fling with fame (in his time he could make a good speech) flew too near the sun, but never got a grip on leading his own party let alone the country (geez the stupidity within the Party around antisemitism) and people could see that. So go, Corbyn and quick. And the new leader? Clean that Party up and quick. Do not get bogged down in debating and faffing around. I’d also look at Corbyn’s acolytes – you know who they are – get rid of them.
And another thing: the Labour manifesto was brilliant with so much lovely and wonderful stuff in it. Actually, too much. In contrast, all the Conservatives had in their manifesto was – get Brexit done. And which manifesto did it for the electorate?
My final thoughts are:
- Apologies, I got my predictions so wrong.
- This is a hugely important election: the centre is gone from both the Labour and the Conservatives
- This is a reshaping of the UK and its Parliament
- The union itself though may not continue: Scotland will demand independence and Northern Ireland will have tariffs imposed (you don’t believe that lie, do you) and will look to Ireland. So Scotland will break away first but Northern Ireland won’t be far behind in contemplating a different future.
- Leaving what? A little England and even smaller Wales?
- I don’t feel English. Johnson doesn’t represent me, I am an internationalist and look outwards to Europe and the wider world
- I am so glad I live in a Labour-held seat
Penny Kocher, Friday 13th December, 2019