Isn’t this fun, a general election, that time in the political schedule when politicians attempt to make out that they are like the rest of us. They wander around the country trying to remember what the price of a pint of milk is, kissing available babies and getting shouted at by the hoi polloi in the streets.
Rather unusually, I felt sorry for our incumbent PM, Frankenstein’s Monster yesterday when he was whisked off to a drowning fish lake in South Yorkshire, a place, far-flung from the Kensington set and the Bullingdon Club (although some of the initiation ceremonies may provide a similar experience). The combination of the PM’s dark suit and last-minute acquired wellington boots gave the multitude of press cameras a glorious photo opportunity.
The PM listened and sympathised with the locals that used to have residences but with little effect. The press suggested the visit hadn’t gone well. Frankenstein’s Monster was able to get back on track with his agenda and managed to answer all of Laura Kuenssberg’s questions with a simple; “We intend to get Brexit done” completely ignoring any reference to his visit to the sunken northern village.
Comrade One, however, was seen launching his campaign at a London arts centre, nowhere near the northern swimming pool, to whoops and cheers by an audience resembling a Bay City Rollers concert. I am not sure anyone fainted, but I think it was a close-run thing. The leader of the previous opposition knows how to make a crowd happy – he ensures that his supporters are hand-picked, a clever tactic for the cameras. His team, however, had made a bit of a blunder over a four day week. Labour sees this policy as a massive vote winner but stresses that it can only be achieved in the future once Labour has been managing the economy efficiently for several years. The issue occurred because the shadow Chancellor said that all workers would benefit from the four day week. However, the shadow Health Secretary stated that the NHS would not be involved. This is specifically significant as the Labour party appear to want to make the election about anything but Brexit. The NHS is one big area that they would like to get into, whereas pretty much all the other parties want it to be all about Brexit.
‘Jo representing the 17.4M Brexiteers’ has made a pact with the Greens and Plaid Cymru to not compete against each other in constituencies so that Brexit is supported. Yet the Liberal Democrats moral high ground appears to have disappeared when it comes to key marginals they may win from Labour. The Lib Dems appear to still be suffering from a hangover from when they allegedly shared power with David Cameron’s Tories, how long that epitaph will linger is anyone’s guess?
Then we have our favourite Brexit leader Mr Farage, who has done a deal to not compete with the Conservatives in constituencies they won in the last parliament – I wonder whether that will include ones where the MP lost the Tory party whip?
The SNP so far appear to have been fairly resilient to internal splits and Brexit questions. Their position is clear, and they even appear to have been able to score a point against Labour on the date of a second Scottish referendum in the event of a Labour government.
So with a number of long-standing Labour MP’s ‘coming out’ and telling everyone to vote Tory (because Comrade One is fit for a senior government position) and prominent Tory MP’s deciding not to stand for parliament as well as some stating that Frankenstein’s Monster isn’t fit to run the country, we have a perfect storm. This means that means none of us has any idea what is going on, what we are voting for or where we are going to end up. I think ‘chaos’ is a word which is perhaps appropriate here, but maybe not quite severe enough.
Where does this leave us as a company? Well, the easy answer is that there is as of yet no change. All options are still on the table. The one definite we know is that if Frankenstein’s Monster is returned with an all-out majority then we are likely to see the implementation of the deal he has negotiated and we will be out of the EU probably at the end of the year with a transition period up until the end of 2020.
If Comrade One wins an outright majority or a coalition majority, then we are likely to see a move towards a renegotiated deal and then a second people’s vote on that revised deal. The timescale on this is being promised as six months but that feels unlikely. Would the EU grant a further extension on these grounds? I think the answer is probably yes, as it would mean there is a real chance of a much closer future relationship or even the opportunity for the UK to return to the EU fold. In this case, we may or may not require customs declarations and would have to wait with further uncertainty until the vote.
There is, of course, the option that the Liberal Democrats gain enough seats to either take power as a consortium with the SNP or at least influence Labour thinking to move them towards a straight second referendum vote on EU membership.
The final option that is probably on par with a Frankenstein Monster win, is an evenly split hung parliament with neither of the two parties being able to control parliament to agree on a single way forward. This again would maintain uncertainty and would make it impossible to plan for a further extended period, with maybe the move towards yet a further general election in the not to distant future.
All in a mix up of possibilities, which if you have an interest in politics provides a fascinating area for future A-Level student questions, but to live through is continuing to be a persistent malignance running through the UK society no matter which side of the fence you sit on.
As per usual I will just have to suggest to you that you prepare as best you can and just watch this space, roll on 12th December!