What We've Learned From the Election | Jimmy Allen

I have to admit as the exit poll was announced at 10pm by David Dimbleby on election night my heart immediately sank. Hoping for a healthy Conservative majority, my brain quickly went into Rain Man mode trying to calculate who could possibly form a government with the projected figures. As we have learned in the subsequent days since, it has been anything but easy. 

I wanted to make some conclusions about the general election that didn't focus too much on the already well covered terrible Conservative campaign and the performances of Theresa May. So here below are some observations I have made:

The Conservatives should have given serious consideration to allowing Corbyn form a minority government

It may sound daft but think about the position this would have put Corbyn in. In the immediate aftermath of the exit poll, Corbyn was very bullish and at his own count he called on May to stand down and allow for him to form a government. Labour would be 64 seats short of a majority making life very difficult for the unrealistic programme he was selling to the electorate. The numbers were not on Corbyn's side as you try to figure out how he could even form a 'Progressive Alliance'. The Conservatives would be able to be a pain in the back side for him as an effective opposition derailing much of his plans. In the process this could hand the initiative very much back to the Conservatives.  

The Liberal Democrats should have not ruled out any coalitions, agreements etc

After the impact the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition had on the latter in the 2015 general election I understand why Tim Farron made it clear that no coalitions or agreements would be made between themselves and other parties. However, given their stance on Brexit (or Bregsit as Farron pronounces it) compared to Labour and the Conservatives they would have effectively been potentially king makers in any such agreement which would enable to them to have a real influence on Brexit negotiations and its outcome. 

There are no immediately obvious alternative Conservative leaders out there

Many names are being mooted to replace May but all of them have their downsides:

Boris Johnson – popular in general but not leadership material and vulnerable to gaffes
Michael Gove – liked by some, hated by the rest
Jeremy Hunt – hated by everyone
Amber Rudd – my personal preference, but her wafer slim majority in her seat is a huge issue 
Michael Fallon – respected all round but too dry a character to galvanise more voters
Phillip Hammond – already tarnished and too boring
David Davis – divisive
Sajid Javid – promising figure but too much associated with Cameron and chums

When Ed Miliband stepped down, the name of Dan Jarvis was put forward as a credible replacement which gained much enthusiasm and traction – an unknown backbench MP to the wider world, a former military man and very likeable. The Conservatives need to delve deeper and find someone who fits a similar mould – Tom Tugendhat anyone?

Another general election in the next 12 months is inevitable

Seems to be stating the obvious, but it wouldn't take much for a few conspiring  Conservative rebels or to fallout with the DUP that could see a 'no confidence' vote undermine May and trigger a new election. I expect if this happens sooner than later, Corbyn's continued resurgence to ride home comfortably for a majority. The challenge for Corbyn will be to keep the momentum going the longer another election is kept at bay. 

You really can buy votes with unrealistic policies

Enough has been said about the Conservatives appalling campaign, but they really did not do nearly enough to challenge Labour on the economy and their fiscal policies. The £10 minimum wage, abolishing tuition fees and zero hour contracts are goals we wish we could all achieve, but they are not deliverable. Labour was not challenged enough on how they would pay for these policies and their biggest opposition came from the IFS who savaged their plans. It presented an opportunity for May but she didn't take it. Why didn't we explain why Labour's nationalisation programme was wrong?! The young (especially in places like Canterbury) are attracted to these policies and will happily vote for them, not really knowing they will not be delivered. 

The Conservatives must talk about their strengths in the next election – the economy, taxation, foreign policy, defence…

Seems obvious, right? The economy is always one of the highest priorities of the electorate, so next time lets talk about it and our achievements. 

Next time the Conservatives must offer something to younger voters

How did we expect younger voters to come out in their droves and vote for the Conservatives when Corbyn and chums were promising sweets for free? I am not saying we should be promising to abolish tuition fees or bankrupting businesses to pay for £10 minimum wages. But there must be an effort made to make it clear to the 18-30 group that we are serious about securing their votes. 

The Conservatives cannot allow Corbyn and Labour to control the media narrative again

The 'Dementia Tax' was fatal for May during the campaign. It was a poorly put together policy but the Labour party took full advantage of this mistake by christening it with a derogatory name and keeping it in the headlines. When you boil it down it is not even a tax at all, but Corbyn was able to get away with this. Next time Theresa, perhaps don't discuss the possibility of bringing back hugely unpopular fox hunting. It doesn't really affect anyone but it is a policy that really scratches deep with many people and casts a very negative and upper class light on the party. 

Most of the opinion polls failed again; always listen to John Curtice

If you took the opinion polls to heart on the eve of polling day you would believe that the Tories had a lead of anywhere from 1%-12% points. Survation and YouGov ended up being fairly close to the end result that we should doff our caps to whilst the likes of ICM were left with egg on their faces…again.

And a note for John Curtice. What an impressive man he is, again his exit poll was pretty accurate and he proves to be a delight to listen to on election nights. 

Anti-Corbyn Labour MPs are fickle

From voting in no-confidence motions to leaking against him in the press, the Anti-Corbyn brigade are now smitten with him now he has turned things around for the party. People will remember what these MPs have said and done in the past. 

Labour is just keeping the likes of Canterbury and Kensington warm for the Conservatives to take back again

Great achievements for Labour, but these are not long term Labour seats and are currently on hire.

Finally, Corbyn, Thornberry, McDonnell and McCluskey…

…despite what you say, you didn't "win" the election. You did well, above and beyond what was expected, but you didn't win. 

Jimmy Allen is a writer for Student Voices
What We've Learned From the Election | Jimmy Allen What We've Learned From the Election | Jimmy Allen Reviewed by Student Voices on 09:55 Rating: 5

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