#GE2019 – What’s next?
With the General Election result now almost confirmed, each party has got some major challenges. Here’s what’s on each of the political parties’ to do lists:
Tories – A small cabinet reshuffle, the Queen’s Speech and the Withdrawal Bill finally passed by the new Parliament, all happening next week. In theory, Brexit Day on 31 January should now be able to be inked into the diary, but what will those pesky hardcore Remoaners do? Just a guess that Gina Miller, Dominic Grieve et al could have a few more legal challenges up their sleeve; maybe a busy few days in January for the Supreme Court? A much larger cabinet reshuffle post-Brexit in February with a realigning of Government departments and then a post-Brexit budget in March, whilst the Government goes into free trade deal mode with the easier, low hanging fruit (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and various Commonwealth countries), all the while turgidly negotiating the tariff for every imported/exported widget with the EU rumbling on slowly in the background. Don’t put too much money on that EU deal by December 2020. The next ‘extension’ debate will rage on in the second half of 2020. A dead cert: the end of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. In question: Heathrow and HS2?
Labour – In fairly recent history, after four General Election defeats, Labour tacked back to the centre and elected Tony Blair as Leader in 1994. How times change. Right now, after another four consecutive defeats, Labour does not look like it is anywhere near such rationality and will continue fighting to keep hard Left. At the end of this Parliament if it runs full term, in the last fifty years Labour will only have been in office for the three Blair terms. After his own two General Election losses and presiding over the worst Labour result since 1935, Jezza has announced his intention to fall on his sword (once John McDonnell allows him). With Tom Watson no more, and thus the Labour’s Deputy Leadership vacant, Jezza is going to stay in post whilst the Corbynites desperately position their chosen woman (Rebecca Long Bailey as Laura Pidcock surprisingly lost her seat), Keir Starmer tries to rally the moderates to his cause, Emily Thornberry possibly cocks up any chance she maybe never had and Jess Phillips makes us all laugh.
Lib Dems – Poor old Jo Swinson. Her inexperienced exuberance led her to junk Remain, go full on Revoke and proclaim she was a candidate for PM. Farage standing down in the 317 previously Tory-held seats was the coup de grace. She ended the campaign more unpopular than Jezza according to Ipsos Mori, which really takes some doing. Overall actually losing a seat on its 2017 performance rather than gaining any and, just to add complete injury to insult, Swinson lost her own seat, cruelly by just 149 votes. But the strategic dilemma for the Lib Dems now is what to do next: become the party of Rejoin (doomed) or chart a more pragmatic course, making the case for the UK to opt back into specific parts of the EU, such as the European Arrest Warrant and even the Single Market itself, becoming the party of ‘Incremental Rejoin’?
SNP – You can normally set your watch by the hourly call for #IndyRef 2. She could have added literally just one more vote in the whole Scottish election and Mrs Kranky would still have called it ‘an overwhelming mandate for Scotland’s freedom’. But a battle royal is set; a strengthened Sturgeon demanding a new referendum against a now strong Boris refusing to budge. That could get increasingly ugly with the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021. More Supreme Court action looms. Could they go ‘full on Catalonia’ and organise their own referendum?
Brexit Party – Dead. But worry not because Our Nige is going to rename it the Reform Party and he’s still got his LBC radio show to fall back on. It’s a shocking fall from grace. BP topped last May’s European election polls at 31% but dropped down to just 2% yesterday.
Change UK – Remember them? Nope. Neither did the electorate.
We have been asked by several clients to give presentations in the New Year on the ‘post General Election political landscape’. If you feel this could be useful for your team, please get in touch.