Return to Website

Number Watch Web Forum

This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

Forum: Number Watch Web Forum
Start a New Topic 
   Board|Threaded
Author
Comment
View Entire Thread
General Election result

I thought I might as well write a post about the UK General Election result. From the numberwatching point of view, the main observation would be the poor performance of UK opinion pollsters and election forecasters yet again, as described in this blog post from Paul Matthews writing on the "Climate Scepticism" blog:

Election Forecasts

Virtually all the election forecasters in the list predicted that the Conservatives would have a comfortable majority, with an increased majority compared with the 2015 General Election result. The one exception was YouGov, who did predict a hung parliament, but their numbers translated to a Labour-led alliance of several parties possibly forming the next government. The actual result was: Conservatives 318, Labour 262, SNP 35, Lib Dems 12, DUP 10, Others 13. Theoretically 326 seats are needed to win the election, but the Irish Republican party Sinn Fein, who won 7 seats, don't take up their voting rights in the House of Commons (as it means swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen), and so only 322 seats are needed.

The General Election result, and indeed the whole exercise of carrying out a General Election, was I think actually useful for people who want a 'hard Brexit', which I would interpret as leaving the EU Single Market. What the recent General Election did was it forced all the political parties to write down their positions on Brexit in a manifesto rather than just leaving things in an ambiguous state. The Conservative manifesto position was for the UK to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. The Labour position, a bit surprisingly, was that “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union” (page 28 of manifesto) which translates as leaving the Single Market (I suspect Theresa May expected Labour would adopt a 'soft Brexit' position in their manifesto). The advantage of having these positions stated in the manifesto is that it is now more difficult for pro-EU Conservative and Labour MPs, and the generally pro-EU House of Lords, to thwart an exit from the Single Market and the Customs Union. The House of Lords is required by something called the 'Salisbury Doctrine' not to thwart anything which relates to a manifesto commitment.

Most UK news media political commentators were shocked by how well Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party performed in the General Election, but his performance didn't surprise me as much as the commentators (I thought that he might do better than Ed Miliband, but not as well as he did). As a long-time observer of the UK Green movement, I'd say the 'Loony Left' are probably in the strongest position regarding public support that they ever have been, particularly amongst young people under 30. The thing that has really boosted the Loony Left in the 21st Century in my opinion is the lack of challenging of environmentalism by mainstream politicians, particularly Conservative politicians. If you let environmentalism thrive, then you let the Loony Left thrive.

Email