This blog vacillates between diary, micronational political fantasy, and local history, depending on what’s preoccupying me at any given time. More lately it’s been a place to record the historical details of the old defunct farmhouses of Mynachlogddu parish. But this winter I’ve become preoccupied with the forthcoming UK General Election, and (foolishly!) trying to predict the results. Once this is over and I’ve adjusted to inevitable disappointment, I aim to return to the local history. But for now, I’m going to summarise the predictions I’ve made for the results of the general election, by analysing voting patterns from recent decades across all 650 constituencies and trying to weigh the data against prominent issues that have recurred throughout the campaign.
What will happen?
Polling suggests a Conservative victory, and mostly disagrees only on the scale of that result. But aggregated polling has been far enough out in recent years to fail to predict the Conservative majority in 2015 (where it suggested a hung parliament), the EU Referendum result (where it predicted a Remain victory), and the 2017 General Election result (where it predicted a Conservative majority). To get my bias out of the way, I’m a Labour party member since 2017. I’m voting Labour. I want a Labour victory. Ideally a majority; more realistically, perhaps, a minority government in collaboration with other left-wing parties, Greens, Plaid Cymru, SNP – and, if absolutely necessary, the Liberal Democrats. Being realistic, I do not expect to get what I want. And as long as a Labour Majority remains unlikely (and it does; to the point of being almost impossible) I’m hoping the Conservatives fall short of a majority (i.e. that they return fewer than 326 MPs). And my reading of the data suggests they will probably fall just short.
There are many factors at play. It’s not just a case of whose manifesto is the most attractive or credible to voters. Personality is a big factor too; and while neither leader is very popular with the electorate, we’re told that Jeremy Corbyn is especially less popular than his party’s policies – for a combination of factors, including the overwhelmingly negative media coverage by the mostly Conservative-leaning papers, and the ongoing antisemitism scandal which has dogged the Labour party in recent years, and for which he is frequently blamed. More important than any of the above (probably?) is Brexit. The UK voted by a slim majority in 2016 (before the last GE) to leave the EU. This process became known as Brexit, and people have been arguing about how to do it (or whether we even should) ever since. It’s impossible to know just how decisive a factor this is, but the Conservatives, led by Boris Johnson under the instruction of Number One Brexit Fan Dominic Cummings, have put all their eggs in the Brexit basket. In 2017 when Labour did much better than most people predicted (but still lost) both major parties were promising Brexit. This time, the Conservatives are promising to “get Brexit done” – a reductive and misleading slogan which falsely suggests a majority for Johnson will end the issue for good, deliver on the numerous promises of the referendum, and remove the bothersomely divisive issue from public debate. Reductive and misleading though the slogan is, it’s very good, and seems to be doing well for them. Labour’s position is a hard sell by comparison: essentially they’re offering a different Brexit “deal” – a withdrawal agreement that will allow the UK to “leave” the EU but remain closely aligned; which deal would then be put to a public vote where it’s unclear who, if anyone, would campaign in favour of it. A lot more detail could be gone in to, but frankly this preamble is already exponentially bloating, so I’ll break this paragraph and summarise.
Demographic voting patterns are shifting. But how far will they shift? Both major parties enjoyed a big lift in vote share two years ago, when both were promising some sort of Brexit, and when the Conservatives secured most of the (52%) leave vote, while Labour secured most of the remain vote. The Liberal Democrats were squeezed out, and in Scotland the SNP lost some of their momentum, following an almost clean sweep in 2015 (prior to a Scottish independence referendum which they nevertheless narrowly lost). This time the SNP is widely expected to bounce back and take seats from Labour and the Conservatives in Scotland. Most of the rest of the result will depend on three factors, which I will pose as questions:
- Can the Conservatives deliver on the 2017 promise of making significant inroads in the Labour-voting (Leave voting) parts of the North of England? (Since we’re partial, we’ll call this “The Blue Plague”.)
- Will the traditional Labour vote turn out (for an apparently unpopular leader) to allow the party to retain (and perhaps win) key marginals in Wales, London, and the south of England? (“The Red Wedgie”.)
- Will the Liberal Democrats gain any (or many) Tory remain-voting seats in London and the south of England? (“The Yellow Surge”.)
In the event of a hung parliament, what happens next could suddenly depend on the smaller parties: the SNP (in Scotland), the Lib-Dems, Plaid Cymru (in Wales), the Greens, and the Northern Irish Parties (mostly the DUP and possibly the SDLP and the UUP; less so Sinn Feinn as they don’t take their seats). Finally, any independent MPs could hold the balance of power. BUT: if the parliament is hung, it’s only Brexit that’s likely to be addressed. It’s highly unlikely any other major policy plans could be implemented if neither of the major parties achieves a majority.
So we’ll take a look at the voting by region, starting with Wales (because Wales is the best part of the UK) and ending with Northern Ireland (because I’ve never been there and know very little about it). First of all, a brief explanation of the two processes I’ve used to make my predictions.
Data Divination and Noise Reports
Wikipedia is the short answer. Wikipedia and Twitter is the longer one. I hereby make a written note to donate to Wikipedia next time I have some money. Data divination is, as the term suggests, a combination of science and quackery. I look at the results from the last few general elections alongside the profiles of the demographics in each constituency, and consider alongside the issues of the campaign (and who is standing for which party) I try to “divine” from the data where the votes are likely to head this time around. The “noise report” is anything beyond that: polling, local polling, anecdotal evidence, campaigners’ bold claims, who’s been focusing attention where and what sort of reception they’ve been getting. All of this is even less scientific, and only in particular cases will it amend the initial prediction I’ve made after the data divination.
Contrary to even the most optimistic polling, I predict Labour will do well in Wales, gaining many seats and losing few; further cementing their already considerable lead with only a modest upswing (or even a stagnation) of their national vote share. Conservative ambitions will fall short again, and Plaid and the Lib-Dems will be squeezed out by the main parties, even if both enjoy an upswing in vote share, it will not translate to seats. The results could feasibly fall anywhere within the range, as indicated in the left-hand column), but my predictions for seats changing hands in Wales are as follows:
- Labour GAIN Aberconwy from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Ceredigion from Plaid Cymru
- Labour GAIN Monmouth from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Preseli Pembrokeshire from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Vale of Glamorgan from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Wrexham from Labour
1, 5, and 6 seem to me natural results of recent trends with Conservative candidates who have either received negative news coverage lately or have been falling from favour. 5, my home constituency, is one of many seats I predict based on what I perceive to be a misplaced reliance on the sustained enthusiasm for Brexit among a relatively high Leave-voting population. If enough people have become disillusioned, then Labour becomes the “change” vote. And after 9 years of public services being bulldozed, people are ready for change, in one form or another. 2 and 4 are much farther reaches, based on a similar philosophy, and might (on my part) be overreaches; but in spite of Corbyn’s lack of popularity, I think an even greater aversion to Boris Johnson will edge the vote toward Labour in close or marginal seats where Plaid Cymru and the Lib-Dems are mathematically unlikely alternatives: the Red Wedgie I talked about earlier.
This leaves 3 and 7. 7 is the one seat following the Blue Plague model: the Northeast of Wales has more in common with the North of England than South Wales, demographically and politically, I think. If the Tories have a good night, there could be many more Wrexhams. But I think Wrexham at least will fall.
3 is perhaps an even bolder (or more outlandish) call than 2 or 4. I have thrown this in as a wildcard, or a fluke. While Ynys Mon could feasibly go to any one of 3 parties (Labour, Plaid or the Tories) I don’t think it will change hands this time. But complicated voting patterns combined with demographic shifting (and a big student vote) could allow Labour to sneak in through the back door while the Lib-Dems and Plaid are battling it out for one of the UK’s closest marginal seats, where no “Unite to Remain” alliance was agreed between the 2 remain-supporting parties who both see the seat as “their” territory.
I do not think the Brexit party will come close to winning anything.
There’s hardly anything for the Conservatives to win in SW England, because they already own almost all of the seats. This gives them one way to go, if they go anywhere: down. The Lib-Dems could have won 8 seats if they’d concentrated their efforts here and in the SE: but they overestimated the Yellow Surge early on, based on local elections and EU parliament votes, ignoring evidence from all recent (FPTP) UK general elections. Their gains will be slight; but so will anyone else’s. Dick Cole will not become Mebyon Kernow’s first MP (and not for the first time) and the Greens won’t win, because Labour’s manifesto is too green to give them enough oxygen:
- Lib-Dems GAIN St Ives from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Truro and Falmouth from Conservatives
- Independent GAINs East Devon from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport from Labour
- Lib-Dems GAIN Cheltenham from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN South Swindon from Conservatives
1 and 5 are straight-up Yellow Surges, and there may be others (e.g. Tory defector Sarah Wollaston in Totnes, or others in West Dorset, North Devon, North Cornwall…) The Plymouth seat has vacillated in recent years, and the Brexit party presence could squeeze enough Labour leave juice from the Corbyn-sceptic electorate. 2 is a long-shot, and (in my view) the likeliest of the many places where Labour emerged as a close 2nd in 2017 to actually push over the line. A strong green vote (for my MA tutor, funnily enough) could however keep the seat Tory. East Devon’s independent gain for Claire Wright, if it comes to pass, will be one of the stories of the election.
Similarly to the Southwest, the Conservative hegemony in the Southeast is widespread and longstanding. I predict it will be chipped away at in a few, mostly remain-voting areas, but that overall it will hold fast. A true Yellow Surge could see seats like Woking, Wantage, Guildford, Meon Valley, and Raab’s much-rumoured but surely-unlikely Esher and Walton go Lib-Dem; but I see no likelihood of such strong winds of change. Labour have little to gain, and little to lose.
- Conservatives GAIN Buckingham [formerly the Speaker’s seat]
- Labour GAIN Milton Keynes North from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Milton Keynes South from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Hastings and Rye from Conservatives
- Lib-Dems GAIN Lewes from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Portsmouth North from Labour
- Labour GAIN Southampton Itchen from Conservatives
- Lib-Dems GAIN Winchester from Conservatives
I’ve predicted about 100 seat-swaps in this election and the number might be unrealistically high; but all are quite possible. The balance might be tipped in favour of who holds onto their 2017 gains, as opposed to who makes the most new ones. Labour will lose seats to the leave voters switching in the north, so if they don’t manage to push the 2s, 3s, 4s and 7s over the line, it’ll be a rough night, and a Conservative majority is very likely. On the other hand, while 6 seems likely to me, there are a couple of other less likely but possible Tory gains in the South: Labour-held Brighton Kemptown was a bellwether for many years, but it voted strongly to remain in 2016. Lib-Dem held Eastbourne
The Lib-Dems put all their early hopes into hoovering up the Remain vote in London; so much so that they parachuted several high-profile candidates into Con-Lab and Lab-Con marginal constituencies, where their eventual influence seems likeliest to ensure a Brexit-supporting Tory candidate wins by a whisker. The late-campaign FPTP squeeze has seen them row back on some of these ambitions (as well as Jo Swinson’s apparently earnest desire to be PM); but the daft bar-charts claiming the Lib-Dems were the only credible opposition in numerous seats they had no hope of winning had already been printed and distributed, so the eventual London vote has a very wide margin of error. My predictions may prove, from a Labour perspective, overly optimistic. But these are they:
- Conservatives GAIN Brentford and Isleworth from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Carshalton and Wallington from Lib-Dems
- Labour GAIN Chingford and Woodford Green from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Chipping Barnet from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Dagenham and Rainham from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Enfield Southgate from Labour
- Labour GAIN Finchley and Golders Green from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Harrow East from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Hendon from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Putney from Conservatives
- Lib-Dems GAIN Richmond Park from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Uxbridge and South Ruislip from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Wimbledon from Conservatives
If trends were as set as the forecasters like to think, there would be nowhere near this many seat-swaps; and there may not be. But as Bambos Charalambous said (and I might be paraphrasing): “there will be 650 local elections on December 12th”. The results will be half based on Brexit-preference, and half on whether Labour’s radical(ish) anti-austerity manifesto can outshout the antisemitism-themed character-assassination of Jeremy Corbyn; which I should clarify that I do not believe to be either true or even truly felt on the part of the majority of the mud-slingers, or I would not be voting Labour. A combination of factors have led us here. (And let’s not forget he was an IRA-loving, Queen-hating traitor and a terrorist-sympathiser – like the city’s centre-left mayor, according to Zac Goldsmith – last time around.) The Labour party is by no means blameless or guiltless where antisemitism is concerned, having seemingly put party loyalty and woeful cloth-earedness ahead of the concerns of Jews at various points over the last few years. Undoubtedly mistakes have been made, and maybe the leader is guilty of acting too slowly or not apologising quite frequently or readily enough; but those who already despise his politics or unduly or cynically suspect his anti-Israel stance to be a front for something more sinister, were never going to be convinced by his actual words and actions, going back decades, and have been working tirelessly to seek out evidence to build a case against him; while happily ignoring equivalent evidence from without the Labour party. In truth, there has been an ugly upsurge in anti-Jewish conspiracy theories across society in recent years; going hand-in-hand with the general growing nastiness that has been ignored, allowed, and even encouraged, in all quarters. Antisemitism is always there in European society anyway; whether people are conscious of it or acknowledge it or not; it is ever-present in some of the pro-Palestine, anti-capitalist far-left fringes, as well as among the Brexit-embracing anti-globalists, and, or course – always most worryingly – the lurking lunatic far-right. Some of it is blatant and calculated; most (like most other forms of racism) is born of genuine ignorance, though no less worrying for that. Will it have an electoral impact, is the somewhat callous-sounding crux of the matter for the purposes of this blog? Frankly, there are probably far more actual antisemites in the UK than there are Jews, but I doubt either demographic will be voting Labour in any great percentage. The Brexit wing of the Tory party is a much more comfortable home for bigotry, jingoism and other-blaming than Corbyn’s Labour could ever be. That Finchley and Golders Green could go Labour (as I predict) under the circumstances of 2019 might seem impossible, but a complex swathe of allegiance-shifting could see the seat become a three-way marginal and I think Labour might edge it on mathematical grounds, rather than as a moral victory (which it would not be). I think Enfield Southgate (another seat with a significant Jewish community) will be another story, but I might have got it the wrong way around, or indeed entirely wrong. Boris Johnson and Ian Duncan Smith could, and I think will, both lose their seats, as much as a reflection of the UK’s newfound taste for upsetting apple-carts and embracing chaos as for any true political reason.
This far up the country is where the likelihood of Conservative gains from Labour increases, and the reverse decreases, as a general pattern. My caveat to this (and my data divination generally) is that my own bias is likely to lead me to make 50/50 calls in favour of my party. I try not to, but it’s inevitable. So:
- Labour GAIN Telford from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Newcastle-under-Lyme from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Stoke-on-Trent North from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Dudley North from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Walsall South from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN West Bromwich West from Labour
This is mostly Blue Plague stuff. In fact, the whole region (more or less) is leave voting, so it could be even more virulent, if people are still attached to the idea that Brexit is an “opportunity”. Places like Dudley North don’t even seem likely to be marginal next time around.
East of England
I see seats changing hands here, but no major trends. The story in the national context is that the region is as Tory as the south, but most of the Tory bits voted leave anyway, so the handful of swaps (which I think will more or less balance out) will be along Brexit-voting lines:
- Conservatives GAIN Luton North from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Peterborough from Labour
- Lib-Dems GAIN St Albans from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Watford from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Norwich North from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Ipswich from Labour
The wildcard here is that the Lib-Dems could pick up a few more seats (off both parties) in remain-voting places like Cambridge (Labour) and South Cambridgeshire (Conservatives).
Same story as the West Midlands, but with different accents. Mostly Leave-voting, and trends from last time’s (similar but different) election suggest Labour will lose out to the Tories. I’ve actually estimated against Labour in this region, based mostly on the strength of the leave vote in some seats – so we’ll see whether this really is the Brexit election, based on how accurate these are:
- Conservatives GAIN Bolsover from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Derby North from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN High Peak from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Lincoln from Labour
- Labour GAIN Northampton North from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Ashfield from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Bassetlaw from Labour
- Labour GAIN Broxtowe from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Gedling from Labour
The two possible Labour gains are due to particular circumstances in the candidacy: one, a popular former MP (who just happens to share a name with my mother-in-law); the other one where some of the Tory vote might be siphoned away by the defected Tory MP Anna Soubry who is also standing.
Yorkshire & Humber
This place looks like a real kick in the nuts for Labour. I don’t know it well; of the regions thus far discussed, it’s probably my least-well-known. I’ve only really been to Sheffield. There’s the wildcard of the Yorkshire Party running in a few places, and they seem likelier to cost Labour votes than the Tories (like the Greens, and Plaid Cymru, and the SNP) so this could be Labour’s single worst regional showing – but then, they’ve got a lot of seats here to lose. A Tory landslide would see them outdo Labour across the region, and (if the Brexit vote is everything) it’s possible.
- Conservatives GAIN Great Grimsby from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Scunthorpe from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Don Valley from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Penistone and Stockbridge from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Rother Valley from Labour
- Lib-Dems GAIN Sheffield Hallam from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Keighley from Labour
- Labour GAIN Calder Valley from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Colne Valley from Labour
- Lib-Dems GAIN Leeds North West from Labour
- Labour GAIN Pudsey from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Wakefield from Labour
It’s a Blue Plague / Yellow Surge double-whammy! Well, number 6 is Nick Clegg’s old seat, which was unexpectedly won by a tragically unprepared, and probably completely unsuitable, Labour candidate who had a shit time of it and did virtually nothing to represent his constituency. Bad news all round and hard to see them holding that one. The couple of gains would be accompanied by a few more holds, but for the likelihood that the Brexit Party might actually do its job here and offer Brexit-keen former Labour voters a protest vote that will let the Tories in. A lot of this election will hinge on whether that tactic really works. I think it will here, but not everywhere.
The Labour squeeze here could be a lot bigger than I predict; but then again, a lot of the remain areas (of which there actually are some!) are already in Labour hands; and there isn’t quite the glut of leave-centric Labour-held seats that look set to turn. The independent is the new speaker, by the by.
- Conservatives GAIN Crewe and Nantwich from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Weaver Vale from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Barrow and Furness from Labour
- Labour GAIN Altrincham and Sale West from Conservatives
- Conservatives GAIN Bury North from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Bury South from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Blackpool South from Labour
- Independent GAINs Chorley from Labour
There’s a lot here Labour could technically gain, but it doesn’t seem like a likely time for it to happen. There’s a lot more the Tories could gain, and I hope Labour have been campaigning well…
Blue plague likely. Virulence unknown. Not much here for Labour to win and nothing they did even in 1997. Much talk of the “red wall” crumbling. I hope it won’t, but I suspect it might. My own (hopeful) consolation is that I doubt Richard Tice, the great angry hope of the Brexit Party, will be elected by the monkey-hangers (or, Hartlepudlians, if you prefer). We’ll see…
- Conservatives GAIN Bishop Auckland from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Darlington from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN North West Durham from Labour
- Conservatives GAIN Stockton South from Labour
The election could be won or lost in Scotland. If the Tories retain enough of their seats here, a majority is likely. If they gain seats, it’s surely a landslide. The exchange of seats between the SNP and Labour (or the Lib-Dems) is likelier to affect the date of a second independence referendum than anything else, since all three parties are at least open to a remain option in a second referendum. Labour may well lose seats, but I think their manifesto could tempt back some of their (only recently lost) former majority of voters in Scotland. Then again, the Scots might be rightly sick of British politics by now, and might just tell all the unionist parties to sling it.
- SNP GAIN Aberdeen South from Conservatives
- SNP GAIN Gordon from Conservatives
- SNP GAIN Angus from Conservatives
- SNP GAIN Ochil and South Perthshire from Conservatives
- SNP GAIN Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock from Conservatives
- SNP GAIN East Dunbartonshire from Lib-Dems
- SNP GAIN East Renfrewshire from Conservatives
- Lib-Dems GAIN North East Fife from SNP
- Labour GAIN Glasgow Soth West from SNP
- SNP GAIN Moray from Conservatives
- Labour GAIN Airdrie and Shotts from SNP
- Labour GAIN Motherwell and Wishaw from SNP
- SNP GAIN Orkney and Shetland from Lib-Dems
- Labour GAIN Na h-Eileanan an Iar from SNP
- SNP GAIN Rutherglen and Hamilton West from Labour
- SNP GAIN Stirling from Conservatives
If this many seats change hands in Scotland, someone should give me a medal. It seems crazily unlikely, but there are so many marginals, that a lot of action on the night is inevitable. But will there be one clear trend? I think this election is too nuanced and complex for that; but maybe that’s just the kind of delusional myopia one develops after staring at Wikipedia pages of voting patterns for weeks on end. Most of this is a pro-remain, pro-indy swing. Polling has Labour father down than I do (like everywhere else) but I’ll believe that when I see it. Or hopefully not.
Some of the more outlandish predictions here are the Northern Isles going yellow. I mean light yellow. I say yellow for the Lib Dems elsewhere, but in Scotland it becomes apparent that actually, they’re orange. So, yeah: it’s been orange (or Liberal) since 1945. But I’m calling it. SNP gain. If I’m right, I’m Paul the Octopus.
Also: the Outer Hebrides going Labour. This is less crazy in a way, but also more so. It was Labour from the late ’80s to the early ’00s; but has been SNP since, and the recent polls would suggest an upsurge away from its newfound semi-marginal status. But I predict some perhaps unlikely unionist tactical voting from Tories to Labour. There’s also the issue of 1000+ Scottish Christian votes from last time now up for grabs. Now, there are a lot of different types of Christians out there. But if they’re the sort of Christians that read the Bible AND party manifestos, they’ll vote Labour. Finally, I think Jo Swinson will lose her seat, because of how much she’s been on TV and how much people will actually now know about her, and her record in government.
And finally! I’d like to go there one day, but I never have yet. I mean, Scotlandwise I’ve only been to Edinburgh, which probably doesn’t count, but I’ve never been to NI and don’t know much about it. So this is pure, uncut data divination, barely even coloured by noise reports.
- Sinn Fein GAIN Belfast North from DUP
- SDLP GAIN Belfast South from DUP
- SDLP GAIN Foyle from Sinn Fein
- UUP GAIN North Down from Independent
- UUP GAIN South Antrim from DUP
- SDLP GAIN South Down from Sinn Fein
That’s my prediction for Northern Ireland. IDK what difference it’ll make to the UK. SDLP might feasibly join a remain coalition. I don’t think UUP will join a Brexit one, and I don’t even think DUP will now, unless maybe they get another billion off the Tories. Sinn Fein quite reasonably don’t join shit because they want to join the rest of the actual country they’re in.
I mean, the above is basically absolutely guesswork so if I’ve got these right I’m buying a lottery ticket.
I’d like a Labour majority, but I don’t see it. The British (okay, okay, the English) are conservative by majority, by nature – no, by culture. Labour’s manifesto (albeit possibly a bit bloated, possibly a bit scattered) is, for me, the most inspirational political statement of intent of my lifetime. And that says far more about the others than it does about this. I voted green in 2015 because of the austerity-lite and the racist mug. Maybe I was the mug. Maybe we all are. Maybe I’d vote Plaid Cymru if I believed a more co-operative, internationalist, egalitarian world was better attainable that way. But TBH I think it’s just as likely I’d be chucked out the country by an anti-English militia. There are of course valid reasons to support Conservatism or Liberalism and valid reasons to favour Democratic Socialism – at least, I think they are. I’ve always (or I think I have) favoured the latter, if I’ve really thought about it. But I also feel like all the Conservatives I either instinctively like or respect based on what I’ve seen them say have jumped or been shoved. I don’t think Boris Johnson would be a good PM and nor do I think he’s a good man. But I know a lot of people think the same, for different reasons, about Jeremy Corbyn.
I think a lot of people, including a lot of Tory remain-voters, will be voting to “get Brexit done” as much as they are voting for the Conservatives’ manifesto, or against Labour’s manifesto, or against Corbyn, or against antisemitism, or whatever. I am voting against getting Brexit done, because I don’t think Brexit will ever be got done, and I don’t think that’s something to aspire to anyway. But I’m also voting for Labour, for the manifesto, and yes, even for Corbyn, and, in my view at least, against antisemitism, and for a more open, tolerant, equal, and therefore happy society. I’m really voting (or really believe myself to be voting) for a very gradual move toward a way of living that is less focused on wealth extraction and exploitation of people and the environment, toward something more closely resembling mutual dignity.
Personally, it’ll be the easiest vote I’ve ever made; and I say that with a recognition that there is relatively little at stake for me, as I have a nice life, and do not feel personally imminently threatened by much more than some extra taxes, or paperwork. I know therefore that many people do not vote like I do, even if they vote the same way. So, yes, I have absolutely no regrets or doubts about my choice to try to effect a minor change, from Tory to Labour, in an obscure marginal seat in a sparsely populated corner of Wales. Although I reserve the right to change my mind about all this at a later date if or when I realise I’m completely wrong. I’ve been wrong before, so it’ll probably happen again at some point.
Mind you, given the polls, and the fact that even my possibly overly optimistic projections predict absolutely no closure to the questions that raised this election, I might not enjoy the luxury of being able to reflect upon my decision as if it was of any significance whatsoever; or worse yet, the polls might be right, I will not get what I want, so I will go on thinking I was right even if I wasn’t.
A Velky, Landskeria, Mynahclogddu, December 8th, 2019