The immediate question is, “why?” There isn’t one answer, and at the headquarters of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and even the Conservatives, heated debates on this question are now happening . But one answer is that this wasn’t such a lot a vote of confidence in Boris Johnson, it had been a vote of no confidence against Jeremy Corbyn
The signs have long been there. In 2015 Corbyn faced a vote of no confidence by his own party, and lost. His response was to try to to nothing. In 2017 Corbyn entered a election , and lost to the robotic Theresa May. His response was to try to to nothing. In 2019 Corbyn faced a national choose the ecu elections, and lost (even losing his own constituency’s seat within the European Parliament, and on his birthday as well). He responded by doing nothing. Two by-elections showed a collapse of support for the Labour Party , and his response was to try to to nothing. Now, Jeremy Corbyn has led the Labour Party to its worst defeat since 1935. His response, for now, is to try to to nothing. Not even resign. This, including Brexit, explains last night’s election result.
Much has been said about the December 2019 election being a Brexit election. And undeniably, Brexit was a serious factor. But despite an excellent deal of dialogue and tentative polls about Remainers now having a much bigger majority than Leavers (and the previous head of YouGov’s disturbing rhetoric in January 2019 about “Crossover Day”, whereupon enough Leave voters had died that a second referendum should be held to return a Remain result), there wasn’t a surge in support for Remain options. the solution to the present is Brexhaustion and therefore the clarity (or lack thereof) of party leaders’ positions on the most important peacetime political issue British have faced since the stirrings of revolution in 1832.
Under Boris Johnson, the Conservatives advocated an “Oven-Ready Brexit”; not such a lot a gourmet a la carte Brexit option but a lukewarm, reheated version of what Theresa May had offered fourfold before. This wasn’t a Remain option, but neither was it a crash-out Hard Brexit option. Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats evolved from calling for a second referendum to easily offering to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit. Nigel Farage’s position of immediately leaving the EU under WTO rules was, at best, vaguely phrased. Jeremy Corbyn’s position has long confused people, until entering the election campaign with a promise of negotiating a magical, perfect affect an irritated and impatient European Union in record time, holding a Leave/Remain second referendum, but not actually taking a side himself and leaving open the bizarre possibility of him negotiating a deal then campaigning against his own deal. Anna Soubry’s Independent Group for Change, which was stillborn to start with, has become as politically relevant as UKIP or the novelty candidates Lord Buckethead, Count Binface, or Mr fish stick . Nigel Farage, now turning into British equivalent of 1 of the USA’s “perennial candidates” who won’t get away , became an irrelevance as Boris took the limelight because the lead figure for Leave, gifting the Brexit Party a net total of zero seats in Parliament despite their success within the European Parliament earlier this year.
Forced to settle on between the Conservative, LibDem, Brexit Party, and Labour options (the SNP’s proposal being irrelevant for many British voters incapable of voting SNP), Johnson’s seems to possess been the smallest amount unpleasant option on the menu. Swinson’s proposal to ignore quite half the electorate and cancel the entire process has failed spectacularly, reflecting widespread concern in Britain over the previous couple of months that this Liberal Democrat proposal was neither liberal, nor democratic. The Lib Dems did not rally the remains of Remain, possibly because British people are simply exhausted by Brexit and need it to finish – a method or the opposite . And Corbyn’s decide to be an “honest broker” favouring neither Remain nor Leave has backfired worse than anyone anticipated.
The nation has been glued to opinion polls throughout the campaign, anxiously and excitedly watching because the Lib Dem and Brexit Party vote share collapsed, while the Conservatives and Labour raced upwards. But hopes or fears of Corbyn achieving an equivalent as in 2017 – of eating into the Conservative majority only enough to cause a hung parliament – did not materialise. 2019 isn’t 2017. The Conservatives are not any longer led by a reluctant Remainer and mediocre politician, but by an admittedly charismatic leader and enthusiastic Leaver. The Brexit Party became irrelevant once their far bigger rival came under Leave leadership. The Lib Dems’ policy was clearly unpopular with many Remainers uncomfortable at the thought of just cancelling the most important democratic decision in British history, no matter their own views. But while the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and Brexit Party all clearly stated their Brexit positions and evolved them, Labour didn’t . The Brexit option offered by Jeremy Corbyn remained more or less an equivalent as his position during the 2016 EU Membership Referendum campaign itself – vague and unclear to everyone.
Labour’s mistake was to border the December 2019 election around domestic issues. Twelve years after the worldwide Financial Crisis and ten years after the beginning of state austerity, Britain is during a shockingly poor condition. Unemployment, growing child poverty, the spread of zero-hours contracts, public services from hospitals to bus routes to police stations being financially eviscerated, intense housing pressure, skyrocketing levels of private debt – all of those are real, and urgent, and Labour was right to draw attention to them. But Labour was wrong to believe that these were more important to British people than Brexit.
For the last three (now, nearly four) years, Brexit has colonised British consciousness to the purpose of complete saturation. Since the start of David Cameron’s referendum campaign in 2016, “Brexit” has been a word which British people are unable to avoid on a day to day . Love them or loathe them, Swinson, Farage, Johnson, and Sturgeon a minimum of had a transparent position on a problem which has not simply dominated British politics, but has been everything of British politics, since 2016. Corbyn’s plan to specialise in domestic issues while treating Brexit as a footnote, was misguided. He wasn’t helped by the poisonous atmosphere of British politics and therefore the polarisation of British population into warring camps who see the opposite as not merely different, but evil. He wasn’t helped by his unclear promises on a second Scottish independence referendum, nor by his commitment to scrapping Britain’s nuclear deterrent, nor by his past associations with groups whose commitment to peace and cooperation is, to mention the smallest amount , highly questionable. He wasn’t helped by a person ifesto which promised an excessive amount of and which was offered by a man whose complete inability to affect the foul anti-Semitism scandal in Labour gave a widespread impression that if Corbyn can’t manage his own party, he can’t manage a whole country. And he certainly wasn’t helped by a broad perception that the Labour Party (even before he took control) has come to represent the London bourgeoisie , instead of British labor . But as 2017 demonstrated, Corbyn a minimum of had the power to muddle through these issues, and within the 2019 campaign his past associations with terrorist groups, or his position on Trident nuclear submarines, was barely mentioned compared to 2017. What felled him in December 2019 was a public lack of trust in him and his Brexit position, and a public desperation for Brexit to finish , a method or the opposite .