A shock exit poll has thrashed most pundits’ expectations for this general election – but what if it’s right?
Salvation for Survation. According to the exit polls anyway, which are looking surprisingly good for Labour. Yes, it turns out most people didn’t learn their lesson from 2016, myself included. Although you can point to a gain in seats and vote share for Corbyn as a victory, this is a unique political landscape, so declaring it a success or a failure is a near impossible task either way – as the BBC are now discovering live on air. Strap in for the long-haul lads, it’s Dimbleby time.
Despite the lack of coverage in this election, Brexit is still preying on everyone’s minds. It is the elephant in the room, if you happened to live in a tiny London studio with three other people. Jeremy Corbyn’s lukewarm attitude towards the EU may have convinced some LAB-UKIP voters to swing back to red, instead of jumping over to the Tories. Of course, May has been woeful. I truly believe that only Theresa could have lacked the competence to resoundingly defeat Jeremy Corbyn in what is sure to be her last election, and Corbyn’s almost-impressive campaign cultivation from a handicapped starting position makes him the only person who could have lost an election to the seemingly soulless calamity that is Theresa May.
That being said, expectations are a big thing in politics. Despite the numbers, there is no doubt Theresa May is the big loser tonight. Unless the exit poll is completely wrong, May has failed to increase her majority. Let me say that again, but more excruciatingly for our current Prime Minister if she happens to come across this: Theresa May, who had a lead of over 20 points in the polls a month and a bit ago, who has had the majority of the print press on her side, a much larger budget for advertising and unique voter targeting online, and was up against a man who faced a vote of no confidence from his MPs a year ago, has failed to increase her majority. Right now, liberal lefty luvvies all over the country are experiencing the most satisfying taste of schadenfreude.
We also mustn’t forget that Amber Rudd may be having her own Portillo moment, which in a way is a bit sad. Although I disagree with her vehemently, she seems to be one of the only ministers on the Tory front bench who is competent. On the other hand, I suppose it is more useful for those who don’t want to see a Tory government to have the likes of Fallon and Johnson in, as they don’t seem capable of tying their shoelaces, let alone destroying the country.
According to the exit poll, the Tories, in alliance with the DUP (who would be happy to go in to coalition with the Conservatives), are 4 seats short of a majority. If the polls are slightly off and they end up in majority coalition, the DUP – whilst small in number – are well versed in getting what they want from the Conservative government. Sadly for the Cameronite faction of the Tory party, they tend to be more socially conservative, so the Tories in coalition may continue their lurch to the right.
Labour are not faring much better, with the electoral maths for them to effectively govern complicated enough to make Einstein cry. However, there is no doubt that Corbyn has done incredibly well, albeit from a horrid position that is somewhat of his own making. Of course, he is an ardent Arsenal fan, so a mid-season rut followed by a strong finish that is just short of success is par for the course.
The smaller parties are a mixture. Paul Nuttall has driven UKIP into electoral oblivion, but to be fair he does need to get back to finding a cure for cancer. The Greens appear to have held their seat in Brighton, and the Liberal Democrats have benefited from Tim Farron’s “Archbishop of Banterbury” impression in last week’s debate. The SNP have lost seats, although that was inevitbale given their stonking clean sweep from 2015 and increasing disenchantment with the party after a decade in government. Both the Lib Dems and the SNP are highly unlikely to go in to coalition with the Tories, given their Brexit and Independence differences, respectively. Plus, “not being the Tories” is one of the SNP’s main selling points.
As the results come in, all of this can change. At the time of writing, fourteen seats are accounted for, with vote share in Labour holds swinging towards the Tories, and voters in Conservative holds leaning slightly further towards Labour. Some signs suggest a better showing for the Conservatives than the exit poll predicted, others suggest it’s bang on. Now, all we have to do is sit back, wait and see if Jeremy Corbyn actually memed himself to a sort-of-victory.