So it is time to reveal just how accurate/inaccurate my European Election predictions were. Without further delay here they are:
- Brexit Party 30%
- Lib Dems 25%
- Labour 15%
- Conservative 10%
Final Vote Count
- The Brexit Party Vote share:31.6%
- Liberal Democrat Vote share: 20.3%
- Labour Vote share: 14.1%
- Green Vote share: 12.09%
- Conservative Vote share:9.09%
I have to say that wasn’t that bad at all as the predictions were made two weeks before the final vote. The one thing I clearly didn’t account for was the strength of the Greens vote. However in the following blog post I did address this and what I wrote did appear to chime with what actually happened. Now before I disappear into hubristic self congratulatory smugness I think it is only far to say that one set of predictions doesn’t make anyone anything other than I probably got a bit lucky.
What lessons can be learnt from last night’s vote? I guess the most important one is that there would appear to be very little between Remain and Leave votes in percentage terms. At the moment there would appear to be just the slightest edge in favour of remain but that is all. However, as this whole Brexit mess is based on a similar percentage vote advantage to Leave then this may well prove to be important going forward in some way or another.
The second lesson is that the collapse of the Conservative party will gather pass. Any candidate for the leadership who has the slightest stain on their Brexit soul will be doomed. Only true believers in Brexit will be considered. This actually puts the front runner Boris Johnson in something of a bind. There has always been the whiff of chancer about Boris when it comes to Brexit i.e. he only supported Brexit because he thought it would help him get selected to be the leader of the Conservative party. He doesn’t really believe and was as shocked as anyone when Leave actually one. If the forthcoming Peterborough by election goes badly then I suspect these suspicions about Boris will grow, no doubt fuelled by Michael Gove and Dominic Rabb’s whispering.
Talking about the Peterborough by election the third lesson would be that this is way too close to call. On the face of it this would seem to be somewhat rash thing to say given the result of the European election:
On this result the seat should be taken by The Brexit Party. However, I suspect something much more complicated will take place: Firstly, the Peterborough parliamentary constituency is only 60% of the total voters in Peterborough city council area and so I cannot say how many of the Brexit Party voters might live outside the constituency boundaries. This could have a significant effect or none at all but it is worth taking into account; Secondly, this is a by election just two weeks after a major election and this will no doubt colour the voting decisions of the electorate. Or to put it in a much more blunt way how will the remain voters vote? Again I have no real answer to this as they may well consider that there is a substantive difference between the European elections and the by election. This is a logical position but it is not supported by the history of by elections where all sorts of unexpected results come out. One possible scenario is that it is run along Leave/Remain lines and the remain voters all vote for the Lib/Dems candidate. If this were to happen then the Brexit party’s lead would come under serious strain. Would it be enough? We’ll only find out on the morning of the 7th June 2019.
The final lesson is that both Labour and the Conservative parties are in serious trouble. Clearly the Conservative’s problems are far greater than Labour’s but it would be foolish to downplay the problems that Labour has which can be summed up with two words London and Scotland. In Scotland they were they had a swing against them of almost 17%. The situation in London isn’t anything like as bleak but nonetheless it will make it very difficult for Labour to pick up seats. The best example of this is Barnet which has three very winnable Conservative marginal seats. However, the Lib Dems won the European vote comfortably with Labour in third place. Any hope of forming a Labour government would depend on winning these three seats.
Of course it is fair to say that European election voting patterns don’t map onto a General Election. However, there is one other thing that is unique about Barnet – it has a large Jewish community which will have been following all the problems that the Labour party has had with anti semitic behaviour. In short the European Election results have not made it any easier for Labour to find a pathway to government.
So to sum up: Britain is in a right mess with no easy solutions. Even if we leave the EU on the 31st October 2019 without a withdrawal deal none of the Brexit problems will be resolved. I haven’t got the first clue how we get out of this mess and thankfully I can happily sit on sidelines throwing my two penneth in with the safe knowledge that no one will listen to me and quite frankly that is just as well! Still I did get the results of the European election about right which is something – I think?
If this all depresses you then here is a drawing of an elephant…it makes as much sense as Brexit.