Friday, 5th July, 2024 [Day 1572]

So yesterday being Election Day, the whole day was in effect a long wait until a few seconds after 10.00pm when the exit poll predicting the final result was published by all of the media simultaneously. The exit polls are normally very accurate but this year a new methodology was being deployed. Although the percentage of the electorate voting for Party X or Party Y can be forecast with a great deal of accuracy, mapping this onto the actual seats won is a much more complicated exercise. In this particular election, the Labour Party deployed a strategy to particularly good effect which was not to pile up votes in places like the traditional mining areas where extra votes did not mean extra seats. Rather, the strategy was to try to deploy the resources so that that seats were regarded as winnable got more resources. In the event, the model produced quite a good fit between the exit poll and the final result.

But this election was a momentous one. The Labour party have had a lead over the Tories of about 20 percentage points for about a couple of years now and nothing seems to have altered substantially, even over the course of the campaign, So the exit poll suggested a landslide and this is what eventually transpired. Naturally I watched the exit poll and shortly afterwards I was joined by my son and we watched the results unfold until we finally made it to be at just 5.00am this morning, just after the Labour party had actually gained enough seats to be guaranteed for becoming the next government. The end result was a really dramatic win for the Labour Party who gained 412 seats whilst the Tories slumped to 121, having lost 250 seats during the night. What really ‘did’ for the Tories was the fact that the electorate seemed determined to get rid of the Tories at any price. Hence the intervention of the Reform party helped to ensure that Conservative support was drawn away allowing the Labour candidates to flourish. Also, there was a dramatic collapse of the SNP in Scotland who were reduced to a rump of just 9 seats whilst the Liberal Democrats had their best showing for decades coming in with 71 seats. Several very high profile Tories failed to be elected including Grant Shapps, the defence secretary, Penny Mordaunt, Jacob Rees Mogg and Liz Truss but Jeremy Hunt just about survived. I think 12 Cabinet members failed to be elected which was a record in itself.

Having crept into bed at 5.00am. I managed to get about an hour and a half’s sleep under my belt before I got up to start to prepare for the care workers. Then, after breakfast, we pushed Meg down the hill and we had a coffee with our University of Birmingham friend. The it was a case of getting up the hill in time for the carers, a quick meal of fish fingers and we settled down to watch the comings and goings along Downing Street. Immediately after an election, evidently the media interest is focused on which minister is to get which jobs. As expected, most of the shadow cabinet were appointed to the ministries that they had been shadowing for about the last year so this means that they can really hit the ground running. No great surprises have been forthcoming this afternoon but although we see would be cabinet ministers walking the walk to the front door of No. 10, it is only several hours later that the actual names of ministers appointed to individual jobs is released.

The new House of Commons is going to be a very interesting experience for everyone involved. First we might mention that with a really large majority, the possibility arises of all kinds of factions and groupings with the governing party, leaving apart the payroll vote. The payroll vote is generally of the order of about 100 and this means that five sixths of the much reduced Tory party will have a job shadowing the new government. Many of these shadow ministers will be inexperienced and one wonders what kind of job they will make of opposition. On the other hand, the Select Committees will now be dominated by Labour MPs as the select committees are chosen so that they roughly reflect the House of Commons as a whole. So I imagine that several of the investigations that the Select Committees will now undertake may make many of the ‘great and the good’ who come under the scrutiny of a select committee quake in their boots. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage has now, at the eighth attempt, been elected as a Westminster MP and is threatening to do whatever further damage it can to the Tory Party. The Tory party itself is going to have the trauma of selecting yet another leader as Rishi Sunak will only stay on as leader until a successor can be appointed. The mood of the country is rather equivocal because on the one hand there was a massive desire to get rid of the Tories but there is no great love for the Labour Party itself. No doubt, the Labour Party will have a small period of grace but I suspect that goodwill towards the new government will very soon evaporate. The Labour Party, if it is sagacious, will attempt to explain to the electorate what a terrible mess has been bequeathed to them by the outgoing government now that they have had a chance to examine the books in great detail. But almost certainly, the new government will not be able to satisfy the many expectations for a radical change that many people are expecting. The reaction of business and the stock exchange itself will be interesting to observe once the markets fully reopen next Monday but the Labour Party has, so far, done a reasonable job in persuading the business community, that they can make a better job of managing the economy after the damage that ex-Prime Ministers such as Liz Truss managed to achieve. And, of course, how will the new government fare in relationships with the USA particularly is Trump is re-elected?

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *