A general election is not the antidote to Westminster chaos

A general election is a turbulent time in UK politics. Thoughts of fiery debates, bright slogan-filled signs and lots of point scoring springs to mind. Unfortunately, we are currently in the most turbulent period in recent British political history and this does not seem the time to let things spiral even more out of control.

With the story changing every day, Theresa May has just managed to forge a deal to postpone Brexit until 31 October 2019. This means political parties are currently gearing up for the EU parliamentary elections unless a deal can be agreed at an earlier date. This further prolonging of the tortuous process has led to calls for a second referendum on exiting the EU and even for a general election. If a general election was to be called, it would be the third since 2015.

That being said, it seems important to weigh up the probable outcomes of a general election. Surely, if a positive and simple outcome seems clear then it is a preferable path to take in the current political climate. Yet, it is evident that there is no such simple outcome.

The Sunday Telegraph reported analysis by Electoral Calculus suggesting the Tories could lose 59 seats in a general election, which would likely leave Labour as the largest party in the Commons, but it really brings no certainty to the process. Whilst the current disunion of the Conservative party and its backbenchers is glaringly obvious, Jeremy Corbyn’s attempts at organising his own party seem no less disastrous. A constant stream of headlines alleging deep-seated antisemitism within the party and the creation of the Independent Group by breakaway MPs has hardly presented an overly reassuring alternative.

To complicate matters even further, the forthcoming European Parliamentary Elections prompted the return of Nigel Farage and the launch of his ‘Brexit party.’ This is an extreme contrast to both a Liberal Democrat party committed to a second referendum and a Labour party who still seem unable to commit to their stance which SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has criticised as “wasting time.” Our party system seems incapable of creating a smoother process.

The picture is undoubtedly bleak and it is natural to look for a simple way out. But unfortunately, it appears a general election is not that miracle. Whilst it is difficult to definitively claim that putting it to the vote would bring a ‘strong and stable’ government under Labour or even an Independent party, in the current climate this seems unlikely.

Looking towards the possibility of a hung parliament, further resignations and power plays, we are seemingly approaching a final defeating blow for an already undermined system.

 

Image: Adrian Pingstone Via Wikipedia Commons

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