The inevitable is now official: we are going to have a General Election.
At the fourth time of asking, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for an election was finally passed by Parliament. Now that a no-deal Brexit is all but off the table, Labour finally gave their backing and helped pass the bill, calling for a return to the polls and an ultimate restoration of British democracy.
Election Day will be on Thursday 12th December, the country’s first winter election since 1923. A third election in four years and a first Christmas election in a century are unprecedented for this country, but this is no ordinary era of British politics- far from it.
Johnson’s necessary gamble
While we weren’t due an election for another three years, Boris Johnson had no choice. Following predecessor Theresa May’s 2017 snap election, the Conservatives have a measly majority in Parliament, with 298 Tory MPs in the Commons- 28 short of an overall working majority.
Without this, it’s impossible to pass any laws and bills whatsoever by themselves. They would always require the backing of opposition parties, who would have to overwhelmingly side with the party in power. If Johnson wants to hold any sort of meaningful power, he has to take a gamble to regain his majority in Parliament.
Two years ago, May took a risk to try strengthen her already sufficient majority. It backfired horribly, as she lost her majority and had to enter a coalition with the DUP. It was the beginning of her sad downfall, as she resigned as Prime Minister in May 2019.
The last two Conservative Prime Ministers have tendered their resignation, and Johnson will hope that doesn’t become three by the end of the decade. It’s been a rocky few years in charge for the Tories, with one coalition, two snap elections and three leaders during their nine years at the helm.
While May didn’t need to call for an election, Johnson knows that it is his only chance of survival at 10 Downing Street. The Conservatives need to make a big statement at the polls, making at least a 9.4% gain in Parliament and winning a number of key marginals.
The marginal seats are where this election can be won or lost, with a number of constituencies nationwide having a very slim majority. Winning these marginals is one of Johnson’s key aims, aided by his allegiance with Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party.
The Conservatives simply have to regain their majority, as any other route to power could prove detrimental. A hung parliament and coalition is the last thing the Government want or can have, as that would completely crush any remaining power.
This is Johnson’s chance to truly gain public support, after becoming PM through the hugely anti-democratic Conservative leadership contest. Back in July, just 92,000 Conservative party members elected him into power- just 0.00014% of the nation.
After campaigning to win the support of 160,000 Conservative members four months ago, he now has to do the same with 46 million voters. Johnson has narrowly survived an array of challenges so far, but this will be by far his biggest test so far.
Now or never for Corbyn
This may be the best opportunity for opposition parties to enter the driving seat, whose objective is as simple as ever: take Tory seats. Whether they are Conservative strongholds with MPs not standing again, or marginal seats where a couple hundred votes are all it takes, it’s all about weakening the party in power for their own benefit.
As the opposition party, all eyes will of course be on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. A General Election naturally rested on the opposition party, who ensured there would be no such election until the Government could rule out a no-deal Brexit.
It took time for the Conservatives to concede Brexit defeat, but now that Labour’s demands have been met, it’s time to return to the polls. They have been waiting for this moment for a long time, waiting anxiously in the wings for their chance to come.
Corbyn has been preparing for the “Labour revolution” ever since the Conservatives lost their majority in a hung parliament two years ago. Corbyn’s revolution in 2017 was ground-breaking for the Labour Party, who won their biggest vote share for 16 years.
The radical Labour leader has been building up to his next shot at entering 10 Downing Street and reinstating a Labour government for the first time since the start of the decade. Corbyn has been in the politics for 36 years, and has been in the country’s passenger seat since he took over as Labour leader in 2015.
If Labour are going to return to power for the first time in nine years, it’s now or never. They have made some huge promises alongside their traditional ones regarding higher taxes for the rich, such as free broadband nationwide and raising the minimum wage.
Labour’s bold promises have once again resonated among the young population, who are known to be generally left-wing. Corbyn made a huge gamble in 2017 and it worked, with his youth revolution making Labour a hit with the younger generation. They need to build on that, and early indications show exactly that.
This could be a game-changing election for Labour, who know that this is possibly their best chance to defeat the Conservatives again. Anti-semitism and a Brexit stance have shook the party to its core, but Corbyn needs to show the country why he’s the man to lead them through the Brexit storm.
Whatever happens, this will go down as a historic election. It will be the one that defines the country and its people for decades to come, the ultimate call to democracy in a time of turmoil. Whatever the result is on the morning of Friday 13th December, it will be a moment that will make or break the United Kingdom.