With their 2020 counterparts postponed a year due to the COVID crisis, the 2021 local elections have become an unexpected bumper edition of the UK’s usual annual democratic process. With many areas of the UK going to the polls, the elections are important in determining who is running Scotland, Wales, and many cities and council areas across England, and as a major snapshot of the mood of the country.
Many around the Labour leader credit the 2017 General Election manifesto for limiting the scale of Corbyn’s defeat at that election and their strategy for the 2019 election has placed huge stock in the ability of this manifesto to reframe the campaign. This has been matched by the bold claims the party has made for it, describing it as “the most radical, hopeful, people-focused plan in modern times”. There are undoubtedly significant policy announcements here, many of which are likely to be significant whoever wins the election, but Labour strategists will judge its success by the extent that it shifts the election debate. They have sought to achieve this by a dramatic hardening of tone. Corbyn’s rhetoric has always had a clear ‘us versus them’ dimension but his remarks today place considerably more emphasis on confronting ‘them’, going as far as to welcome the ‘hatred’ of the rich and powerful.
This is the election where anything could happen. The Conservative Party has a strong poll lead and are favourites at the bookies, but as we know from past experience, there is a long way to go. Election debates, battle buses, controversies and wall to wall media coverage stand between us and our next government. Remember Theresa May’s disastrous manifesto launch which saw her commanding lead melt away in 2017? There are key moments in every election. In 2015, Ed Miliband lost his battle with a bacon sandwich and with it, his battle for Number 10. In 2010, the “I agree with Nick” debates were a breakthrough for the Lib Dems. Those with longer memories may remember John Prescott’s punch in 2001, or even Jennifer’s ear in 1992. There are 37 days to go. Expect the unexpected.
Like it or not, Boris’s government has given a new life to the Conservative Party. The recent Cabinet appointments, controversial as some may be, have put the Conservatives at a 10-point lead in some polls and it looks like we’re powering full steam ahead for a No Deal exit.
Florence Woodrow sets out a defence of all-female shortlists.
The UK remains in the midst of Brexit uncertainty. Much to the frustration of all sides of the debate, Parliament has been unable to reach a consensus on the best way forward and it is becoming increasingly apparent that a general election may be the only way to break the deadlock. Brexit has widened divisions in the UK and a more representative system is needed to heal the deep wounds in the British psyche.
Over the last four years the government has quietly and successfully delivered a four-year programme built around the UK’s turbulent relationship with continental Europe. Read more
We are often asked by clients what the prospects are of a General Election taking place this year. Politics is becoming increasingly unpredictable these days and anything could happen, but we think it is about 70/30 that there will not be an election. Read more