Four late 2019 General Elections
UK: the incomprehensible murk that is British politics grew darker a few weeks back when the opposition parties meekly gave way to Prime Minister Johnson’s desperate demands for an election. His bill went through parliament with no amendments such as voting for 16-17 year olds and for EU citizens living in the UK. It was a cheap surrender of the control they had over Johnson’s minority government and at a time the opinion polls were favourable to Johnson’s Tory party. How so after him having reneged on his core, do-or-die commitment to leave the EU on 31 October? There simply is no real sense to be made of the British political dynamic at the moment.
Something of a mockery of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, 2011 showed up when it was easily circumvented with a bill which the House can decide on a simple majority vote. Whatever the principle of the Act was, it must have been a highly tradeable one because after the parliament that introduced it, Westminster has got nowhere near another full term.
Logic is broken too. Massive objections have been raised all along at the prospect of a second referendum on the basis it could return the same tight, indecisive result as the first one. This election could with equal likelihood return us to a hung, indecisive parliament but no murmur or comment of objection has been uttered. Our recent hung parliament has been abused scathingly by the Tories as blocked, paralysed and dead.
One can only grit one’s teeth and wonder if we will one day rise above the neurosis and schizophrenia and the country return to some version of relative sanity. Maybe there is a sense to be made of it, perhaps the only one that stands any scrutiny. Does any party want to win this election? The grim 2020 prospect for the one that does is taking on the burden of the next phases of Brexit. That agonising drawn out affair is far more likely to make villains than heroes.
Perhaps the only person who is sincere about wanting power is Jeremy Corbyn. But it is widely agreed that his Labour party would have stood a better chance with another leader. One with less dire personal poll ratings; one with a more straightforward position on remaining in the EU. His own parliamentary party hasn’t made a visible effort to replace him. Doesn’t that send a signal they too aren’t keen to take a turn carrying the poison chalice? Brexit has already killed off countless ministers, let alone two Prime Ministers.
Three other elections: they have already taken place in Spain, Portugal and Poland. They will be of little more interest to the British public at the moment than this website’s raison d’être, electoral reform. Nonetheless, they are each worth a quick mention for different reasons.
Spain: it’s a frequent event updating Spanish elections but our revised table will continue to show the April 2019 result for now. This is because the returns from the November event don’t compute with the number of registered voters. Whatever, though, it looks like voter tedium has set in. Turnout has fallen from a very healthy 76% down to either 69% or 65%, depending on which is the verified figure. We hope to be in a position to clarify in due course.
Poland: this election showed a massive increase in turnout, up from 51% to 62%. Such an increase repesents over three million new voters and challenges the level of credibility we can give the official returns from the 2015 election – or this one.
Portugal: turnout was already at a very low level in the 2015 election but has plummeted further to 49%. This is at the same time as a very large increase in voter registration of one million – in other words a 10% increase in the electorate! Without further information it would be guesswork trying to explain the glaring contradiction between voter intention and actual participation.
We hope you will find our update of the EU participation table here of interest:
For a full explanation of the table and its uses CLICK HERE.