The 2019 UK Election – a Different Angle.
The 2019 UK election was teed up to enable or not Brexit, the most enormous constitutional change in the lifetimes of UK citizens. 45.79 million people were registered to vote. 33% of them stayed away. As usual in UK general elections, non-voter was the largest electoral bloc.
Only 21.5% voted for Labour, a miserable runners-up result that sends them back to Westminster powerless. They knew the risks, the dire popularity rating of their leader and the ever favourable polls for Johnson. Two points:
a) the exact same percentage share in 2005 gave Labour a 66 seat majority with 720,000 fewer votes. Abandon reason and embrace irony and pain all who pledge alliance with FPTP!
b) this site wrote in 2017 that Labour would have to lose a fourth consecutive election before bringing itself round to supporting PR.
So zero sympathy for Labour from us. There’s every chance they’re still too obstinate to learn. Nor probably do they yet appreciate as four-time losers how close they are to political irrelevance.
Smaller parties than Labour gained altogether 15.9% of the electorate’s support, bouncing back fairly well from a nadir last time. The ‘massive return to two-party politics’ claim made a good soundbite in 2017 but turns out to have been mostly wishful thinking by FPTP shills.
Small party support included 670,000 votes for Leave parties. The winner of the FPTP 2019 round of the lottery was of course the Tory Party with 29.4%. It had morphed itself into the big hitter for the Brexit cause. FPTP 2019 gave it an 80 seat outright majority. But, a passing detail perhaps worth a mention. It attracted only 340,000 more votes compared to 2017 when eight seats short of a majority it had to bung the DUP £1 billion to get it over the line.
The reality we arrive at via these many paths of twisted logic and reason is the one where the UK, total population 67 million, will now be leaving the EU with the express support of 14.64 million of its citizens. Put another way, in the direct context of the ballot, 69.2% of the electorate did not vote to leave the EU. Critics will dispute this as bending the statistics but we won’t let them write off cheaply the suppression of turnout that comes with FPTP. We provide plenty of evidence for that effect elsewhere on this site. Nor can they deny the fact that just among those who voted, a majority of 54% voted against Leave parties.
The only route that Brexit minority had available to force what they wanted through was the FPTP electoral system. The Tory Party knew that and how to hold out at all costs against the second referendum that would have kept us in the EU. An assortment of opposition bench MPs hooked into some baffling belief in a higher moral and political calling and gave the Tories a crucial leg-up. The country has been burrowing away these last four years – meaning England to all intents and purposes – and now the rabbit hole has opened wide.
What’s worse for this website, the last minute manifesto the Tories pasted together – by which time all the signs were it was not going to end up anything less than the largest party – includes their commitment to retaining FPTP. No surprise but it’s on page 48 nestled beside worrying things they’re proposing to do with the constitution. As the drafts were being circulated, the buzz must have been ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’.
So reform of the electoral system should not be ruled out. It’s just that it won’t be in the direction of PR with fair votes, but to make FPTP even less representative of the will of the electorate than it already is. Moves like that are of a sort that should naturally have been expected to flow from a populist, hard-right administration. They will pan out much in keeping with the scenario predicted on this site a few months back. Some of the detail has panned out unexpectedly but the grim generality is primed ready to go. See Part 1 here.
This website, like the opposition parties, probably needs to have a rethink about its own purpose and relevance over the next five or ten years. That’s a subject for another post. For the time being, we invite you to click the link here to check the raw facts of the 2019 election: Chart and Table