Posted on 2nd November 2019

Slane Castle

Order, Order, the Brits are heading for an election.  Boris has got what he desired, Jeremy Corbyn what he has sought to avoid.  The Scottish Nationalists are hoping they are heading towards another referendum, and the rest, including the Lib Dems, are somewhere in the middle.  The campaign had hardly begun before Donald Trump intervenes by calling into Nigel Farage’s Radio Show on LBC urging him to do a deal with Boris.  You might say things have got off to a lively start.  We look on with trepidation, because whether we like it or not, we do have skin in the game as No Deal is still definitely on the table.  In these circumstances, I am very relieved to see the Taoiseach taking a snap election here out of the equation.  Until a clearer picture emerges it is the last thing we need.  Incidentally, in this respect isn’t it ironic to see the abstentionist Sinn Fein targeting Nigel Dodd’s seat, which they wish to take but if they win they will not take up.

Now this brings me straight to the central point.  What is the likely result ?  In one sense you would have thought that this plays into Boris’s hands.  After all both he and his chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, are thought to have wanted to portray this election as the People versus a Remainer Parliament and to a large extent that is true, but it depends how the campaign plays out.  In this sense, they have been clever in already pledging to increase the minimum wage, spend on the NHS, get extra police on the streets.  Get Brexit done and then see all the good things we can do for you.  If they can get this dynamic going they can start to eat into Labour’s heartland and gain those seats they so desperately need to win a majority.

However, it is not going to be plain sailing.  The Tories have lost the charismatic leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson.  Those Scottish seats saved Theresa May at the last election.  This time around God knows where they will go.  Will the Brexit Party split the Leave vote ?  Will Nigel do some kind of a deal with Boris ? Will Jeremy Corbyn reinvigorate himself ? Will Boris commit some terrible gaffe ?  Over a six week campaign, an awful lot can happen.  However, this column likes to stick to its guns and I have already said that I think that Boris is a formidable campaigner.  Jeremy Corbyn would make a disastrous P.M.  As of now the Tories have it.


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