The wrong hung parliament

Nick Hubble

Well, what do you make of that?

A hung parliament and nobody is quite sure why, how or what really happened.

One thing’s for sure. The pound wasn’t happy, falling 2.5%:

Chart showing the 2.5% fall of the poud after UK General Election 2017Source: Yahoo Finance

It’s difficult to make sense of what happened, let alone what the aftermath means for you. Let’s take stock of what was noteworthy and then try and make sense of it.

Hung parliaments and weak majorities are usually a good thing. They slow down politicians and restrict them to policies that are less controversial. But this election is an exception. And not just because Brexit is on the horizon.

We got the wrong sort of hung parliament

The election saw a huge strengthening of the two major parties and a hung parliament in the same vote. Has that happened before? Surely a strengthening of major parties would usually come with a more decisive victory. After all, the reverse is true. Gains by smaller parties increase the likelihood of a hung parliament.

If you take a look at the dramatic surge of the Labour Party in the polling data, you have to conclude that something very big happened early April. Since then, it’s made steady gains. The key date is the day the election was called. From that point on, Labour surged from 25% to almost 37% based on an average of ten polls. In the end, it extended its share of the vote to 40% – 5% better than Tony Blair in 2005.

Was the key decision of the campaign calling an election in the first place?

Maybe. But the Conservative share of polls only tumbled from May, the month, when the other May released her manifesto. That was a well publicised shemozzle.

There must be dozens of alternative theories for what happened out there.

Another interesting possibility is ideology. Jeremy Corbyn was big on ideology while May kept quiet and staked out a more pragmatic and mixed approach. This is odd in the wake of the Brexit referendum, when ideology and symbolism drove the country to a remarkable vote.

May’s failure to properly debate with her opponents seemed to work on everyone but Corbyn. Or perhaps it was simply her bizarre policies that sunk the campaign.

And what happened to the anti-Brexit protest vote? Surely the minor parties should’ve done very well on that. Especially since Labour decided to accept Brexit. This was the Lib Dems’ big opportunity! Instead they evaporated.

Another theory that keeps popping up is all about Ukip. Its voters didn’t turn to the Tories as expected. Although I’ve yet to see any evidence of this, it does explain a part of what happened.

The latest news is that May’s cabinet is going to have to give concessions to both the hard and soft Brexit camps if she wants to remain in power. Brexiteer Michael Gove is in the cabinet and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party is part of the coalition too.

Good luck keeping everyone happy, Theresa.

Until next time,

Nick Hubble,
Capital & Conflict

 

Category: Brexit

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