Follow our live coverage at the Progressive Army as results come in for the United Kingdom general election. We will be joined with the political science professor Colin Mooers at Ryerson University in Toronto.
Our coverage starts on June 8 at 8pm BST (3pm EDT).
This couldn’t have been said any better:
Good night (morning)!
Labour has held Newcastle-Under-Lyme by a majority of precisely 30 votes.
Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP in parliament, has held onto her seat in Brighton Pavilion with a nearly 15,000 vote majority. This is very good news: she is a strong MP and truly shone in the BBC leader’s debate.
With the Labour hold in Southampton, there will now officially be a hung parliament – not enough seats for Tories to get to majority.
Yes, thanks to everyone.
At 69 percent voter turnout, it is the highest since 1997.
We’re winding down here at Progressive Army – going on ten straight hours of coverage. We hope you’ve found it illuminating and enlightening and everything in between.
BBC’s ‘academic expert’ says that people don’t like snap election calls because they fear some bad news in the pipeline. Maybe they just don’t like the old news that the Tories have already delivered.
About 20 seats left to go – the Tories would have to win all of them to get a majority.
Correct that Clegg pays price for disastrous austerity that screwed UK welfare state & penalised students for sins of banks
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) June 9, 2017
Yvette Cooper, a former leadership contender against Jeremy Corbyn, has been reelected in Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
Theresa May’s promise of strong and stable government has turned into a shambles. Brexit negotiations are supposed to start in 10 days (although the EU has said they could extend that), and the election will leave the nation with no idea of who will be attending them. Theresa May as a caretaker? She’d be severely weakened. A new Conservative PM propped up by the DUP? A leadership election takes several months to carry out, unless a quick decision is made like the kind that brought May to power in the first place. A progressive alliance headed by Corbyn? That would take a while to negotiate as well.
Perhaps with Plaid Cymru’s 3 seats and the Greens’ 1 as well…
Just looking back at the latest BBC projections, if Labour managed the support of weakened SNP and Lib-Dems they could come very close to Tories total.
Interesting point on the Sky social media review: if the youth vote did turn out enough to change the result, that makes the social media that much more important now as a shaper of modern elections, to the detriment of traditional print and TV media – which, I would add, were almost uniformly hostile to Corbyn until later in the campaign.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has barely held onto her seat in Hastings and Rye.
The final Survation poll had the Tories on 41% and Labour on 40%. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Based on BBC projections, Labour and Conservatives will both cross the 40% mark. As Kurt mentioned earlier, a first since 1970.
Morning has broken in the UK.
Labour gains Brighton Kemptown with a huge 9,800 vote majority.
Absolutely right, Colin! After the long sleep of deadening, technocratic neoliberalism, ideology is returning to Western politics!
Which tells you a lot about how the majority of voters viewed this election: as a clear Left/Right battle. Everything else seems to have fallen by the wayside.
If both the Conservatives and Labour poll higher than 40%, that would be the first time that happened since 1970.
Your point about the weakening of the SNP is important. If projections hold, Labour would still be short a working majority with SNP and Lib-Dem support. The Tories might be able to form a government along with the reliably reactionary DUP and UUP from Northern Ireland.
Labour has picked up Colne Valley from the Conservatives with a majority of 978. The Ukip vote seems to have gone almost entirely to Labour in this seat.
As incumbents hardly ever lose in the US due to money running the system and the incumbency lock, it’s always refreshing to see big figures be toppled in UK elections.
Scottish independence looks farther away now than it did at the beginning of the night – even if the SNP plays a key role in a hung parliament.
According to the Guardian, there are 20 vulnerable Conservative seats that Labour may be able to capture. Labour are expected to make further gains.
The SNP’s Alex Salmond – the face of the party for so long – has lost his seat to the Conservatives. A big Conservative pick-up there.
So if we look at these results below it seems that Labour has managed to take a portion of the UKIP vote roughly equal to that of the Tories:
Labour: up 8 points
Conservatives: up 7
Lib Dems: down 1
Ukip: down 12
Greens: down 1
Labour has picked up Reading East. The Conservatives have held South Thanet, where the Conservative MP has been charged with electoral offences in the 2015 election.
Yes, that’s true re the 2001 Labour victory. But it was also when Tony Blair was leader and moving the party much further to the right trying to shed any association with the socialist ideas.
Theresa May has arrived at Conservative headquarters in London.
Conservatives have caught up to the Labour party. Both hold 210 seats each. Conservatives are expected to be leading from this point on.
Labour and the Conservatives are both on 41% of the national vote. That’s 4% up for the Conservatives, but a whopping 11% rise for Labour. That may decline somewhat over the course of the evening, but the last time Labour cracked the 40% threshold was 2001.
Tony Blair wrote this in 2015: “If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader, the party won’t just face defeat but annihilation. Stop him before it’s too late.” That didn’t exactly wear well.
Labour takes Canterbury in south held by Tories for 99 years.
Theresa May is heading back to Downing Street. Of course, the question is for how long.
Salam is quite right about Britain’s first-past-the-post system, which favors concentrated votes, instead of votes spread out widely across the country. The SNP in the last election gained 56 seats on 1.4 million votes, while the Greens, with 1.15 million votes, got exactly 1 seat (and Ukip, with 3.8 million votes, also got 1 seat). Patently unfair.
A downside to this election: The results of this election further enforced the problem of the First-Past-The-Post voting system. The situation is not as bad as it is in the United States, but it’s often the case that smaller parties get squeezed in the process as people vote out of fear, not out of choice. It’s detrimental to what a vibrant democracy ought to be.
Not to toot my own horn (but hell, I’m sitting here doing this blog all night, so…), but I wrote this at the beginning of the campaign:
“As for Theresa May, she is clearly banking on playing it safe and
sailing to victory on the back of her large poll lead and the short
campaign season. Already, she has made it clear that she will shield
herself from scrutiny as much as possible, avoiding media questioning and refusing to participate in televised debates.
But playing it safe entails its own risks, as does the unforced
error-producing certainty of having the election in the bag. Already,
the Conservative campaign is off to an uneven start, having suffered the
resignations of May’s communications director and press secretary in the space of a week. Then, on Friday, Chancellor Phillip Hammond ruffled feathers by signaling the Conservatives might walk back their pledge not to raise the income tax, VAT tax, and national insurance rates.”
Leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttal, fails to win seat. RIP.
Labour gains Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill from the SNP.
Exit polls adjusted:
Lib Dem: 11
326 needed for majority.
Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, held his seat. He’s one of the few Lib Dems left.
Theresa May: It is incumbent on Conservatives to provide stability; suggesting that she is accepting that it will not be a majority government.
May begins by thanking the local staff and police, and to those who have supported her again. She pledges to continue to work for all of her constituents. Returns are still coming in, but this country needs a period of stability. If the Conservatives have won the most seats, then it is incumbent on them to ensure that stability (oh, the irony!). She lays out the issues she thought were important in the campaign. For the third time, she says the country needs stability. And she’s done, then slips right out the back door.
Here’s Corbyn’s acceptance speech
May holds her seat with a majority of 26,457.
Theresa May is on stage for her count in Maidenhead. Not smiling.
Corbyn called for May to resign. I suspect some in her party will be too.
Nineteen Labour seat gains so far, spread around the country. Its current vote share is 41.3%, to the Tories’ 40.9%.
How can Theresa May remain? She made this election all about her. In that sense, she dug her own political grave.
He begins by praising local staff and police for their work in the London attack on Saturday. He pledges to continue to learn from his constituents as well as represent them. He thanks his family, the Labour Party and the constituency office. This is the largest turnout in Islington since 1951, he notes. He then goes on to note that Theresa May called this election to assert her authority, but that politics has changed, and it’s not going back into the box of before. People have had enough of austerity, he says, and he is proud of the campaign the party has run. People are voting for hope and turning their backs on austerity. The PM called the election because she wanted a mandate – and the mandate is lost Conservative seats, lost votes. He calls on her to resign.
Corbyn is making his acceptance speech now.
Where the Conservatives were bald with their manifesto, Labour went bold, returning the party to its social-democratic roots with a popular set of
proposals anchored by a clear philosophy. Several of them would be
familiar to Bernie Sanders supporters: an immediate end to student
tuition fees, for example, a ban on fracking, and the expansion of
banking services by establishing post-office banks. But Labour goes much
further, promising to bring the trains, post office, water, and
electricity back under public control, establish a national investment
bank in each region to do what banks should be doing – loaning instead
of speculating – strengthen collective bargaining and the National
Health Service, eliminate homelessness, attain 60% renewable energy by
2030, build 100,000 affordable public-housing units a year, introduce
free school lunches and an arts pupil premium to allow children to study
music, fund lifelong learning for adults, extend maternity leave to one
year, provide free childcare for two-to-four-year-olds, lower the
voting age to 16, cap private-rental price rises, recognize the state of
Palestine, and cease arms sales to human-rights abusers. All of this is
to be paid for by raising taxes on the top 5% and corporations and by
reversing inheritance and capital-gains tax cuts – unlike the
Conservative manifesto, Labour’s is fully costed.
Corbyn is on stage to receive his result in Islington North. A massive majority there.
The biggest win in the election, in my opinion, is that progressive ideas are no longer seen as too radical, but rational and plausible policies that can benefit the 99%.
Ukip loses its one seat of Clacton to the Conservatives by a massive margin.
One explanation regarding the Tory vote in Scotland. There are areas like in Moray which saw big loss for SNP Deputy Leader Angus Robertson to Tories, which were pro-Brexit and are strongly anti-independence. This is a fishing area where fisher folk have been very opposed to EU fishing quotas.
Ben Gummer lost his seat in Ipswich to Labour. He helped write the disastrous Conservative manifesto. Fitting.
Vince Cable gained his old seat of Twickenham from the Conservatives. A rare Lib Dem gain tonight.
Ed Miliband hold his seat in Doncaster North.
Theresa May entered into her constituency building at top speed and quickly marched upstairs away from the press. Story of her campaign.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson holds his seat, despite a large swing to Labour, leaving him now free to knife Theresa May in the back.
Labour has TAKEN Sheffield Hallam, knocking off former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats. Considering the massive youth turnout today, this is a particularly sweet victory, as it was the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition that tripled tuition fees after Clegg promised not to.
Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor who lost his seat in 2015, is now saying Corbyn and McDonnell should have done better, considering May’s poor campaign. Took about moving goalposts.
It is interesting that so far Labour is showing strongly in areas which voted Remain in the Brexit vote and the Tories slightly better in areas which were Leave. But this is being overwhelmed by younger voters moving to Labour. Bigly.
Labour gains High Peak.
Zoe Smith on ITV is saying that people in 2015 didn’t expect politicians to be genuine, so Ed Milliband was right to be wooden. This is why the elite liberalism of the Guardian doesn’t understand the genuineness of Corbyn – and never will.
Labour wins Hartlepool by taking UKIP vote.
Theresa May is leaving her home, presumably to go to her constituency result. That’s going to be a tough stage to stand on. Will she even last the day tomorrow?
Labour gains Midlothian from the SNP with a majority of 885.
The irony is that it is Jeremy Corbyn that has saved countless seats of the same MPs who knifed him repeatedely in the back. Beyond the pro forma congratulations they’ll give him tonight, don’t expect them to show any gratitude.
Another Conservative pick-up in Scotland. Why are the Scots bailing out the Tories tonight? Angus Robertson, the SNP deputy leader, has lost his seat.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is saying that Labour will form a government “at the first opportunity.”
Exit polls updated. Conservatives numbers improve slightly.
Liberal Democrats: 13
Jeremy Corbyn is arriving at his count in Islington North. One of the characteristics of British politics is that all politicians, whoever they are, take the stage to receive the result of their constituency.
I think we have to wait to see how the government will fold. Conservatives may be able to form a coalition. But regardless, Corbyn outperformed his critics, and that makes him a winner.
Yet again, UK pollsters have egg on their faces: as Salam noted below, only one, YouGov, predicted a hung parliament. All others predicted a Tory majority of various sizes.
Whoa! The Independent are calling Corbyn winner.
Jeremy Corbyn has emerged from his house and gotten into a waiting car to chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!”
Labour picks up the “classic marginal” of Bury North from the Tories.
Said Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow: presciently:
Twice now the TORIES have put party before country – first the Referendum and then this unnecessary election. It may have a cost….
— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) June 8, 2017
And Battersea, defeating Tory minister Jane Ellison.
Labour takes Shipley from the Tories.
Labour has taken Battersea, in south London, from the Conservatives by some 2,500 votes. A big, big gain here.
And now, from the sublime to the ridiculous: Boris Johnson is now, according to Tory insiders, ‘sharpening his knife’ for a challenge to Theresa May’s leadership.
Labour has gained in Stockton South, scooping up enough of the UKIP vote to swing the seat.
But above and beyond May’s North-Korea style approach to campaigning, the Conservatives’ major misstep came with the launch of their manifesto. The manifesto proposes to end the so-called “triple lock,” which guarantees pension benefits rise by a
certain percentage every year, and to means-test the winter-fuel allowance, replacing the universal benefit with a complicated application system that would virtually ensure that it would reach far fewer people. But the biggest of the whammies is what has come to be
known as the “dementia tax,” which would allow the state to charge an individual for long-term care by raiding his or her home equity. This had led to widespread fears that people could lose their homes – or, at the very least, have little to nothing to leave to their children – if they were to commit the sin of living too long. After widespread protests, May walked back the proposal four days later in a catastrophic press conference and follow-up interview. Or maybe she didn’t. Nothing was clear except her insistence that she was being very clear about it.
The Conservatives have gained Angus, in Scotland, from the SNP.
The Education Secretary Justine Greening barely holds her seat in Putney.
Labour has gained Vale of Clwyd in Wales from the Conservatives.
A visual rendering of media bias in this election, thanks to Loughborough University:
What is interesting in all of this is that despite May’s last ditch attempts to use to recent terrorist attacks to Tory advantage by scaremongering about immigration levels, she seems to have failed miserably.
Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson has held West Bromwich. “Theresa May,” he says, “is a damaged prime minister whose reputation may never recover.”
Theresa May ran a campaign so cloistered that it could practically have been carried out by a stunt double, ruling out debates, answering minimum press questions
with pre-prepared soundbites, and holding tightly controlled,invitation-only events filled only with party supporters. Indeed, her attempts to stage-manage events spilled over into the Pythonesque regions of bizarre. On one campaign Saturday, she held an event in rural Scotland at a site so remote that there wasn’t even internet access, booking the event as a child’s birthday party in order to avoid locals finding out. At another, it emerged that May’s team was attempting to get reporters to give up their questions in advance. At a factory in Cornwall, members of the media were locked into a room to avoid their covering her visit. And in Bristol, she visited a social club at a housing estate – except that the residents of the estate were not invited. It got to the point where even establishment-friendly Sky News complained openly about being frozen out of access to the Prime Minister and her team. Not that anybody had much in the way of access: with rare exceptions, May’s entire cabinet went into virtual seclusion during the campaign.
Rumors afoot that Tories have given up on majority. Wise.
Labour holds Tooting, with their vote up 12.4% and the Tory vote down 8.8%. Marginal no more, at least for now. An example of Labour’s London strength tonight.
Speaking earlier of Tory thieves: now Labour right-wingers are boasting about the renewal of social democracy and all the wonderful young Corbynites — on whom the heaped scorn not a few days ago.
Speaking of polls, only one pollster predicted a hung parliament by polling over 50,000 potential voters. That’s YouGov, which also gave the Leave campaign the lead the entire time during the campaign. I think that data scientists will reflect on the YouGov methodology.
After the Labour wipeout in Scotland in 2015, it was largely assumed that Labour was finished in Scotland for years, maybe decades. Looks like the Labour clawback is beginning in short order.
Labour’s first gain of the night comes not from the Tories, but the SNP: in Rutherglen and Hamilton West. And the crowd goes wild!
This from Guardian: We have had 15 results in so far.
Labour have won 10 seats, and their share of the vote is up 9.2%.
And the Tories have won five seats. Their share of the vote is up 7.6%.
That is equivalent to a 0.8% swing from the Tories to Labour.
The Ukip share of the vote is down 13.5%, the Greens down 2.1% and the Lib Dems are down 1%.
Labour holds the marginal seat of Wrexham. Another Tory target missed.
Tomorrow’s headlines: “May’s big gamble fails.” – The Times. “Shock for May” -The Telegraph (also known as the Torygraph). “Mayhem” – the Sun
I was just reading the tweets of the political editor of ITV making a few valid points: young have gone to Labour, old to Tories; ‘left’ now firmly in control of Labour (which should be a tautology); Theresa May may be finsished. And then he bemoans that Britain will now be seen as divided and unstable. What does he expect in a country where class inequality has become unprecedented?
Labour set to do very, very well in London and Wales, and make surprising gains in the south. The Tories expect to gain seats in Scotland.
Good news up for Labour in London: seats like Battersea and Kensington are set to fall to the red tide in the capital.
Just a reminder that we have 634 results to go, so load up on snacks and alcohol.
Conservative hold in Basildon South. The Conservatives increased their majority here, so a more expected transfer of UKIP-to-Tory votes appeared to have happened here.
If there is the hungest of hung parliaments, is another general election in the cards within the year for this election-weary nation (Scottish referendum 2014, General Election 2015, Brexit referendum 2016, General Election 2017)? A far, far cry from the “strong and stable leadership” soundbite May repeated like a robot throughout the campaign.
One bizarre contest to watch may be the contest in Kensington, London which is a haven of the wealthy and super-wealthy. Apparently, wealthy grand parents may be leaning toward Corbyn for his promise to abolish university tuition fees. They have grandchildren.
Labour has held Darlington, one of the major Tory targets in the north. This is the clearest evidence so far that the exit poll was not off.
Results are coming in more quickly now, so we can’t report them all individually. But the current score is 11-5 in Labour’s favor, all holds.
Rumors are that a recount is being held in Hastings, Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s seat. Rudd was sent to the BBC Leader’s Debate instead of Theresa May, who decided not to attend. Probably revisiting that decision now.
And thieves fall out: George Osbourne, former Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Theresa May:
“If the poll is anything like accurate, this is completely catastrophic for the Conservatives and for Theresa May.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell on ITV is comparing this election to 1974, when Ted Heath called a snap election and lost. In this case, May called a snap election after saying 7 times she wouldn’t, putting, in McDonnell’s words, “party over country.”
The Conservatives hold Broxbourne, but Labour is up 10% (the Conservatives are up 6%). Labour is doing surprisingly well in the south, Tory territory.
American readers will be very familiar with the phenomenon of UK media consolidation: taking into account Rupert Murdoch (owner of The Times and The Sun), Russian oligarchs (owners of The Independent and The Evening Standard), assorted wealthy families (The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail), and even the former head of a soft-porn empire (The Daily Express and Daily Star), the British print media is overwhelmingly right-wing. Here is a taste of what Corbyn has had to face from the tabloid press:
The Conservatives hold the seats of Kettering and Nuneaton, making it 6-3. In Kettering, though, there was a 5% swing to Labour.
Lucy Powell is not alone. A number of Labour marginals have been saying the exit polls cannot hold. We’ll soon see.
Labour holds Newcastle North. 6-1. All holds so far.
Amusing watching Labour MPs who voted against Corbyn in a vote of confidence – for example, Lucy Powell, who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet with a scathing letter than stated: “I do not have the confidence that you can bring the party together, lead us to a general election and be an effective opposition.” Now she’s just been on Sky praising his campaign.
Filmmaker Ken Loach on Sky News just stated that, if segments of the Labour Party – as exemplified by the Blairite Peter Mandelson, who openly declared that he tried to do something every day to undermine Corbyn – had not been openly sabotaging him for two years, Labour would have won outright. Shades of the DNC against Bernie…
Labour’s Emily Thornberry confirmed that they will not form a formal coalition. There will be “no deals,” if the exit polls are correct. Labour would seek the confidence of other parties.
Labour holds Washington and Sunderland West. 5-1 so far. Early going.
The standard received wisdom at the outset of this election was that voters from UKIP – The UK Independence Party – would fold into the Conservatives now that Brexit had been won, and considering Theresa May’s new-found hardness on the issue (she was originally a remainer). But that does not appear to be the whole story. It is to be recalled, like blue-collar Trump voters in the US, that UKIP voters are not ideological small-government conservatives, and could very well be won over by a progressive populist message like the one offered by Jeremy Corbyn.
This tweet is going to haunt Theresa May.
The Conservatives get their first win, the safe seat of Swindon North. The Labour vote, however, was up nearly 11%.
Labour holds Newcastle upon Tyne East with a 7.2% swing to Labour. Labour scooped up Greens, Lib Dems, and some Ukipers. More on Ukip in a moment.
Labour holds Sunderland Central. So it’s 3-0 Labour. No surprises so far.
Yes, a British Columbia scenario is entirely possible. If May is close enough in seats she will try to form an alliance with the right wing parties from Northern Ireland, the UUP and the DUP. But Labour will be in a stronger position so far as alliances go with SNP, Lib-Dems, Greens and Welsh party.
After Manchester, Corbyn gave a remarkable speech where, after stating that terrorism must of course be prevented at home, the effects of Britain’s foreign policy must also be considered, especially as interventions have led to vacuums of power in places like Libya, where British Libyans were sent by MI5 – approved by Home Secretary Theresa May – to fight in the uprising (Manchester bomber Salman Abedi spent time in Syria and Libya). And it turns out that 53% of the British public agreed with him, compared to only 24% who believed that foreign policy plays no role in terror attacks. You can watch the speech here:
Prof Colin, do you think it is possible that what happened in British Columbia could be repeated in the United Kingdom? Where a coalition of the NDP and the Green is enough to form a majority, but Liberal premier Clark would still try to request from the Lieutenant Governor to call for a new election?
And just a thought on prognosticating pollsters: I like polls and obsess over them in situations like this as much as anybody. But as the US, French and now UK elections demonstrate, what they fail to capture is that elusive thing called political mood. They fail to capture how dynamic politics can be, even in the relatively limited world of electoral politics.
Many have speculated that the recent terrorist attacks would have helped the Conservatives, given their tough stance on immigration. But it appears that Corbyn’s focus on the impact of the Iraq War, and the police funding cuts resonated with voters.
While the TV talking heads gab on while awaiting the next result, let’s make a second reflection on how momentous this is. As they discussed on the Jacobin livecast this morning, Anglo-American center-left governments have traditionally been given certain leeway for a mildly progressive domestic policy – a little redistribution, no ruffled feathers – as long as they left the fundamental underpinnings of imperalist foreign policy untouched. But along comes Jeremy Corbyn who’s been a lifelong campaigner on foreign policy causes: against apartheid when many in the Conservative Party were calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist, strongly in favor of Palestine, and against the militarization of the Middle East: he voted against the Iraq War, against the Libya invasion, against the bombing of Syria, and has called for arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be suspended while they continue to use those arms in Yemen. In short, a foreign policy well to the left of Bernie Sanders. And consider that, during the campaign, two major terrorist attacks were perpetrated in Manchester and London. Under the old rules of politics, Corbyn would have been wiped out as a soft appeaser. But the fact that that didn’t happen shows the extent to which those rules no longer apply.
Houghton and Sunderland South is in. Another Labour hold, as expected.
Looks like Newcastle indeed will call first: Lib Dem 1,812. Conservative: 9,134. UKIP: 1,482. Labour 24,071. The first official seat call. About a 4% swing to Labour, which is up 9.9% (Tories up 5.7%).
ITV is calling Newcastle upon Tyne as a Labour hold: not an official result.
Colin earlier mentioned Sinn Fein. The other Northern Irish parties, especially the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), could also prove crucial in propping up an enormously weakened Tory government, if it came to that.
Let’s just take a moment to reflect on how momentous this is. For a
generation, progressives have been told that they have to tack to the
middle to attract floating centrist soccer-mom swing voters. But
Corbyn’s Labour have run on a platform unashamedly more left than Ed
Milliband’s Labour in 2015 – and appear to be reaping the results.
The pound has fallen and financial markets have been taken by surprise — again. They were predicting a Tory majority. These are the same people whose predictive skills brought us the great financial crash of 2008-9. What really terrifies them is that the result so far is a clear repudiation of austerity, something those in the City of London have handsomely profited from over the past few years.
Let’s just take a moment to reflect on how momentous this is. For a generation, progressives have been told that they have to tack to the middle to attract floating centrist soccer-mom swing voters. But Corbyn’s Labour have run on a platform unashamedly more left than Ed Milliband’s Labour in 2015 – and appear to be reaping the results.
If the exit poll is correct, another big loser tonight would be the Scottish National Party, which stands to lose a third of its seats (in 2015, it swept all but three seats in Scotland). Like Theresa May, the head of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, also took a gamble by proposing a second referendum on Scottish independence in March, before this election was called. It does not appear to have helped her party in the least.
The Tories won’t be able to make too much noise about coalitions or formal agreements with other parties, since they relied on support of the Lib-Dems during the last hung parliament presided over by David Cameron in 2010. They will of course have conniptions should Labour lift its objection to having Sinn Fein sit in the Westminster parliament — something Corbyn has so far said he will not do. Might be time for a rethink.
Absent a majority or a coalition, a party could attempt to govern as a minority government – if they can survive a vote of confidence and get a Queen’s Speech (statement of bills they intend to pass) approved. This would require some arrangement with other parties that they will support them in key votes, without entering into a formal coalition, in order to allow the government to function.
The first ballot boxes are being run into Sunderland.
If the exit polls hold, this opens up some really interesting possibilities. In terms of demands for their support, the Lib-Dems will be a moderating influence but the Scottish National Party (SNP) undoubtedly will ask for a referendum on independence. This is not a bad thing: the break up of Britain would weaken the military alliance with the US. The people of the Middle East would be thankful.
If the exit poll seat projections are correct, and assuming a coalition by Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrats, this would lead to:
Labour (with SNP and Liberal Democrats): 266 + 34 + 14 = 314
For American voters, it may appear strange that the Conservatives are looking at this potential result as terrible. Aren’t they ahead? But as Theresa May called this election with the stated intention of increasing her majority, with all the advantages of incumbency, the surprise of a snap election, and a massive poll lead, this can’t be seen as anything other than an absolute humilliation.
Which means, in short, that every single seat will count tonight.
Let’s walk through this exit poll for people who might not be familiar with the UK parliamentary system. The parliament has 650 seats, so a government needs a majority of 325 + 1 seat to govern. The networks have stressed that this could be 20 seats wrong one way or another, but assuming for the moment the exit poll result is correct, this would put the Conservatives 12 seats short of a majority. Labour, of course, is farther away from one, but as several of the remaining parties are progressive-leaning, a coalition or “confidence-and-supply” arrangement could allow them to govern.
Seat projections: Conservatives 314 Labour 266 Scottish National Party 34 Liberal Democrats 14 UKIP 0
The first exit poll is out and Colin’s suggestion of a hung parliament turns out to be on the money! A hung parliament looks to be in the cards!
About five minutes to go to exit poll results. Youth turnout will be crucial in this election, as young voters swing heavily towards Labour. Anecdotal evidence throughout the day seems to indicate a strong youth turnout, but we’ll have some first data directly.
UK polling firms have not had a good two years. First, they called the 2015 general election badly, predicting a hung parliament instead of a (narrow) Tory majority. Then, most companies’ final Brexit polls showed the remain side to be in the lead. This could explain why the polls this time have been all over the place, as companies have adjusted their methodologies to attempt to deal with these errors. Basically, in 2015, Labour voters did not turn out in the numbers expected. And turnout will be even more crucial this time.
While we have time to be speculative let’s talk about one possibility: a hung parliament where no party has a majority of seats. In this scenario, Labour actually has a better shot at cobbling together a working majority than do the Tories. Labour would need a 15 seat gain over the last election and some kind of alliance or agreement with the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and Greens in order to make it work. Not so far-fetched.
A half-hour to go until we get our first look at exit poll data. This has been called the biggest poll turnaround since 1945, with Corbyn making up, depending on who you believe, between 10 and 20 points in the span of seven weeks. After being uniformly mauled by the British press over the course of his two-year leadership of the Labour Party, the election campaign has at last allowed him, and the Labour Party manifesto, to receive some degree of a direct hearing. But will it be enough?
Here’s a comprehensive list of when the constituencies are expected to report. It’s going to be a long night. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/general-election-declaration-times-in-alphabetical-order_uk_5937cc3be4b01fc18d3ef8aa
At 10 PM (in an hour, that is), the networks will be allowed to make a seat projection based on exit-poll data. But the actual results themselves will still take a while to come in. As for the first seat to report, it’s a race (literally, as you’ll see people running with boxes to the counting tables). This race has been over the last six elections by the Houghton and Sunderland South constituency, reporting around 11. This is a safe Labour seat, but will give us the first indication of the night as to how things are going (apparently, their rivals in Newcastle are trying to steal the crown from them this year).
Since I have started with the theme of unpleasant parties and people, perhaps a few words about the right wing of the Labour Party are warranted. The Labour Right have a long history of trying to undermine and discredit Jeremy Corbyn. One of the more outrageous examples came just recently when the North London Labour MP Joan Ryan published a leaflet attacking Corbyn as unelectable. The Labour Right had been hoping that this election would be a condensed education in the realities of mainstream politics for Corbyn supporters. Whatever the outcome tonight, Corbyn’s rapid rise in popularity over the campaign means that the Right will not achieve their most cherished goal: the demise of Jeremy Corbyn.
This election is different because establishment MLA’s within the Labour party who opposed Corbyn and tried to unseat him were hoping for the demise of their own party in the election so Corbyn would resign.
But that’s no longer probable given the steady rise of the Labour party in the polls, especially after the release of the Conservative manifesto.
Unlike the US, polling stations in the UK stay open until a nice, late 10 PM. That means that there are still 70 minutes left to get out there, so if you haven’t voted already, hop to it (you can still follow us on your phone)! Don’t know where your polling station is? Find it here: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/pollingstation
Before we go any further, we’ve heard reports of students being turned away from polling stations at Newcastle-Under-Lyme, an important marginal seat. For people who have been turned away, here are instructions as to what to do:
Reading Material (II): My colleague Michael Sainato also published this piece: http://progressivearmy.com/2017/06/04/british-pm-theresa-may-shamelessly-exploits-terror-attack-for-political-gain/
Tooting My Own Horn Alert: If you’d like a quick crash course in the campaign to date while voters are still standing in line, here are the two pieces I’ve published on the subject in Progressive Army: http://progressivearmy.com/2017/04/24/destroy-jeremy-corbyn-the-british-establishments-snap-election-gamble/ and http://progressivearmy.com/2017/05/24/tear-script-conservatives-stumble-labour-surges/
What about austerity?: one million public sector workers have lost jobs across Britain. Since 2010 the average wage cut has been 9%. Meanwhile, the so-called jobs boom has been mainly part-time and low-waged. School budgets will lose 3Billion pounds by 2020. The National Health Service (NHS is suffering death by a thousand cuts, 22 Billion pounds by 2020. And, of course, May’s much reviled ‘dementia tax’ which would see seniors needing care, have their homes sold off to pay for it.
We’ll have plenty more to see about all of that, but the burning question of the moment is: how do things stand now, with under two hours before polls close? And the answer is: No – One – Knows. The final polls have been all over the place, ranging anyway from a Labour lead of 3 points to a Conservative (Tory) lead of 12: a fifteen-point spread. We’ll also have plenty more to say about the sorry state of polling over the course of the evening.
All right, I have a cup of Yorkshire tea and a plate of hobnobs in front of me, so ready to go. Since we don’t know how things will go let’s start with some facts about the Nasty Party, aka the British Conservative Party or Tories and their record in government.
One of Elizabeth May’s chief ministers scolded voters saying ‘There is no magic money tree’ to pay for all the things the Labour Party has promised. That’s because they have given all the fruit on the tree to the wealthy. Corporate Tax was slashed from 26% to 19% a give away of nearly 64B British pounds. Further Capital Gains Tax reductions saved corporations 800B British pounds. They cut the Inheritance Tax by 3.6 B pounds. But the most revealing factoid is this: since 2009, the richest 1000 individuals doubled their wealth to 658 B British pounds. Everyone else got austerity.
It hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Whether through overconfidence, a desire to play it safe, or internal disarray, the Conservative campaign has lurched from one error to the next in what has truly been a car crash of a campaign. Meanwhile, the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has run a strong campaign, laying out a solidly progressive manifesto and filling rallies in Labour and Tory-held seats alike.
What a difference seven weeks makes. When Prime Minister Theresa May called this snap election on April 18th, the Conservatives were over twenty points ahead in the polls. Mainstream pundits largely concurred that she would sail to victory, vastly increasing her current slender majority of 17 seats. May, the consensus had it, would have a strong mandate for the next five years to govern in her own right.
Voters across the Kingdom are casting their votes and polls will close at 10pm. This is when the exit polls will be released.
Welcome to Progressive Army’s live coverage of the UK 2017 General Election. My name is Kurt Hackbarth, and I’ll be your virtual anchor for the next several hours. I’ll be joined by Progressive Army’s Managing Editor Salam Morcos, and Dr. Colin Mooers of Ryerson University in Toronto. Thanks for joining us.
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