There are two days left before the general election. We wanted to hear from you so we asked King’s students who they think will win and what the implications of this might be. Here is what they had to say.
FAHRID CHISHTY (4th year PPL)
I think Theresa May will win, although I’m not sure how numerous her majority will be. Corbyn has massively levelled the polls, but I am unsure of whether he will garner enough seats to form a government, even if Labour enters into coalition agreements. A hung Parliament may be on the cards, which will likely cause massive constitutional chaos!
I think the effect of this election will be very significant. National security has, sadly, featured heavily in the news in recent weeks and months, and the result of this election will directly determine, inter alia, the future character of counterterrorism. The economy and foreign policy may also be considerably reconfigured in line with the fiscal and social policies of the winning party – if we have one at all!
ALEJANDRO MARTÌN RODRIGUEZ (3rd year Political Economy)
I think that the Conservatives are going to win the election, gaining a comfortable majority but one that is much lower than what was expected when the election was called. I think that Labour will be in a good position too, reinforcing the role that Corbyn has as leader of the party. This is interesting, especially noting how in other countries traditional bipartisan systems have been replaced by multipartisan ones with the emergence of new parties (as is the case of Spain and will probably be the case in France after this week’s legislative elections). It is also interesting to see how the left/right political spectrum seems to maintain its position as the main political cleavage of this country, while in many other places the new global/national or open/close cleavage has significantly undermined it (France being by far the best example of this).
I believe this election will not be very influential. It will probably give a fair mandate to Theresa May to continue with her Brexit strategy (which, I believe, will be devastating for this country’s future), but that was already there before the election was called. At the end of the day, this will serve to reinforce even more the position that this government has had since the referendum. And as I said before, it will also reinforce the UK bipartisan system and serve Corbyn for good.
PENNY TRIDIMAS (4th year PPL)
I expect to see a fairly strong Conservative majority sitting in the House of Commons after June 8th, despite Theresa May making every mistake possible during her campaign, from alienating the press to single-handedly destroying her own tagline. This is because her promise of a hard Brexit has moved the political fight to traditional Labour heartlands and while Jeremy Corbyn has fought back he has neglected the middle classes who will find May’s brand of illiberalism more palatable than his anachronistic socialism. Also, no party has given a clear picture of the direction they will take the country. The Conservative manifesto is vague and May has already shown her words mean nothing, while the Labour Party have made promises that are impossible to keep without re-writing the UK’s political history or the electorate suffering collective amnesia. The remaining parties are too small; they would need to rely on coalition, so naturally any direction they propose would become diluted. Among this mess personality starts to matter more, and, put simply, May is more prime ministerial.
This election will move British politics away from the centre; illiberalism will take over for a while as the UK becomes more insular and affixes more power with the Prime Minister, whose position is liable to elevation due to the imminent Brexit negotiations. However, I also believe MPs will become more vocal. This election has shown that their seats are more vulnerable than they previously thought, and that waiting for the fight to return to centre-ground or for a more politically astute and able leader may not be the best strategy for their own success and longevity in Parliament. As such, this election will not leave the UK in a more certain position politically and leaves me with doubts over whether these MPs will see a full five-year term.
SAM CHOROSZEWSKI (2nd year Biomedical Science)
I predict a Conservative landslide (350 seats+ in Parliament). Most national polls only take into account the nationwide vote, and do little to consider local constituency results. The nationwide polls have the Labour Party “closing the gap” on the Tories, and whilst this might be true nationally, the collapse of the UKIP vote (as predicted by most polling agencies) will turn marginal seats blue, as people who tended to vote UKIP in the past have ‘Brexit’ as their main priority, and the Tories are campaigning on a firm Brexit ticket. A similarity with the American presidential election might be observed here in the UK, with the nationwide vote being close, but the difference in the number of seats in Parliament being vast. The Tories can potentially win many seats by tiny margins, thanks to the conversion of the UKIP vote to them.
A Conservative government with a bigger working majority will be able to go into negotiations with the EU with greater confidence than before. There will be more leeway in their negotiating positions, as fewer concessions will have to be made to backbenchers, who might favour a hardline approach. A Brexit deal is more likely to be reached because of the increased leeway in the government’s position, and this deal should be implemented quickly into British law due to the large government majority. Security measures, such as increased surveillance powers of the police, will be brought into law during the next government as a reaction to the recent terror attacks. There will be few other major political projects (such as House of Lords reform) during the next Parliament, due to the massive workload Brexit is likely to place on government. Jeremy Corbyn will likely step down as leader of the Labour party if he loses the election, and the party will make an effort to pick a new leader who will try and bring the party back to the centre ground, from the hard left it currently occupies. However Corbyn has suggested that he won’t stand down if he is defeated, and there is a possibility that that move could cause the fracturing of the party.
JULES (2nd year European Studies)
The debate between representatives of the parties for the British general election could have been described as a disgrace. The argument of the Tory was the magic money tree and led to a new drinking game. Corbyn was very tired, Paul Nuttall was ridiculous and the level of the debate did not rise very high. At the end of the debate, the most convincing party was the SNP. However, May is surfing on two waves today, Brexit and terrorism. The Saturday night attack will, I believe, help her to secure a better majority even if Labour is rising in the polls in London. I believe she will have her majority, but not the one she expected.
At the European level and during Brexit negotiations, I believe that the British people and politicians have not yet realised they were not in a dominant position. On a domestic level, the UK will suffer in the long run. NHS is not going great and from the way I see the negotiations going, I do not foresee any ameliorations. Business-wise, banks are starting to move, and with Macron across the Channel, many will see in the years to come the incentives to join the French and enjoy an economy in the EU and without a doubt the rise of a strong and stable France. The UK is on the decline and needs to make the right decisions if it wants to be able to continue to compete in the world market and economy without the title of European Union Member State. Good luck to them but I am not very optimistic.
IRINA DIHANOVA (former master’s student in Eurasian Political Economy and Energy)
Theresa May’s decision to call a general election is very likely to result in a situation where she loses her majority instead of “strengthening her hand”. The Conservative party fell victim to hubris, convinced that the dire state which Labour has been in would be an easy target in a surprise general election. However, Jeremy Corbyn seems to have a remarkable talent for winning against the odds. While we may not “PM” Corbyn after the election, he is very likely to spoil the victory, which May expected.
If the Conservative party wins the election, but either loses the majority it had or fails to win more seats, it is likely to seem humiliated. It would have been a pointless exercise, which cost the UK two months, in which it could have been sorting out its exit from the European Union. Even so there will be one achievement for Theresa May: she will have won an election as a leader. This will be a welcome change of status for her. However, this might be the last victory for the Tories in the near future – if Brexit was to turn painful and costly for the British public, the Conservatives would take the blame.
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions and views expressed in this opinion piece belong to the authors and are independent of the Department of Political Economy and KCL Politics Society.