In the aftermath of the Tories pyrrhic victory and Labours glorious defeat it’s easy for those in a progressive bubble to assume that things will continue on this trajectory and the path to utopia is now all but assured so we can sit back and relax. However, let’s try and look at this without a bubble filter.
Assumption: There will be another election in short order.
The Tories are currently an omni-shambles and when there is another election, after what we’ve just seen, Labour should win.
Assumption: The next election will look like the last one.
At the start of the last election campaign the Tories looked like a lock in for a strong and stable majority so that shows that things can change dramatically in a short space of time. There’s no way the Tories will fail to learn the lessons of the last election, they’ll get their house in order and run a very different campaign.
Assumption: UKIP are dead and their previous voters were split roughly 50:50 between Tory and Labour.
Although they have no MPs their vote share is still pretty high but we’re assuming they’re not a challenge. The Tories were using hard Brexit to get the UKIP voters to move to them so, freed from that they can now move to a softer Brexit which could earn them votes from ex-UKIP voters that voted Labour because they wanted out but not at all costs.
Assumption: The Tories are a shambles, no one will vote for them.
Whilst they are currently a shambles they are as aware of this as the rest of us and they won’t let it stand. There’s a good chance they’ll now come down hard internally and come back with something that is more like the strong and stable Tory party of old. If you’re a mythical floating voter who leans right then you might well vote for a re-invigorated Tory party because you’ve seen what happens if they don’t have a strong majority so you’ll want to give them that.
Assumption: Labour are riding the crest of a wave.
Labour certainly did well with their left wing stance and they significantly benefited from significantly increased young voter turnout but what if they’ve got everything they can out of that – this is the high water mark and it still wasn’t enough?
Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
There is no inevitable trajectory to be extrapolated from the recent election, things can – and will – change. Conservatives will learn and adjust so progressives will similarly have to learn and adjust. There is no end game here – it’s ongoing.
“You can’t get too high or too low, we play this game every day.”