One Election or Many?

We have a first look at what's happening in the election campaign by asking whether it's really one election or many. Do national vote shares mean much any more, given all the regional variations? How is the Remain Alliance meant to work? Is this a Brexit election? And is 2015 or 2017 (or neither) a better guide to 2019? Plus we discuss the recent election in Spain and explore parallels between gridlock there and possible gridlock here. With Helen Thompson, Chris Bickerton and Mike Kenny.


Talking Points:


One month out from the election, what do we know? 

  • Why do commentators still rely on polls and betting markets? 
  • What is the appropriate unit of analysis for this election? Is it regional? National? 
  • The rural/urban divide seems to cut across the regional effects. 
  • But tactical voting pulls things down to a more granular level: you have to look at particular seats.


Many people thought this would be a Brexit election, but it doesn’t really look like that.

  • The big theme seems to be spending. 
  • The anti-Corbyn factor also complicates things. Corbyn has generated both a new base, and a backlash. 
  • The Lib-Dems tried to capitalize on this. But they’ve backed down on their anti-Corbyn stance in favour of the Remain alliance.
  • If you look at polling on the fundamentals, Johnson is outstripping Corbyn.
  • Conservative remainers say they won’t vote for Labour.


Will this election be more like 2015 than 2017?

  • Wider forces might overcome local variation. 
  • Lib-Dem voters in the Southwest are generally closer to the Conservatives than Labour. 
  • The SNP are now proactively in favour of a referendum, and Labour has essentially pulled out of the Unionist position. Who will speak for the Scottish unionists?


There’s little scrutiny of Johnson’s deal.

  • Farage won’t be fighting Johnson on this point. And Labour doesn’t want the election to be just about Brexit. 


In Spain, instead of breaking the deadlock, voters entrenched it. Could this happen in the UK?

  • Catalonian independence also hardened far-right support. 
  • Could Scotland drive English nationalism or increase support for far right parties?


Mentioned in this Episode: 


Further Learning: 


And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking

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