I keep looking across the pond in an attempt to console myself that the political landscape is more chaotic over there than it could ever be here… and then something jaw-dropping happens here that cracks the cocoon.
In this instance, it is Theresa May’s very British attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and the unlikely rise of Jeremy Corbyn.
In the days after May announced a snap election on the back of the results of a poll, many pundits were confidently predicting a landslide victory for the Tories. God knows why after previous polls had been so disastrously off beam.
Yet, as night follows day, here we are again studying the runes of yet more polls, this time that shockingly suggest the Tory majority could be slashed or even lost, raising the prospect of a hung parliament.
Whether such an outcome is really on the cards, Corbyn clearly smells blood. He was not originally going to participate in the leaders’ debate this Wednesday because May wasn’t, but then he did. If the pollsters are right and he does make significant gains in next week’s election, it would mark the greatest comeback since Lazarus after Labour’s calamitous local election results.
Meanwhile, May is playing a dangerous game staying out of the fray. The inference is that Corbyn is up for the fight and she is not. So far, she has done nowhere near enough to convince undecided/swing voters that when she trots out the line about being ‘strong and stable’ she doesn’t actually mean the very opposite: that her leadership is ‘weak and wobbly’.
People want policies and action. Corbyn’s promises to get rid of tuition fees for university students, invest in the NHS, increase free childcare and nationalise mail, rail and energy firms will resonate with voters - even if he has no idea of how to pay for any of it beyond taxing higher earners and raising corporation tax (good luck with that one post Brexit). So will his pledge to freeze the cost of Premier League football tickets so families can attend matches.
U-turns on social care will not. Nor will May’s remoteness and reluctance to engage in debate or her decision to put her trust in a coterie of advisers rather than her Cabinet.
That’s if people can be bothered to vote. The turnout was pretty good for the EU referendum but voter fatigue has set in big time since the local elections and many simply do not know who to vote for - in the case of Labour, often torn between support for their local candidate and dislike of Corbyn.
With some Conservative supporters probably thinking they don’t need to vote because May’s victory is nailed on, there is a danger many will sit this one out. And who can really gauge with any confidence on recent form what those who do turn out will vote?
For the property industry, the ideal scenario would be Gavin Barwell keeping his seat and May winning by a clear majority so the housing white paper is not kicked into the long grass and there is at least the possibility of robust Brexit negotiations.
This time next week, we will find out whether May’s early confidence was justified or we are about to be plunged into yet another period of political uncertainty.
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