Brexit Latest: Is Labour’s position electoral suicide or smarter than first appears?

Brexit Latest: Is Labour’s position electoral suicide or smarter than first appears?

A core lesson of recent times is to never take political trends and outcomes for granted. To consider counter-intuitive arguments before betting on what appears to be obvious.

For example, seven weeks before the 2017 general election, there was much talk about the end of the Labour Party. They lagged 20% behind in the polls, their leader was historically unpopular and were thrashed in the local elections. By polling day, they’d smashed every campaign precedent, won more votes than for 16 years and denied the Tories a majority.

Polls make grim reading for Corbyn

Their starting position is not as bad this time but expectations are low. They trail by up to 14% in national polls (to be fair, Comres have the deficit at just 1%) any Corbyn’s approval ratings are consistently pathetic. Worse, yesterday’s Ipsos Mori poll showed the Lib Dem surge I predicted on these pages back in May gathering steam.

 

Everything my life has taught me about British politics points to a hefty Tory win. The right-wing vote is solidly Tory even in a bad year, whereas their opponents are usually split. Labour and Lib Dem vote shares correlate to a large extent, dating back to at least the eighties. Labour do well when their smaller rival does badly, as in 2017.

Lib Dem revoke policy gets a poll boost

Now, on the defining issue of the day, they risk being usurped. The Lib Dems had a clear anti-Brexit message which paid off in the local elections and they just made it even clearer. Their position is to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit – supported by a surprisingly high 41% to 38% against in YouGov’s latest.

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