Over the past few weeks, since Theresa May decided to call an unexpected general election, I have been watching the political activity very closely, as many of us most likely have been doing too. This is certainly a remarkable election with political movements and opinions moving in ways experts had never anticipated (alas, we live in unpredictable times). One of these is the supposed ‘rise’ of Jeremy Corbyn’s national popularity in the electorate. I shall not pretend for a moment that Jeremy Corbyn has not fought valiantly against an unfair and biased right wing press and achieved surprising results in the national opinion polls. He has revitalized and enthused the young voters that have been disaffected by the political parties for decades. I would also agree on the fact that Corbyn has given an alternative in terms of personality and policy, something people feel that when they support him, they are supporting real change. This I do not doubt for a second. This post after all is not a simple ad hominem attack on Jeremy Corbyn or a vituperative rant on the illogical hopes and dreams of the Corbynista. No, this is only an alternative look on the so-called fightback of the Corbyn campaign, a reality check if you will.
Numerous national studies found that despite Theresa May’s disastrous campaign and rather mechanical media performances during this election, it is still widely believed that she will succeed with a decent majority. While it is true in Labour safe seats, the vote has hardened significantly, in swing seats that were won by the conservatives in 2015, there is still reluctant support for Theresa May. The ambivalence of the Labour Party with its position on Brexit, Corbyn’s controversial opinions on nuclear weapons and counter-terrorism methods, and other shadow cabinet’s abysmal performances still rings strong for voters in those seats. The problem is Corbyn has not visited those seats in order to change those unchanged views. So let’s have some numbers; Corbyn has been to 63 seats during this campaign and 20 of them were safe and secure Labour seats, and another 10 slightly less secure Labour seats. May, on the other hand, visited 62 seats and 41 of them were Labour seats in 2015, while another 10 were seats of the SNP and Lib Dems. She has not visited one strong Tory seat. May is playing the offensive here and no matter about her terrible campaign, such tactics matter. What’s more, you can say what you want about the indisputably huge crowds that Corbyn has conjured up during his rallies, yet it speaks little to actual voting behaviour when these rallies are held in safe seats. Furthermore, one only needs to look at history to know that however enthused young people become in politics, they do unfortunately vote a lot less than the older generations for a number of reasons, and this age group is Corbyn’s core support. To win an election in the UK, A diverse range age groups must be enthused. Of course, this election could prove history wrong and change the power of the electorate indefinitely, and it would be only disingenuous of me to pretend that such an outcome is impossible. But it is important to note that throughout history, political upheaval and anti-Establishment populism has happened before and only tragic failure has followed such movements. What makes this one so different?
What saddens me is that the enthused young voters we are seeing across the UK is fantastic. It is so great to see these people getting involved in politics and finding a voice. After all, the youth voice and our needs must be heard and addressed after being ignored for so long. What is sad is the fact that I think the enthusiasm and passion for change has fallen into false hope and Labour supporters are putting their political chips down before thinking clearly. There is a conscious consensus across the left that we must somehow, in any way possible, get the Tories out of power. But the denial of there being alternative options for voting apart from Labour and Conservative is only counterproductive to such a desire. First Past the Post means we as progressives should vote tactically, and not according to partisan alignment or personal beliefs. There are countless seats, for example, where the Liberal Democrats has come second in the last election, but Labour is simply non-existent there (Such as in parts of Wales and Southern England); if many in that constituency were to vote for the Liberal Democrats, the Tories could be ousted from a supposed easy winning seat. This could lead the Tories to lose their majority and therefore create less precariousness for the UK as a whole since there would be a real progressive opposition to hold them to account. However, the wholly emotive and, unfortunately, irrational behaviour of Labour supporters in their awe and obstinate loyalty to the Leader means they simply cannot see reason in voting tactically. This, I fear, will lead the UK to a Tory majority and a dark, dark day for a once powerful nation.