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Polling stations have opened and voting is on. (Many have already voted by post.) Here’s a basic guide to how a general election in the UK — and this one in particular — works:
The last-minute polls have converged on a Tory lead — but are wildly at odds about “how big.” Survation has Conservatives taking 41.3 percent and Labour 40.4 percent. ICM has Conservatives taking 46 percent and Labour 34 percent. All of the other major polls show the Tories ahead, but they vary in the spread from five to ten percent. The polls close at 10:00 pm, after which broadcasters are permitted to publish the BBC/ITV/Sky exit poll, which is usually quite close to the final results. But it won’t be entirely clear what’s happened until about 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.
When May called the election, the Tories held 330 seats and Labour held 229. “She will be satisfied with a majority of more than 50, pleased at 70 and delighted with 80 to 100,” writes the Guardian. My prediction is that if it’s lower than 50, the Tories will get rid of her promptly.
The scale of Labour’s defeat — barring a historic upset not predicted by any poll — will determine the future of the Labour Party. If Labour does credibly well, it will be a huge setback to anti-Corbyn forces in the party, which is effectively now in a state of civil war. Miliband took 30.4 percent of the vote in 2015, so that’s the magic number: If Labour does better than that, they’re apt to be stuck with Corbyn (and out of power) for the long haul.
You’re probably already well aware of everything wrong with Corbyn, but if you’re not, Jamie Kirchick sums it up here:
The list of dubious relationships, crackpot proclamations, and leftist sympathies for some of the vilest governments and political movements on Earth is endless. In a 2003 book, Corbyn insisted the Soviet Union was “no real threat” and that North Korea is “not a rogue state.” Western sanctions on the totalitarian Kim dynasty, which starves and tortures its own people to death by the millions, comprises a plot to “force some kind of integration between North and South Korea,” an outcome that, according to Corbyn, would bring about a real horror: “the spread of free market capitalism into North Korea.” Corbyn has contributed many articles over the years to the communist newspaper Morning Star, which recently hailed the “liberation” of Aleppo by Assad and his Russian patrons. (While stating he disagreed with the headline, Corbyn nonetheless avowed he would continue to read and “no doubt will probably write again” for the paper.) After Hugo Chávez died in 2013, Corbyn eulogized the Venezuelan strongman for “showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared.” (Thanks to Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has so much wealth today that its citizens riot over toilet paper.)
Labour is of course not running on this platform. They’re running on “comfortable middle-class people who can afford to decorate their homes with orchids should have more free stuff.”
Although in some places, they’re running straight-up on “We hate Jews.”
A giant left-wing political banner in one of Britain’s biggest cities has been condemned as antisemitic for portraying Theresa May wearing Star of David earrings.
“Condemned as antisemitic?” I’d say, “is as antisemitic as it gets, really.” But you be the judge:
(I’d say on a scale of one to ten, I rate that a solid antisemitism 8. To score higher, you have to depict a Jew eating a gentile baby.)
If you’re curious about the (remote) possibility of a hung parliament — what that means, exactly, and what it would entail — here’s a guide from the New Statesman:
That’s it, the election is over, and the winner is not Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, but nobody. Parliament is “hung”: that is to say, no party is able to command a working majority in the House of Commons. A “working majority” means having more seats than the other parties added together, plus one. Think of that as the magic number.
What that magic number is varies slightly. The absolute most it could be is 325, as the Speaker of the House has a seat but does not vote. But as Sinn Féin do not take their seats in Parliament, any seat they win in Northern Ireland reduces the magic number still further. …
A blogger named Paul Wood pointed out, and I agree: “What Claire Berlinski said of Marine Le Pen and France applies more aptly to Jeremy Corbyn and England.”
Only if she’s humiliatingly defeated will France be able to return to the two-round election system around which its constitution is designed. By making it to the second round, the Front confronts French voters with a choice not between two candidates with different, but respectable and defensible, views of France’s future, but with a choice between sanity and the abyss. Like passengers on a long-haul flight, colicky infants on either side, they find themselves trapped with a flight attendant cheerfully offering them the chicken or the plate of raw monkey eyeballs dipped in Ebola. No one can properly debate the future of France, because everyone’s too busy shrieking, “Monkey eyeballs? Ebola? No monkey eyeballs!”
Actually, I don’t know if it’s more apt, but it’s certainly just as apt.Published in