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Opinion: Does a winter election benefit Johnson?

A huge thank you to James Stuart who submitted this Artcile to Unity News Network (UNN) on the 3rd of December 2019, it was approved for publication by Carl D. Pearson, Editor-in-Chief of UNN on the same day.

Please NOTE: This is an opinion piece and not the opinion of the editorial team at Unity News Network (UNN). We are a forum for free speech and ideas and are always open to publishing different ways of thinking from others.

In June 2007, Gordon Brown ascended to the throne of New Labour. He had longed for the crown, coveted it, and allowed nothing and nobody to stand in the way of his coronation. The last general election had been in 2005, where Labour had won a majority of fifty. In 2019, such a result would be considered miraculous, almost incredulous. Brown was immediately faced with a dilemma. In the weeks following his ascension, Brown enjoyed a bounce in the polls, with some predicting a three-figure majority for Labour if an election was called. Gordon Brown always implied that he regretted bottling it on this occasion. A winter campaign was a serious concern, and Brown aired on the side of caution. Whether or not he could have carried his party to victory in 2007 is debatable. A winter election inevitably comes with consequences, and in just 9 days’ time, a very different executive will find himself wondering if it was indeed worth the not inconsiderable risks. 

Gordon Brown

When one is engaged in door to door fundraising work, there is something of a political perspective that can be gained from engaging with members of the public in the comfort of their homes. The solipsistic and resigned mood of many voters is something for all parties to be concerned about. The young seem less inclined to activism then at the last election. In Scotland, the antipathy to Johnson amongst the younger generation is clear, defined and understandable, yet more difficult to discern is whether they will vote. Students have much to gain by the removal of the Tories, including Labour’s pledge to abolish tuition fees (England remains behind Scotland on this issue), and an increase to the minimum wage. But with Christmas approaching, and students returning home for the holidays, will the young turn out in large enough numbers to deny Johnson his second coronation? 

Amongst the older population, a pervasive mood of ambivalence permeates. The winter campaign will mean fewer hours for campaigning, less time interacting with voters on the doorstep, and less of a visible political presence. With some voters clearly switched off to the stakes at this election, one becomes concerned that incidents such as Mr Johnson’s pathetic attempts to deflect blame for last week’s appalling terrorist attacks to the Labour party will go unnoticed. Johnson is clearly reliant on people conveniently forgetting the last nine years of a Conservative government, which includes draconian cuts to the criminal justice system. Further, the whisperings about revoking the public broadcasting licence of channel 4 in retaliation for the infamous ice sculpture debate, in which Johnson’s refusal to participate was rewarded with a melting planet earth made of ice displayed on the podium in his place, appears to have gone unnoticed also. 

Will the voters care about such facts? The nature of this winter campaign is the opportunism and lack of respect for voters with which it was initiated. The short days and lack of voter appetite appears to be playing to the Tories favour. They remain well ahead in the polls. This election will be decided on a range of factors, one of the most prescient of which, is whether, in the cold winter days and long winter nights, the people of Britain will journey to a voting booth and make their voice heard. If not, then we have already lost. 

This content was sourced from Unity News Network.

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