First off, I’m not predicting the next election. It’s not even a year since the last, everything can change between now and then. What I am stating is that unless the tide of events turns massively in their favour soon, we’ll be seeing a Labour landslide in 2020.
A combination of both external and internal factors look set to demolish their credibility as a party, in fact, this seems to have already started. The resignation of Ian Duncan Smith was a massive blow on its own, but I believe there is far worse to come. Let’s go through just 3, one by one.
- The most obvious challenge facing them is the EU Referendum. If there is a Yes vote, much like the SNP in Scotland, UKIP will see a surge of sympathy support, fracturing the conservative voter base. If there is a No, the Eurosceptics won’t want in a million years Brexit terms being negotiated by a pro-European Prime Minister. They’ll tear themselves apart, shedding any credibility they hold. Cameron’s chances of lasting the full term will be very doubtful. And to accompany this, whoever holds the position of Chancellor come Autumn 2016 will face a likely economic downturn as a result of Brexit which the Tories will only have themselves to blame for, having called the referendum.
- The next is the near-inevitable failure of their austerity programme. Osborne has already missed 2 of his 3 election pledges set for this just passed budget, the plan is falling apart already. Just recently the IFS concluded he has a 50% chance of hitting his £10bn 2020 surplus target, but it could be far worse than that. Preceding the Autumn 2015 Statement, a City University report predicted a deficit of a massive £40bn, due to a slowdown in economic growth due to spending cuts. This has already begun to be proved true, with 2016 economic growth revised down from 2.4% to 2.0% in just 4 months. And this is assuming a Yes vote for the EU in June.
- And finally, the inevitable economic crash to come. It seems like a bold statement to make, but in just 5 years UK households have gone from running a surplus of £70bn, to a shocking deficit of £40bn. China’s economic growth is slowing from 12% just 5 years ago, to under 7%, missing the national government’s official target. A new housing bubble is emerging, reminiscent of the one which brought down the economy last time. The banks, despite the rhetoric of politicians, are bigger than they were before 2008, and this time the ability of the state to bail them out is dramatically reduced. If they do fall, the consequences will be far, far worse than before, no safety net this time. Things aren’t looking good. If this happens under a Conservative Government, be it their fault or not, their economic credibility, the principle basis of their support, will be tainted for a generation.
These are all just my personal conclusions of the logical path from here on, any of them could be proved wrong. But just one could trigger a collapse in Conservative voter support. I’m not predicting the result of the 2020 Election, to do so over 4 years before would be foolish. However, if the current, worsening direction of events continues, then that is what looks increasingly likely.
Image credit: flickr.com/50419881@N05
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