As I’m off on holiday tomorrow, I thought it would be a good opportunity to put down a few thoughts on when the next election will happen and what that might mean for both our country and this constituency.
When Is The Election?
On this question, your guess is as good as mine. The Prime Minister has regained the power to call an early general election through the abolition of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, so in theory Liz Truss could announce a general election today and we would go to the polls in six weeks. For the sake of my holiday I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen, but Ms Truss has certainly shown that unpredictability and irrationality have become more the norm than common sense and pragmatism.
The latest the election could be is early 2025, as a new General Election must be announced by 19 December 2024 and the announcement triggers a six-week election window.
What Does This Mean For Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner
The disadvantage of the uncertainty over the timing of the election is that it is much harder for us to get ready for an election. We are not a rich party funded by ultra-wealthy donors, nor do we have significant union support, so we are going to be limited by the generosity of private supporters in the area who want to see a difference to the country. If you want to help, please consider becoming a member and volunteering some of your time to anything from delivering leaflets or making phone calls to more administrative tasks that don’t involve direct interaction with voters.
If you’re interested in helping out at all, you can find more information on the Hillingdon Liberal Democrats website. Alternatively you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 020 3916 5973 (when I am back in the country!).
What Does This Mean For The County?
I suspect this is going to be a very interesting time for UK politics as a whole. I have trolled on Twitter to say that this might be the last ever Tory government, and I feel that needs a little expansion.
Other parties in the UK are supporters of Proportional Representation as a basis for electoral reform. In short, this means that parties should have the same proportion of seats in Parliament as the proportion of votes they actually receive, which seems like the only rational outcome of a functioning democracy. The biggest achievement of this movement lately was seeing the Labour party vote to adopt this as an official position for their party at their recent conference. Their leader, Keir Starmer, has so far resisted calls to make this part of his manifesto, but it seems like the writing is on the wall for the current First Past The Post system.
With that diversion aside, we return to my trolling – why do I say this is likely to be the last ever Tory government? This is down to the fact that, under the current system, the party with a majority forms the government. Majorities are usually achieved without a majority of votes, and sometimes without even a plurality, because of the First Past The Post system making voting distribution matter more than actual total support. Under a more proportional electoral system, it is vanishingly unlikely that any party will ever receive an outright majority again, which will therefore force more coalitions going forward.
This means that such a system will encourage discourse and compromise rather than outright power and adversarial – but fairly impotent – opposition. In short, it would mean that the government at any given time will be heavily influenced by current voter preferences but will be able to look beyond the normal five-year term.
Overall, it is very difficult to come up with a reason not to implement this change except for members of the two large parties who do not want to let go of the unfair advantage they have benefited from for a very long time. After all, to loosely paraphrase, “after years of privilege equality feels like discrimination”.