UK election: May down, Corbyn up. Why that happened?

Conservatives are weaker, Labour Party not strong enough, why that happened and what’s next in your opinion?Read few comments.

Mark Shephard, Senior Lecturer, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde

The Conservatives opted for a type of ‘hard Brexit’ that not everybody supported (those who voted for Brexit were of many types of Brexit, and those who voted remain were alienated even more by the presumption of what a brexit vote meant to Theresa May) . Theresa May was not a good campaigner, she was wooden and unable to deal with the ups and downs of the campaign. Jeremy Corbyn had a great campaign helped by a ‘for the many, not the few’ slogan that resonated after 10 years of austerity politics that arguably affected the many more than the few.

Simon UsherwoodAssociate Dean, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics, University of Surrey

Theresa May miscalculated in calling this election: she confused Corbyn’s poor opinion poll ratings with support for her, only to find that people discovered he was not as bad as the media pictured him, while she had less substance than many had thought. This election has very much weakened her position, so the Tories have two issues: what to do with May, and how to form a viable government majority. The most likely option has to be an informal agreement with the Unionists from Northern Ireland, although this is complicated by the Brexit issue, which affects the border with Ireland.

Kristian SteinnesProfessor, Department of Historical Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The election has changed the British political landscape. I believe that the reasons for a weaker Conservative party, and lost majority, are complex. First, I think it was a mistake by May not to take part in the party leader debate. All the other party leaders, including Corbyn, participated. Many people possibly found this unsatisfactory, or perceived it an odd mix of arrogance and fear. Second, many young people voted stay in the Brexit referendum, and they might have influenced the result by turning out voting in the general election. Third, May have tried to deal with pressure from a very eurosceptic fraction in her own party. It is an almost impossible task to please the party’s eurosceptic, hard Brexit fraction, and at the same time trying to appear somewhat moderate but firm facing the electorate. Maybe she has not fully succeeded dealing with this act of balancing?

Robin Pettitt, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Kingston University

The Conservatives ran a very bad campaign. They were inconsistent on issues; presented unpopular policies; and Theresa May was evasive and uncommunicative. In contrast Corbyn was human (which is quite an achievement for top UK politicians), seemed genuine and earnest. The Labour manifesto was popular and the Conservative and right wing tabloids’ attacks on Corbyn made him out to be some kind of lunatic, which contrasted with his mild and fairly normal demeanour.

What now: well, May will probably resign, and then mild panic will ensure. The final result makes a stable government difficult to achieve, and there will now be some very difficult negotiations.

Frank Häge, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick

It’s a bit early to identify the reasons for why the elections turned out the way they did. Social and economic issues might have played some role. Essentially, the Conservatives were proposing cuts, while Labour promised new things. The latter is always popular.

The younger generation, which favoured remaining in the EU, also seemed to have turned out at a much higher rate. So it might have been a backlash against May’s ‘hard Brexit’ policy.

It’ll be a while now until a new government will be formed, either in the form of a coalition or a Conservative minority government supported by certain parties in parliament. That will take time, and the Brexit negotiations, which were scheduled to start in two weeks’ time, will likely be delayed.

Jost-Henrik Morgenstern-Pomorski, Lecturer, European Studies, Department of Politics, Maastricht University

The election result shows the failure of the Conservatives to convince voters of their leadership. For the detailed analyses of what  caused this result I think we should wait for clearer view of the results, but it appears that strong participation of young voters is partially responsible for the outcome.

Nevertheless, this means a period of serious instability for the UK. I don’t see how Theresa May could reasonably hold on to her position for very long as has been reported this morning in a kind of  ‘Conservatives plus’ arrangement. Nor do I see a minority government of the Labour Party providing stable government in the UK’s adversarial politics. While one of these might emerge at the beginning, the mid-term outcome will be new elections.

Bill Jones, Senior Honorary Research Fellow,  Liverpool Hope University

May claimed she needed a bigger majority to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations but has been left empty handed instead. You could interpret the result of the election as a rejection of ‘Hard Brexit’ (ie complete withdrawal) and it may lead to a ‘softer’ version (closer to present position). But there is much confusion right now as no party has a majority and May will have to rely on Ulster based DUP to have a chance of winning votes in Commons.

I think May’s campaign was one of the worst I’ve ever known: she began by asking for a massive vote of confidence and ran a highly personal, presidential campaign. However the more voters saw her, the less they liked her and her uninspiring manifesto. She proved a boring and robotic interviewee, mouthing feeble slogans and not answering questions put.

For his part, Corbyn proved a huge success ‘on the stump’. He’s been a rebel all his political life and knows how to fight at street level. He attracted thousands of youngsters to his rallies and addressed bigger crowds than anyone since Churchill. He also offered an attractive manifesto with free student university tuition and more funding for health and education all to be paid for by the richest 5%. 95% would not have to pay anything: very attractive (unless you do the sums and then it doesn’t look so good).

Next? It seems like may will sick on as PM but she has been humiliated and faces pressure to resign. I think she’ll stay on for a while and then go, maybe in a matter of months. Conservative party has a reputation of being ruthless with failed leaders and this is a failed leader.

Ivor Gaber, Professor of Journalism, University of Sussex

Campaigns don’t usually make a difference but this one did; terrible Tory campaign with robotic Mrs May centre stage promoting a very poor manifesto whilst Corbyn with good manifesto attracted crowds and great TV pics. But most important Lab mobilised young people who usually don’t vote. Turnout up across the country.

James Strong, Fellow in Foreign Policy Analysis and International Relations, London School of Economis (LSE)

Basically May asked for a personal blank cheque, gambling on Corbyn’s weakness – and it turned out he was stronger and she was weaker than she thought. In Brexit terms it makes things harder since there will probably be another election before the end of the negotiation process.

Victoria Honeyman, Lecturer in Politics, POLIS, University of Leeds

I think the electorate didn’t really warm to May, and they didn’t really like her policies. Social care was a big issue amongst Tory voters and her vision of a hard Brexit doesn’t seem to have grabbed people. Corbyn offered policies which appealed to a wide demographic and people perhaps saw him in a different light during the campaign. Next, I imagine May will resign and a deal with the DUP will be on the cards. However, Brexit negotiations are due to start in 11 days with no clear steer. I would imagine they will have to be delayed, and that throws up the idea of another referendum.

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