As a high turnout, especially among young voters looks like it may upset pollsters predictions of a Conservative majority for Boris Johnson, here’s a quick reminder of what’s at stake.
If you enjoyed a decade of punishing austerity, skyrocketing homelessness, increasing working poverty and an economy official figures have just announced is worse than at any time since the global financial crash a decade ago, we could be enduring at least another decade of that or perhaps much more.
Most people have forgotten about the controversy over boundary changes that parliament has parked for now. But if the Conservative Party achieves a solid majority, they don’t intend to lose it. Not for a very long time.
Back in 2009 the MPs’ expenses scandal was used as an excuse for an exercise to redraw constituency borders to cut 50 of the 650 MPs that sit in parliament. But ever since the Boundary Commission redrew the UK’s political map in England, Scotland and Wales, there has been controversy over the plans which some argue haven’t been based on the most up-to-date, comprehensive population data and would cull many more Labour MPs than the Conservatives would lose unfunnily enough.
A study by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher at the University of Plymouth, calculated that the new boundaries would have given the Conservatives an overall majority of 16 in the last election, – the Tories with 10 fewer seats, but significantly, Labour with 30 fewer.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Cat Smith said the proposals were “an undemocratic power grab”.
“With no plans to reduce the number of ministers, the government is weakening the role of parliament and creating unprecedented levels of executive dominance at the expense of backbenchers, when parliament is meant to be taking back control,” she said.
“Cutting the number of MPs by 50 as we prepare to leave the European Union is further proof this government is clamouring to tighten its grip on power. With the workload of MPs set to rise after Brexit, with thousands of pieces of important legislation expected to come through parliament, it would be utterly ludicrous to go ahead with these boundary changes.”
Not voting tactically to stop a Tory majority could allow a Boris Johnson government that has shown a willingness to play hard and fast with the rules and do whatever it likes. A government that cannot be believed or trusted either.
A government that has fought an election based on lies. The Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising has called for all political advertising to be subject to fact-checking as a legal requirement following what it describes as a “fake news and disinformation general election” in which it found 88% of Conservative messaging misleading. For Labour the figure was 0%
The evening before Boris Johnson prorogued parliament he promised not to. There’s a ditch he promised to lie in if the UK did not leave the EU on October 31, and bulldozers waiting for him to lie in front of as he promised his constituents he would if Heathrow had a new runway. These are a just three examples of a daily barrage of Trumpean untruths that are spouted by Johnson and his government.
What’s more worrying that the Conservatives’ contempt for the truth, for parliament and for the justice system, is the plans alluded to in their 2019 election manifesto, which involve a massive assault on our human rights, redrawing the traditional British checks and balances on power of parliament and the courts and amounting to what has been called an “autocratic power grab” by Boris Johnson and his backers.
So if it’s “taking back control” you’re after, vote tactically to take it away from the Tories as they don’t intend to give it back for a very long time.
You can find more on the constitutional changes that the Conservatives are plotting here.
And more on boundary change proposals on the Boundary Change Commission’s website here.