And there we have it. The European Parliamentary elections have resulted in an absolute thrashing for Labour and the Conservatives, a romping win for the Brexit Party, and massive results for the Lib Dems and the Greens.
Exactly as predicted, therefore.
The fact that it has gone quite this badly for the two main parties is either terrifying, hilarious or brilliant depending on your political beliefs. It is, undoubtedly, an evening with huge ramifications for the future of British politics.
But it isn’t quite the dawn of a new age that some would have you think. While the implications are potentially huge, there are some pretty major caveats to the election results.
First of all, despite the importance of the elections, turnout remained low across the UK at around 37%. This is despite the fact that the average across the EU was 51%, the highest in decades.
A General Election usually has well over 60% turnout, such as in 2017, which saw 68.8%. So, while a message has been sent tonight, it is also well worth remembering that around 63% of UK citizens didn’t vote when they might in a General Election.
It’s a fair assumption to make that those who did vote were more politically-minded than many other citizens in the UK, however, so it’s still worth noting the results – it’s just that they don’t give the full story.
So When People Are Calling This A “De Facto Referendum…”
They’re lying. It isn’t.
The turnout at the referendum was 72% – higher than most General Elections. That was a direct vote, In or Out, Yes or No. European Parliamentary elections, while hugely overshadowed by Brexit in this instance, are far more complex than that.
Put simply, the majority of people don’t fully know what they’re voting for or what it means for them, which goes a long way to explaining the smaller turnout – you’re electing a representative, not voicing an opinion. It’s harder to care about something that seems so removed from day-to-day life.
Additionally, whereas the referendum was Yes or No and nothing else, there are a variety of options for voters in an election.
Leave voters have voted overwhelmingly in favour of The Brexit Party, but there will still be huge swathes of Leavers who voted for the Conservatives only for them to be absolutely trashed in the results (…Well, maybe not huge swathes, if the results are anything to go by, but a large number nonetheless).
Perhaps more pertinently, Remain supporters had their vote split between the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, or even Change UK, while in Scotland the SNP campaigned heavily in favour of Remain.
This means that while no party might win outright when compared to the Brexit Party behemoth, a vote for any of these parties could be construed as a vote to Remain. Their combined votes, which have beaten the Brexit Party overall, means that claiming that Hard-Brexiters have won isn’t quite the full story.
As a final complication, what of Labour? While Corbyn himself may want to leave, his party remains overwhelmingly in favour of a second referendum, as do many Labour voters. A vote for Labour could be considered a vote for Remain or Leave, therefore…
So What Does It All Mean, Then?!
So, here are the BBC’s predicted results as of 2am (Scotland and Northern Ireland are yet to declare):
And here’s what it means:
- The Tories have been eviscerated. Despite low turnout, it is hugely, hugely worrying for them.
- The Brexit Party have done sensationally well, as expected.
- UKIP, now very much a party run and championed by overtly racist cretins, did appallingly, thank Christ.
- Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) also failed to win a seat in the North West, coming a resounding last in the votes there.
- But, if you consider the Brexit Party to be in favour of Hard Brexit and everyone else apart from the Conservatives and Labour to be outright in favour of Remain, the stats are:
- Conservatives/Labour: 23.2%
- Hard Brexit parties: 34.9%
- Remain parties: 40.4%
Which puts Remain in front.
Again – take all of the above with a pinch of salt. But it was certainly an interesting night and one which will have huge ramifications for the two main parties.
Most likely, it’ll mean that Labour and the Tories will now have to take definitive stances over Brexit, Remain and Leave respectively, if they want to avoid an absolute drubbing at the next General Election.
Which will probably happen before the end of the year.
I’m going to bed now. Wake me up when Brexit’s over.
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