Why there won’t be a general election before Christmas

The DUP has power. Far greater power than they have had in almost every single Parliament since the party’s creation. The strong odds are that a new general election will produce a result that reduces the DUP’s power. It isn’t in the DUP’s interest to force an early general election.

Nor can the Conservatives force an election on their own by no-confidencing themselves and then others (as they could have in 2017, forcing Labour in effect to go along with a contest anyway given the rules).  Which means that an early general election can only happen if the Conservatives want one and they can persuade at least one opposition party also to back one.

But if things are looking good for the Conservatives, then why would the opposition support one? And if things are looking bad for the Conservatives, why would the Conservatives want one?

A Conservative party plunged into chaos, unable to agree with itself let alone agree with other European countries over Brexit doesn’t make an election a good choice for the party. The country, perhaps, but since when did politicians decide to call elections in the expectation of defeat because it would be good for the country?

What’s notably lacking from stories about early general elections is the step between “CHAOS!” (or as the Express would report it, “ANOTHER TRIUMPH FOR MAY!”) and an election.

Which is why, caveats about predictions acknowledged, I’m willing to stick my neck out and say there won’t be a general election before Christmas.

That said, I stuck my neck out similarly in early 2017, pointing out how there wouldn’t be an early election then because it would be far too risky a move for the Conservatives. I was only half right… so excuse me whilst I dust off my list of things I wrote after the last general election about what I would want to do differently next time.


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