Dr Christopher Fear, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, shares his view on the election contest.
The immediate contest of this election is (and has always been) between Brexit on the one hand, and generous domestic spending on the other.
The Conservatives need voters to prioritize Brexit; Labour need them to forget about it. The Conservatives have the strongest claim to “getting Brexit done” because, with a majority, they should be able to pass the Prime Minister’s new Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons.But the £2.9 billion that the Conservatives plan to spend on the NHS, police, and other government services is, though generous, not as generous as the £98 billion promised by Labour.
Despite three years of internal fighting, Labour’s Brexit policy is still by far its biggest weakness, and has been the dominant factor in its loss of traditional, patriotic, working-class support in the North of England and the Midlands.
Many dependable Labour voters are now considering voting Conservative for the first time. This is why Labour needs these voters to forget about Brexit, and to worry more about the future of government funding.
Here Labour has been able to exploit long-term underlying suspicion of Conservative health policy and its friendliness with the USA. Expect commentators and voters to focus increasingly on the personalities of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn over the next week.
As polling day approaches, undecided voters pay particular attention to how party leaders react to unexpected events, challenges, and surprise questions, and the responses they see very often determine which leader they can imagine as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — and who, in the end, they cannot.
Christopher Fear, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations