Election panics, polls and prophecies | Letters

Guardian readers respond to the news that Britain will once again take to the voting booths on 12 December

The Lib Dems have embarked on a high-risk strategy, in provoking an early general election with the Tories ahead in the polls, ostensibly on the grounds that it is “our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit” (Parliament breaks deadlock with December 12 election, 30 October). They must know that the only way to do so is to work with Labour to ensure that the public can have a final say on any Brexit deal. This means dropping their insistence that Jeremy Corbyn is “unfit to lead”. After all, we have not done particularly well with recent leaders, who brought us death and destruction in Iraq and Libya, austerity, inequality and collapsed public services at home, a referendum on major constitutional change without appropriate safeguards, and obstinacy, lies and chicanery to subvert democratic oversight of their procedures.

It means concentrating their electoral resources on seats where they can defeat the Tories. If by splitting the anti-Tory vote in constituencies winnable by Labour they facilitate another Tory government, they will bear a heavy responsibility for the fate of the country, as well as successfully torpedoing both their own flagship policy and their future electoral prospects.
Dr Anthony Isaacs

• Boris Johnson claims that Labour would have “sliced and diced” his Brexit legislation beyond recognition. The Liberal Democrats claim that because 19 Labour MPs voted for the government’s withdrawal agreement bill, it was no longer possible to amend it so as to secure a either a confirmatory referendum on Johnson’s deal with Brussels or a future UK-wide customs union with the EU. They can’t both be right, though between them they have bounced Labour’s shadow cabinet into triggering what promises to be the most fraudulent general election of modern times.
David Purdy

• Back in April 2017 the Guardian kindly published a letter from me stating how alarmed I was as a Conservative party member that Theresa May had recklessly called an early election. My prediction that illusory poll leads came from bad modelling and would soon vanish turned out to be true (although I took no pleasure in becoming an oracle): and over two years later nothing has changed. Conservatives are still succumbing to the same fatally complacent hubris.

There is a minor consolation that the Tories are in something of a stronger position than before: Boris Johnson will probably not be so stilted, wooden and tin-eared a campaigner as Theresa May, and the polling models which underestimated Labour’s vote in 2017 will have since been corrected, so the Tories’ current poll lead is probably more genuine. However, vote-splitting from the Brexit party is a much more significant threat now than Ukip was then: it has already caused Conservative defeats in the 2019 byelections and could yet spoil a general election.

There are huge hurdles in communication: I have seen many poorly informed Conservative voters – who don’t understand the full context that Boris Johnson was forced by law to make a Brexit extension – now accuse the Tories of wilful betrayal. And Corbyn’s simple seductive populist messages are as powerful as ever.

I think that I am looking at the final destruction of the Conservatives, if there’s nothing behind Boris but Brexit bluster.
Robert Frazer
Stockport, Cheshire

• It is just over a century since a general election was held so close to Christmas, on 14 December 1918. Despite the extension of voting to all women over 30 and men over 21, the electoral turnout of 57.2% was one of the lowest ever recorded, no doubt influenced by the Spanish flu epidemic and soldiers still abroad following the recent end of the war.

It was also the last time the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland voted as one. Within four years most of Ireland had left the union, while the other great governing party, the Liberals would virtually disappear, to be replaced by a new party, Labour. Will history repeat itself? If so, December 2019 may well be remembered as the last UK general election that involved Scotland, and the one that eclipsed the other major governing party of the union, the Tories.
Paul Dolan
Northwich, Cheshire

• Among the commentators and chroniclers of mayhem, there has been some side muttering about the absence of Nigel Farage in the current bloody political orgy. It is to be hoped that many media outlets are cured of the habit of providing him with a permanent platform whether it’s appropriate or not. It could also be that with a hard-right administration having wheedled their way into power he is obsolete. My own guess is that a hyena doesn’t join in the scrap, it moves in after the kill has been made and enjoys the easy meal of a carcass.
Amanda Baker

• I was heartily sickened watching, live in the Commons on Tuesday night, Nigel Evans (Conservative MP, Ribble Valley) wittering on about his concern that his constituents register for a postal vote because lots of them in the forthcoming general election will be away trekking in the Himalayas or cruising. I am sure that Gerald Jones (Labour MP, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) will also have concerns about his constituents, some of whom are so badly affected by Iain Duncan Smith’s universal credit system that has forced so many to seek help from food banks. And we, the working class, elect these people! Himalayas, my arse. Unfriggingbelievable.
Steve Evans
Ystrad Mynach, Gwent

• I’m not going to campaign for, or even vote for, Jeremy Corbyn. I’m going to campaign and vote for a Labour party that combines its 2017 manifesto (no more neoliberalism, an end to austerity, investment in people) with the Green commitments it has been developing over the last year: a green industrial revolution, with a detailed plan supported by the Sustainability Research Institute (Labour spells out new 30-point plan in green pledge, 24 October). Bollocks to Brexit, I’m going green via Labour.
Alison Leonard
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

• Funny how the media falls for the old cliche that refers to an election campaign happening “on the doorstep”. Do people not see the blocks of apartments that dominate the skyline? Catch up! The campaign moved to the screen some time ago.
Judith Clark

• Nigel Dickinson says Labour faithfully reflects its public manifesto (Letters, 28 October). Page 24 of the manifesto began with the words “Labour accepts the referendum result”: Labour now backs a second referendum, with remain on the ballot paper again. As the Lib Dems know to their cost, going back on manifesto promises – whatever they may be – is not the best look.
Peter McKenna

• Does the Fixed-term Parliaments Act mean that we are now condemned to having general elections in mid-December for the foreseeable future?
Helen MacNab
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

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