#GeneralElection17 has, nearly a week after the final vote was cast, claimed another victim: Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Mr. Tim Farron. This makes the death (career death, at least) total 2 for this election, as UKIP’s Paul Nuttall (aka Paul NUTT-on-ALL-you-hoes) tendered his resignation a few days ago.
#GE17 was certainly hard on the third parties of the UK. The SNP lost 21 seats, UKIP lost its only seat, and the Lib Dems, while actually picking up 4 seats, had a lesser percentage of the nationwide vote and still failed to achieve any sort of relevance.
Saying that the election is responsible for Tim Farron’s demise may be a bit misleading. As it turns out, there was some sort of internal coup against him within the party over his alleged anti-gay and anti-abortion convictions. While I’m not always a fan of making people lose their jobs because of their beliefs, it seems fair enough when the beliefs of a party’s leader don’t match up with the party’s membership.
To be honest, I’m a bit rattled that the leader of the most liberal party in the UK besides Sinn Fein and the Greens doesn’t like gay people, but I guess that’s just my American culture shock. Anyway, back to the parties that actually matter.
Prime Minister Corbyn?
Sure, it sounds crazy now, what with Theresa May seeming poised to strike a deal with the DUP, but it’s 2017 and I’m not ruling anything out. The way I see it, there are three possible scenarios where Corbyn snakes his way into 10 Downing Street:
1. Talks between the DUP and the Tories break down.
This is the least likely of the three scenarios, but it certainly can’t be ruled out. Both Theresa May and Arlene Foster have been under a buttload of pressure from all sides lately, Arlene being embroiled in the Renewable Heat Incentive Scandal and May being implicated in some sort of botched election. For May, this is her last chance to make things right after an embarrassing electoral performance. If she can’t form a government, the Tories are not about to keep her around as opposition leader for five more years.
Arlene, on the other hand, has a chance to calm down a voter base that is probably fuming over Sinn Fein getting all uppity after their strong performance in the NI assembly elections earlier this year. Any sense that the Shinners are getting a leg up on Arlene will be curtains for her stint as leader of the party, so she’ll be looking to milk every last road, school, and hospital out of these negotiations.
So maybe one or both of them get too big for their knickerbockers or whatever they wear over there and the talks break down. As the impasse becomes obvious, Jeremy Corbyn approaches the Queen and asks for her permission to form a government. If he manages to string together all of those minority parties (it would have to be the SNP, Lib Dems, and Welsh Nationalist/Plaid Cymru for Corbyn to have the right math), the result would be some sort of funky new-age, power-to-the-people half-government half-circus with Old Man Jeremy as the Prime Ringleader.
It would honestly be really interesting to see how that would turn out, especially if he takes some of those third party guys into his cabinet. Unfortunately, I have a lot of confidence in May and Foster to do some shady shit and get this deal with the devil done, so the world will be robbed of that excitement.
2. Neither the Tories or Labour can form a government, and another election is called.
I must say that I’m rooting for this one pretty hard cause I love me a good election. This scenario works out much the same as Scenario 1, except Corbyn can’t swing one of those smaller parties–most likely the Liberal Democrats, who “ruled out” a coalition with Labour during the election. If Parliament is irreparably hung, then the British people will go back to the polling stations to settle it once and for all.
If current polls are to be believed, and barring a major campaign cock-up by Corbyn and his Corbynettes, Jeremy Corbyn would be likely to win another election in the near future. It would probably be another close one, and he wouldn’t necessarily get a majority for Labour, he would have first dibs on forming a government and would only need one coalition partner instead of a billion.
This is probably the most likely scenario in which Corbyn actually becomes Prime Minister. Outrage at Theresa May is popular in the UK these days and he has a lot of momentum coming out of the last election. Jeremy Corbyn is also, believe it or not, quite old, so the sooner the better.
3. May and Foster form a government, Corbyn remains Labour leader into the next election.
If the Tories and DUP form a government, there’s no telling how long it will last. Many things could happen that throw a wrench in their plans, and governments that rely on the support of multiple parties are always volatile. There could be another election in a year, or it might take the full five until the next one.
Corbyn really seems to be getting his shit together, so I would tentatively favor Labour in the next election, whenever it is, simply because there seems to be a slight trend leftward in Europe since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US. Of course, a million different catastrophes could happen to change this, but right now Labour seems to be rallying support, especially as they establish themselves as the only left-wing alternative to the Tories.
The real trick would be staying leader of Labour. This doesn’t seem incredibly likely with his strong electoral performance, but Corbyn is still a pretty unpopular dude and probably has a handful of enemies in his own party that he might have to worry about. But what do I know.
To conclude, the prospects of Prime Ringleader Corbyn and/or another election aren’t super high, but they’re a distinct possibility. I think we’ll have a much better read on how the Tory-DUP talks are going by the end of the week when hopefully the press has some robust leaks it can report on so we don’t have to rely on official statements. Gun to my head I’m putting my life savings on a deal getting done, but thrill seekers should consider putting a hundo on Corbyn and see how the dice of politics land.