User login

Welcome to Policy Connect’s 2019 Election Hub

Welcome to Policy Connect’s 2019 Election Hub

30th October 2019

As the Prime Minister seeks a new mandate from the electorate, the Policy Connect team will be providing insight in and comment on what the election means for our policy areas and where the political parties stand on key issues. 

In 2017 - against all expectations - Brexit wasn’t all-dominating and we can, again, expect voters to turn their attention to the domestic agenda of education, health, jobs, economy and environment. Watch out for our regular election updates between now and December. Crucially, we also want to hear your views throughout the campaign to help inform the agenda for our research, policy briefings, and parliamentary events in the next Parliament so do get in touch via Twitter at @Policy_Connect.

To kick off our Election Hub, I wanted to share some insight into standing for re-election in a marginal parliamentary seat – something I have experience in.

“You’re joking..! Not another one!!” was the response from Brenda from Bristol when informed by the BBC that there was going to be an election in April 2017, a mere two years since the previous one and having had a referendum thrown in for a good (or bad) measure. Of course, Brenda went viral. I suspect the news teams will be tracking her down again to see if she is any more enthusiastic about GE19, however, I can’t imagine she will be and indeed if we have cold and rainy weather during the next few weeks, the good British people are likely to share her irritation, not to mention the inconvenience of pre-Christmas celebrations being constantly interrupted. But as usual we’ll have a moan and put up with it; I suspect voter turnout will be similar to previous elections in most areas. As the rosettes are pinned on to hopeful candidates spare a thought for those who put themselves forward to be our representatives. Many know they will be re-elected but governments can change on a handful of seats known as the marginals. As someone who faced the electorate at general election on four occasions I know what many of the MPs who have marginal seats will be feeling right now – and its fear! 

It is the longest and most tortuous interview process for a job you can imagine. Everyday there are highs and lows. Highs include when a voter tells you “I have never voted for your party before, but I like what you do locally and lots of my family and friends think the same and we’re backing you all the way”. Here, we have a reason to punch the air and repeat the story to the campaign team through the next week. At the other end of the spectrum, there is the person you have helped with a particular matter either personal or local, so one might reasonably expect that on the back of one’s good service there’ll be some credit in the voter loyalty bank – but far from it. On numerous occasions when I went down in to defeat in 2010 people said “thanks for the help but I am taking my custom elsewhere” –that’s democracy, cruel but fair but not always in equal measure when you are the one standing on the door step. 

If you live in a marginal seat spare a thought for the incumbent if they knock on your door – if you’re not going to support them, just say “it’s between me and the ballot box” the candidate will know that’s a polite way of saying “thanks, but no thanks” and they’ll move on to the next punter hoping for better results. So here’s to an interesting few weeks ahead of December 12th. We look forward to having you join us on here along the way.