The crystal ball
OK. Who’s following the Canadian general election news? Not many here in the UK I suspect, since there is very little reporting of it. The election takes place on the 20th September, after the incumbent, Trudeau Jr. announced a snap poll. The most recent opinion polls put him just ahead of the Conservatives, whilst the left-wing New Democrat Party comes third, some way behind those two—par for the course, but I guess they could win enough support to prop up Trudeau’s Liberals if Justin, now it seems beardless again fails to gain sufficient seats to win an overall majority.
It seems that the British media, are (predictably) more interested in the German general election which follows six days later. Here it seems the Christian Democrats might be headed to defeat and the Social Democrat Party (SPD) now look well placed, with the Greens also in contention. The Greens may shortly be in coalition with the SPD.
All this may give rise to hopes that the ‘left’ is regaining stature with the electorate, that the populist wave is ebbing. Wise heads will say this is some kind of ‘Biden effect,’ piggy backing on a pandemic effect too. Perhaps there’s some truth in that, but I will hold my breath. And now it’s just been reported here in Blighty that a YouGov poll has put Starmer’s Labour Party ahead of the Tories by two points. Not exactly a position poised for victory (I think Labour would need something like a 9% swing to win an overall majority) but cause for some comrades to imagine Starmer is at least doing something right.
It is so often said that governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them. Maybe that was an old saw for ‘normal’ times, like just another iteration of ‘muggings’s turn.’ But party loyalties are not what they were. The game now is much more transactional, which I suppose is an outcome of our shift from being ‘citizens’ to ‘consumers.’ If that is the case, the left needs to sharpen its act, since as we may well see in next year’s US midterm elections what was lauded as a delightful rose turns out to be a rotten cabbage.
Anyway, the swirling mists in our crystal ball may clear a little, starting in Canada on the 20th September.
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