"A Very British Transition" - A Post-Junta Britain TL

Exactly how I felt it was gonna play out. Multiple competeing factions after a major defeat means anyone who has a sincere desire to take the reins won't, simply to let a rival try and flounder at it.
LSE Lecture - Assessing the Premiership of William Hague

Assessing the Premiership of William Hague

Lecture by Oliver Daddow

Since the return of democracy, a pattern has been established in the UK about the way in which Prime Ministers arrive into Government in our country. Not after having won on their own merits, but rather as a result of the irremissible defeat of their predecessors, condemned for sins. The trail of serious scandals that weighed down the final stage of Hill-Norton had the consequence of replacing him with Alan Johnson. Seven years later, his reaction to the financial crisis caused the arrival at Downing Street of William Hague. And, once again, the enormous anger caused by how Hague dealt with the economic crisis and corruption looks likely to elevate Bell Ribeiro-Addy. History now seems to be repeating itself on a larger scale. After all, the mandate of 2016 was carried out after two elections and fraught investiture programs. MPs agreed that they had to bring down Hague immediately, but less than half of them have done so out of enthusiasm for his likely replacement, Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Why has this desire to kick out the Prime Minister been so overwhelming? Was his situation so dire and so untenable? Will history be very severe with its stage of government? It is early to answer these questions. Now, the first analysis underlines the elements that have led him to lose power. Above all, the recent court judgement of an "effective system of institutional corruption" in National has been the main trigger for his defeat, but far from his only weak point.

The undisguised enthusiasm of his detractors now and the scant fervour he receives from his own supporters (36% approval rating among National voters) suggests that Hague could be remembered as an unmitigated disaster. Hague today is denigrated from the left, he is vilified by Scottish nationalists, he is repudiated by a large part of his own electoral base. Even neutral analysts despise him and caricature him as mediocre, lazy and timorous.

There is some reason for such severe criticism. Any communication expert will conclude that William Hague is not a brilliant campaigner. Only really coming alive within the Commons Chamber. Nor does he have a proactive or much less transformational governing style. Detractors can paint a technocratic and risk-averse politician.

However when taken through the prism of government, rather politics - supporters can show a more rosy image. Hague the experienced politician (who knows the institutions well and knows how to control his party), pragmatic, orderly, efficient, predictable. Arguably what National and the country needed in the wake of Johnson's fall. It is doubtful that "strong" leadership is inherently the most successful. Hague, who comes out unfavored in the long shot, wins when you look in detail and compare his legacy with others.

Many, for example, will rush to say that he has squandered the hegemony of National in the centre-right, now threatened by Unity. But it is enough to look at the immediate environment to question a too severe judgement there. The EPP was the majority force in the Parliaments of France, Italy and Portugal when Hague arrived at Downing Street. Today, Les Républicains, the Portuguese Social Democrats and Forza Italia are dragging further down in the polls than National. Nor, despite its historical dominance, does Christian democracy govern today in any of the Benelux countries. Not even Merkel's almighty CDU is currently that far ahead of National in German polls.

Seven years later, Hague had a weakened party but in much better condition than almost all his partners . And without a strong xenophobic or eurosceptic force that eats away at him from his right. If the substance of its policies is analysed the balance is controversial but again, much less disastrous than what is derived. In economic policy, the structural reforms can be criticised for their impact on inequality. But if it is judged based on the objectives with which they were designed (clamp the deficit and create jobs), they cannot be denied success. It is enough to compare all these indicators with the other middling economies of Europe.

Even the reputation that Hague was able to earn in Berlin and Brussels, is another area in which the former PM is better at short range. Even without playing any leading role, the UK of the last seven years has grown its influence in the EU. It has been able to maintain good bilateral relations with all its strategic partners even with Trump's USA. Despite the unfortunate collapse of development aid spending, the UK has improved its profile globally.

Hague could again be accused of centralising tendencies or immobility in the Scottish conflict. No one will argue that he was patient with the pro-independence provocations. He inflamed nationalism and he misjudged the application of article 219. This will go down as his greatest governing failure.

Hague has been, it is obvious, a conservative Prime Minister and for this reason he can be criticised ideologically. But, despite his grey style, he has not been a bad party leader or a bad head of government . He's not an unfriendly character either. In fact, despite the first distant and insensitive image, almost everyone close to him has hailed his ironic sense of humour and his calm. Even Patrick Harvie, wrote in his diary "everything has gone well in the personal relationship because with Hague it is impossible to get angry."

Someone will say that, all this being possible, what cannot be denied is that Hague will always have the ballast of corruption. But, even when the opprobrium for National is clear, not even in that aspect is the condemnation of Hague himself so clear. The best comparison to Hague - a corrupt but effective politician - is Richard Nixon. I am reminded of the US electoral poster of the 70s that, under the image of the shady Richard Nixon, asked: "Would you buy a used car from this man?" It does not seem that the answer is as devastating in the case of Hague as in that of the American president. The British abhor the corruption that he sheltered in his party, but most believe that his car has passed all the inspections - after all they voted for him three times.

Seminar Question: Critically Assess the Premiership of William Hague 2012-2019
Chapter 107: Ground Control to Colonel Tom

Tugendhat was a fresh face with old politics

“Merkelism lives. In the UK at least. The conservative National Party has a new leader who’s vowed to steer the party to the centre in a bid to hold onto Government. Tom Tugendhat ran for the party leadership promising to take a hard line against Scottish separatists. He promises a less confrontational political style than that of the man he’ll replace, William Hague, who was ousted as prime minister. Tugendhat's strategy worked. “We have the opportunity to enlarge the centre right and elections are won there,” Tugendhat said in a radio interview. “Our party shouldn’t go to any corner.” Aged 44, Tugendhat is not only a fresh face at the top of the scandal-hit National but also promotes an image of solid, technocratic management.”
- British conservatism’s new face, Oliver Wiseman, Politico (2019)

Tom Tugendhat had pitched himself as the best candidate to keep National in office, as the most palatable candidate to Alan Sugar the party believed electing a liberal leader would keep Unity’s confidence and supply deal in place. But negotiations were a lot harder than Tugendhat’s team had anticipated, with the two parties at level pegging in the polls Sugar smelled a chance to surpass National as the UK’s main party of the centre-right. Senior Unity officials were also worried National’s terminal collapse would spread to them if they refused to take a stand. Unity MPs nervously looked to the fates of other liberal parties that had gotten into bed with the right and had subsequently been crushed. The fate of Germany’s FDP - who had crashed out of the Bundestag in 2013, was at the forefront of their minds.

In negotiations Sugar’s red lines were those he knew Tugendhat could not cross, he demanded stronger electoral reform with larger constituencies, effectively lowering the barrier to entry for third parties with the UK’s famously small multi-member constituencies. He also demanded a full coalition with Unity given both the Treasury and Foreign Office briefs, and finally he demanded Tugendhat remove the whip from any National MP suspected of involvement in corruption. Considering this included half the National caucus anyway this was effectively an impossible demand. Both sides quickly realised that Unity wasn’t negotiating in good faith, simply looking for an opportunity to storm out of negotiations and declare that Tugendhat was just as corrupt as Hague - it worked like a charm. Tugendhat’s honeymoon ended very abruptly.


Sugar saw a chance to take the crown for himself

With Colonel Tom unable to form a government, the baton passed to Leader of the Opposition Bell Ribeiro-Addy. The People’s Alliance was in even less of a hurry to form a government than Unity had been, with most polls showing the party with a commanding lead. Still appearances had to be kept as Ribeiro-Addy promised to speak openly with “all parties”. In reality this was a PR exercise, the UPA had moved to moderate its image as a legitimate party of government during its period in the official opposition seat. If Ribeiro-Addy could show herself to be authoritative and prime-ministerial they might be able to coax over the last dregs of the SDP to their voting block, and maybe even a few left-leaning Unity supporters.

“Bell Ribeiro-Addy and her People's Party, who are likely to enter government for the first time, have had a bumpy ride. What lies ahead could be rough. The People's Party burst onto the British political scene in 2014 igniting dreams of overtaking the SDP as the largest left-wing party. Instead, after her meteoric rise, Ribeiro-Addy has faced internal party tensions and endured criticism of her leadership. Yet the 33 year old now looks likely to get her first chance to at least share power. Polling shows her United People Alliance ahead of all other rivals, but far from an overall majority. With sharp rivalries and policy differences, it is an uneasy alliance. The road ahead for Ribeiro-Addy could be every bit as rocky as the last few years have been.” - UK’s Leftist Outsiders Are on the Verge of Getting Inside, Raphael Minder, New York Times (2019)

Ironically, facing a tough election the Social Democrats were eager to try and accommodate a People’s Alliance Government and prevent a disastrous snap election for the party. Among proposals the SDP made to the UPA included a 20% raise in the minimum wage and a further billion euros invested into pensions. If anything, the SDP’s move to the left under Khan showed the People’s Alliance was winning the war for ideals. The two left-leaning parties signed a pact of understanding, allowing them to present a united front when negotiating with Alan Sugar. For a while it looked like a snap election might actually be avoided.


A more socially liberal generation was coming of voting age

However once again Unity would bring any negotiations crashing down, whilst the two parties agreed on expanding the constituencies, they disagreed on pretty much everything else, most notably financial policies. The UPA had called for a renegotiation of the UK’s EU bailout package to allow for greater spending on social policies whilst inflation was low, Unity meanwhile insisted on even more stringent spending targets, with the goal of hitting a balanced budget within the next four years. Ultimately the parties were unable to come to an agreement, and once again Alan Sugar was able to dramatically walk out of negotiations to an awaiting press conference.

The final option was a rainbow coalition government, with the UPA and SDP propped up by the dozens of smaller progressive and nationalist parties in the Commons. The biggest of these would be the two Scottish nationalist parties, RISE and the SNP - who between them held 23 seats. Both parties had one clear line in the sand, full amnesty for Patrick Harvie and the others behind the 2018 independence referendum, and for the central government to agree to a legal referendum in the next Parliamentary term. Whilst Ribeiro-Addy was open to such an agreement this wasn’t something Khan could accept - meaning a rainbow majority was not forthcoming.

With all possible doors to a majority closed, the one month timer finally ran out. King Charles dissolved Parliament the next day. For the fourth time in its democratic history Britain faced a snap election, except this time they faced a growing far right, an angered Scottish nationalist movement and both major parties in complete free-fall. Most worryingly for those watching in Brussels, the UK had a strong chance of electing a radical left government, the second such regime in EU history, they had been able to crush but the UK’s economy was seven times larger than Greece’s - if Britain went rogue it could bring the whole Eurozone crashing down with it.

“After everything that has been said, the UPA can be labelled as a Eurosceptic party rather than Eurocritical one. This simple distinction is important insofar as it could entail different outcomes for Europe. Parties such as Marine Le Pen’s National Front, suppose harder forms of Euroscepticism. Treating the UPA in the same way as those right-wing parties would lead to costly mistakes. Two different programmes for Europe lie behind this simple distinction: on the one hand, criticizing the current EU model or pushing for more sovereignty; on the other, advocating a full return to the nation state. Emphasising this distinction will give us the chance to rethink our notion of Euroscepticism. The latter is often used too broadly, not only in journalistic formats but sometimes even in academic articles.” - Is the UPA a Eurosceptic party?, Lecture by Sofia Vasilopoulou, University of York (2019)


Whilst the People's Party was generally pro-EU it's allies like the Communist Party were strongly eurosceptic
Essentially that national leadership election was them shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic
Said it before, I'll say it again, you cannot simply pander to one wing of the party and then rapidly course correct without their being consequences. Add in any true leaders can see a very unhappy electoral future and stay clear of any leadership arguments....
2019 UK Election, Part 1

Governing Britain was now someone else's problem

“William Hague has called a snap election for 26 May after attempts to form a governing coalition failed. The country’s third general election in less than three years was seen as an inevitability following Hague’s resignation as National leader in February. The UK needs to keep advancing, progressing with tolerance, respect, moderation and common sense,” Hague said. “I have proposed to dissolve parliament and call elections for 26 May.” Hague's National Party, which holds 179 of the 497 seats in Parliament, relied on the support of the Unity party and Ulster Unionists. But all three supporting parties withdrew their support after a high-judge declared Hague had personal knowledge of a slush fund within the National Party. A general election had been due next year.”
- PM calls snap general election for 26 May, Stephen Burgen, The Guardian (2019)

The election date was set for the 26th of May, allowing for a slightly longer campaign in order to align with European Parliament Elections occurring at the same time. National also hoped by calling a longer campaign, they would have more time for Ribeiro-Addy to slip up and allow them to catch up in the polls. Tensions were already building within the party with rumours of a split down the line, all National had to do was wedge an issue into the UPA’s electoral coalition and pry. Now that she actually had a chance of becoming Prime Minister, Ribeiro-Addy would receive unprecedented public scrutiny, they banked that she wouldn’t be up to the task.

The other biggest story was the rise of the Centrists, since Hague’s downfall and the Scottish crisis the radical right party went from strength to strength, polling as high as 11% in some polls. The Centrists’ platform included the deportation of over 70,000 “illegal migrants” and to roll back the rights of women and LGBT people. The party was also strongly unionist, calling for the abolition of provincial governments and the Scottish region, arguing local legislatures had become “a haven for corruption and incompetence” - a charge that wasn’t entirely untrue. On the party’s payroll included Steve Bannon, the far-right former aide to President Trump, who now earned a six-figure salary as a campaign strategist to the party’s leader James Cleverly.


The UPA was a real threat, not just a curiosity

The Centrists’ rise was the first time the right of Britain's spectrum had been politically divided. Whilst the left had always been divided between social democrats and the socialist left - National had done a good job at keeping conservatives, nationalists and right-leaning liberals under its umbrella. With the Centrists and Unity taking bites from both sides of National, its hegemony was no longer secure. Unlike other continental far-right parties, the Centrists’ biggest supporters came from wealthier areas like Bekshire which had been traditionally National strongholds, whilst Unity pushed them out the suburbs, the Centrists took the towns.

“Westminster is on the brink of political chaos after opinion polls revealed the surging popularity of the Centrists. It is the first time pollsters have predicted double digits for anti-immigration Centrists. This would represent the first electoral win for a far-right party in the UK. All four surveys published since the snap general election announcement predicted the party will get at least 35 MPs elected. The four polling differed on the number of parliament seats they would win, from 39 to 63. All the polls forecast Bell Ribeiro-Addy's UPA leading the election and getting more seats than in the previous election in 2016. But the UPA is likely to fall well short of a majority in the 497-seat parliament. Pollsters are divided on which coalition is likely to emerge from this election.” - Westminster PANICS as Centrists Surge, Carly Read, The Express (2019)

Interestingly Europe wasn’t as big an issue as it had been in neighbouring countries like the Netherlands and France. Even the Centrists spent little political capital attacking Brussels, instead focusing their anger at the enemy at home, leftists and Scottish separatists. This was a testament to the European Union’s overwhelming popularity among the British people - with many crediting the EU with the economic miracle of the mid-2000s. Parties of the centre scrapped to prove themselves as the most European with Sugar, Khan and Tugendhat all wrapping themselves in the Circle of Stars. The EU also became a stick to beat the UPA with, with rival parties warning a UPA victory would threaten the UK’s place in the European Community.


The far-right looked likely to enter Parliament for the first time in British history

What was a major issue was the slow resurgence of nationalist violence whilst the SNLA had kept the peace as Westminster cracked down, several dissident groups had formed themselves into a new armed group named Saoradh, Gaelic for Liberation. Intelligence agencies estimated Saordah had over 500 active militants, with hundreds more associates and supporting groups. Over the course of the election campaign nine people had been killed by Saordah, including three police officers - the greatest violence seen since 2005. Dozens of smaller acts of violence had also occurred, including bleach being thrown on Scottish SDP Leader Anas Sarwar, blinding him in one eye. The Saodrah issue would come to the forefront when one of Alan Sugar’s protective police officers - Cairan Erwin - was shot and killed by a Saordah fighter protecting his charge during a rally in Edinburgh.

The attack on Sugar was the first political assassination attempt in over three years, shaking the nation to its core. Quickly the issue of counter-terrorism and political violence rose to the top of the agenda. This was particularly bad news for the UPA. The UPA had always been the most supportive of Scottish nationalism out of the major Westminster parties, and enjoyed close relationships with RISE and the SNP - with the Scottish brand of the People’s Party serving two terms supporting a RISE government. National quickly poured on the pressure, calling on Bell Ribeiro-Addy to rule out a coalition with Scottish separatists should she win the election.

“British police arrested on Monday nine people linked to Scotland’s pro-independence movement. Prosecutors said the activists were plotting violent acts in the coming weeks of the election campaign. They detainees had been charged with terrorism and possessing explosives. Two were later released, acting Home Secretary Graham Brady told reporters, without elaborating on why. He added that “all the rights of all those under investigation are guaranteed.” Protesters rallied late on Monday in Scottish cities demanding that those detained be freed. Prosecutors said the court had ordered the arrests to prevent actions which “could have caused irreparable damage”. The head of Scotland’s government hit back, accusing Westminster of creating a “false narrative” of Scottish violence.” - UK arrests Scottish separatists suspected of plotting violence, Joan Faus, Reuters (2019)


Scotland faced a return to the bad old days
It's hard for me to feel any sort of empathy for fictional characters who are denying Scotland its right to self-determination via the democratic process.
Just wondering why aren't you making wikiboxes like you used to at the start of the timeline? Not pressuring you to make any but I think it would be very interesting to see the results of some provincial elections or wikiboxes for people like William Hague.
Just wondering why aren't you making wikiboxes like you used to at the start of the timeline? Not pressuring you to make any but I think it would be very interesting to see the results of some provincial elections or wikiboxes for people like William Hague.
I just got busy tbh with the election campaign, and the wikiboxes always seemed to get half the likes/comments that chapters did so I thought they wouldn't be missed. I've got more time now so happy to wikiboxes on request if readers would like any part of the world explored/election results for their home province.
I just got busy tbh with the election campaign, and the wikiboxes always seemed to get half the likes/comments that chapters did so I thought they wouldn't be missed. I've got more time now so happy to wikiboxes on request if readers would like any part of the world explored/election results for their home province.
I think some good ones would be William Hague as he's no longer PM (ITTL) and the Essex election mentioned in Chapter 99 where National went into a coalition with the Centrists
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2019 Election Debate
Politicians clash over Scotland in televised debate

BBC News Bulletin

Monday’s debate revealed the deep divide between the left-wing and right-wing blocs ahead of the general election on May 26.

The campaign is fought more on emotional and identity issues, such as Scotland’s botched independence bid than on the economy.

The event, which was aired live by the BBC on Monday night, featured the leaders of the: National Party, United People Alliance, Social Democrats and Unity.

There was one notable absence - the Centrists - the far-right party that burst onto the political scene at the Essex provisional elections. Polls say the Centrists could pick up around 10% of the vote on Sunday. Election authorities had blocked James Cleverly participating, citing legislation on minimum Commons representation. The Centrists currently have one MP.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy faced an onslaught of criticism Monday from her right-wing rivals over Scotland's secession, while she warned them against cozying up to the far-right.

The tone and content of the debate also underscored the idea that voters will be making a choice between the left and the right on Sunday. Polls are predicting another fragmented scenario in which alliances will be necessary for a majority.

The candidates hardly discussed gender violence, or Junta memory - though these have all been hot-button issues during the campaign. Corruption scandals took up more air time than foreign policy or the possibility of post-election deals.

On the centre-right, Tom Tugendhat and Alan Sugar mostly focused on attacking Bell Ribeiro-Addy. And on the centre-left, SDP chief Sadiq Khan asked Tugendhat to rule out any potential deals with the Centrists.

While there were a few early blows, the tone was calm – even tedious at times – until the topic of Scotland came up. Alan Sugar pulled out a photograph of Ribeiro-Addy with Alex Neil, the separatist premier. He alluded that a UPA Government would be indebted to Scottish separatists.

"I want a prime minister who doesn't kneel down in front of those who want to break the Union" added Sugar

Tugendhat took a similar line, he said it was "shameful" to see Scottish leaders announcing their willingness to support Ribeiro-Addy “in exchange for pardons.”

"Those who want to break up the UK have their favourite candidate in Ribeiro-Addy,"

Sadiq Khan that there will be “no referendum and no independence” in Scotland and asked secessionist parties “to return to peace.”

Tugendhat and Sugar both accuse Ribeiro-Addy of betraying Britain as the Scottish branch of the UPA propped up Patrick Harvie's separatist Government

They also accuse her of cozying up to Scottish separatist lawmakers in the national parliament by voting against Article 219.

Ribeiro-Addy insisted dialogue was the way forward to avoid a repeat of a failed secession marked by an illegal referendum.

Exasperated, she said: "I've been putting up with all these lies for 10 months -- that I've sold the UK out."

Also exasperated was Khan, "This debate is being watched outside the UK," he said.

"This debate is serious enough for us not to show each other photos or throw paper at each other, and talk with a bit of seriousness."

The SDP leader, for his part, avoided a confrontation with Ribeiro-Addy. Khan attempted to portray himself as a potential coalition partner that could pull the UPA to the centre.

The UPA leader pivoted the conversation to the far right alluding to a unionist march in London square that yielded the only existing image of the leaders of the National, Unity and the Centrists standing together. Ribeiro-Addy has based much of her campaign on the idea that these “three rightists” could reach a governing deal.

“They’re going to put Mr Sugar as prime minister, Mr Tugendhat as a companion in some ministry and the far right at the wheel,” Ribeiro-Addy said. “This is a very threatening reality we need to avoid.

"I thought that Donald Trump wouldn't win and he won. I thought that Essex National and the far-right wouldn't reach an agreement and they did."

Sugar has ruled out any governing deals with the UPA but not with the National. Despite this he aimed his attacks at both the left and the right, castigating Tugendhat's National Party for its history of corruption.

“You’ve got the word ‘crook’ written on your forehead,” Sugar told Tugendhat in his first-round comments, referring to accused slush funds within the National Party. Prompting Tugendhat to tell him: “I am not going to reply because you are not my adversary.”

Meanwhile, Bell Ribeiro-Addy was ready for Tugendhat, who had asserted during the campaign that the UPA has made deals with “those whose hands are stained with blood”. This was a reference to the Workers Party, who the UPA had governed with in Scotland. The Workers Party was born out of radical leftists that supported the now SNLA.

“The Tories trick with words,” said Ribeiro-Addy, staring at Tugendhat and holding up some papers. “These are 179 motions from the Scottish Parliament that National shares signatures with the Worker's Party. So what colour are your hands, Mr Tugendhat?”

Khan was in the most comfortable position, with few attacks coming his way. The SDP leader, who is competing for undecided voters with the People's Alliance, chose to focus on content and made constant references to social rights.

One of the liveliest moments of the debate, when Ribeiro-Addy told Sugar: “You’ve said one thing and done another too many times. You said you would never vote Hague into office.” To which Sugar retorted: “And you are now the owner of a mansion,” reminding viewers of the London house the UPA leader purchased for €800,000 in May of last year.

Tugendhat, meanwhile, adopted a more sober tone than Sugar, with whom he is competing for right-wing votes. His main lines of attack against Ribeiro-Addy focused on the economy, which he argued would worsen if the UPA took power.

He also warned the British welfare state is “at risk,” saying jobs would “go out the window” under a People's Alliance government.

He told the audience a left-wing Government would lead to a steep increase in taxes: “If Ms Ribeiro-Addy becomes PM, hold on to your wallet.”

While Tugendhat and Sugar promised tax cuts and an end to inheritance tax, Ribeiro-Addy said that while there was an €25bn social security deficit tax cuts would be irresponsible.

Ribeiro-Addy portrayed herself as a reasonable option in a bid to appeal to moderate left voters. She also went out of her way to address women, young climate change activists and rural voters. She also highlighted her manifesto such as a 20 percent rise in the minimum wage.

“We can choose justice or more inequality, with cleaner governance or more corruption,” Ribeiro-Addy told the audience.

In her summation, Ribeiro-Addy said: “we have to choose what kind of country we want to be, if we want to move forwards or backwards” .

Tugendhat said his party was “the alternative to a government of secessionists”.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy emerged unscathed from the heated four-way debate.

As poll leader, Addy was the woman to beat. But her main political rivals managed to land a few punches on Scotland but did little to damage to her electoral prospects.

The UPA are polling in first place ahead of Sunday’s election and are projected to win 167 seats, according to a poll of polls for the BBC published Monday. But while Ribeiro-Addy appears on track for a victory, the result is likely to force her to seek allies in parliament.

Unity, led by Alan Sugar is polling in second place at 108 seats, followed by the conservative National Party at 92 and the centre-left SDP on 74. The far-right Centrists — which were barred from participating in Monday’s debate — are projected to win 46 seats.

An estimated 42 percent of voters are still undecided.

If the polls are to be believed, National, which has ruled for most of the past seven years, are the big losers.

Other polls show that 65% of voters are opposed to a right-wing pact between National, Unity and the Centrists. While 70% oppose a coalition of UPA and Scottish secessionists.
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2019 UK Election, Part 2

Many saw the debates as a last chance to stop the People's Party

“In the leaders’ debate before today’s knife-edge election, UPA leader Bell Ribeiro-Addy was seen as the winner. Yet he secured this victory by doing something rather unusual. While other leaders traded insults about Scotland, she focused on laying out her party’s ambitious social platform. Ribeiro-Addy is seeking to position her party as the only guarantee of progressive government. In the debate, she promised to impose a bank tax and overturn neoliberal labour reforms. Ribeiro-Addy emphasised that her party’s real adversaries were not other leaders but the oligarchy. Focusing on the material needs of the social majority, Ribeiro-Addy directed her anger against the billionaire class. Ribeiro-Addy's strong showing in the debate, and generally effective campaign, have boosted the UPA after a tough time in opposition.”
- UK's Left Is Winning the Battle, Tommy Greene, Jacobin (2019)

As the parties of the right failed to dislodge Ribeiro-Addy, the last stretch of the campaign became a mad scramble to prevent her from entering Downing Street. In fact, snap polling showed Ribeiro-Addy as the debate’s victor, with 54% of respondents saying she was the most convincing, followed by Khan on 26%, Tugendhat on 13% and Sugar on just 7%. Red lines were drawn as Britain's establishment did everything it could to prevent a socialist and separatist majority in the Commons. Alan Sugar called for a cross party “coalition of the sober” to lock the UPA, Centrists and Separatists out of power - even if this meant unusual bedfellows.

For the parties of the right, this also became a battle for second place, with both National and Unity polling neck and neck for Official Opposition. Sugar’s disastrous debate performance had given National breathing room to catch up, and given his internal opponents time to organise. Many of those on Unity’s left believed Sugar had led the party too far to the right, figures like Jess Philips and JK Rowling had joined the party for it’s pro-European and socially liberal policies, not for Scot bashing and getting into bed with the far-right. Internal critics became increasingly vocal as accusations of Sugar running the party as his own personal fiefdom returned to the forefront.


Khan had taken the SDP to the left, making a hypothetical grand coalition more difficult

With the three parties of the centre establishment so close together the results were impossible to guess, Khan, Tugendhat and Sugar all claimed to be the true standard-bearers for the political centre ground, calling on supporters of other parties to unite around them. Whilst all three supported a “coalition of the sober” no-one could agree on who should lead it. If National fell into third place, like the Social Democrats had in 2016 - it would represent the death of yet another transition parties and a new era of British politics. Both the parties of Cardiff risked being swept aside by the insurgents, with attack ads and other last-minute campaign manoeuvres becoming increasingly desperate.

“Although this is the third general election since 2016, its character shows how the country has changed. The past two were held in the shadow of austerity and corruption involving the Social Democrats, who faced extinction. Now National is fading amid internal splits. Mr Tugendhat, a politician of no fixed ideology, has hastened that process by feinting left in office, before lurching to the right. Unity and National now have to fight on two fronts. Scottish separatism is Britain's thorniest problem. But it is the Centrists, rather than the People's Party, which seems to many like the immediate threat to the system. All this suggests that Mr Sugar's bet on forming a centre-right government is a risky one.” - UK Struggling to Stay in Centre Ground, The Economist (2019)

Whilst the UPA surged to the left, the Centrists on the far-right were equally unstoppable - having gone from no-hopers at the start of the campaign, to dozens of projected seats as they entered the final stretch. This only made the situation more volatile as the Centrist’s winning 40 seats would prevent either traditional bloc from securing a majority in the Commons. James Cleverly pledged the Centrists would accept “Downing Street or nothing”, ruling out a coalition with any party that supported “SNLA terrorism” - i.e. the devolution peace process. A massive Centrist rally at Broadlands, the Mountbatten clan’s ancestral home, further helped the new kids on the right grab media attention.


A centre divided between three parties couldn't hold

This mostly posed a problem for National, Tugendhat had been thrown into the deep end after his leadership election, with no time to catch his breath or form a team he trusted - which clearly showed. His Cabinet was inherited from the Hague era, most of them had backed Clarkson or Foster and distrusted Tugendhat. The Kent MP had ran for leadership as a winner, but he didn’t look like a winner. Behind Unity in the polls and hemorrhaging votes to his right, Tugendhat looked likely to be National’s shortest lived leader. Tugendhat had run for leader as a liberal, but portrayed himself as a hardliner in the general, focusing his anger on Scottish Separatists rather than the far right, even going as far to suggest a referendum on the euro if he entered Downing Street - it was a thoroughly confusing campaign.

Ultimately as the people voted the real winner seemed to be chaos, whilst the People’s Alliance’s polling lead continued to grow in the last few days, they were nowhere near a majority, even with the help of RISE and the SNP. Both National and Unity were falling in the polls, but Unity was falling fastest, reviving hopes National could cling onto second place. Poor Sadiq Khan barely even featured in the campaign, the Social Democrats seemingly hitting their bedrock of just over 10% support. Britain’s politics was fundamentally broken, they hadn’t completed a full Parliamentary term since 2009, and all of the major parties hated each other, for the overworked civil servants and nervous EU officials - a worst case scenario looked likely.

“Politicians and political parties are considered one of the biggest problems facing the UK, according to YouGov. The poll found that politicians rank behind only unemployment on the list of Brits' concerns. Almost a third of those interviewed – 32%, four percentage points more than last year – say they are worried about the country’s politicians. This is the highest level since the 1968 coup. Up until a decade ago, around 10% of Brits were concerned about politicians but this figure began to rise during the financial crisis. Since then, the downward trend has continued. Political discontent reached similar peaks in 2013, before the emergence of new political parties. The arrival of Unity, the UPA and the Centrists fractured the two-party political system, making it more difficult to form a government.” - Concern over state of politics at highest since 1968, BBC News Bulletin (2019)


Corruption had destroyed public trust
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“Although this is the third general election since 2016, its character shows how the country has changed. The past two were held in the shadow of austerity and corruption involving the Social Democrats, who faced extinction. Now National is fading amid internal splits. Mr Tugendhat, a politician of no fixed ideology, has hastened that process by feinting left in office, before lurching to the right. Unity and National now have to fight on two fronts. Scottish separatism is Spain’s thorniest problem. But it is the Centrists, rather than the People's Party, which seems to many like the immediate threat to the system. All this suggests that Mr Sugar's bet on forming a centre-right government is a risky one.” - UK Struggling to Stay in Centre Ground, The Economist (2019)
I think you mean Britain's thorniest problem here.
Not to be a nitpicker but where you intended to write 'Yet she secured this victory' you used the wrong pronoun for her. Just FYI. Rest of the chapter was great, can't wait to see how this last election plays out!
2019 Election Reader's Poll

Good afternoon readers!

Welcome to this addition of the transition election reader's poll. For those of you who are knew you can vote on who you would vote for if you lived in this universe. This will have no impact on the plot aside from a few easter eggs and is entirely to satisfy my own curiosity.

You can vote here.