It appears as though the election scheduled to take place a month from tomorrow will be a great deal more uncertain than the previous events that most people have ever experienced. The number of well-known existing MPs who have either stood down after many years or are standing as Independent candidates having left their party, or been thrown out of it is clearly one of these elements that will have an impact on the publicity relating to this election. Depending on the results this could also potentially have a significant impact on the next phase of our nations Parliament. In Sussex this will be most noticeable in Hastings with the decision by Amber Rudd to step down after being refused the opportunity to do so as a Conservative, but over the border in Surrey there are several constituencies that could also see some unexpected outcomes. Later this week the deadline for the deal that is on offer from the Brexit Party to the Tory Party will no doubt lead to that deal being destroyed which may have an impact on local constituencies such as Hastings and Crawley and there may be other examples not far away in Kent where the political strength of the Brexit party is much stronger. The alliance by the Green Party and Liberal Democrats in England has of course raised some concerns amongst some people, but the impact in Wales with the involvement of Plaid Cymru seems to make matters much more positive, for people outside of the two main parties. All people who want the First Past the Post system to be removed and an effective proportional representation scheme to replace it should see these discussions and the successful alliance as a positive way for our democracy to be improved. Again there is a Sussex location where this has occurred which is here in Brighton Pavilion where the Lib Dems are not going to stand.
However as in any General Election, there are challenges that will impact our society that has nothing to do with the election itself or even the politics which they involve and it seems important if they can be bothered to pay attention, for our next generation of political leaders to learn from this chaos and set out a more effective set of proposals for the future. The most visible and evident area is the venues that are used by our communities to hold the voting process on the day of the election. It is clear that to set up an election for the penultimate week before Christmas will have a major impact on School premises. The letter sent out by Gavin Williamson last Tuesday to Councils which organise elections at a local level offering to provide some extra funding for different venues to be used in order to avoid local problems for such Schools gives the impression of a call for a stable door to be bolted from a person riding on the horse, and now several fields away from the stable. It would be helpful for Tim Loughton’s recent comment to be adopted “Frankly, however, we should not be using schools as polling stations. We should not be interfering with children’s education“. However other venues will also present challenges at this time of year such as Church Halls and Community Centres. The reality is that the challenge of such a ridiculous date is not limited to the venues that will disrupt the lives of many people. Another issue is the impact on the Councils that are now running a third election in one year, with the local elections in May that are well predicted and follow a clear pattern which they can prepare for each year or every four years depending on the arrangements. This was followed three weeks later by the European elections which had the decision to leave or to delay leaving been resolved much earlier could also have been planned with a lot more clarity. However to finish the year of with a third type of election, the General Election will probably make most people involved in such processes feel that the only missing item in their list of possibilities is a referendum which given that it has not taken place in 2019 is clearly going to take place next year, four years after the last one. After all although many people who do not want another referendum tend to point out that David Cameron declared that it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, Cameron was also the person who called for General Elections to happen every five years and even made that a law for our nation and if his laws can be broken, twice by his two successors, then to revisit his referendum in the same lifetime seems to be entirely appropriate!