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18 April 2017

Douglas Carswell might lose – and 9 other reasons to feel good about the early general election

Who gives a crap who wins this thing? In cosmic terms we’ll all be dead in a blink of an eye anyway.

By Jonn Elledge

You know, I was excited. For half a second I was genuinely excited. Theresa May was to make a statement outside Downing Street. Suspense! Drama! Psephology!

But then, when it turned out that this was not in fact a drill, that Britain really was about to go to the polls, the excitement turned instantaneously into dread. Labour is 20 points behind in the polls. Theresa May, a significant contender for the title of “worst and most authoritarian prime minister of my lifetime”, is almost certain to extend her majority.

And I work at the New Statesman. This is my life now. The next six weeks are going to be *awful*.

But we’ve got to make it through them somehow, so here, after extensive barrel scraping, are some upsides arising from the snap election.

1) Daniel Hannan probably won’t get a seat.

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I mean this has to be his end game, right? He’ll be unceremoniously thrown out of the European Parliament in 2019, no longer paid a frankly embarrassingly large salary by an institution he openly despises, so the idea of being parachuted into a safe Tory seat for May 2020 must have crossed his mind.

Well, the next election is in six weeks’ time, so that idea probably just went the same way as Britain’s membership of the Single Market. Sorry Daniel. Maybe you can write another book.

2) Douglas Carswell will almost certainly lose his.

He’s no longer in UKIP, the Tories won’t take him back, and has Stephen has written, there’s no evidence he has a personal vote. He’s done. Good bloody riddance.

3) Actually the entire Clacton election is going to be hilarious.

Carswell has resigned from UKIP; the oafishly-loaded party funder Arron Banks has said he’ll run against him; and there’s a fairly good chance they’re both going to lose.

I mean, the entire world may be literally on fire, but if we can’t take some pleasure in watching awful right-wingers rip seven shades of shit out of each other for the next six weeks, then what’s the point of even being alive?

4) This will hasten the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s time as Labour leader.

Losing the election, as it almost certainly will, is likely to trigger the latest instalment of Labour’s newly established tradition of annual leadership elections. If the party loses dozens of seats, Jeremy Corbyn might actually be out on his arse at last.

Alternatively, for those of a different political taste:

5) This will extend Jeremy Corbyn’s control of the Labour leader until after the 2022 election.

He still has a lot of support in the party – and let’s not imagine that the Labour right are going to be any less useless this summer’s leadership election than they were in either of the last two. This election could be just what the party needs to banish Blairites for good.

6) Some individual Tories are going to be humiliated.

Remember the joy we all got watching Zac Goldsmith lose in Richmond Park? And to a Lib Dem?

On 8 June, we’ll likely see that happen again, at least a handful of times. While the party as a whole stands to extend its lead, individual Tories could well still lose: those in strongly pro-Remain constituencies have reportedly been arguing against an early election for precisely this reason.

7) The Lib Dem fight back is actually good.

Okay, we all still hate them for the coalition. And every time you feel ready to forgive, one of their blasted activists pops up to act all hurt that you’d dared to criticise their party, and you just want the bloody lot of them to stub their toes really hard or something.

But! The Liberal Democrats are the only English party that is still defiantly against Brexit. It’s also the only English party that is unequivocal in its defence of Liberal values. A stronger Lib Dem presence in Parliament must be a good thing.

8) It’ll keep the European spotlight on us.

France gets an election this year. So does Germany. So, possibly, will Italy. Why should Britain not have an election too? We’re the ones leaving the European Union, guys. Lookatmelookatmelookatmelookatmelookatme.

9) It might give the SNP the time to mop up those last three Scottish seats.

I’m not saying this is good for Scotland politically, but it’ll make the map look much neater.

10) None of this really matters anyway.

The universe has existed for around 13bn years. The earth for 4bn, complex life for 500m, modern humans for 200,000 years. The average human lifespan is around 80.

Who gives a crap who wins this thing? In cosmic terms we’ll all be dead in a blink of an eye anyway.

Anyway. Is it still too early to start drinking?