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13 September 2018

19 reasons Britain should hold an autumn election

Election, election, election, election.

By Jonn Elledge

I’m a bit bored. An election would really liven things up right about now, wouldn’t it? So here are 19 incredibly compelling reasons for one. 

1. Brexit is by far the most important item on the political agenda, yet there is no Brexit deal that will be acceptable to a majority of both the House of Commons and of the governing party. Ergo, we need a new parliament – and so we need a fresh election.

2. The inability to deal with Brexit is preventing the government from even beginning to address Britain’s crumbling infrastructure, the increasingly insecure nature of employment and housing, the looming winter crisis in the NHS, or any of the fourteen thousand other issues currently facing the country. That to me suggests we need to get Brexit off the table – which in turn suggests we need an election. See (1). 

3. That fucking referendum result has become a Rorschach diagram with everyone seeing exactly what they want in it. Since the things they are seeing are often mutually incompatible, this feels like a good moment to ask the electorate what they actually do want, rather than allowing Liam fucking Fox to act like he has any insight into literally fucking anything.

Ergo: we should have an election.

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4. Seriously, though, can you imagine four more years of this shit?

5. EU experts have suggested that one of the few things that could persuade the EU to pause the clock on Article 50 is some kind of election, so that the country can consider whether it still thinks Brexit is a good idea. I think, as I have always thought, that Brexit is, in fact, a bad idea. Ergo, both because

a) it will enable us to pause Article 50, and

b) it might enable us to abandon this entire shitstorm altogether

…I would like there to be an election.

6. I would quite like the Labour Party to spend more time fighting the Conservative Party, and less time fighting other bits of the Labour Party. You know what kind of national event I reckon might make it do just that? You got it.

7. Actually, come to that, it would be good to do something to remind the EU-27 we are still here at all, because I get the impression they’ve forgotten. What better way of doing so than holding a hugely destabilising election just four or five months before we crash out of the union altogether? Doesn’t that sound great?

8. The Lib Dems are in increasingly desperate need of some excuse to end Vince Cable’s bed-block of a leadership. He’s said he won’t go anywhere until after Brexit, but… well, would you put money on the party doing well enough to shore him up? Either the party gets a shock good result – or it doesn’t, and it finally has a reason to eject Sir Vince. Either way, for the sake of the Lib Dems: we should have an election.

9. We haven’t had one in a while now, so I feel like we’re due. 

10. There’s a non-zero chance that Iain Duncan Smith might lose his seat. I mean, that alone makes it worth doing, doesn’t it?

11. An election will be good for British business, in that uncertainty is hugely damaging, and an election will allow us to bring that uncertainty to an end.

12. An election will be good for this British business, in that, during election campaigns, the New Statesman’s sales and web traffic tend to go up.

13. The last election knocked 20 points off the Tories’ poll ratings in a couple of weeks, and that was 

    a) really funny, and

    b) something I would enjoy seeing happen again.

14. Not being on the New Statesman’s politics desk, I can just enjoy the chaos without actually having to cover it for 14 hours a day – so really, for me personally, there’s very little downside here. The opposite, if anything.

15. An election will be a really good way of injecting fresh life into Britain’s moribund political meme culture.

16. Also, an election campaign is a good excuse to eat complete crap for a month, and at my age you take all the excuses you can get.

17. The Tories have spent eight years fucking up this country – holding down wages, bumping up house prices, letting the entire public realm crumble to bits, not even fixing the deficit in the process and then, best of all, Brexit – and, bloody hell, any opportunity to vote these people out of government as soon as humanly possible has to be a good thing.

18. Despite everything I’ve said about breaking the Brexit deadlock, there must be a fairly high probability that the 2018 election would deliver pretty much exactly the same result as the 2017 one, and while that’d be a disaster for the country and also for those of us who live in it, it would, objectively, be hilarious.

19. To be honest, I just really want to see Stephen Bush weep like a child.