Dem 51
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Sunak Shouldn't Get Too Comfortable at 10 Downing Street

Our U.K. correspondents have done an excellent job of keeping us apprised of the woeful position of the Conservative Party and its leader, P.M. Rishi Sunak. As they have noted, under the rules that govern British elections, Sunak must call a general election sometime between now and January 28 of next year, and he will try to pick the time most favorable to the Tories.

Unfortunately for Sunak, and his fellow partisans, it's not looking like a favorable time will present itself. There was a new, major poll from the Sunday Times this weekend, and it predicts a bloodbath for the Conservative Party. According to the results, if the election were held today, Labour would win a stunning 468 seats, while the Conservatives would win just 98. The Scottish National Party would win 41, the Liberal Democrats 22 and Plaid Cymru two.

If those numbers were to hold, Labour would have the second-most seats any party has ever had in Parliament, just behind the 470 seats that the Conservatives won in 1931. Usually, you want to be careful of polls that predict outlier results, but an arse-whipping is consistent with what's been happening in by-elections in the last year or so. Also, nationwide, Labour holds a 19-point edge over the Tories (45% to 26%), and that's with 15% of respondents saying they are undecided.

It is possible Sunak could turn things around for his party, in the sense that anything's possible. But the fact is that the U.K. economy is struggling, and because of the way the U.K. electoral system works, the Conservative Party has been able to hand off the premiership to a series of leaders of sometimes dubious merit, often based on the votes of a tiny, tiny minority of the voting public. We're not experts in British elections, but all of this screams "throw the bums out" to us, and it looks like that is what the British people are getting ready to do as soon as they have the chance.

One last thing. In the United States, we are accustomed to politicians holding on to power until the last possible moment. Indeed sometimes, as you may have heard, they try to hold on to power beyond that, even after they've moved back home to Mar-a-Lago. Since the Conservatives know they are in deep trouble, and since they get to choose (within a range) of when to hold the election, they may well pull the trigger very soon. The thinking is that it's better to stick Labour and PM-to-be Keir Starmer with the nation's problems, rather than allow the Conservative brand to be further sullied. So, don't be surprised if the U.K. votes for a new PM before the U.S. votes for a new president. (Z)

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