Hello again. So the dust is starting to settle after a bitter and deeply divisive election campaign. I'm sure we're all glad of that!
Without a doubt it was Boris Johnson's election. His decision to push the other Parties into a pre-Christmas poll was utterly vindicated, and he was rewarded with the biggest Tory majority since 1987. He now has arguably more power than any single individual since Margaret Thatcher; only Tony Blair has had larger majorities since, and there is no Gordon Brown equivalent in his cabinet to provide a counterbalance. His 80 seat majority means he is no longer dependent upon the DUP, the ERG or indeed any other faction for support; he is free to govern as he wishes, and looks set to be Prime Minister for a long time to come.
For Labour, the election was a disaster, the Party achieving its lowest number of seats since 1985. The Party even lost seats in its traditional heartlands, the Tories taking towns they had never previously won such as Consett, Blyth and Burnley. Much has already been written about what Labour needs to do in order to get back into power, and more will follow as the Party undergoes yet another period of soul-searching.
The Liberal Democrats also had a terrible night. Having been instrumental in pushing for the election, Jo Swinson found her Party actually losing seats even from its small starting base, and suffered the further humiliation of losing her own Dunbartonshire East constituency. Out of Parliament, she was forced to resign as leader, and history will not be kind to her brief reign.
For Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, the picture was somewhat mixed. While they failed to gain any seats, the swing from Labour to the Brexit Party was key in handing many Labour seats to the Tories, particularly in Labour's northern heartlands. With Brexit now a certainty, will this be the end of the political road for Farage? He has already registered the name "Reform Party" so there are hints that his time in politics may not yet be over.
North of the border, the SNP had its second best result ever, securing 48 seats. Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson had promised to go "skinny dipping in Loch Ness" if the SNP got over 50 MPs; she would be especially relieved that they failed to reach the figure. The election in Wales saw Plaid Cymru retain its 4 seats, with the Tories again making gains at Labour's expense. In Northern Ireland, the DUP were punished for what some saw as their mishandling of the Brexit issue, losing a seat each to Sinn Fein and the SDLP, including the high profile scalp of their Westminster leader Nigel Dodds.
The new Parliament will certainly look very different. In addition to the perpetually-crestfallen expression of Dodds, the Commons will no longer witness the acerbic wit of Labour's Dennis Skinner, losing his Bolsover seat after 49 years, or the sight of the Tory benches erupting in fury whenever Anna Soubry rose to speak. Indeed, all of the MPs who either defected to the Liberal Democrats or the Independent Group for Change, or stood as independents in their former constituencies, were defeated. We are sure to see the rise of new names and new political stars over the coming Parliament.
So where do we go from here? First and most obviously, Brexit is now a certainty, with Boris Johnson able to pass the Bill to approve his deal comfortably. The Bill will become law in January 2020, with Johnson also confirming that the law to force an extension on the Government if negotiations fail to conclude by the end of the year will also be overturned. It is conceivable that 2020 will bring just the Hard Brexit that so many in the previous Parliament opposed.
As to the rest of the new Government's plans, well there is little real policy detail as yet. The Tory manifesto was famously brief, and the new PM gave little away in the campaign beyond his "Get Brexit Done!" mantra. I'll take a look at what we might expect, and also what the future holds for Labour and the other defeated Parties, in future blogs.
Now to Number Ten. All of the advice I've been given on what to build for a first app has said "Don't make your first app too big!!" which I'm conscious I've studiously ignored 😃. I'm more than halfway up the mountain now though, and can see the summit at the top, so I'm not about to give up! The experience of the last month has taught me that a week of full time development is worth about 3 months' of part time effort. I now have a complete data model and entity design to attribute level, including sample data for all entities, as well as the logic flow for the game engine, and build is back underway, so things are moving along. The entire team* are off over Christmas, but we will be back refreshed in January with the target of getting an App Store release some time in Spring.
Take care all, and speak soon,
Richard *(the entire team)