Shropshire Star comment: Twists and turns expected as General Election draws nearer
Today we launch our latest survey to gauge the region’s mood in the run up to next month’s general election.
It is the first winter election in a century and has been called on the back of parliament’s gridlock over Brexit – so the poll already stands out as an unusual one.
But when you factor in the political turmoil that has hung over the country like a dark cloud since the EU referendum, it is clear this will be an election like no other before it.
This is an election that could see a record turnover of MPs, with more than 70 having stood down from the last Parliament, and one that despite the upheaval, could even result in a state of play not dissimilar to the one we have now.
For the Conservatives, this poll is all about securing the majority that will allow Boris Johnson to deliver Brexit, before going on to enact what he describes as his “exciting” plans for the country.
Jeremy Corbyn sees the election as a chance to put Labour back in power for the first time in nine years on the back of a radical set of policies that he says will bring genuine change.
Add into the mix the resurgent Lib Dems and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and we have all the ingredients for a titanic battle that looks devilishly difficult to predict.
The purpose of our survey is not to find out people’s voting intentions.
At such an early stage of the campaign there are likely to be many people who have not yet decided where their ‘X’ will go on December 12.
Of more interest at this point, is how people feel the parties and their leaders have performed on the key issues over recent weeks and months.
Mr Johnson is determined to capitalise on the Leave vote from 2016, and clearly believes that basing his election message around Brexit will reap dividends.
In his view, Labour’s convoluted approach to the issue gives his candidates the upper hand when it comes to winning the argument on the doorstep.
But it remains to be seen whether Brexit will be the dominant issue for the duration of the campaign.
Already, a number of other key issues have risen to the surface.
The recent NHS figures on emergency department waiting times are sure to have raised a few eyebrows, as are Labour’s plans to nationalise a chunk of BT and offer free broadband to everyone in the country.
Crime is likely to be a major issue once the manifestos come out, while for the first time ever in a UK election climate change could also influence the voting patterns of a significant number of people in the wake of the global protests over the issue in recent months.
Another element that is likely to have an impact on how people vote is how the public view our politicians.
The House of Commons has not exactly shown itself in a good light in recent years.
MPs have been seemingly spending more time throwing cheap insults at each other rather than focusing on their day jobs of improving the lives of people in the UK.
To that end, we want to know if people believe that our nation’s MPs are doing a good job.
One thing is for sure, we can expect plenty of twists and turns as the day of the election draws nearer.