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No seat to fight – Now what?

NO SEAT TO FIGHT – NOW WHAT?

Nominations have now closed. Many of my clients got selected and I’m looking forward to seeing them elected to Westminster at the end of the campaign.

But what if you didn’t get a seat? I’m hearing from candidates who missed out in selection finals by as little as a dozen votes. Some people got selected at the last moment but not for the winnable seats they wanted. Others got nothing at all.

So what next?

It’s only natural to feel bruised. Rejection is never a good experience, particularly in politics. Some candidates will be wondering if it is worth all the grief. Perhaps it is time to walk away…

The best way to deal with your doubts is to put them on hold at least until the end of the campaign. You get a lot more lows than highs in politics – but the highs are fantastic! That’s why Resilience is one of the key attributes we test for and there is no better opportunity to demonstrate that resilience than an election campaign. Leave big decisions about your future until the polls close, rather than acting in haste.

Because different results will throw up different opportunities…

CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY

A Conservative Majority is looking like the most likely outcome as I write this piece, but memories of 2017 are still too raw for me to take anything for granted. Labour have a large campaign force and they might orchestrate a last minute surge of support.

But assuming there is a Conservative Government with a safe majority, there are unlikely to be many opportunities to enter Parliament for up to five years. Of course there will be by elections – if you fancy a really exhausting and high profile battle.

Otherwise, I can see many opportunities to take on public appointments as the new government makes changes. Politics has become less managerial since 2015 but our quangos are still full of reappointed Blairite managerialists from the 2000s. A sensible government will want to appoint new members who are more willing to question the current orthodoxy and press forward with fresh ideas.

You can sign up for the regular Public Appointments newsletter at the Cabinet Office Website.

HUNG PARLIAMENT

If there is still no overall control after the election, I predict a Parliament with a relatively short lifespan. The SNP and Liberal Democrats will only support a government that is willing to ditch Brexit – a short term objective that, once achieved, will leave several parties with little in common and no agreed long term agenda.

In this case there could be a lot of Westminster seats up for grabs within a couple of years. For the people who nearly made it this time, a final push could see them on the green benches. So keep those CVs dusted off if there is no conclusive result.

A consequence of remaining in the EU will be another European Parliament election in less than 5 years. With Brexit off the table, the Brexit Party will not be as strong so there will be a good opportunity for candidates who want to fight for the seats that the Conservatives lost in 1999.

Remaining in the EU will see more powers transferred to Brussels so in five years time this option could look quite attractive to politicians who actually want to make big decisions.

LABOUR GOVT

A working Labour majority cannot be dismissed. I know some people who will be leaving the country in these circumstances but that option isn’t open to many. Most of us will stay.

It’s safe to predict that a Corbyn government won’t be a runaway success story and they will soon feel the consequences of broken promises and a contracting economy. Even good Labour governments lose a lot of support once they attain power and there will be a significant protest vote to be tapped.

The length of time a Corbyn government can last will depend on the resistance they face from Blairite rebels within their own ranks. Without much resistance, they could soldier on for a full five years, much like John Major’s unpopular Tory government did from 1992. We all know how that ended, so there could be a lot of Parliamentary seats up for retaking in 2024.

Meanwhile there will be opportunities at a more local level. These will include the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and London, and the Police & Crime Commissioner posts. There will be lots of council seats that can be won back and those council leaders arguably have more power and influence than MPs. We may even see another Conservative Mayor of London…

POLITICAL BRANDING AND OBJECTIVE SETTING

So it’s worth taking a long view – a political career isn’t just for Christmas.

Some of my most successful clients this time had been working with me on their goals and objectives for several years. Having a road map really helps when it comes to navigating the UK political maze.

I’m running political branding and goal setting sessions for successful and unsuccessful candidates over the coming weeks so please get in touch for more details.