There have been so many elections, referendums and endless votes in Parliament over Brexit in recent times that you are totally forgiven if this week’s General Election, coming right in the middle of the peak selling season, isn’t top of your agenda. However, how you vote could change online trading dramatically in 2020.
Possible General Election Results
There are only three realistic outcomes from the General Election:
A Conservative Government
If the country votes for a Conservative Government, Boris Johnson will return as Prime Minister with the aim to push a transitional Brexit Deal through by the end of January and negotiate the final Brexit Deal by the end of 2020. The final date that at extension for negotiating the full trade deal with the EU would be June and Boris has already indicated he wouldn’t be requesting one – not really surprising with his mantra of ending ‘dither and delay’ and getting on with Brexit so that the country and Parliament can concentrate on more usual business such as running the country.
Likely ecommerce impacts would be customs forms and tariffs for trade with the EU, different tariffs with the rest of the world and customs paperwork when shipping to Northern Ireland and another set for shipping to the EU.
Another hung Parliament
None of the smaller parties, not even the Liberal Democrats are capable of winning a majority in this General Election, but they could all act as king makers. The chances are high, even if Boris had the first shot of forming a majority government as is his right as the incumbent Prime Minister, that none of the minor parties would prop up a Conservative Government. The Lib Dems tried this with Nick Clegg and it didn’t go so well for them, plus they are violently opposed to Brexit. The more recent Conservative suitors, the DUP hate the deal on offer.
Alternatively, if the Conservatives are unable to form a government there are plenty who might consider propping up Labour from the Greens to the SNP, and if Jeremy Corbyn goes maybe even the Lib Dems could stomach a Labour government. The price these parties would extract from Labour however would be high, including another Scottish Referendum.
A Labour Government
Labour are hovering around 30% in the polls with the Conservatives in the low 40%s, so there’s a big gap to close in just a few days. Polls in recent times have been disastrously wrong so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Labour could surge.
If Labour get in then the uncertainty around Brexit will continue through 2020 with a promised attempt to negotiate a new deal within 3 months (something they claimed Boris had no chance of doing so perhaps they’re drawing lessons from the Conservatives on getting things done). They would then within a further 3 months put their renegotiated deal back to the country with yet another referendum hopeful that the country would vote remain, although Jeremy is staying neutral which he says gives him the ability to implement what the people say regardless of the result. Labour’s problem is that they have no one in the cabinet even vaguely in favour of negotiating a deal which they would then back – they’ve all said no matter how good a deal they’ll campaign for remain so any deal is likely to be unpalatable to just about everyone – probably what they’re hoping for in order to win a remain vote.
At the same time a Labour Government would implement a massive buy back of companies (Water, Rail, BT, Gas, Electric and the Royal Mail) with the promise of billions for the NHS, lower rail fares, free 100mg broadband for everyone and higher taxes but only if you earn more than £125k per year. That’s a lot of election bribes so also a lot to pay for and payments can only come from taxes either now or in the future whether on individuals or businesses.
Make sure you vote in the General Election on Thursday
So that’s the main three options, make sure you vote and this time around, unlike the last three years with the Brexit Referendum, if there’s one thing I’m hoping for it is that democracy will prevail and that means moving forward with the consent of the losers regardless of whether it’s Boris, Jeremy or someone else that turns up in No 10 next week.