Only an idiot would predict result – so here goes

5th December 2019

Veteran Southport journalist Martin Hovden writes: Exactly a week to go and the general election is over – bar the shouting or a major incident.

So who’s going to win at local and national level?

Conservative Damien Moore wants another term as Southport’s MP – a role he won two years ago with a 2,900 majority. His election campaign this time round has been notable for its total lack of excitement or enthusiasm. It seems he was quite happy to just go through the motions – the odd photo opportunity here, the odd Press Release there. Will he win? Politics is a funny old game.

Snapping at his heels is Labour’s Liz Savage. She upset our town’s parliamentary heritage in 2017 when she came second after decades of Southport being a straight fight between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories. This is her third attempt to win the seat and she has worked hard nurturing the constituency. Her supporters are passionate about securing victory. But politics is a game of two halves.

Hoping to put the Lib Dems back where they think they belong is John Wright. The main thrust of his campaign in the early days was bombarding residents with leaflets littered with huge pictures of leader Jo Swinson. And she wasn’t slow in telling us she is going to be the next Prime Minister. And then John Wright leaflets slowly started to trickle through. He had clearly opted for a low-key campaign. Has he done enough to win? Politics can be an unforgiving game.

With just seven days to go, it would be extremely foolish and idiotic for anyone to predict the result.

But I’m going to have a go.

Tory Damien Moore will win in Southport. As Labour and the Lib Dems slug it out to win the support of tactical voters, he will quietly come through the middle to claim first place. He will also benefit from the “love of democracy that dare not speak its name”. I’ve met so many people in recent weeks who tell me (privately) they are not Tories, but they do believe in democracy and the 2016 referendum result should be honoured, and so they will vote for the Pro-Brexit Conservative Party. They will be joined by other non-Tories who tell me (again privately) that they admire Boris for sticking to his guns over Brexit.

Liz Savage will secure second place – just. I mentioned that politics is a game of two halves. Playing for her in the second 45 minutes was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. I have a lot time for him – he reminds me of my early days reporting local politics in the 1970s. The Labour Party then was proud of its compassion. Mr Corbyn is a compassionate man. But a lot of people just don’t like him – especially some Labour supporters. They will either just not vote or switch to another party.

Trailing in third place will be the Lib Dems. I said politics can be an unforgiving game. Leader Jo Swinson discovered that the other week on Question Time when some members of the audience made it quite clear they can’t forgive her party for jumping into bed with the Tories after the 2015 election. She was told the Lib Dems had betrayed students over tuition fees and abandoned ordinary members of the public by supporting austerity.

As a Southport floating voter, I would have no problem with Damien, Liz or John winning. I regard them as decent human beings. They all want to improve the lives of others – they just have different ways of going about it.

And who will win at national level? The Conservatives – and I predict Boris will win with a healthy majority.

The result will also see Jeremy Corbyn step down as Labour leader – politics is a ruthless game.

You can quiz all three Southport candidates when Christ Church in Lord Street once again hold an election hustings this Monday (9 December) from 7.30pm.

And whatever your view, don’t waste your vote on Thursday 12 December.