Of the three political earthquakes that have shaken the western political landscape in the past year – Brexit, Trump and Thursday’s general election – the latest has a claim to be the biggest shock of all. Remember that remain and leave were neck and neck in the opinion polls in the days leading up to the EU referendum: a leave win always looked a possibility. In the US, surveys regularly showed Donald Trump just a couple of points behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, which is exactly how things turned out.
Corbyn stuck two fingers up at his critics and changed politics for good Aditya Chakrabortty Read more But, barring a couple of polls dismissed as rogue outliers, nothing suggested that Theresa May was about to throw away her parliamentary majority. On the contrary, not only did Tory HQ have meticulous seat-by-seat data pointing to a big win, Labour candidates and workers in the field were convinced – right up to the moment the exit poll was announced at 10pm on Thursday – that they’d been thoroughly walloped. Their own face-to-face contact with the voters, whether in Yorkshire or the Midlands, told them they were set to lose dozens of seats. Instead they won 30, including that citadel of socialism, Canterbury.
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