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UK election: It's more about the Conservative loss than the Labour win

UK election: Its more about the Conservative loss than the Labour win

The dust has settled on the election. Labour has won for the first time since 2005, and Sir Keir Starmer, as leader of the Labour Party, will be appointed Prime Minister. Rishi Sunak is resigning as PM and as leader of his Conservative Party (Tories). Sunak led the party to its heaviest defeat in its 200-year history. It is an epoch-making result. Never before has an election gone from a landslide victory for one party to a landslide victory for another right away. Usually, there is an election in between with a less decisive outcome.

The result has been greeted more with relief than jubilation. Most people were thoroughly sick of Conservative underperformance, lies, and psychodrama. But few were enthused by Labour. It was not so much that Labour won, but that the Conservatives lost.

Labour has won 410 seats out of 650. Only 326 are needed for a majority. Therefore, Labour is in a very salubrious position. But Labour won only 35% of the vote. The First Past the Post system was very generous to Labour. Labour took scores of constituencies from the Tories. Some of them had been Tory-held for over a century. Labour has expanded from its urban strongholds into the Tory heartlands of rural England. Labour has come back as the dominant party in Scotland. Despite the Labour vote falling a little in Wales, Labour made significant gains in the Principality.

Labour’s dull and hyper-cautious campaign did the trick. Starmer is a very bland personality. The Bore of Britain speaks in a tedious nasal voice and has no sense of humour. Starmer spoke about his victory with a total dearth of panache. He has all the passion of the talking clock and never laughs. But in current circumstances, there is little for the UK to laugh about.

In 2017, Labour lost with 42% of the vote. Now, they have a large majority with only 35% of the vote. But their lead over the Conservatives is 11%.

Labour’s total of 410 MPs is their second-best result ever. It almost equaled their finest hour in 1997.

The Red Wall came back to Labour. This means that seats in north-east England that Labour held from 1945 until 2019. They turned blue (Tory) in 2019 because of factors known as BBC: Brexit, Boris, and Corbyn. Brexit was a popular policy, and the Tories were united on it; Boris Johnson was popular as PM, and Corbyn was bitterly unpopular. All three of those factors no longer pertain.

A third of the Conservative Cabinet was felled. Former Prime Minister Liz Truss suffered the humiliation of being voted out. She is the first former PM to lose her seat since H. H. Asquith in 1918. Penny Mordaunt was seen as a leadership contender. Miss Mordaunt was kicked out by her constituents in her birthplace of Portsmouth.

The big question for the Tories in the immediate term is who will be the next leader. The probable candidates are:

Jeremy Hunt: The former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary held onto his seat against expectations. His wife is Chinese, and some said she was a security risk when her husband was in charge of the Secret Intelligence Service. He stood for the leadership in 2019, coming second to Boris Johnson. He stood again in 2022, coming 8th out of 8. Is he too boring, pale, male, and stale? But he is seen as a safe pair of hands. He is the Tory answer to Starmer. But why go for more of the same?

Priti Patel: Former Home Secretary. The ethnically Indian woman is viciously anti-Palestinian. She was once sacked from the cabinet for her secret meetings with the Israeli Government. She is personable, vivacious, and the right age. She declined to seek leadership in 2022 despite people pressing her to.

Suella Braverman: She was Home Secretary and once resigned for breaching data safety and was then sacked for her failures. She is dubbed "Cruella" by her many foes. The 44-year-old Buddhist is ethnically Indian and married to a Jewish man. She is also known for her violent hatred of Palestine. Her monomania on deporting illegal immigrants is perceived as unpalatable.

Kemi Badenoch: She is 43, genial, upbeat, and effective. She is ethnically Nigerian and outspokenly right-wing. She would be the antidote to Labour’s mantra about racist Tories.

Tom Tugendhat: Another Conservative contender. He is the doyen of the moderate wing of the party. That will not go down well with ordinary members of the party. But he is pale, male, and stale.

It is unlikely that a white man will be the next Tory supremo.

The Tory parliamentary party shall narrow the field down to two candidates. The final two will then elect the leader. They always elect the more right-wing candidate.

This has been a very heavy defeat for the Conservative and Unionist Party. The party may well be out of office for twenty years. The Conservatives are in a state of catatonic shock. They may take some months to take stock.

A quandary has been imposed on the Conservative Party. Does it tack to the right to win back previous Conservative voters who defected to Reform UK? Or should the Conservatives tack left to win over swing voters? Reform UK will probably decline drastically over the next five years. Therefore, leaning left is probably a wiser course.

The Liberal Democrats increased their vote share by only 1 percentage point, but this yielded a bumper crop of seats. The Lib Dems went from a measly 11 MPs last time to 71 now. That seven-fold increase is unprecedented. In terms of seats, this is their best result in exactly 100 years! Such are the vagaries of the First Past the Post system. The Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey is cock-a-hoop. He was literally dancing with glee when the results came in.

The Lib Dems did best in rural southern England, where they are often the main opposition to the Conservative Party.

The Green Party had only one MP before. Dr Caroline Lucas announced her resignation as MP for Brighton Pavilion. The seat was held by the Greens. The Greens captured three other seats. Four is their best-ever tally. They polled 7% of the vote. Some of these people who vote for them are environmental obsessives and others are anti-capitalists. The Greens are far left.

In Scotland, the SNP performed poorly. They had held 48 out of Scotland’s 59 Westminster constituencies. Scotland now has only 57 MPs due to a falling population. The Scottish National Party now holds only 10 Members of Parliament. This is partly because the SNP has ruled Scotland in the Scottish Parliament for 17 years. The SNP has failed in all policy areas. Voters do not compartmentalize and are punishing the SNP for this failure. Scottish Labour’s message was that the only way to turf the Tories out was to vote Labour. Labour can form a government at Westminster whereas the SNP cannot. This resonated with voters.

The chance of Scotland leaving the UK has diminished very substantially. Labour is more popular than the Tories in North Britain. Moreover, the SNP has been seriously enfeebled. It is probable that this Westminster defeat presages the SNP losing the Scots Parliament in 2026.

In Wales, a Tory-free zone has been proclaimed. Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales) has doubled its number of parliamentarians from 2 to 4 and increased its vote share markedly. Labour has retaken some suburban and rural seats from the Welsh Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats went extinct as a Westminster party in Wales in 2019. But in 2024 they underwent a resurrection. The Conservative cause was not helped by one of the most prominent Tory MPs in Wales being caught gambling on the date of the election using insider information.

A Welsh constituency elected a non-white MP for the first time. The Labour MP, Mr Priyanka, is a British Indian who was a King’s Scholar at Eton.

The dog that did not bark in the night was the Workers’ Party of Britain. This extreme left sect was led by George Galloway. He was once a Labour MP and is now an apologist for genocide in Syria and Ukraine. He spoke disdainfully of Labour and the Tories as a uni party. He makes a fair point. The two major parties have far more in common than they dare admit.

In four constituencies, independent Muslim candidates won the seat from Labour. These were candidates who were irate that Labour supports the slaughter of 37,000 Palestinian civilians. In 2029, the Gaza issue might be gone. But there are at least 30 Muslim-majority seats in the UK. Distinct Muslim candidates might win more seats in areas that had been safely Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn won as an independent. He is a former Labour Party leader. He was expelled from the party over accusations of anti-Semitism. He says this is an Israeli smear because he advocates for human rights for Palestinians. Corbyn has held his Islington North constituency since 1983.

Thursday, 4 July was polling day. For some unknown reason, elections in the United Kingdom have always been on a Thursday since 1918.

Rishi Sunak’s decision to call an election six months early proved to be injudicious. He made the announcement outside in a torrential downpour without an umbrella. It was emblematic of an election when the Conservative Party made the wrong decision almost every single time. Sunak opted for an unusually long campaign: six weeks. Three weeks is usual. The theory was that, as the governing Conservatives had so much ground to makeup, they needed as much time as possible to make that ground. But in those six weeks, the Tory vote sank. However, so too did the Labour vote.

The Conservative campaign seemed to vindicate Murphy’s law: everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Several Tory MPs and staffers used confidential information to bet on the election date. That is illegal. Of course, the press found out. It is believed that Labour-friendly police officers leaked this to the media.

The Conservative mantras about sticking to the plan did not connect. Tory plans have been failing for years. The only successful Tory attack line is that Labour would raise taxes, as indeed they will. But some people seem willing to pay more for better services.

Reform UK fielded candidates all across Great Britain. In 2019, it stood under the label of the Brexit Party. But in 2019, they did not stand against Tory MPs who were confirmed Eurosceptics. This time, Reform United Kingdom was irate with the Tories for not being firm enough against the European Union. Reform UK is led by Nigel Farage. The former Member of the European Parliament had failed seven times to be elected to the UK Parliament. But in 2024, he smelled victory. Mr. Farage therefore decided to get back into the game.

The Reform UK candidate in Clacton-on-Sea was pushed aside because the demographics of that older, white, working-class town on the east coast are uniquely favourable to the party. It had once been won at a general election by the UK Independence Party (Farage’s former party). Farage deciding to stand was rocket fuel for Reform UK’s campaign.

It came to light that several Reform UK candidates had made racist remarks. Reform said they had done due diligence.

Reform UK appealed to disaffected Conservative voters. There were a lot of them. One poll showed Reform UK outpolling the Tories! There was speculation that the Conservatives might come third in terms of MPs and be behind the Lib Dems.

Reform UK had a superb result. They went from 2% to 14% of the vote. They won more votes than the Lib Dems. But Reform UK won only four MPs. Farage has been elected to Westminster for the first time.

The election has shown how fractured British politics is. The two major parties won a combined total of only 59% of the vote. In 2017, they won 82% of the vote combined.

Labour gained only three percentage points of the popular vote, yet it took over 200 seats. That was mostly because people who voted Tory last time voted for Reform UK. The Tory vote share almost halved from 44% to 24%. The Conservatives have been forced back to a few shires in Scotland and England.

Minor parties have made huge strides. Thirty per cent of people are swing voters. They are willing to take a punt on small parties. A vote for a party outside the big three no longer seems like a vote that is automatically wasted. The UK has for so long been a duopoly. Only Labour or the Tories could rule as a single-party government for over a century. But now the UK may be entering a period of real multiparty politics. It was only in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland that multiparty politics existed. In 2019 in England, 98% of seats were won by the duopoly.

In London, Labour won 59 seats, the Tories 9, and the Lib Dems 6. The most strongly Liberal Democrat areas are southwest London and just to the west of London.

Sunak left the D-Day commemorations early. This mortally offended older people and veterans.

Sunak’s performance in debates against Starmer was mediocre.

The Conservative Party did not use Boris Johnson until the second last day. His toxicity among swing voters meant that they did not wish to use him while they believed there was a chance that serious numbers of swing voters might vote for the party. But by July, it was apparent that this was operation damage limitation. The objective was to reduce the number of former Tory voters who were plumping for Reform UK. Johnson still has star quality among right-wing voters.

The Conservative Party has signally failed to deliver. Economic growth has been marginal. The Tories put tax up to its highest level since 1952. The Conservatives managed to trim taxes towards the end of their 14 years in office, but it was too little, too late. The National Health Service waiting lists got longer and longer. There were strikes by doctors, nurses, and teachers. The government messed around with the curriculum as the country suffered a severe shortage of teachers. Crime has gone up. The police spend most of their time policing Facebook posts and going on transsexual courses. The number of civil servants has increased despite the Tories being sworn to reduce it. Legal and illegal immigration has increased despite four elections in a row in which the Tories vowed to cut both. The Conservatives spectacularly failed to stop the boats. The Rwanda Plan to deport illegals to Rwanda literally failed to take off.

In 2020 and 2021, there was almost no immigration to the UK because of COVID. Therefore, in 2022, three years’ worth of people arrived in one year. This alarmed the public. There were many refugees due to the Afghanistan withdrawal, the oppression of the Hong Kongers, and the Ukraine War. The asylum system is stretched to breaking point.

Her Majesty’s Government, when the Conservatives were in charge, took the United Kingdom out of the European Union in 2020. That was in accordance with the settled will of the British people as expressed at a referendum and two general elections. However, the trade agreement with the EU necessitated the UK paying billions of GBP to the European Union as part of the so-called divorce settlement. The UK also agreed that Northern Ireland would remain part of the EU for economic purposes. The British Government repealed thousands of EU laws. The United Kingdom also inked around one hundred trade agreements with various countries.

If the trade deals were more beneficial than what the UK had inside the European Union, then the Conservatives needed to shout this from the rooftops. It was a communications disaster that was not conveyed to the public.

The Conservatives belatedly increased the defence budget after years of slashing it. The British Government funded Ukraine’s war effort and armed the Ukrainians. It was and is British policy to save Ukraine. So far, mission accomplished. Ukraine was one of its few successes.

Ironically, the Conservatives lost the election just as the economy had come right. There was slow but steady economic growth. Unemployment is down to 4%. Inflation is down to 2% from a horrendous 11% in 2022. The Tories failed to convince people that they had sorted the economy out.

The Conservatives governed the UK during a very difficult period. The Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition in 2010 took over during the credit crunch. Austerity was required. The coalition lasted until 2015. At that point, the Lib Dems left the coalition. The Conservatives were able to govern on their own. But since then, there have been black swan events such as the COVID lockdown and the Ukraine War.

Twenty-four per cent of British adults are now registered disabled. Only some of them are genuinely disabled. Many chancers are gaming the system. People get disability allowance on the basis that they cannot work. This is a burden on working people. More and more people are entitled to ever more expensive allowances. Badly behaved children are diagnosed with psychological problems, and they are tutored at public expense at GBP 75 an hour. The Conservatives have presided over this explosion in special provision. It is ruinously expensive.

The Tories increased the percentage of young people going to university to 55%. This is one of the highest university attendance rates in the world. It is grossly profligate. Universities are Maoist madrassas. People pay up to GBP 9,250 per year for a three or four-year bachelor’s degree. They pay it back over the next 40 years. It is estimated that most of this will never be repaid.

The Conservative Party governed in an unconservative manner. When Rishi Sunak was Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister), he governed like a socialist. The Labourisation of the Conservative Party has been rebarbative. The Tories attacked freedom of speech. They discriminated in employment. They also took away people’s rights. Labour will make this even worse.

Labour takes on some very testing tasks. Problems in the health service, civil service, policing, public transport, and education will not disappear simply because Labour is in office. Trade unions indicate that they want more money now. They will not be patient. They may soon strike.

Labour has pledged not to increase income tax and certain other taxes. But there were other taxes about which they gave no guarantee. Expect major tax hikes.

Labour is the party of welfare dependency. Social parasitism is bound to increase enormously. People on benefits permanently are Labour’s core vote. Illegal immigration will increase hugely now that Labour has scrapped the Rwanda Plan.

Some illegal immigrants fled to the Republic of Ireland to escape deportation to Rwanda. They moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland by plane or ship. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so there are no passport checks going there from GB. Once in Northern Ireland, the illegal immigrants simply got the bus or train across the border into the Republic. There are no border checks. They started camping out in Dublin. Now that Labour is in office in the UK, many of them shall return.

Improving the NHS is going to be like turning around a supertanker. It will take a long time to stop getting worse before the figures start to improve.

Labour has promised to recruit another 6,500 teachers in England. With more people leaving teaching than joining, it is hard to see how they shall achieve this.

The Starmer Administration said it will put a tax on private school fees. This will make some go bust. Thousands of children will go into state schools that cannot cope as it is. It is a short-sighted and spiteful policy. It is class warfare. But this sort of bigotry goes down a treat with the far left.

Labour said they will increase defence spending from 2% to 2.5% of the budget within five years if the economy allows it. That means they will not do it. That is very perilous given the global situation.

The Labour Government said it shall recognize Palestine. This is long overdue. It will play well with Muslim voters.

Sir Keir Starmer has signalled continuity on Ukraine. Expect a visit to Ukraine in the next few weeks. He will attend the NATO Summit in Washington, DC, to celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary.

There will be some goodwill behind Labour. People will give it a chance. Labour will blame all the UK’s travails on the Conservative Party. There is some validity to this argument, but people want appreciable improvements in public services and the economy within five years.

Labour is almost certain to disappoint. In 2029, the Lib Dems and the Greens will likely gain disgruntled Labour voters. As Reform UK declines dramatically, the Conservatives will probably retake dozens of seats in 2029. However, it is almost impossible for the Tories to win in 2029.

Starmer is 62 and charmless. He is a vegetarian and seems to be in excellent health. But will he step down after five years?

David Lammy could be the first black Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He is married to a white woman, and they have two children. He denounced whites for being charitable to black children. He is a Harvard graduate and has been accused of racism.

Rachel Reeves is Chancellor of the Exchequer. The chess champion, Oxford graduate, and mother of two could be Labour’s first female PM.

Wes Streeting is the Health Secretary. He often boasts that he was raised in poverty by a single mother. He narrowly avoided being aborted but still supports the right to abortion. He could be the UK’s first gay prime minister. He is also an Oxford graduate, but his seat is vulnerable to independent candidates.

Annaliese Dodds is another Labour cabinet minister. At 45, the Aberdonian is also a contender. She is an Oxford graduate and mother of two children.

Angela Rayner is a Labour cabinet minister who constantly harps on about being working class. She left school at 16 to have a baby when she had no qualifications. Her choice for life is admirable, but she is often criticized for her manner of speaking and perceived bigotry against the middle class. Mrs Rayner has also been accused of tax fraud. However, her straightforwardness appeals to some resentful Labour voters. Heaven forbid that she becomes PM.

The author is a political analyst from the UK. He can be watched on YouTube: George from Ireland

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TAGS:Conservative PartyToryUK electionBritish PoliticsKeir StarmerLabour Patry
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