I felt that I’d be writing something along these lines, but not in my wildest dreams did I think it would be like this. The Conservatives were ahead in the polls from the get-go and although Labour’s closing of the gap to trailing by 9 points, it was never going to be an easy win. However, at 10PM, the exit polls indicated that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party were projected to win 368 seats and Labour only 191. This election has essentially hammered the final nail in the debate on Brexit.
What’s the damage?
At the time of writing, with 648 of the 650 seats declared, Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party have won an overall majority with 364 seats in the House of Commons. They have gained 43 seats since 2017, whereas Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has lost 53 seats and is currently sitting at a total of 203.
If one thing is certain, it is that Britain is very likely to leave the European Union next month. This is the biggest Conservative majority since the 1980s for the party, and now they have the chance to demonstrate what plans they have for the country over the next 5 years. Any remanence of hope anyone had about stopping Brexit with a rainbow coalition has, quite immediately, been struck dead.
How did we get here?
Since ‘Rock-umentaries’ are a popular at the cinema recently, I’m thinking of writing a screenplay about the politics of Britain in the 2010s based on the music of Royal Blood titled ‘How Did We Get So Dark’. Seriously though how did we let this happen? The very same man who has used a political platform to deceive millions of people up and down Her Majesty’s Isles, one of them being Her Majesty herself, is going to stroll into the most powerful job in the country. Sure, this sort of thing isn’t new (need I mention the Brexit campaign?), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be shocked by it.
We knew Johnson was going to get a massive seat boost by the Brexit party not standing in any Tory strongholds.
We knew he was going to capitalise on the leave voting constituencies, stealing away Labour strongholds.
What we didn’t know was that people would actually believe him and vote for his policies.
What does this mean for Labour?
First and foremost, Jeremy Corbyn will step down as the leader of the Labour Party after a disastrous night. This is not only the second election he has lost, but it also proves there is a huge disconnect between himself and the people of former Labour strongholds. I feel that his manifesto, one based on hope with full of ambitious spending plans, is just one of the things the party got wrong. That and adopting a Brexit strategy in which Corbyn refused to take a stance on which way he would vote.
I’d be remised if I didn’t talk about antisemitism within Labour, but it obviously hurt the party deeply on election day. Everyone was talking about it, and the blame has to fall at someone’s door. This party needs time to lick its wounds and return with a credible and strong leader to front a decent opposition against the Conservatives.
Whatever happened to the Lib Dems?
If you thought it was a bad night for Labour, I can safely say the Liberal Democrats may have had a worse one. Jo Swinson, leader of the party, has lost her seat to the Scottish National Party (SNP). Losing that 1 seat leaves the Lib Dems with only 11 seats, a new acting leader, and, much like Labour, perhaps perspective on what is new for their party.
Is there another Scottish independence referendum on the horizon?
In short, no. Johnson has made it clear that there will be no second referendum for Scotland so Nicola Sturgeon and her party will most likely take their case to court for a legal ruling. Seeing as they now hold 48 of the 59 seats, taking their case for independence forward for a court ruling seems likely.
We’re all still trying to figure out how we got here so please watch this space for some spicy opinions on the fallout of this General Election.
Words by Jacob Fleming