Global shock as UK conservative party fail to win “unloseable” election
When UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a “snap election” three years ahead of time back in April, political experts predicted a total whitewash. With a 24% advantage in the polls over a divided Labour party, widely labelled unelectable, and the support of the biggest and seemingly most powerful media outlets in the country – the question was not whether Mrs May’s Conservative Government would win the election outright but how much they would consolidate their power.
However in a shocking turn of events, perhaps even rivalling last years US elections, they failed to win the 326 seats necessary to secure a majority in the House of Parliament in an election which reflects both the weakening influence of both corporate sponsored media and mass hysteria to control an increasingly dissatisfied general public. Having being tipped to increase their majority by as much as 100 seats at the beginning of the election, the Prime Ministers party lost 13 seats in what many now are calling an unnecessary gamble.
While it is likely the Government will remain in power for the time being by forming a minority government with the controversial right wing Northern Irish DUP party, pressure is mounting on Theresa May to step down in the aftermath of one of the most uninspired political campaigns in recent times and the possibility of follow up election looms large.
While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn drew huge crowds with a campaign focused on tackling Britain’s many social inequalities and creating a brighter future for young and working class people, Prime Minister May’s campaign appeared to be centred on fear.
Utilising the slogan “strong and stable” it revolved around austerity, counter terrorism measures and attacks on Mr Corbyn’s leadership capabilities. Ultimately, none of these strategies appeared to have the desired effect.
Under the pretext that the previous Government had over spent, austerity and cuts to public services have been a mainstay since the Conservative Government came into power in 2010.
Today schools leaders across the UK are warning of the debilitating impact of education cuts, hospitals are closing and in the past four years the number of people waiting in excess of 6 months for surgery has trebled according to the Royal College of Surgeons. Meanwhile, though unemployment has fallen – there are now over 1 million more working people living in poverty than there were in 2010.
However in their manifesto, the Conservative Government proposed further cuts such as ending free school lunches for children in their first two years of school and the “dementia tax” which would essentially force the elderly to pay for their own care by selling their homes.
Speaking on LBC radio in the aftermath of the election, Conservative MP Hiedi Allen predicted Theresa May would be replaced within 6 months and claimed the disconnect between the Government’s policies and the public had resulted in too many of her colleagues losing their seats in the House of Parliament.
“Voters are our customers, we got our product wrong which tells me our sales team got it wrong”, she explained.
“Frankly, if a leader picks people who advise them so badly, and cannot see that they are being advised so badly, then that tells me, I’m afraid, that that’s not the leader that we need.” she continued.
When the UK suffered two terror attacks during the election, it was widely believed this would benefit the Conservative Government at the polls due to Ms May’s strong stance against terrorism.
Following last weeks London Bridge attack she had pledged to axe human right act as part of a robust counter terrorist program to deport suspected terrorists and allocate greater powers to security services.
Instead she was accused of “policing on the cheap” after presiding over major cuts to the police force since 2010 in her role as Home Secretary, a position she held until becoming Prime Minister last year. Over the last 7 years police funding has been cut by 20% and there are now 20,000 fewer police officers in the UK, a 13% decline.
Last year, an investigation by the Independent Newspaper into media bias against Jeremy Corbyn found that 75% of press coverage misrepresented the Labour party leader, with numerous stories aligning him as a terrorist sympathiser for opposing Britain’s foreign policy.
Though this continued during the election, Political analyst and Labour party campaigner Marlene Ellis feels the combination of media and party attacks on Mr Corbyn backfired.
“Both the media and the Conservative party had spent a considerable amount of time trying to make Mr Corbyn look unelectable and incompetent but in their arrogance they had failed to put together a proper campaign or even a completed manifesto,” she explained.
The election will have disastrous consequences for Ms May – who had expected that a strong performance in the election would give her greater leverage as she begins the first round of Brexit negotiations with the European Union later this month.
As a result Ms Ellis believes her position untenable and possibly lead to another general election within six months.
“There’s no doubt her power has been curtailed, she has not got the mandate she needed for a hard brexit and does not have the majority she needs to push forward with austerity measures.”
“Also there are severe concerns over her partnership with the DUP party, who have been backed by terrorist cells within Northern Ireland, even from her peers and as such I cannot see that alliance lasting beyond a few months.”
Following the 2015 election in which the Conservative Government won a huge majority and Brexit last year, this weeks election represents the third time in three years UK voters have defied expectations. It now remains to be seen what the implications of this latest surprise are but it is clear that uncertain times lay ahead for the United Kingdom.