Labour must now take the necessary time to elect on an epochal setback.  –The Guardian

Landslide win to BoJo

By Roger Childs

British electionHe’s a divisive personality, but has undoubted charisma — something Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have. Boris Johnson has been involved in some questionable activities in the past such as the alleged dishonest advertising and illegal digital social media tactics involving Cambridge Analytica during the Brexit campaign, which led to an investigation by the Electoral Commission. He also has a messy personal life. Nonetheless, last week he won a decisive election victory and seemingly a mandate to proceed with Britain’s exit from the European Union. 

British election 4More problematic long term is dealing with Scotland, which through Nicola Sturgeon of the triumphant Scottish National Party, has quickly raised the question of another referendum on its independence. There are also rumblings in Northern Ireland about a possible breakaway from Britain [nothing new about that —Eds]. 

So the Prime Minister has plenty of challenges in the months ahead. However, Brexit comes first and Boris is determined to do the deal by the end of January. Judging by his efforts in recent months, don’t hold your breath on him meeting this deadline.

British Labour – What Went Wrong?

British election 2Labour went into the election with many policies to achieve a more equal society in class-ridden Britain and a reinvigoration of the National Health Service. But this was a campaign on the big issue of Brexit.  Corbyn and Labour have dithered over the issue since the referendum took place in June 2016 and this failing, plus dissatisfaction with the leader, meant the party was not united going into the election. 

In view of Johnson’s unwavering support for Brexit it would have been sensible for Labour to campaign whole-heartedly on a let the people decide the issue in another referendum free of corrupt and dishonest tactics. As it happened only 39% of eligible voters supported Brexit in that vote [52% of those who voted] and a second vote would have determined once and for all what Britain would do about its links with Europe. In the campaign Labour did suggest that, if they won, they would put the matter to the vote again, but why didn’t they do so earlier? In desperation, Theresa May at one point was prepared to agree to a second referendum, but Corbyn wavered. 

He was always the wrong leader for Labour and never captured the public imagination. In the election the Tories took many of Labour’s working class seats where traditionally leftist voters favoured Brexit [it’s more likely that ‘blue collar’ workers support Brexit, the opposition to it comes from the middle class —Eds] and were wooed by Boris’s promise of more doctors, nurses and police, plus an injection of funds into the National Health Service. 

The way ahead

The Tories clearly have the initiative with over 100 new, enthusiastic MPs and a mandate to proceed with Brexit. There are major concerns from the bureaucrats that there could be a “hard landing” economically, especially as the trading advantages of being in the EU slip away. There is also the vexed question of the relationship between Northern Ireland and EU member Eire. Then there is Scotland wanting independence and wishing to stay with Europe.

Labour faces the task of needing to rebuild after the electoral massacre. Corbyn is going and the party must find a dynamic, younger leader who can unify the party and work on recovering support from their traditional grassroots support which has been lost. Not easy!

Boris has a very comfortable majority, potentially for five years, but the issues of adjusting to life without the EU, sorting out a trade deals with various countries and trying to keep the United Kingdom together will ensure that the Tories have plenty of challenges.