Boris Johnson boasts a huge majority in the House of Commons and literally has free reign to do whatever he wants over the next five years. He obliterated Labour heartlands, ran riot over leave territories and all this despite UK voters apparently “despising” the man himself. However, did the Conservative party win the 2019 election by default?
Labour in Scotland
Scotland has previously been a stronghold for the Labour Party, indeed the Labour Party began in Scotland, but the SNP now rules the roost. The problem is that the main Labour Party is against a further Scottish independence referendum while many voters in Scotland would like the option. So, in many ways the Scottish Labour Party was caught between two stools, sticking by the main UK Labour Party policy or looking to tweak this in Scotland to curry favour with voters. The party decided to do nothing and the SNP is now seen by many as the mouthpiece of Scotland.
It is fair to say that without a majority in Scotland the Labour Party have little or no chance of creating a UK government in the short to medium term.
Labour in Wales
There has been huge criticism of the Labour Party with regards to public services across Wales and in particular the NHS. We have also seen controversy and the unfortunate death of a Labour councillor caught up in heated internal wranglings. The Labour Party was given food for thought prior to the election but chose to do nothing differently and hence paid the price. We are now seeing parts of Wales with a Conservative MP, something which has NEVER been seen before.
Voters have long memories, and whether or not the Conservative party is as strong next time round in Wales, remains to be seen. If not, and the Labour Party is still in the doldrums, we could see a significant increase in the nationalistic vote.
Labour in Northern Ireland
The Labour Party does not contest elections in Northern Ireland although the simple fact is that with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm this would have been a complete waste of time anyways. There were and continue to be serious concerns regarding the future of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. The country has been used as a political pawn by the European Union and to a lesser extent by the UK government. Whether or not this pushes the electorate back towards a united Ireland remains to be seen but the likes of Sinn Fein are growing in strength.
Labour in England
Despite the fact that the vast majority of the Midlands and the North of England voted to leave the European Union, it seems as though the Labour Party knew better. We saw an array of Labour MPs suggesting that leave voters were “stupid” and had “misunderstood the referendum”. This condescending manner has been evident since the 2016 referendum but Labour MP after Labour MP failed to recognise this. Talk of overturning Brexit, a half-hearted attempt between in and out and this constant blocking of Brexit legislation ahead of the 2019 general election saw Labour voters leaving en masse.
Even the most optimistic of Conservative voters never expected such a result in the 2019 general election. There had been no talk whatsoever of this huge majority Boris Johnson managed to secure. When the initial exit poll was released it was dismissed as “inaccurate” but in the end it was not too far from the truth. Boris Johnson managed to curry favour with traditional Labour voters predominantly because of his Brexit stance and determination to uphold the will of the people. So far he is talking the talk, regarding investment in the Midlands and the North of England, but will he be able to walk the walk?
If Boris Johnson can retain the majority of previous Labour voters in the next election this would cause huge problems for the Labour Party. There are already suggestions that the Scottish Labour Party is considering separating under a different structure. Whatever happens, the Labour Party of 10 years ago is gone, dead and buried and what might emerge from the ashes is anybody’s guess.