The United Kingdom went to vote last Thursday and results announced on Friday shocked most political observers in Britain and the world over. The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, were the single largest party, reaching and crossing the magic figure of 326 all on their own without aid from their coalition partners, the Lib Dems led by erstwhile Deputy PM, Nick Clegg. The Lib Dems ended up with a miserable 8 seats as compared to last election’s 56 and Labour, led by Ed Miliband continued to be the Opposition in the House with 232 seats, making it the Red’s worst performance in almost 3 decades. What really destroyed Labour’s chances of coming to power was the Scottish National Party’s sterling display in Scotland where they captured 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies and reduced Labour to a mere sideshow up north.
Labour was supposed to make the election much harder for the Conservatives and some opinion polls predicted a win for Miliband and Co. The National Health Service is in the doldrums, immigration to the UK is at an all time high and there is an amazing anti-Euro sentiment which Cameron just has been unable to mollify. So what did Labour do wrong? Labour didn’t do much wrong on the face of it. They didn’t do much at all in fact. Miliband harped on about the inconsistencies and failings of the Cameron-Clegg combine but totally forgot about Gordon Brown’s sad excuse for a tenure. Surprisingly, the British electorate remembered it. Miliband never portrayed himself as a viable alternative, proposing reforms to the NHS that had already been tried and failed under Blair and Brown. Labour was also significantly diminished in Scotland where the SNP, led by maverick leader Nicola Sturgeon, undergoing a renaissance of sorts post the 2014 referendum, rose to become the third largest party in this election. Labour was looking at a strong showing in the North but the SNP’s strong pitch in its backyard worked in its favour, ensuring that Scotland would have a much greater say in policy decisions in this term. The less said about Clegg the better, with senior leaders all across the board losing seats that they had held and were considered safe seats.
No article on the elections would be complete without mention of the United Kingdom’s version of Subramanian Swamy, Nigel Farage. Controversy follows Farage, but UKIP still managed 12% of the vote share which is sure to result in calls for electoral reform.
Regional parties like Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party all performed reasonably well, substantially increasing their vote share, showing the rising sense of divide within the UK.
UK votes blue. Shows the power of ensuring a constant supply of tea and scones with clotted cream. Simple recipe to keep you in power for another 5 years. On the other hand, its good bye to Miliband and Clegg and a shout out to Farage for his ability to bring humour into the most serious of situations.