Boris Johnson will return to No. 10 Downing Street after last night’s UK election, where Johnson’s Conservative Party won in a landslide. The Prime Minister ran on a platform primarily of “get Brexit done,” while Labour, Britain’s largest leftward party, ran on a platform that included free internet and a four-day work week.
Now the Tories have a majority, which means they don’t have to worry about getting smaller parties on board in a coalition to accomplish the party’s laundry list of ideas. Fraser Nelson of The Spectator (my favorite magazine) remarked on a podcast that the British have almost forgotten what it’s like for one party to have a majority.
So, what happens next? Brexit, of course, but Johnson’s big win reflects a shift in politics that echoes much of what has happened with Trump’s 2016 win. As James Forsyth writes at The Spectator:
This victory means that the UK will leave the EU on the 31st of January. But it also means something else, and something that might turn out to be almost as important to the future of the country. This election has realigned British politics…
This means a new form of Toryism. So we will see a Tory party that is prepared to intervene in the market when that is what is needed to boost pay, look at their plan for a minimum wage of over ten pounds an hour. It is a Tory party that will put tax cuts for those at the bottom first, look at how Boris Johnson’s initial tax of raising the top rate threshold has been put on the backburner and the Tory priority is now raising the National Insurance threshold.
Forsyth goes on to note that Johnson has cobbled together a coalition around Brexit, and he’s going to have to figure out how to keep those voters united and in the party once Brexit is done. It’ll be fascinating to watch.
Another area to watch after this election is Scotland. The Scottish National Party (SNP) was the other big winner in this election, and their priorities are far different from those of the Tories. The SNP is vehemently anti-Brexit and pro-Scottish independence, and we shouldn’t be surprised if we see renewed calls for another referendum on Scottish secession from the United Kingdom.
Stay tuned as we see how interesting things will get in the realm of British politics as a new day dawns. As someone with British heritage and an unusually high interest in UK politics, I’m happy for the Tories, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.