As Britain witnessed a highly unprecedented outcome on June 8, who really benefits from Theresa May’s snap General Election and why? Is this really a time for celebration, or rather, concern?
Theresa May’s gamble in calling a snap general election awkwardly backfired, after the Conservatives found themselves falling short of a majority by 8 votes. The notion that Britain is a one party state was found false as surprisingly European-style left-wing politics formed a strong opposition.
As we reflect on the result of this general election, who are the true victors and losers of this shock outcome? A full roundup can be read here.
The Real Winners
Fortunately Jeremy Corbyn is not Prime Minister, but his party’s growth in the number of seats means that his Marxist ideas have not been banished to the annals of history.
It may have come as a surprise to you to see the Labour Party, led by a man who calls Hamas his “friends”, gain 30 seats on June 8, just days after another terror attack in London.
Despite these gains, the party still fortunately lost the election overall after only winning a total of 262 seats. However, the general election will be viewed as a personal victory for Jeremy Corbyn after proving wrong many of his critics, who had given predictions of the death of Labour.
Corbyn’s manifesto proved to be popular with young people, especially first time voters. According to a survey carried out by YouGov, 66% of voters aged 18 and 19 voted for the Labour Party. Considering the fact that Comrade Corbyn promised a long list of freebies to young people, it is hardly surprising that he was successful in rallying the support of this demographic.
While Theresa May emerged at her declaration with a look of defeat, Ruth Davidson enjoyed witnessing another breakthrough for the Conservatives in Scotland.
The Conservatives have established themselves as the voice of the Unionists, and become a clear opposition to Nicola Sturgeon’s party, after gaining an additional 12 seats since the election in 2015.
This result demonstrates a significant breakthrough for the Conservatives. After taking 56 seats from Labour in the 2015 election, the SNP found itself on the receiving end of an electoral onslaught by all of the unionist parties on June 8, with key issues such as ‘Indyref 2’ ultimately costing the nationalists seats at Westminster.
The Real Losers
Concerns about Brexit as Theresa May fails to achieve a landslide
The outcome of the election on June 8 was certainly not one Theresa May expected, or prepared for.
Instead of achieving a sweeping majority in parliament, Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election cost her party 13 seats, and could yet prove costly to the Prime Minister herself.
She now finds herself turning to another party to form a government, in this case the DUP, but Theresa May has bigger problems. Her credibility as a leader has been considerably damaged, and with Brexit negotiations looming, will it be Theresa May who leads the UK as we seek to get a deal from Brussels? The likelihood remains uncertain.
Some would argue that the decline of UKIP was inevitable in this election, due to the outcome of the EU referendum, but others would say there is real potential for an anti-establishment voice.
Not only did the party lose their one remaining seat following the resignation of Douglas Carswell, UKIP saw its share of the vote collapse by 10.8% in this election. The leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall, also resigned on June 9, to the delight even of some in his party.
After losing millions of supporters, UKIP has yet to find a party leader with the charisma of Farage, who can find a path beyond the EU referendum success. While the party has a special place in the heart of some Brexiteers, adding UKIP to the list of ‘real losers’ seems only fair and logical, when we consider Nuttall’s failing to address the challenge the party now faces moving forward.
They may remain as the largest party in Scotland, but the SNP were dealt a crushing blow on June 8.
The party lost 21 seats to the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour Party in this election. Among those losses were prominent SNP members, including the former party leader Alex Salmond, and Angus Robertson, the leader of the party at Westminster.
This outcome is significant because not only does it highlight a rejection of the SNP, it highlights a rejection of independence. With Scottish politics becoming increasingly polarised, the prospect of ‘Indyref 2’ is slipping away from Nicola Sturgeon.
The election on June 8 will be one Theresa May will soon want to forget, and one which for many, will be viewed as a victory for Jeremy Corbyn’s shifting of Labour further left. Despite both parties gaining seats from their opposition, the Conservatives remain the largest party, although now lacking a majority.
Moving forward, all eyes will be on Theresa May. Will she remain as Prime Minister when we enter Brexit negotiations? For now, she may hold the keys to Downing Street, but Jeremy Corbyn is knocking at the door.