Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

UK Elections: Boris Johnson wins with a Large Majority

The Conservative Party’s landslide victory means trouble for the UK working class, but a messy Brexit debate and increasing numbers of radicalized youth point to further political instability.

Diego Sacchi

December 13, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share

The Conservative Party of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a large victory in the general elections held this Thursday. The party won around 364 seats, an increase of more than 60 since the last election. This result gives Johnson an absolute majority in Parliament, surpassing half plus one of the number of seats in the (lower) House of Commons of the Westminster Parliament. This is a change from the hung parliament of the past few years. 

The Labour Party, led by a favorite of the U.S. left Jeremy Corbyn, won 203 seats. Of the other parties, the pro-Europeans of the Liberal Democratic Party won 11 seats, while the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) won 48, taking almost the total of the 59 that correspond to that country in the House.

Johnson has achieved a significant victory that leaves the way open to advance his Brexit proposal. Johnson based his campaign on the promise to leave the European Union (EU) by January 31, 2020. The result is the largest absolute majority for the Conservative Party since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher won 376 seats.

On the other hand, the Labour Party had its worst showing in generations. The result is being viewed as a major defeat for Jeremy Corbyn, whose leadership at the head of Labour has been questioned by the right wing of that party. Corbyn has announced that he will step down as leader in the new year, after a period of reflection as a party.

Despite the poor result, Labour managed to conquer new generations of young people who joined thousands in campaigning in areas considered “marginal” (with little difference in votes between conservatives and Labour). Organized in chat groups on social networks and sharpening the campaign speeches through Internet training forums, since the announcement of Corbyn’s electoral proposals, a real army of young people came out to win the vote. One fact that showed this support among youth sectors is that in the 2017 elections, 66% of voters aged 18 and 19 and 55% of those in their thirties chose Labour.

Brexit appears to have been a major factor in the outcome of the election. It was a polarized campaign, with Johnson focused on taking advantage of the sectors of the population that support Brexit, even sweeping the ultranationalist Brexit Party of Nigel Farage.

The result, although broad, does not guarantee a simple future for Boris Johnson. Even with a comfortable Johnson victory, which theoretically allows him to approve without difficulties the Brexit agreement he reached with Brussels, a lot can happen between now and the end of 2020. The Eurosceptic sector that has contributed to his victory will surely press against any concessions to Brussels during the negotiations of the future trade agreement. 

Johnson has said on several occasions that in the face of a hard break with the European Union, the possibility of a free trade agreement with the United States would bring a solution for the British economy. What is certain is that beyond the sympathy that President Donald Trump may have with the British, this situation is something that worries the big British capitalists who enjoy a privileged relationship with the European bloc, to which a large part of its exports are directed, not to mention the City of London that has become the main financial market of the EU.

The other focus of conflict is Scotland. The Scottish National Party (SNP) has become a powerful third force in Westminster. Since the formation led by Nicola Sturgeon assured, shortly after the first results are known, that if Brexit advances there will also be a new independence referendum in Scotland, where the majority of the population supports staying within the European Union. The territorial confrontation will intensify in the United Kingdom.

The Irish issue is another cloud in the British Government’s skies. The possibility of unity between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is opened up, given that the agreement that Johnson wants to sign with the EU means that both countries will be able to join forces. 

Johnson was also carried back to power with the aid of a coordinated media campaign against Corbyn. Corbyn was called an anti-semite in the press–largely due to his continued support of Palestine–and faced heightened scrutiny for his economically progressive policies. 

Facebook Twitter Share

Diego Sacchi

Diego is a journalist from Buenos Aires and the editor of the international section of our Argentinian sister site La Izquierda Diario.

Twitter

Europe

More than a million people demonstrated across France against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the country’s legal age of retirement to 64 from 62.

‘This is only the beginning of the struggle’: Interview with a Healthcare Worker about the Strikes in France

Last Thursday, two million workers across France went on strike to protest the Macron government’s attempt to raise the retirement age. Left Voice spoke to Feargal McGovern, a worker at a hospital in Grenoble, France, and a member of the new organization Révolution Permanente.

Left Voice

January 23, 2023
Young Die Linke members at a meeting on January 14, 2022 deciding to break with the reformist party.

150 Young People in Berlin Break from Reformism

A conference last Saturday discussed a “revolutionary break” from Germany’s Left Party, Die Linke.

Nathaniel Flakin

January 18, 2023
A flag says "Linksjugend-Solid," the youth organization of Germany's Die Linke party.

A Revolutionary Break from Die Linke in Germany

Germany’s Left Party is in a profound crisis. This weekend, over 100 young people are gathering in Berlin for a conference. Their goal is to break from Die Linke and begin building a revolutionary organization.

Tom Krüger

January 11, 2023

Revolutionary Alternatives in France: Building A New Socialist Organization to Overcome the Failure of the NPA

On the weekend of December 16-18, 2022, the Congress for the founding of a new revolutionary organization, promoted by the organization Révolution Permanente, part of the Trotskyist Fraction and of the International Network La Izquierda Diario, was held in France. We publish here the intervention of Daniela Cobet, leader of Révolution Permanente, during the first day of the session.

Daniela Cobet

January 6, 2023

MOST RECENT

No to NATO Tanks in Ukraine, Let’s Fight the Escalation!

Left Voice and our comrades in Germany issue a joint statement against NATO sending tanks to Ukraine. We call on the working class to organize against this reactionary war which continues to escalate.

Left Voice

January 31, 2023

Higher Ed Strike Fever: This Morning, Temple’s Grad Students Walked off the Job

TUGSA, organizing Temple University’s graduate students, walked out on strike this morning. Winning will take bottom-up organizing from Temple’s unions and undergraduates, shoulder to shoulder with TUGSA on the pickets.

Jason Koslowski

January 31, 2023

The New York Times Is Wrong: Trans Kids Need Support, Not “Gender Skepticism”

While state legislatures across the country have launched an unprecedented attack on trans youth, the New York Times saw fit to publish a pair of articles calling on liberals to make space for “gender skeptical” ideas among parents. They are wrong. Trans kids need more support, not gender skepticism.

Reba Landers

January 31, 2023
Temple University undergraduate students in Philadelphia walking outside a main building.

Temple’s Undergrads Are Taking On the University Bosses

At Temple University, undergraduate students are joining the ranks of higher ed workers who are fighting back.

Jason Koslowski

January 30, 2023