U.K. Election Result highlights a Complex Picture: Terrible Night for PM May and SNP
Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The general election in the United Kingdom witnessed two strong female leaders prior to the electoral result representing the Conservative Party (CP) and Scottish National Party (SNP) respectively. Yet, the final electoral result witnessed both party leaders being weakened dramatically. This reality highlights a weakened and divided nation that appears ill-prepared for serious Brexit talks with the European Union (EU).
Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the CP prior to the 2017 general election, appeared upbeat that she would win a sizeable majority. Similarly, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, equally hoped to hold ground in Scotland in order to further her desire for Scottish independence. However, both May and Sturgeon have been weakened by the general election and this reality sums up the complex picture emerging from a very polarized nation.
Political elites within the EU must be baffled by yet another complex picture emerging inside the UK. Indeed, within the UK the picture is strange because the CP did well in Scotland based on the astuteness of Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. Her stance, a far cry from that of Sturgeon, was based on understanding “the street.” In the opposite direction, the leader of the SNP seems stuck on a broken independence record.
The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is adamant that May ought to pay the price of her miscalculation. He said, “If there is a message from tonight’s results, it’s this: the prime minister called this election because she wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.”
Nigel Farage, the former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), was scathing of May. Indeed, many of the allegedly right-wing voters of UKIP voted for Corbyn, who openly espouses pro-immigration policies and traditional left-wing views.
Farage said, “UKIP voters wanted Brexit but they also want change… They are fundamentally anti-establishment in their attitudes and the vicar’s daughter (May) is very pro-establishment. And I think she came across in the campaign as not only as wooden and robotic but actually pretty insincere.”
Reuters reports, “An updated BBC forecast predicted May’s Conservatives would win 318 of the 650 seats, eight short of a majority, while Corbyn’s left-wing Labour would take 267 — producing a “hung parliament” and potential deadlock.”
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland looks set to win 10 seats. Hence, the DUP can be banked on to support the CP during this difficult time. Despite this, the overall picture of a Hung Parliament is not in the interest of the UK given impending negotiations with the EU over Brexit. Therefore, the UK faces more political turmoil and this bodes ill given the prevailing political conditions between the UK and the EU over the Brexit vote.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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