Friday, May 8, 2015

Decoding the UK Elections

The UK's election, whose result came out yesterday, came in as a big surprise to everyone, especially the psephologists who were predicting a badly fractured mandate and another loose coalition for power. Instead, Conservative leader David Cameron stunned his opponents by winning the first consecutive election victory for his party since the mighty Margaret Thatcher, ditching his former coalition partner the Liberal Democrats and securing a clear majority in the House of Commons. Or, as a rather surprising campaign slogan went, 'Phir ek baar, Cameron sarkaar!'. If once India was a colony of Britain, it seems Britain today has been colonized by Indian ideas, if not Indians themselves.

The biggest losers were the LibDems and the reason is simple for any political strategist to see: they let down their core voters. In any election, a party has a core base of voters who, ordinarily, would vote for it no matter what. If that core base is energized enough and can smell victory, it can bring in the fence-sitters and thus form a powerful coalition. This is precisely how Narendra Modi won his spectacular 2014 election in India. And it is precisely this that destroyed the LibDems: as the junior coalition partner, they remained thoroughly subservient to the Conservatives despite have a markedly different agenda and in that process, lost their core base.

Labor on the other hand, lost their usual seats in Scotland to the SNP, which is now the third-largest block in the House of Commons. This is a result of the failed referendum for disunion, which has at least made young voters quite aware for their nationhood. This will be a huge challenge to Cameron and his victory will have a short honeymoon. As for Labor itself, although they remain the second-largest party, the loss of base in Scotland will have long-term implications for them as well. At least, with leader Ed Miliband stepping down, they can try something new.

These elections are certainly historic for Britain, but Britain itself is decaying and dying, together with all of Europe (except Germany). David Cameron can bask at his victory, and the British people can celebrate for making the right decision of electing a right-wing government, but in the end, it will not end the decline of Britain. David Cameron things he can make Britain greater - the truth is, it's not even great anymore. 

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