The 2019 British parliamentary Elections were one of a kind, they were what is popularly called ‘snap elections’ because they took place before schedule. What was even more special about these elections was that despite unpopular opinion about the Conservative Party Prime Ministerial candidate Boris Johnson, the conservatives still won the elections by a great margin. This piece answers questions about what went wrong or rather where did the Conservative Party went right, so right that it won the elections it was destined to lose.
If you come to think of it all or rather look at the bigger picture one seems to realize that it was not really the Conservative Party that went right but the Labour Party, the majority party in the opposition that went wrong, the Labour Party themselves paved way for a Conservative victory. But how did the Labour Party pave way for its one defeat? How did it lose despite policy offers? Despite unpopular opinion regarding Boris Johnson?
It was not really the Conservative’s unpopularism it was really about the unpopularism of the Labour Party.
There are two major parties-The Conservatives and The Labour Party in the United Kingdom apart from several other smaller parties. The conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Whereas the Labour Party aims at taxing the rich and reducing the poor-rich divide.
Neither Theresa May nor Boris Johnson could secure parliamentary support for deal on terms of the UKs exit from the European Union. And it was hence believed that this elections would be an end of the Boris Johnson led government but to our utter shock and dismay the Boris Johnson led Conservative Party formed government despite all past actions.
In the Snap Elections 2019, the Conservative Party did not raise any taxes whereas the Labour Party increased income taxes for a certain bracket. While the Conservative Party would make the immigration system more fair treating the EU and non-EU citizens equally the Labour Party would scrap the existing immigration laws and welcome only the people the UK needs. Coming to transport the Conservative Party plans to connect the cities and states upgrading buses, trams and other forms of public transport but the Labour Party aims at making the railways publicly owned yet again.
The Labour Party manifesto had a lot of policy offers and even though the people liked the policy offers the public in general found most of them unpopular and not needed. Some policy offers seemed like a little too much to the public.
Despite the numerous policy offers the Labour Party’s stand on Brexit was more or less neutral and ambiguous while the Conservative Party followed the agenda of making Brexit happen. The Conservative Party manifesto was brief, eye catching and even offered a small tax cut and an increase in public spending.
In many places the Conservative Party vote did not rise by much but the Labour Party vote fell by a lot. The Labour Party could not appeal to the traditional working class including coal and steel manufacturers which form a majority of vote bank for the party sending a strongly worded message that even though the Labour Party stood for them they were not ready to choose a Labour MP.
Both Boris Johnson and the Labour Party candidate, Corbyn were unpopular so for the people it was not really a choice of the better party or candidate it was choosing the bad amongst the worst. The Labour Party has lost as much as 4 elections in the last decade or so.
The idea of a democracy fails when a democracy is unable to offer its people a choice, when the people do not choose their leader but when the people are forced to choose a particular party or leadership because the competitors are not strong enough. A democracy is successful when the opposition is as strong as the government itself, when the ideas and the beliefs of the government is questioned and when the government fears losing an election. But when the leadership of the opposition is not strong enough the ruling party lives in no fear. As can be observed in various countries across the globe, the people have not been given a fair choice because there was only one strong party. It is important that as times change the parties and the party leaderships change their ideologies and change the way things work stay with the world, to change as the world changes.
It is important that each democracy ensures that the people are given a choice, a choice to change their leadership when the government fails to keep with its promise. But what is equally important is that the people themselves know what the government stands for, what each party’s manifesto is. Questioning a government after a decision has been made, a decision which the party in its manifesto promised to keep is not right because then we as the public fail to keep our end of the deal because we chose the government and accepted the party with its manifesto.
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Currently in her second year of Economics Honours from Shri Ram College of Commerce, she is a Punjab-Delhi express that demands to be recongnised. She is an enthusiastic soul looking for happiness in small things while trying to make it big in life. From books to humans she has opinions on all, a curious soul who never gets tired of learning.