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Front Pages 13 Dec, 2019 Follow News


With typical dramatic flair and heralding ‘a one-nation Conservative government’, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called his resounding election victory in Thursday’s UK general election “a new dawn rising on a new day”.

It echoed former Labour Prime Minister Tony’s Blair’s 1997 victory speech when he used the same phrase to characterise his landslide triumph over the then Conservative government.

Mr Blair had repudiated the Labour party’s lurch to the hard left with his New Labour/Third Way.

Now 22 years later as he cements his position as prime minister is Boris Johnson about to take the Conservatives and the country in a new direction?

A return to hard-left politics by the Labour Party under current leader Jeremy Corbyn has clearly led to the party’s demise in this year’s elections.

The focus, however, is on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and where he now takes the Conservatives whose one-nation Conservatism is seen as a direct response to Labour’s socialist-leaning Corbynism.

Mr Johnson led the Conservatives to secure 365 seats, 66 more than the 2017 election, and a comfortable majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons, the British parliament.

Labour could only muster 203 seats, a drop of 42 while the Liberal Democrats(LibDems) dropped two seats and lost their leader Jo Swinson and high-profile defector Labour Party defector Chukka Umunna.

The other big election winner was the anti-Brexit, pro-independence Scottish National Party, which increased its seat tally in Westminster by 13 to 48.

There were also several other big-name losses across the party spectrum of Labour and the Conservatives, and the Brexit Party failed to win a seat.

With his Brexit roadmap now free of any ‘roadblocks’, Boris Johnson has been given an unstoppable mandate to push through his commitment to ‘respect the wishes of the British people and get Brexit done’.

“We will get Brexit done on time (on January 31st), no ifs, no buts, no maybes,” Mr Johnson told cheering supports in a victory speech in London just after 7am on Friday morning.

He said the victory was a mandate to “end deadlock, and smash gridlock and roadblock.”

While there were a plethora of domestic issues - and promises - in the campaign, it was a Brexit-dominated election with the National Health Service(NHS) a close second.

But it’s the humiliation of the Labour Party especially which has dominated the outcome.

Calling it “a very disappointing night for the party”, Mr Corbyn said Labour needed “a period of reflection” during which he will remain as leader. He has hinted at stepping down early in the new year, but there are already calls for him to hasten his departure.

The LibDems loss was due to a gross miscalculation of the electorate’s views on Brexit - and national politics - by bluntly refusing to even consider the possibility of an accommodation with Labour.

But more tellingly, their pledge to scrap Brexit was the nail in the coffin, sealed with the unseating of their leader Jo Swinson.

The rightist Brexit Party led by uber-Brexiteer Nigel Farage had hoped to enter a power-sharing deal with the Conservatives as early pre-election projections had suggested a hung parliament.

But an exit poll published as voting ended on Thursday night suggested that the Conservatives were on the path to an overwhelmingly win and the obliteration of The Brexit Party.

That prediction was correct. The Conservatives won handsomely, just three seats short of the 368 seats projected, and it was on target about The Brexit Party which failed to win a single seat.

In the end, the Conservatives hoovered up Brexit Party votes as well as votes from both the Labour Party and the LibDems tapping into discontent over their reluctance to accept what is now the inevitably of Brexit.

Their victory has overshadowed, for the time being, the severe criticism of Mr Johnson’s style of politics - and ethics - from even within his own party.

The focus now is where he, with an assured mandate from a decisive majority, will take the Conservative Party and Britain, especially now that he is unfettered by the hard-Brexit supporting European Research Group (ERG) of the Conservative Party.

Speaking on Friday morning, he promised those whom he said “had lent the Conservatives their vote” that he “would not let them down.”

He has also spoken glowingly of a ‘one-nation Conservatism’ with its overtures to a dual interpretation of keeping the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together in the face of the success of the pro-breakaway SNP in Scotland.

There’s also a view that Mr Johnson’s one-nation Conservatism approach might mean a more cosmopolitan, less right-leaning party.

But with his forays into ‘hard-Brexit’ territory and questions of character still hovering over him, it’s left to be seen what all of that really means.

In the meantime in the UK, it's a Boris Christmas.

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