Largely led by an intelligent management of the agenda, the Conservative Party won a decisive majority in the December General Election.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) December 13, 2019
The Labour Party achieved some late-in-the-day success, pushing the NHS onto the agenda and raising doubts about the sincerity of Boris Johnson’s promises, but the contest was won and lost on two key issues: leader popularity and Brexit.
While Jeremy Corbyn’s party suffered some surprising losses in the South – such as Kensington (home to Grenfell Tower) – the crux of its demise was the loss of its Northern core.
London may have remained an island of red within a sea of blue, but old safe havens such as Andy Burnham’s old constituency, Leigh, were lost because their traditionally favoured party no longer represented their views.
Corbyn attempted to stand for all and represent as many as he could in the process. Unfortunately for the idealistic figurehead, his quasi-catch-all approach to Brexit caught too few, and neglected many.
Regarding the shift of working-class Northern voters to the Conservatives – who have a tenuous record in protecting public services – many have said the turkeys have voted for Christmas. This, though, should act as testament to the depth of Labour’s failure.
They led a campaign of hope and social justice, but one that ultimately failed to listen to the grievances of their core demographic. Further, while many will lament the nigh-on Machiavellian modus operandi of the Conservatives – from dodging interviews, to spreading online misinformation, to constant streams of emotion-based narratives across media outlets – they played the game of modern politics, and they won.
Corbyn’s speech as he kept his seat in Islington North was given with complete dignity, but against a backdrop of total defeat.
While I would class myself among the many embittered, or even fearful members of the electorate following today’s results, I have little reservation in saying the greatest loss has been suffered by British democracy. Not because of the result of the election, but because of the divisions, tensions and anger, which have been roused with malicious intent, and which have prevented accountability and led us to the polarised position we now find ourselves in.
My gut tells me to keep hope for the future but little faith in the leaders we have placed ourselves in the hands of. That being said, I hope Boris Johnson can deliver on a one-nation vision for the UK. I wish him luck in delivering opportunities, unity and prosperity, and I will take little satisfaction in having my doubts proven just. We can hope his opening remarks at Commons this morning, will flesh out some of the issues neglected within his party’s Brexit-focused manifesto.
Labour will now have its second identity crisis within as many decades. Will it continue to fight ardently for justice, equality and decency, or will it take the apparently prudent line, and revert back to the pragmatic centreground? Only time, and a process of reflection, will tell.
The Conservatives will also have to decide, going forwards, whether to move back towards their metropolitan realpolitik approach, or embrace the support and identity of the provincial working class.
Marking the occasion, leaders commented:
Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates. We live in the greatest democracy in the world. pic.twitter.com/1MuEMXqWHq
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 12, 2019
I promised @UKLabour would run the biggest people powered campaign our country has ever seen.
And you, our members and supporters, have done just that.
You’re the heart of our party, and you have campaigned tirelessly to win so we can a build a fairer country.
I thank you all. pic.twitter.com/Pic0pw9FCU
— Jeremy Corbyn | Vote today 🌹 (@jeremycorbyn) December 12, 2019
— The SNP | VOTE SNP 🏴 (@theSNP) December 13, 2019
Elsewhere, Twitter offered its usual degrees of insight:
Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2019
— Adam Mayy (@mayy_adam) December 12, 2019