UK Message in Landslide Victory for Labour Is “Thrown the Bums Out”

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul5,2024 #finance

In the U.K. the Tories were crushed in the UK at the hands of Labour. Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party wins 13 first ever seats.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.K. Labour Party On Track for Landslide Victory, Says Exit Poll

Britain’s Labour Party is on course to win a landslide election victory, according to an exit poll published Thursday, as voters look set to hand its leader Keir Starmer one of the biggest parliamentary majorities in British history and place a center-left government into Downing Street for the first time in 14 years.

The exit poll predicted that Labour will win 410 of the 650 seats in parliament. The ruling Conservative Party is on course to win just 131 seats, likely the worst result in its 190-year history and a massive reversal on its victory in the last election in 2019. A clutch of other, smaller parties are also tipped to do well, as voters become disillusioned with mainstream politics.

While final results won’t be known until Friday morning, exit polls have proved an accurate guide in past elections—down to within a few seats for each party. The poll, commissioned by Britain’s leading broadcasters, asked up to 20,000 voters at a sample of 133 polling stations to fill in a replica ballot of how they just voted.

The exit poll also suggested that the upstart anti-immigration party Reform UK siphoned a substantial number of votes from the Tories and won 13 seats. The party, led by Brexit cheerleader Nigel Farage, is due to have more seats in parliament than the Scottish National Party, whose vote share appears to have collapsed. Farage has said he would use what would be his first ever seat in parliament to try to draw like-minded lawmakers from what is left of the Conservative Party and form a new right-wing voting bloc.

While Reform got far fewer seats than the Tories, pre-election polls showed it could capture about 15-17% of the popular vote, only a few points shy of the Tories at about 20%. That split the Conservative vote and likely cost the Tories dozens of seats, analysts said.

“Much of the damage to the Conservative Party tonight is being done by Reform, even if Labour is the beneficiary of that,” said John Curtice, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde who managed the exit poll.

For the first time since records began in 1955, British households are, when adjusted for inflation, on average poorer after a parliamentary term, according to the Resolution Foundation, a London think tank. Brexit, meanwhile, has proved a disappointment to many of its supporters. It ended the free movement of other Europeans allowed to move to the U.K. for work, but immigration rose anyway to record highs in 2022 and 2023 and is only slowly falling back.

Unlike some countries in Europe such as France and Germany that are seeing the rise of far-right parties, Britain will tilt to the left. Not that people may notice a major shift: Starmer has moved the party sharply toward the center in recent years, shedding its more radical policies and members, and has promised to continue Britain’s pro-U.S. foreign policy, including continued support for Ukraine and Israel.

“I think the British public, now, is fed up with lies, deceit, corruption, the establishment,” said Peter Lee, a 73-year-old in southern England. Lee said he planned to vote for Reform to see if the party can deliver lower immigration, which reached record levels under the Conservatives, despite their pledge to bring it down. “Whether it’s to do with Brexit, Covid, the Ukraine war. It’s just lies after lies,” Lee said.  

Record Victory With Low Approval

Despite being on track for a record victory, Starmer’s approval ratings are negative in many polls, as trust in politicians more widely sits at record lows. A YouGov poll showed 48% of those who planned to vote for Labour said it was to get rid of the Conservatives. The next most popular answer was to make way for change at 13%. Just 5% said it was because of Labour’s policies. 

Now What?

A big challenge for Starmer and Labour is they won’t have much money to spend to improve public services such as the healthcare system and an aging network of railways.

“You’re stuck with a cake that isn’t growing, so how do you cut up the cake to give people more of what they want?” said Tony Travers, a professor of politics at the London School of Economics.

Starmer, trying to shed Labour’s image as a party that taxes and spends too much, has offered only targeted tax increases to patch up the nation’s public services and is pledging to keep government debt in check. He and the likely next chancellor, Rachel Reeves, are planning to cut red tape to build more houses; reduce immigration; create a fund to accelerate the build-out of green-energy infrastructure; and make it easier for people to get appointments in the health system.

Throw the Bums Out

The overriding theme in the UK, just as we saw in the European Parliament elections and especially in France, is “Throw the Bums Out”.

For discussion of the European Parliament elections please see Marine Le Pen Set for Record Win, Macron Calls Snap French Election

For discussion of French elections, please see President Macron’s Party Blown Out in First Round of French Parliament Elections

I expect a similar throw the bums out event in the US in November, at least for the top spot. If there are coattails, it could be widespread.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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