General Election 2019: The Battle for the North? | Suldan Mohamed

The past three years have been tumultuous to say the least. Three Prime Ministers, two general elections and the Brexit debate that has torn this country apart, with three failed deadlines in March, April and October 2019 which have frustrated the Brexit process on both sides of the English Channel.

After continuous bickering and delay, with politicians failing to reach a consensus regarding how to withdraw from the European Union, if at all, the British people were given three choices through the proxy of party: Leave with deal, a Second Referendum or Revocation.

It is safe to say that the British people unequivocally voted to leave the European Union on the 31st of January 2020, no dither and no delay. While it may come as a surprise to many ardent pro-EU MPs and campaigners, for the rest of us, it was pretty clear in 2016 that 17.4 million people wanted to leave.

It is the people that remain the crux of a healthy democracy. Consequently, it is those that vigorously fought against the referendum result that ultimately paid the hefty price. The Liberal Democrats were savaged, with Jo Swinson losing her own seat. The Labour Party lost 59 seats, their worst result since 1935.


A political revolution?

The Conservative victory in traditional Labour heartlands is remarkable and decisive. Yet the mist of uncertainty still looms within the rubble leftover of the once mighty ‘Red Wall’. These former Labour voters remain homeless within the political landscape, abandoned by an increasingly metropolitan Labour Party yet suspicious of their old Tory foes. A vote for Boris was simply a vote for Brexit, not a vote for the Conservatives.

While these voters have temporarily sought refuge in the Conservatives, the political dynamic remains fragile at best.

Long gone are the traditional mining communities of the late ‘60s and ‘70s that propped up the Labour movement. The old allegiances seem to be disintegrating. With Labour in division and chaos, now is the opportunity for the Conservatives to capitalise on the white canvas of voting behaviour and reshape the political paradigm in the UK.

A guarantee of Brexit cannot be the only pledge. With 80% of our economy being services based in the South and the manufacturing industries of the North being in recession, large scale investment of resuscitation is required. Only through the betterment and improvement of conditions in those constituencies can the Conservatives possibly retain these newly won seats.

One root of Brexit lies in the frustration and dismay of many British voters in the North and Midlands that have suffered years of neglect in favour of multinational corporations in the South. For instance, while cities like London and Bristol have an average weekly salary of £727 and £547 respectively, cities like Doncaster and Leicester remain at the lower end of the spectrum with £447 and £480.

This One-Nation Conservative government must diversify our economy by investing in British industry to ensure a balance of prosperity to eradicate this social and economic divide that has separated this country for decades.


Is it the end of the Labour Party?

For many moderates in the Labour Party, a repeat of the 1983 disaster became more than just a reality. Under this far-left leadership, Labour has suffered its biggest defeat since the 1930s. It has lost the confidence of the very traditional Labour supporters that kept the party afloat, disconnecting with the working class that Labour claims to represent with many voting Conservative for the first time.

This is dangerous times for the Labour Party. The era of class struggle is over. Society is much more complicated than just simply class; traditional working-class voted Conservative with traditional middle-class voting Labour. Labour must re-invent itself to remain relevant within the current political climate.

As a leadership elections looms, the wrestle for control of the Labour Party shall begin again. While the far-left have led to Labour’s decline, their control within the NEC and grassroots remains firm. With Corbyn continuing on as leader and handpicking Rebecca Long-Bailey as potential leader, the likelihood of a continued Socialist rule in the party is very high. However, for many former Labour supporters, this is the continuation of the Corbynism they have so fervently rejected.

A civil war is brewing within the Labour movement, a recurring theme throughout the history of the party.

Will it return to its ‘New Labour’ heydays? Will it continue its Socialist direction or will the amalgamated groups within the Labour finally decide to part ways?

One thing is for sure, a Corbynist leader will ultimately result in the decline of the Labour Party in British politics as demonstrated in this election.


Will we see an independent Scotland?

While the Conservatives definitively won the battle of Northern England, the battle of Northern Britain has been decisively in favour for the Scottish Nationalist. The SNP have become the third biggest party in Westminster. 48 out of the 59 seats available in Scotland were won by SNP candidates. For the Sturgeon, this a thumping endorsement of her demand of a second independence referendum which she will officially request from the UK government.

The Scotland crisis seems to deepen with the current Brexit situation. As many Leave supporters will advocate the election result as demonstrating the democratic mandate to leave, for many Scottish nationalist, the same argument pertains for independence.

So, will Boris challenge the democratic vote in Scotland? Or will he cave into the demands of the SNP?

As one UK constitutional crisis has been avoided for now, another rises in Scotland. Will we see an independent Scotland? Its difficult to answer. However, we can agree that the likelihood of that happening has certainly increased with this election result.


The question now is, what next for British Politics?

Indeed, the Brexit question can be laid to rest for the next few months. However, the rise of nationalism within the UK seems to be the common denominator following this election. A convincing victory for the Scottish nationalists and success for Northern Irish nationalists means that the break-up of the UK is an ever-growing danger.

The future firmly lays in the hands of Boris Johnson and his government to unite the country in this turbulent era, or we might be witnessing the end of a very important Union.

Photo by Walt Jabsco on Flickr. 

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