Current Affairs Politics

Brexit Divisions In UK Local Elections Boost The Greens And Lib Dems

Local government and mayoral elections in much of England has yielded a series of mixed outcomes for pro- and anti-Brexit parties in the United Kingdom. With results still coming it seems that the governing Conservative Party has taken a hammering from its electoral base, acrimonious disputes between “soft” and “hard” Brexit factions in Downing Street and Westminster causing it to shed support to other parties and independent candidates. A similar fate has befallen the Labour Party, albeit on a smaller scale than the Tories, though the main Opposition party is hoping that its position will improve as the final votes are totalled up. However if the polling trends continue it will put further pressure on the leadership of the two dominant groupings in UK politics to alter their positions on Brexit, possibly pushing more figures in the ranks of the Conservatives towards a “no-deal” withdrawal policy while forcing Labour to abandon its two years of prevarication and ambiguity on the question of Brexit and move towards a “no-exit” referendum option.

The real winners from yesterday’s elections are likely to be those parties explicitly for or against Britain’s membership of the European Union. The Green Party of England and Wales has clearly benefited in the former category and will probably record its best ever performance, attracting Remain voters from across the left-of-centre spectrum, particularly in normally Labour-backing areas. Meanwhile the centre-right Liberal Democrats have seen a marked electoral recovery from their previous low numbers, their pro-EU campaigning and demands for a second plebiscite on Brexit striking a note with like-minded, mainly Conservative voters. In contrast, on the anti-EU side, the hard-right leadership of the minority UKIP is claiming its own successes, garnering support from disgruntled Leave voters in several areas of England, especially from the Tories, though many observers are disputing this.

What is not under dispute is the election of councillors standing on behalf of the For Britain Movement, an avowedly far-right and ultra-nationalist cadre that has seen a number of social media bans in recent times due to its noxious politics. Politics that are shared by a significant number of the unexpectedly high level of independent or non-party councillors elected by English voters on Thursday, including former members or associates of UKIP, the British National Party, Britain First Party and other fringe groupings.

While some commentators in the UK press are presenting the elections as a demand from voters for Brexit to be implemented, that is not my impression. Rather the results from the votes in England present an electorate in confusion and disarray, with political partisanship and polarisation emerging in a way not seen in Britain since the Thatcherite 1980s or the austerity-wracked 1970s.

6 comments on “Brexit Divisions In UK Local Elections Boost The Greens And Lib Dems

  1. What Britain needs in my opinion: A new set of hopes and dreams.

    It seems to me that they are sort of in the “wreckage” of a society. Some have suggested that “nostalgia” in Britain is less about dominating a huge portion of humanity, as a dream for a time when they were a more vibrant nation. (Remember their political British Empire and their trading partners were often two different things entirely. They had far more trade with The US, Europe, and even some South American countries than they did with their colonies.)

    One thing about The Green Party (don’t know quite enough to comment on its political platform), The Republican movement (hard to guess its future), and even the ones who want to overhaul British education (hard to make predictions there too) is that at least they are promising something worthwhile.

  2. PaddyT

    I would not read to much in those results, for example, In 2010, a YouGov poll put the Liberal Democrats on 34%, the Conservatives on 33% and Labour on 28%. In the general election held on 6 May 2010, the Liberal Democrats won 23% of the vote and 57 seats in the House of Commons. Since then they have been in decline, Suggest people should have a look at Adam Curtis documentary, HyperNormalisation which is free to view online, by the way, and Curtis has applied it to Western politics, the name stems from
    “The term “hypernormalisation” is taken from Alexei Yurchak’s 2006 book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, in which Yurchak argues that for many decades everyone had known the Soviet system was failing, but as no one could imagine any alternative, politicians and citizens were resigned to maintaining a pretence of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the “fakeness” was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed “hypernormalisation.”
    – Wikipedia

    • Fully state-planned economies tend to have a “run” of about 50 years during which it works before starting to run down (mostly for nations that are impoverished)-after that they either transition to mixed economy (hopefully well) or they end up in a slow crash and burn.

      Also with The USSR I wouldn’t underrate factors such as Chernobyl, Afghanistan, and a Soviet Communist Party that tend towards ossification. Plus the USSR really forbid dissent.

      That said, what new ideas do you think the British should embrace?

  3. The turnout figures are conspicuously missing from the latest bulletins. If turnout is low then the state(Tories/labour/libdems) will be in a very real panic I.e the peasants are refusing to vote and thus refusing to give their consent to be lead by these parties.

  4. The lack of turnout in the north elections must be a surprise to the pro EU parties btw, that lack of turnout may have helped alliance etc make their ‘gains’.

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