Many explanations have been offered for the humiliating defeat of the Labour Party in the UK general election but perhaps the simplest answer is also the most historically accurate: that the politics of the United Kingdom, or rather the dominant English component of it, are inherently conservative and that those periods of more explicit left-wing government in London have been the exception rather than the rule. Even the prolonged tenure of Tony Blair and New Labour can be explained away by his administration’s deliberate wooing of the urban and aspirational middle-classes and the promotion of business-friendly neo-liberal policies. For all the cultural and social progressivism of the period, what really drove “Cool Britannia” was low taxation and low spending, initiating a disenfranchisement of traditional Labour-supporting communities that ultimately contributed towards the collapse of the so-called “Red Wall” in the north of England as working- and lower middle-class voters went Tory or to a lesser extent Brexit Party – or just didn’t vote at all.
Of course the vilification of Jeremy Corbyn by his opponents and the misrepresentation of Labour’s policies didn’t help. Policies that were relatively conventional by centre-left European standards. But then again, the UK prides itself on being outside the European norm, and the economic conservatism of the British media, even the most liberal titles or representatives, played up Corbyn’s supposed ideological extremism for all that it was worth. In end the general election in Britain was a pretty squalid affair, driven by a rising tide of toxic English nationalism, fuelled by imaginary notions of victimhood and persecution, an understandable level of dissatisfaction or resentment at a political establishment that proved incapable or unwilling to implement the outcome of a flawed but still democratic referendum, and a press that proved too partisan, too self-interested or too ineffective to interrogate or expose those individuals and groups with the greatest flaws in their political and personal pedigrees.
So bye-bye the United Kingdom of Great Britain and that bit of Ireland that England holds onto like a comfort blanket of empire, pretending it doesn’t exist when in adult company but in reality using it to sooth away childish insecurities that only a tattered old rag of an overseas territory can provide. It was not so nice knowing you. And hello Brexlandia the Great, where the sun will never set. Mainly because you won’t able to see it for all the pollution from the Chinese- and American-owned factories once the deregulation of environmental laws is enacted by the leaders of the new Conservative Party.