David Cameron confounds pollsters in shock victory in Great Britain
The days of miracles are not past: Just ask David Cameron, prime minister of Britain. He has just won reelection by a sweeping victory.
Voters in democratic nations do not blindly vote the way pollsters tell them to: The British public has just proved that once again.
And the Age of Margaret Thatcher has not passed in British politics. It is going stronger than it ever has before. No new era of anti-American, left-radical extremism is about to dawn. Not at all. Cameron now dominates British politics as completely as Mrs. Thatcher ever did.
The results of the British general election were extraordinary. And they certainly proved once again that Britain is very different from the political currents of Continental Europe.
The UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage was expected to siphon large numbers of protest votes away from Cameron and his traditional Conservatives, or Tories. If that had happened, the Labour party under Ed Miliband could have slipped in between the cracks. This especially seemed to be the case as the Liberal Democrats, Cameron’s minority partners in his coalition government over the past five years – were clearly heading for a drubbing at the polls.
The opinion polls seemed to leave no room for doubt: Britain was headed for a new era of fractured politics. Cameron would find it impossible to win an outright majority of seats in the House of Commons, the main chamber of the British parliament.
But instead, swing voters and potentially disgruntled conservatives rallied to Cameron instead. The Liberal Democrats were almost annihilated. But most of their supporters flowed back to Cameron, who has developed an impressive record on civil rights, far better than his two Labour Party predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
But instead, swing voters and potentially disgruntled conservatives rallied to Cameron instead. The Liberal Democrats were almost annihilated. But most of their supporters flowed back to Cameron, who has developed an impressive record on civil rights, far better than his predecessors Blair and Brown.
To everyone’s astonishment, Cameron and the Conservatives swept home on a tidal wave. They won an absolute majority with 331 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons. It was their first overall majority in Parliament in nearly a quarter of a century, since John Major won another shock, come-from-behind victory against Labour in 1992.
The Conservatives surged by 24 seats from the last general election in 2010. Labour slumped to a demoralizing 232 seats – almost 100 less than the Tories.
As expected, the Labour Party was annihilated in its old stronghold of Scotland. Fifty six of the 59 Commons seats on Scotland went to the surging Scottish National Party.
Labour failed miserably to scoop up any Liberal Democrat votes. They were alienated by the strong whiffs of extremism, anti-Americanism and plain silliness from Miliband, a man so inept at his photo-visuals he looks like Mr. Bean whenever he tries to heat a bacon sandwich.
The fate of the Liberal Democrats was even worse. They suffered one of the most annihilating catastrophes in British political history. Their share of the vote plummeted from 23 percent in 2010 to 7.8 percent on Thursday. In the Commons, they plummeted from a proud 57 seats to eight. Before the election, former LibDem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown ridiculed a poll that predicted his party would fall to only 10 seats. The poll was wrong, but only because the LibDems did even worse.
The anti-immigration, anti-European Union UK Independence Party also fizzled and popped. It managed to scrap a single derisory seat. So did the Greens, who were also touted as a rising party.
The BBC reported Thursday that Cameron’s Conservatives would likely receive just under 37 percent of the total vote, with 30 percent going to Labour.
The UKIP actually rose to be the third largest party in terms of the popular vote with a far from negligible 12.6 percent, the BBC said. This put them well ahead of the humiliated LibDems, Britain’s venerable Third Party of almost the past century.
And in another sweeping drama unprecedented in modern British political history, not one but three leaders of major parties all resigned immediately after a general election.
Labour’s Miliband, UKIP’s Farage and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, a loyal and respected deputy prime minister and collation partner to Cameron over the past five years century, fell on their own swords (figuratively speaking.)
The consequences of Cameron’s victory will be enormous for Europe and America as well as for Britain. But that is a story for another day.
For now – Chapeau! to Mr. Cameron – a shining example of a nice guy who finished first.
Next: Lessons for America’s Republicans from Cameron’s victory
Martin Sieff is an editor at Sputnik, the Russian-owned news organization. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (2008), Gathering Storm (2014) and Cycles of Change: The Three Great Eras of American History and the Coming Crisis that will Lead to the Fourth (2014). Follow Martin on: @MartinSieff