Home » Two major stories explain the rise of Labour in the UK: the first is Britons’ disillusionment with the Tories

Two major stories explain the rise of Labour in the UK: the first is Britons’ disillusionment with the Tories

Two major stories explain the rise of Labour in the UK: the first is Britons’ disillusionment with the Tories

The apparent Labour landslide installing Sir Keir Starmer as Britain’s new prime minister was a widely expected outcome in an otherwise unstable world.

The exit poll taken across the UK indicates that the anticipated landslide has occurred.

In the UK, this exit poll is generally reliable. Jointly funded and organised by the BBC, Sky UK and ITV, the poll samples 20,000 people and is carefully designed to reflect a wide range of seats.

Based on that poll, Labour has won 410 seats of the 650-seat House of Commons, an increase of 209 seats. The Conservatives have won 131, a loss of 241 seats, the Liberal Democrats 61 — an increase of 53, Nigel Farage’s UK Reform has won 13 — an increase of 13 as it’s a new party, and the Scottish National Party has come in fifth with 10 — a loss of 38.

The instability of current international realities could not be more starkly highlighted by the fact that the world’s most consequential democracy — the United States — cannot even be sure whether a frail incumbent president will be able to contest his re-election in four months. Let alone whether he has the stamina and mental acuity to serve four years.

European politics are in flux, with the far-right on the march in another of the world’s significant economies, France.

UK appears to have followed the script

In the past few years of global instability, French president Emmanuel Macron has stood out as a beacon of reason and stability in trying to end the war in Ukraine, the first major land war in Europe since World War II. While key elements of the US Congress have lost interest in stopping Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on its neighbour, it has been Macron who has held together European resolve.

Europeans have a dramatically different perspective on Ukraine from that of the US. The US initially had a surge of support for Ukraine and its leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy — they were, after all, playing David to a Goliath which had long been America’s arch enemy, Russia.

Macron unrest

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has stood out as a beacon of reason and stability in trying to end the first land war in Europe since World War II.(AFP: Ludovic Marin)

More recently an increasingly isolationist US has seen its politicians and voters ask: why are we sending billions of dollars to a war in Europe when many of our own people are unable to heat themselves in winter?

Now France’s Macron, too, is in retreat. He is under siege from a far-right political movement that seems to focus on the Muslim “threat”, more than it does the scientifically proven threat of climate change.

Amid all of this political mayhem, the UK appears to have gone with the expected script. The election shows the UK has lurched to the centre-left while much of Europe is moving to the right.

The UK’s lurch to the left

The time had come for the Tories to go and Labour to arrive and the exit poll results strongly reflects this “It’s time” factor.

No party in UK history has ever won five elections in a row. And Labour had not won an election for 19 years; its last victory was in 2005 under Tony Blair.

Two major stories are emerging.

Firstly, the story of Labour’s extraordinary win reflects disillusionment with the incumbent Conservative party.