Wednesday 24 July 2019

Political parties here will be busy reading trends from UK election

I had great hopes of sitting into the wee small hours and digesting every twist and turn as the results poured in last Thursday night and Friday morning folowing the British General Election.

However I don't know whether it was the stunning exit poll which showed that the Conservatives were going to return to government despite the continuous predictions of a hung parliament or my lack of stamina but I struggled to stay awake past midnight.

Perhaps I am getting old after all, or perhaps politics, especially foreign politics and elections are something we should only pay a passing interest in.

However whatever the case, the result was a stunning victory for David Cameron and the Conservatives , with Labour and the Liberal Democrats getting a whipping from the British public, while two anti-establishment parties, UKIP and the SNP did extraordinarily well.

Of course, UKIP only won one seat in Westminister while the SNP won 56 seats in Scotland.

The British first past the post system saw the SNP win 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland with a total of 1..5 million votes, while UKIP won just one seat despite attracting 3.8 million votes across Britain. The Green Party also won just one seat in parliament despite attracting only 300,000 fewer votes than the SNP.

The poll result will have been closely watched here in Ireland by the political parties.

Labour here are already polling poorly and the combined thrashing of the Liberal Democrats who were spectacularly hammered for their roll as a minority partner in a coalition government and the defeat of the British Labour party who had moved to the left of the political spectrum will leave them very nervous of the forthcoming election here.

Fine Gael might see the success of the Tories as affirmation that voters are focused on the economy and that they were rewarded for the uplift in their economy. Enda Kenny will no doubt look to echo parts of the Tory message on the economy when our own campaign starts inside the next year.

However one of the startling messages from the UK election was the number of voters attracted to SNP and UKIP.

In Ireland under our proportional representation system such voting strength would deliver numerous seats for anti-establishment parties.

Irish Independent