Hung Parliament in Britain

Those who had taken a Tory victory for granted in the just concluded general elections in Britain are now in for a shock. Despite a 68.6 per cent voter turnout, the Tories stopped short of the 326 seat mark that could have given it an absolute majority in the House of Commons. What is of more significance is that the Tories lost as many as 26 seats to the Labour Party. Prime Minister Theresa May’s future, in the circumstances, becomes rather uncertain. It seems unlikely that she will be able to win over the Scottish National Party with 36 seats and the Liberal Democrats with 12 seats to her side to get a workable majority.  The SNP is a Left-wing party which has nothing in common with the Tories. The Tory party won 313 sets and 48 per cent votes, while the Labour bagged 260 seats and secured 40 per cent votes. To its credit, Labour’s tally went up by as many as 31 seats. In the circumstances the possibility of another snap poll in not too distant a future cannot be ruled out.
Of course, Theresa May may continue to rule as a minority government but in that case she has to ensure that the Scottish party would give her its support. Jeremy Corbyn will have the satisfaction that his Labour party did much better than many expected. This time the Labour has wrested from the Tories some seats that the latter had held for a hundred years. A Labour victory would have been in tune with the victory of Emmanuel Macron over Marine le Pen in France. Macron’s win took everyone by surprise as he had formed his party En Marche just a year ago. However, if May continues then the process of Britain’s exit from the European Union will continue.
But how Donald Trump will deal with a weakened May is to be seen. Last month, May had said that she would share intelligence inputs with the US but stopped short of saying that she had ‘full confidence’ in Trump’s personality. Angela Merkel of Germany and Emmanuel Macron of France are not particularly enamoured of Trump’s personality either. But Europe has to cooperate with the US in tackling the terror threat. There are points of conflict and convergence between the US and the EU.
Taken all in all, Britain seems to be heading for another snap poll. The rising graph of Labour would suggest that the party may do better this time. One thing is clear. The surge of ultra-nationalism and Rightwing politics that was sweeping Europe until recently, is on the wane. The decline in popularity of the Tories is in conformity with that trend. Labour can be optimistic of its future.

Monday, 12 June, 2017