VideoCast: UK General Election — It’s What Happens Next That Matters

In the latest University of Birmingham video analysis for the June 8 UK General Election, Scott Lucas says that it is what happens after the vote that will be most significant.

[Editor’s Note: Since we filmed this in late May, the Labour Party has rallied in the polls. Some forecasters even say there is a chance that the Conservatives will not win a majority of MPs, let alone an increase in their current advantage. I still think the Tories will have their majority, albeit a shakier one that the projected landslide in late May.

But in any case, my assessment of the looming crisis beyond the electoral show stands.]

What happens next is interesting in two important ways.

First, to carve out this space for itself as the dominant party in British politics, the Conservatives have stolen the thunder of parties not to their left, but to their right — notably the UK Independence Party — on the issue of Brexit and leaving the European Union. In taking that strong line, the Conservatives may put themselves in better shape for the election, but in far worse shape for the next two years, when they have to negotiate the terms of their departure from the EU. The cost to Britain will be high, the benefits ephemeral if at all.

Second, the idea that you can simply hand the baton of power to the opposition in UK politics is long gone. There has to be an alternative politics, one based on progressive movements — movements that believe in the core message, that existed for decades, of a strong National Health Service, strong education, a belief in community, and a decent infrastructure without going for the mantra of “Lower Taxes, Lower Taxes, Lower Taxes”.

TOP PHOTO: Caroline Lucas of the UK Green Party

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


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