PHOTO: Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, Former Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg, and Prime Minister David Cameron at a V-E Day ceremony on Friday
Complementing our special analysis of the Britain’s General Election, in which the Conservative Party won a narrow majority, I spoke with BBC Coventry on Friday in a wide-ranging interview about the uncertainties to come.
Discussion includes the prospects for the winners (Conservatives and Scottish National Party), the losers (Labour and the Liberal Democrats), and for Britain — including possibly historic confrontations over Scotland in or out of the United Kingdom and the UK in or out of Europe, as well as the SNP’s sudden emergence as the “progressive” challenger to the Tories:
I don’t think the Conservatives were the biggest winner last night. I think they held on to get a majority, but I think the SNP are the biggest winners. And that says a lot about the battles ahead — What’s going to be the state of the United Kingdom? What’s going to be the state of the Conservatives’ social and economic policies? What’s the future for Britain within Europe?
On the transformation in British politics:
The entire British system has changed. When I first came to this country 30 years ago, it was quite clearly a two-party system. Now this is a multi-party system.
The only reason why the Conservatives won a majority last night was the self-destruction of the Liberal Democrats. I think that a majority government is not going to be the rule in Britain in the near-future, it’s going to be the exception. This is a new Britain, and one that is going to have to consider how coalitions function in trying to keep very different parts of the country together.
On the Labour Party:
Labour got along for too long because of the personality of Tony Blair. As long as they could hang on behind Blair in office, claiming what he said was the center ground in British politics, they were OK. But once Blair went, Labour were not able to define what it means to be in the center.
If you don’t define yourself, you will be left with no place to go except down.