10 July 2024

Immigration, Gaza, and the new Labour Government


Britain has voted, and one of the West’s major democracies has a new left-wing government. Journalists, essayists, and other commentators will no doubt scrutinize the election in detail, how the Labour Party won a huge majority, and what Keir Starmer’s victory means for Britain, for Europe, for America, and for the West. Here, though, are some initial reactions.

First, and most obviously, this is a huge victory for Starmer’s Labour Party. Britain’s constitution gives more or less unlimited powers to a Prime Minister with a majority in the House of Commons; Labour (at the time of writing) seem to have won 412 out of 650 seats. Sir Keir can, if he wants to, attempt to reshape the country more or less as he pleases.

The (until yesterday) ruling Conservative Party seems set to go into the next Parliament with 121 seats in the Commons. This is an historically low number for a party which sees itself as “the natural party of government.” Britain has come a long way since 2019, when Boris Johnson won an election promising to deliver Brexit. The problem for the Conservatives is that this was pretty much the only promise they kept over fourteen years in government. Yesterday’s electorate was not in a forgiving mood.

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