Conservative Landslide in Great Britain

Waking from sleep, the Conservative Party dominated municipal elections in England and Wales in the elections held Thursday, May 1. Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is forced to retreat with some British pundits expecting Brown to step down as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party. The Labour Party has held dominance in the United Kingdom since Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997.

The Conservative Party rise has come under the dynamic leadership of Tory leader David Cameron. Cameron is an idea man, a powerful speaker with a charismatic presence. Most importantly, Cameron communicated conservative ideals after the pattern of Newt Gingrich or Ronald Reagan. In fact, the Conservative landslide in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland have municipal elections on a separate occasion), reminded me of a time when Republicans talked about ideas, communicated to the average citizen, and swept elections, as when Reagan was elected in 1980 or when Newt Gingrich led in the GOP sweep of 1994.

The scope of the conservative landslide was huge:
* Conservatives netted a gain of 256 councilors and won control of an additional twelve councils.
* In a multi-party system, Conservatives won 44% of the national vote. Labour, which had been dominant, sunk to 24%, actually falling behind the Liberal Democratic Party who scored 25% of the national vote.
* Conservatives gained ground in traditional Labour controlled areas, including Wales, where the Conservative Party has had almost no representation.
* Conservatives elected Boris Johnson as the first-ever Conservative Mayor of London, the UK’s largest city.

Conservatives won by communicating to the average Britisher that conservative principles are better for them.

David Cameron appealed to the patriotism of Britishers with his challenge to Gordon Brown and the Labour Party for their votes in Parliament to ratify the European Union Treaty, without a vote of the people. This highly unpopular move would surrender national rights to an international body.

David Cameron and the Conservative Party made the case for more privitization and less government interference in the economy of Great Britain. While the UK is farther down the pike toward socialism than the United States, I am glad to see at least some move toward retreat from a statist economy.

As a lover of Northern Ireland and a supporter of British Unionism, what are the implications for sustaining the Union?

1) The Wales nationalist party, Plaid Cmyru lost ground in Wales. This is a good omen for Unionism in Wales.
2) A Labour defeat is good for Unionism in Northern Ireland for two reasons. First, the Labour Party has refused to organize in Northern Ireland, due to the sympathy with Irish nationalists. Secondly, Gordon Brown recently wrote an article in the London Telegraph making the case for Unionism in Wales, Scotland, and England. Never once did he mention Northern Ireland. Some pundits expect that the Labour government has no plans to defend the Union in the context of Northern Ireland.

What are the implications for the United States?
Actually, both Brown and Cameron are friends with the United States. I cannot help but take note that Gordon Brown recently met with Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, and Senator McCain. David Cameron of the Conservative Party met only with Senator John McCain. The Conservative Party, under Margaret Thatcher, was close to the Reagan Administration.

American Republicans should learn from this Conservative victory.

1.) Republicans have lost their distinction as the party of smaller government. Yet, standing against big government swept the country in 1980 with Reagan and 1994 with the leadership of Newt Gingrich. Even in statist England and Wales, talk about limiited government struck a chord with voters.

2.) Britishers are much more accustomed toward internationalist thinking than Americans. Yet, Britishers are alarmed that their nation will be subservient to the control of the European Union. Polls overwhelmingly display that Americans are wary of NAFTA, GATT, the North American Union, and the NAFTA highway. People define themselves with national identity and the push for internationalism will sink any American political party who will not assure voters that they will be defended as Americans.
Congratulations to the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom. My hope is that the Conservatives will win the next Parliamentary elections and that we will catch a glimpse of the traditions of Maggie Thatcher with David Cameron as Prime Minister.


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