Well what was the result of the 2019 election vote? Boris Johnson and his Brexit disciples swept Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist Labour aside, with the biggest majority win since Tony Blair’s “Third Way” captured the British people’s hearts. The Conservatives have 365 parliamentary seats and majority of 80 in the House of Commons. Boris Johnson told the world that the UK will leave the EU on the 31st of January 2020 ending all the “dither and delay” since 2016. Hardline Brexiteer Freddie Reid, was jumping for joy and announced he will be partying hard in Union Jack colours on independence day! The FTSE 100 rose by nearly 1% early on December 13th, while the pound jumped 2% against the U.S. dollar after an early exit poll projected the decisive victory for the Conservatives. The top-performing stocks on the Euro Stoxx 600 benchmark were dominated by London-listed firms. Virgin Money UK, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon were the best performers, all trading more than 12% higher. The domestic focused FTSE 250 rallied 5% in early deals to reach a new record high. Yields on the U.K. benchmark 10-year bonds rose 7 basis points in early trade and reached their highest level since early June at 0.895%.
But what does all this mean for the Conservative party? Well a victory like this suggests unity and togetherness – something the Conservative Party had little of prior to Boris Johnson’s appointment as leader. His message was clear from the start; if you do not support Brexit, you will not be a Tory MP. In his first week as leader he sacked 21 Conservative MPs for voting against him. As a result, in the build up to this election, Johnson only endorsed candidates who fully supported him and his Brexit policies. Therefore, despite losing some highly capable and skilled MPs, including his brother, Johnson now has a party that completely supports him.
Moreover, surprisingly, the Conservative Party entered traditional Labour heartland and turned it blue. Some traditional Labour constituencies, such as Darlington, Sedgefield and Workington, in the north of England, will have a Conservative MP for the first time in decades – or in the case of Bishop Auckland and Blyth Valley – for the first time since the seat was created. Johnson acknowledged that this result does not mean he has gained immense support up north. Instead he said after the election victory to these voters, “You may only have lent us your vote, you may not think of yourself as a natural (Conservative) … You may hope to return to Labour next time round, and if that is the case, I am humbled that you have put your trust in me,”. Johnson knows that his next five years in government will have to be successful in order to keep out Labour at the next election. This perhaps why Johnson is taking the Tory Party back to its One Nation roots. Despite the radical constitutional change of Brexit, Johnson and his party will be advocating the preservation of established institutions and traditional principles within British society and putting forward social and economic policies that will benefit the ordinary person. The Conservative Party will be making their policies based on the view that members of society have obligations towards each other and particularly emphasises paternalism, meaning that those who are privileged and wealthy pass on their benefits. This will perhaps be the position to repay the traditional Labour voters for “lending” their vote to the Conservatives.
Despite the Conservative’s immense majority, they will know that they must tread very carefully. We are likely to see a rather open foreign policy with the Conservatives expanding the UK’s interdependence and relations with multiple nation states, as Johnson tries to make Britain as prosperous as possible post Brexit. They are handling an incredibly sensitive constitutional change, where not a single person can accurately predict the consequences. If the Tories ‘make a dog’s dinner of it’ , it will take quite a while before they are forgiven. Moreover, the Conservatives have to invest in the north and other traditional Labour seats, if they are to repay those voters who lent their vote to them. This is why the Conservatives announced on the 11th of February 2020, that the controversial HS2 high-speed rail link will be built. The first phase of the route will travel between London and Birmingham, with a second phase going to Manchester and Leeds. Therefore, Boris Johnson and his gang of One-Nation Conservatives will have to be very cautious with how they proceed. There are not in office because they are loved by the nation, but rather they have got in because of their Brexit policy and the dislike and failure of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
Another sensitive topic that the Conservatives will have to make sure they get right is Scotland. The SNP did extremely well in the recent election and they will be pushing extremely hard for another Independence referendum. If the Tories upset the Scottish then we could well see the end of the union. Therefore, over the next five years we are also likely to see an increase in funding going to Scotland.
So in summary, the election result tells us that the Conservative Party is united for the first time in decades. We will see the Conservatives taking a one nation approach to British politics, with the intention to repay those Labour voters he “borrowed” and reduce the gap between the South and the North. We will also see the Conservatives tread very carefully over Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon and her band of eccentric nationalist disciples have built up a movement to return to the ‘Pict’ era and a fully Independent Scotland. Therefore, we are likely to see Johnson smother Scotland with hugs and kisses and an increase of funding. Moreover, the central Conservative concern will be Brexit. We are likely to see them negotiating with numerous nation states and a very open foreign policy. Despite this I would be extremely surprised if the Conservatives were to completely abandon Europe. I suspect Mr Johnson will also be trying to keep relations with the EU positive and friendly.