by N. Peter Kramer
For the Conservatives, the party of the government, to secure less than 10 percent of the popular vote is extraordinary. The next half year will determine whether there is a future or a sink in oblivion for them.
For Labour, the elections were almost as existential. The party fared marginally better than the Conservatives, with 14% of the vote. But in areas where normally unchallenged, like Scotland, Wales and the North, Labour is becoming irrelevant.
Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party had a straightforward, democratic message: there was a referendum, Brexit won and yet Britain’s two main parties are failing to deliver it. The Lib Dems were also straight forward: the country may have voted to leave, but they were wrong to do so and now we want to overturn the decision. That is, let’s be honest, fundamentally undemocratic. But, of course, the losers of the referendum liked to hear it.
There is only one clear route to survival for the Conservatives and that is to be unequivocally the party of Leave, they will lose support of the Remain-supporting Tories, but they have discovered now, to great costs, that trying to find a path in the middle has proved pointless. Nigel Farage and his party have performed of springing from nowhere to winners in only six weeks. In case of a general election in autumn, the Tories need to find a way to embrace both him and the phenomenon he has unleashed.
Look what happens with mainstream, established parties that lose touch with the people. In France, the old left and right has been smashed by Macron’s En Marche and Le Pen’s Rassemblement National. In Italy, the Liga and the Five Star Movement have eclipsed the old parties. The same can happen in Britain…