Resignation Liz Truss: The political chaos in the United Kingdom triggers support for Labour, who are calling for an early election | International
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Keir Starmer may not be the most charismatic Labor leader, but if there were to be an election in the UK tomorrow he would win hands down, polls agree. With the resignation of Liz Truss, her time has come and the credit goes largely to the Conservative Party itself. His determination to self-destruct along with Starmer’s political skill have catapulted Labor, evicted from power 12 years ago. The polls are meridanas. A You Gov from last week gave Labor a 28 percentage point lead over the Conservatives. A year ago they were practically equal and now Starmer’s party would achieve 51% of the votes if they faced the Tories at the polls.
But the elections are not going to be held tomorrow or next week. If there is no advance, they are scheduled to be held in January 2025. As long as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has the majority of support in Parliament, there is no obligation to convene them. To advance them, Tories they would have to present a motion of confidence and vote against, something that at this point would amount to political suicide. “It is impossible to deny that the Conservatives have serious problems and for this reason they will do everything possible to avoid an early election,” says Vernon Borgdanor, professor at King’s College in the conservative newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Only if the pressure from the opposition and the street becomes unbearable or if the deep divisions in the conservative camp end up leading to implosion, would they agree to go to the opposition. In the press, calls for early elections before the parade of prime ministers excused from going to the polls are increasingly loud. The DailyMirror calls today on the front page and full page “General Elections now.” The Financial Times also opts for that option in an editorial. “The idea of another Conservative prime minister elected without an election ignores not only Britain’s growing democratic deficit, but also the lack of competence shown by this dismal government.”
On Thursday, after Truss’s resignation became known, Starmer called for early elections. He did it as he is, without great fuss and measured. “The Conservative Party has shown that it no longer has a mandate to govern,” he said. And he added: “They are the revolving doors of chaos.” At night on television he considered that “this is not only a soap opera at the top of the game tory. It is doing enormous damage to our economy and to the reputation of our country.” Starmer’s strategy is working. He doesn’t make excessive firewood from the fallen tree, but instead leaves the conservatives to self-destruct, something they are showing extraordinary ability to do. After years of infighting, Labor now presents itself as the party of stability against conservative ravings. Either us or chaos, came to say yesterday the number two Labour, Angela Rayner.
The truth is that the ground is very fertile for a Labor government. Reality has been in charge of showing the conservatives that their ultra-liberal agenda of lowering taxes and cutting public services is impracticable and unreasonable. Faced with conservative austerity, Starmer speaks of the redistribution of resources, strengthening public health and even creating a public energy agency. In a context of skyrocketing inflation ―above 10%―, and in which the food banks cannot cope, his words resonate with particular force among a certain sector of the electorate. Nearly eight million people are struggling to make ends meet, according to a report released Friday by the FCA, the financial regulator in the City of London. That represents an increase of 2.5 million people compared to 2020.
trip to the center
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The Tories, In addition, they have opened a huge hole by unceremoniously emptying the political center and leaning to the right, especially in the economic field. Truss’s ultra-liberal agenda and his ideological partner Kwasi Kwarteng have proved indigestible even to many conservative voters, polls show. For this reason, the trip to the center of Starmer can be key in an upcoming electoral appointment.
At the last Labor Congress held three weeks ago in Liverpool, Starmer, the former State Attorney General, made it clear that his leadership is moderate and presented himself as the party of stability and budgetary responsibility in the face of the collapse of the British economy precipitated by the Truss tax plans. He also appealed to a progressive patriotism and even opened the congress with the national anthem, a decision that disconcerted many members of the party. Starmer was speaking to the political center, also to that electorate of the former Labor strongholds in the north, who in 2019 allowed themselves to be seduced by Boris Johnson and who now feel cheated.
But the peculiarities of the British electoral system and the enormous regional differences pose an added challenge. One of the great stumbling blocks will be to advance in Scotland, where the independence party in government (SNP) continues to overshadow a Labor party that has not returned to being what it was in Scottish lands. The SNP has 48 seats out of 59 Scots in Westminster. Labor, one.
On the domestic front, Keir Starmer has managed to unify the party, which is no small feat. Reconciliation has turned out to be a herculean task after the tear caused by the leadership of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn. The last congress in Liverpool was a sign of that unity, decisive with a view to a possible electoral campaign. Starmer’s temperate character has helped to sew the wounds and at the same time has become the underside of the eccentricities and recklessness of Boris Johnson first and Liz Truss later. The populist and most extreme wing of the British Conservatives has grown strong in the heat of Brexit. In front of them, Starmer represents a return to a certain common sense and respect for institutions.
Still, no matter how favorable the winds blow for Labour, whoever comes into government in the UK will have to deal with some very poisonous candy. It was David Cameron, a Conservative Prime Minister, who called and lost the Brexit referendum in 2016. Since then, his successors have been unable to explain what model of country they aspire to build outside the European Union. Beyond the more or less nationalist rhetoric, the truth is that they have governed by lurching and daydreaming around the image of a self-sufficient, prosperous and idyllic country that does not materialize. On the contrary, the ravages of Brexit added to the war in Ukraine and the post-pandemic have plunged the country into a supply crisis, a lack of labor and a rise in the cost of living that is impossible for ordinary citizens to ignore.
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