The Strategist

UK: Conservatives won. But why?

05/08/2015 - 15:19

The Conservative Party won the general election in the UK, reports Reuters.

Moritz Hager
Moritz Hager
Tory got 324 of the 650 seats - enough to form a number of parliamentary majority. The Labour Party gained 229 seats, the Scottish nationalists - 56, Liberal Democrats - eight places, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won one seat.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that he hopes to form a government in the coming days. "This is the sweetest victory of all." - said the head of the British government.
Soon after it became known that the Conservatives won the most seats in parliament, the leaders of the main opposition parties said that they are going to leave their posts.

The head of the Labor Party, Ed Miliband admitted that "it is time for someone else led the party." For some time Harriet Harman, the Deputy of Miliband, will take the Labour leader place.

The main eurosceptic – UKIP’s head Nigel Farage and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg resigned from their posts. The latter said that he must take responsibility for the defeat.

David Cameron campaigned, touting the successful macro-economic indicators of the previous year - in 2014 GDP growth in the UK was 2.6%, unemployment fell to 5.7%, the budget deficit fell to 5.2%. He asked voters to give an opportunity to complete the work started and to achieve a balanced budget during the next term. According to the Prime Minister, if the voters will vote for the Labour Party, it will break the positive dynamics of economic recovery.

In his campaign, Cameron also used increased Britons’ euroscepticism, promising to hold a referendum on the UK leave from the European Union and to restrict immigration from EU countries. He was rather fierce in his outspoken remarks on foreign policy (dissatisfaction with the European institutions, a call to accept Turkey into the EU). However, he needed the idea of the referendum more to attract voters in the elections, and the involvement of low-wage immigrant the labor market made possible macroeconomic statistics, which the prime boast. In addition, a number of managers of large companies have already expressed fears that Britain's exit from the European Union (Brexit) would have a negative impact on the economy – the British Prime cannot help but listen to such an opinion.

Yet in fact, everything is not so smooth. Cameron’s opponents pointed out that the Conservatives have lowered taxes on large companies with 28 to 21%, and the tax burden on small and medium-sized businesses and ordinary Britons only intensified. Salaries in most industries did not grow in 2009, about 1 million people in the country living with the help of food banks, the dissatisfaction with the so-called "bedroom tax" (reduction of state subsidies for social housing), which added cost to the poor, is growing.

Conservatives are criticized for the situation in the field of employment, namely the widespread "zero contracts", which allowed to reduce unemployment. These contracts do not provide the minimum required number of working hours, but the employee should always be ready to go to work - in the end, they provide employment for an average 20-25 hours per week. The number of people working under such contracts, increased from 167 thousand up to 697 thousand for 2010-2014. (Overall, the United Kingdom has 30 million employees). While officials and some employers protect such practices, Labour called it a symbol of the failure of Tories’ economic policy. In their view, the "zero contracts" give the appearance of reducing unemployment, but in reality increase poverty due to underemployment, under which a person cannot plan their lives.

Another Cameron’s opponents trump is a debt crisis in higher education. Increasing tuition fees in higher education institutions from 3 to 9 thousand pounds per year caused in November 2010 massive student protests, which culminated in the defeat of the headquarters of the Conservative Party. The protests continued later, but the government has not changed the policy of reducing government spending on higher education. As a result, many graduates will receive a diploma with 40-60 thousand pounds of debt that they will have to pay for many years.

The elections to the British Parliament is traditionally something like the elections to the US Congress: the two major political forces are fighting with each other for a majority in parliament. However, unlike the United States, participated in the British elections are taking far greater number of parties, but the lion's share of seats occupied by two. All was well until the elections in 2010, when neither the Conservatives nor Labour succeeded to collect enough seats to form a cabinet.

For the first time the British MPs had to create alliances and form coalitions. Elections in 2015 only increased these trends. The British parliamentary system turned into a colorful mosaic where, one need the support of a third force in order to perform successfully. So, Euro News polls have shown that none of the competing parties - neither Labour nor the Conservatives – had chance of getting a majority of the sole. Thus, the result of the election was the surprise. So, let’s hope that the new government will be able to show good results.


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