The results of the UK elections have shown something that I have commented on several occasions: The widely spread narrative that British citizens had regretted having voted for Brexit was simply incorrect.
We already had the evidence in the European elections, where the Brexit Party won with 31.6% of the votes, but the general elections have been even clearer. The Conservative Party won by an absolute majority (more than 360 seats and 43.6% of the votes).
The failure of Labour’s radicalism led by Jeremy Corbyn has been spectacular, and his interventionist messages, reminiscent of the terrible Harold Wilson period, added to his vague stance on Brexit and how to finance his promises of “everything free at any cost” have led the party to its worst results since 1935 and losing key seats in constituencies that always voted Labour since 1945.
Up to 18 Labour historical footholds passed to a conservative majority including Blyth, Darlington, Workington, Great Grimsby or Bassetlaw. In Wales, the Conservative party snatched six seats from the socialists. The transfer of Labour votes to conservatives exceeded 4.7%, according to the Press Association. The interventionist and extremist proposals of Jeremy Corbyn have caused them to lose votes even in pro-Remain districts (-6.4% according to the BBC).
Months of attempts to whitewash the image of Jeremy Corbyn by parts of the media have not been able to eliminate his history of extremism and interventionism, his refusal to apologize for cases of anti-Semitism and his incompetence in explaining the economic program. Corbyn led a traditionally moderate and social-democratic formation to the most retrograde and interventionist proposals of its recent history.
A YouGov poll found that voters, who previously told the polling company they choose Labour in the 2017 election, abandoned the party over Jeremy Corbyn. It found that 35 percent saw the leadership or Jeremy Corbyn as the primary reason they did not vote for Labour in the 2019 general election. The Labour Party’s controversial Brexit policy was the reason 19 percent of respondents decided not to back the party again according to the poll. The party’s economic competence (16 percent), as well as tactical voting (10 percent), were other reasons why Labour was abandoned, the poll found.
Johnson won by absolute majority with a much more moderate, positive and pro-growth message, but, above all, unquestionable in terms of delivering Brexit.
Johnson has not only reached a much wider spectrum of voters but Corbyn has annihilated his options with Labour’s own more moderate voters by radicalizing his message in a country where any citizen over 45 remembers the economic disasters of socialism.
The UK elections should be an opportunity for everyone to learn several lessons.
- The first lesson is that the silent majority is the target in an election, not the loud minority. As in the United States and European Parliament elections, the consensus narrative about what was happening was clearly influenced by a terrible confirmation bias among most mainstream commentators. Some media in the UK have reported more about what they wanted to happen more than what really happened.
- The second lesson is that extremist socialism is not an alternative. While Johnson focused his campaign on adding supporters, Corbyn set out to return to the past and try to revive the policies that led to poverty, constant devaluations, supply cuts, and misery.
- The third was falling into the error of believing that sound economic policies do not matter. That the “majority” opinion is what some media or some commentators say. Even worse, to believe that the will of the people is represented bt a few anonymous accounts on social networks. Bots are not votes.
The opportunity of these elections is enormous. The European Union can strengthen its project and implement the agreement signed with the Johnson government in a beneficial way for all member states. It is a pity that the United Kingdom does not want to continue in the European Union, but we have to look to the future. For the UK, it is clearly an opportunity to strengthen the economy focusing on job creation and attraction of capital.
The United Kingdom will implement growth policies and competitive taxation. This is not just good for UK citizens. It is a much-needed reminder for the European Union to abandon its most interventionist temptations and focus on being competitive, attractive and productive.
The European Union faces significant economic, demographic and technological challenges. The UK can develop its competitiveness and investment appeal and, by doing so, the European Union can benefit. The United Kingdom is not a threat. It’s an example. A partner for all member states and a reminder of which policies work and how socialism and interventionism are never the answer.
Johnson is not a danger. He is the prime minister of an allied country and partner that will continue to be so. The danger to the European Union is not Johnson, it is interventionist temptation. Let’s fight it.