Does the British Election Mean Anything for America?

British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27
British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

As always, yes and no.

Yes, because the ideology of austerity-driven neoliberalism, that which is championed by Theresa May’s suddenly flailing government, is a major component of the ruling Republican Party in the United States. It’s what Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, believes in: cuts to public services to benefit the private market.

Yes, because Brexit, the alt-right-driven anti-immigrant, anti-globalization geopolitical self-harm project is propelled by the same forces that elected the current head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.

But also no. Read more

Election Divides Kingdom as Parties Consolidate Their Base

The British flag flies over the Houses of Parliament in London, England
The British flag flies over the Houses of Parliament in London, England (Unsplash/Matt Milton)

There is still a lot to digest from last week’s British election. The promised Conservative landslide never materialized. Labour gained seats, including in affluent constituencies like Kensington that it won for the first time, but it also fell short of a majority. Theresa May remains in power but has been weakened. She must rely on the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland for a majority, which threatens to upset the delicate balance of power in Ulster.

We can nevertheless say two things with certainty:

  1. The trends spotted in last year’s Brexit vote are accelerating.
  2. The new poles in British politics are consolidating and that leaves the center wide open. Read more

May to Stay in Power with Support of Northern Ireland Unionists

British prime minister Theresa May speaks with the American secretary of defense, James Mattis, at Lancaster House in London, England, May 11
British prime minister Theresa May speaks with the American secretary of defense, James Mattis, at Lancaster House in London, England, May 11 (DoD/Jette Carr)
  • Britain’s ruling Conservatives have lost their majority in Parliament, going down from 329 to 318 seats.
  • But they should be able to govern with support from the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, which has ten seats. Read more

What Britain’s General Election Result Means

Statue of former British prime minister Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, in Parliament Square, London, England, May 30, 2005
Statue of former British prime minister Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, in Parliament Square, London, England, May 30, 2005 (JR P)

Britain’s ruling Conservatives are projected to lose control of Parliament. The exit poll for Thursday’s election shows them falling from 330 to 314 seats. Twelve more are needed for a majority.

Assuming the exit poll isn’t too far off, what does this mean for Britain’s next government, its major political parties and the process of divorcing the United Kingdom from the EU? Read more

Conservatives Lose Majority in British Election

British party leaders Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
British party leaders Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jasn)
  • Britain’s ruling Conservatives have lost their majority in parliamentary elections, but they remain the largest party with 317 out of 650 seats.
  • They can probably stay in power with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, which has ten seats.
  • Labour won 40 percent support nationwide and 261 seats, up 29. Read more

Both Conservatives and Labour Have Left the Center Wide Open

British prime minister Theresa May speaks at the United Nations in New York, September 20, 2016
British prime minister Theresa May speaks at the United Nations in New York, September 20, 2016 (The Prime Minister’s Office)

Before Labour started to catch up with her in the polls, it seemed Theresa May could have it both ways.

The Financial Times argued that her “Global Britain” vision, of free trade and friendship with the rest of the world, was at odds with cutting immigration to an arbitrary tens of thousands and pushing for a “hard” Brexit.

Yet voters seemed to like it. One poll had the Conservatives at nearly 50 percent support. Labour was down to 25 percent as recently as four weeks ago.

The Financial Times warned, though (as did I), that there were policy gaps “in what used to be known as the center ground.” Liberal cosmopolitanism did not have an active voice. Read more

Reasons to Doubt Labour’s Poll Surge Will Last

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn talks with reporters outside Parliament in London, England, June 11, 2008
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn talks with reporters outside Parliament in London, England, June 11, 2008 (Flickr/Jasn)

Britain’s Labour Party has narrowed the gap with the ruling Conservatives in the polls, going up from an average of 25 percent support when Prime Minister Theresa May called an election last month to nearly 35 percent.

Support for May’s Conservatives hasn’t come down from 45 percent. They are still expected to prevail, but with a smaller majority than seemed likely a few weeks ago.

Labour’s surge has come at the expense of the Greens and Liberal Democrats, who are both polling in the single digits. Read more