ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Royaume-Uni. Cameron qui rit, Miliband qui pleure
by PIERRE BARBANCEY
Translated Thursday 14 May 2015, by
From our special correspondent at London. The Conservatives have carried off a victory in the British elections. But the Prime Minister would have to acknowledge the increased influence of the Scottish Nationalists (SNP) who are more left-wing than Labour.
David Cameron was all smiles while speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street. Nothing surprising there! Contrary to all expectations, especially opinion polls that predicted a neck and neck race with his Labour opponent Ed Miliband, the Tories (the Conservatives) not only won the elections but did so with an absolute majority. Cameron assumed the role of the ’father of the nation’, promising to keep ’all nations of the United Kingdom’ together. However, it is true that after this victory where he has been once again designated Prime Minister by the Queen and invited to form the new government, he needs to sit down and analyze the fact that the majority, though absolute, is slim. While asserting that Scotland shall enjoy a degree of autonomy ’as no other region in the world has’, he is aware that while Labour was decimated in the Scottish countryside, the same holds true for the Tories. The Scottish National Party, SNP, is very likely to use their considerable influence - 53 out of 56 MPs in the Scottish Parliament who also sit in the House of Commons in London - to further their demands, notably the independentist agenda. Similarly, if the populist party UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) has returned only a handful of MPs to the Parliament, it is due only to the application of the majority principle in a single-member constituency plurality system. The first one past the post, irrespective of the votes garnered, wins. UKIP, comprising libertarian Thatcherites, managed to win nearly 14% of the votes.
Labour receives a body blow
The Prime Minister is in a position where he can dispense with the liberal democrats with whom he led a coalition for the past 5 years. The ’Lib-Dems’ have been the biggest losers in this election after the Labour Party. They won just 8 seats this time compared to 57 which they held in the outgoing Parliament. Nick Clegg, their leader, resigned even though he managed to retain his seat. Labour has received a body blow from which they would find it difficult to recover. More humiliation was in store for them when Douglas Alexander, the Labour Party campaign leader and spokesperson for foreign affairs, lost to a 20-year old SNP candidate Mhairi Black, who has become the youngest MP to be elected to the House of Commons since 1667! Ed Miliband has already resigned. Would they realize that they have paid for advocating Blairist policies which hardly made an impression, especially given that it was a lot of talk that conveyed little? It is precisely this reason that contributed to the Conservative win.
Concerning foreign relations, a consequence of Cameron’s continuing at Number 10 Downing Street is already known - a referendum on whether Great Britain should continue to be part of the European Union, which is slated to take place within the next 2 years, as promised by the outgoing Prime Minister if he was reëlected. He has stated that he would advocate staying with the EU if his partners agree to a satisfactory amendment in treaties. This is unlikely to happen before 2017.