Clearview National June 2015 - Issue 163 - Page 90

businessnews A surge, a sweep and a surprise: Britain enters a new political era Benji-Alexander Williamsm, Manager of Public & Parliamentary Affairs (RICS), discusses the surprising election outcome on »»“Who said politics was boring? After weeks of uneventful campaigning the British electorate delivered their verdict, and with it the first surprise result since Neil Kinnock’s defeat in 1992. “Despite consistent predictions that the Conservatives would do well to remain the largest party in a hung parliament, David Cameron now returns to Parliament with a slim but workable majority. “Furthermore, by lunchtime on Friday 8th May he was the only remaining leader of a major UK political party, following the resignations of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, (whose resignation was subsequently rejected by his members), as a response to the disappointments suffered by their respective parties. “Clearly, the headline result is the surprise victory of David Cameron’s Conservative Party, achieving a totally unforeseen net gain against Labour in England, who 90 » JUN 2015 » CL EARVI E W- UK . C O M has been reduced back to 1987 levels of parliamentary representation. “Britain’s long-standing third party has been violently displaced by two new contenders for the bronze crown of British politics. Losing 49 seats, the Liberal Democrats have been reduced to a rump of eight MPs, the same number as Northern Ireland’s DUP, while the SNP has taken clean sweep of all but three of Scotland’s 59 seats. “But the quieter and far more significant shift was the surge in UKIP support to 3.75m votes. Although this produced only one MP, it did award them third place with a vote share greater than that of the SNP and Liberal Democrats combined. Britain, it seems, has two new third parties. “Key to the future of devolution is the regional aspect to this outcome, with London and the urban North deepening its commitment to a post-Blair Labour party while the rest of England turned solidly blue through Conservative consolidation. “Scotland’s overwhelming flock to the SNP demonstrates the impact of the Independence referendum, and the concern over the implementation of further promised devolution measures. In contrast to the regionalisation of other parties, it was the sheer spread of UKIP’s appeal from the Labour heartlands of the North to the Tory shires of the south that marks them out as a significant minority phenomenon that will make the question of England’s place in any new devolution settlement all the more critical. “With a single party government, a slim majority, several leadership races, a referendum on Britain’s EU membership and a new constitutional settlement out ahead of us, this promises to be a parliamentary term like none we have known for some time. Whether it proves to be the ‘something special’ that the Prime Minister predicted today has yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure – we’re unlikely to be as bored as we were during the campaign.”