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14 things we learned from Boris Johnson's huge election victory last night

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 13 Dec 2019


Boris Johnson's Conservative party is on course for an unexpectedly big win in the UK general election, held on Thursday.The vote ensures Britain's exit from the EU. After three years of delay, Brexit will now definitely happen.Hereare 14 things we learned from the results:See all our UK election coverage here. Here we go!On Brexit: Leave voters were more determined and more numerous than many commentatorsand some pollsterssaid they would be. If you voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, you went back to the ballot box yesterday doubly determined to see your vote respected.The British public has looked over the cliff edge at the "horrors" of Brexit smaller economy, smaller role on the world stageand said "this is fine!"As my colleague Adam Bienkov says: "The campaign to stop Brexit is over and Britain is heading for another decade of Conservative dominance."The polls were all over the place. Again. YouGovregarded as the most accurate in 2017significantly under-estimated the scale of Johnson's victory. While some pollsters did forecast a landslide, others suggested we were heading for another hung parliament.It's a huge endorsement of the power of nationalism. If you thought nationalism was a spent force, think again.Socialism took a heavy blow yesterday. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be under huge pressure to resign immediately. The Labour party needs to seriously rethink its offer. It offered voters the option to back democratic socialismmore funding for the NHS, nationalising unpopular industries (rail, water, energy)and the public didn't buy it.The danger for Labour is that if the party is boiled down to a socialist nub, it will stay under the control of its core hard-left membershipthe very people who are least able to persuade moderate voters to go along with them. Those members are oddly comfortable protesting, marching, and complaining, as long as their socialism remains pure. Making the compromises necessary to persuade othersand enter governmentis outside their comfort zone.Labour's antisemitism problem damaged the party. What started as an internal controversy inside the Labour party ended up poisoning the entire party's image and making it difficult for previous supporters to turn up at the polls.Scottish independence is now more likely. It was a big, big night for the Scottish National Party, cementing its dominance north of the border, putting them diametrically at odds with Johnson's Conservative government.The moderate middle is dead. The centrist Liberal Democrats started the campaign looking strong. But when it came to the crunch, voters went for the Conservatives, Labour, or the SNP.But Johnson could pivot to the centre. A big majority gives Johnson more license to ignore the hard-Brexit right and pursue a closer relationship with the EU, according to my colleague Adam Payne, who has been chatting with his sources all night. Johnson has an infamously flexible relationship with the truth, after all. Hard-right Tory rebels are weakened inside a large Tory majority.If Johnson does a U-turn and goes "soft Brexit," then keeping the UK close to Europe really helps Johnson with the Northern Ireland issue, by keeping NI closer to the EU. It saves him lots of hassle. As the former prime ministerial spokesperson Ali Donnelly says, "Points of fact. This ends the No 10 reliance on the ERG [the hard-Brexit grouping inside the Conservatives]; ends the pressure on the PM to leave the IP [interim period] at the end of next year and makes a softer Brexit much more likely. Food for thought."Johnson might be more economically moderate than people think. The Conservative manifesto promised more government spending on a range of services. There is a big difference between promising and delivering, of course Nigel Farage told the BBC he didn't vote. He spoiled his ballot paper. His Brexit party was wiped out. He no longer has a meaningful role in British politics.Read more:Here is the full breakdown of the UK 2019 general election resultsThe main news: Shock exit poll shows Boris Johnson's Conservative Party is heading for a huge majority in the UK general electionJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope
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