One of the most boring British election campaigns on record produced a supposedly dramatic result. Before the polls closed at 10pm on Thursday 7th May 2015, every polling organisation had the two main political parties, Conservative and Labour neck and neck. No one knew who was going to win. But as soon as London’s iconic, Big Ben struck ten an exit poll for the main television stations surprisingly showed an overwhelming victory for the Conservatives. By the time the last votes were counted on Friday 8th, the Conservative Party led by Ed Cameron, had ridden home with 331 seats while David Miliband’s Labour Party performed unexpectedly poorly with 232 seats.
The United Kingdom’s parliament seats 650 members so the Conservatives had theoretically crossed the halfway 325 seats needed to govern the nation alone without a need to enter a coalition with a smaller party as it had done in 2010 with the Liberal Democrats.
In the immediate aftermath of the Conservative victory many rightly asked why the polls for the preceding six weeks got it so wrong. Even taking into account the usual margin of errors no one had predicted this outcome. Tellingly, very few asked why a consequential part of the British electorate was clearly lying to pollsters.
It’s certainly not the first time such a discrepancy had happened. In the 1992 elections, everyone was expecting a Labour victory until the last moment. Back then the blame was placed on a presumptuous victory rally held by the Labour party which compelled many to rush out and swing it for the Conservatives. With today’s media diversification and social media, the British talking heads have no such phantom alibi. The fact that voters were, let us say, reticent with their true voting intentions needs to be acknowledged. And why not? Isn’t that what politicians do for a living anyway? Why shouldn’t Her Majesty’s subjects give politicians a taste of their own horse manure?
This is not say there were massive differences between the two major parties. Both were committed to austerity, that is, the prioritisation of reducing and squeezing of public finances as a response to the Banking crisis and also to reduce the national debt. However, the Conservatives are seen as more committed to the rich and privileged. Over the last several years much has been said about major corporations and hyper-rich who have (legally) avoided paying tax and yet it is those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale who’ve been marked out with cuts in public spending and benefit reductions. More so, both parties to varying degrees campaigned on the need to curtail and reduce immigration with the left-wing Labour party even producing mugs perceived to pander to the anti-immigration constituency.
However, what seemed to have sealed the Conservative victory was the fear factor. The Scots have clearly replaced the generic “immigrant” as England’s leading bogeyman in parliamentary elections because the one prediction the pollsters did get right was that the Scottish National Party (SNP) led by Ms Nicola Sturgeon was going to win an overwhelming majority in Scotland, a constituent part of the United Kingdom for the last 300 years. With this in mind Conservative propagandist let it be known to England’s voters that a vote for other smaller parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), led by Nigel Farage, would only make a Labour-SNP governing alliance more likely. This seems to have done the trick and propelled a majority of the people of England to vote accordingly. It also explains why disaffected Liberal Democrat voters opted to choose the Conservative Party rather than vote Labour. As the London Times’s Chief Political Correspondent wrote of the Conservative victory, a “disciplined, relentless and ruthless campaign that saw them obliterate the Lib Dems and stoke fear about the SNP helped the Conservatives to secure one of their notable victories…In the English marginals, warning about the SNP propping up a Miliband government clearly had an effect.”
So the people of England rather than choosing a perceived progressive-lite Labour-SNP coalition government fearfully opted instead for a right wing Conservative government. As a leading right wing commentator Charles Moore argued, the rise of the SNP “woke the English people” up from their slumber as the majority of England’s voting populace “don’t like “progressive change” at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. The idea that Ms Sturgeon should help impose it – and we should pay for it – was just too much.” Obviously Mr. Moore has no such issues with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE financially propping up the British economy, especially the essential British industrial-military complex. Or even that the British Empire’s demarcated oil-well with a flag, that is known as “Qatar” has consequentially and fantastically enriched the British economy is not at all bothersome to Mr. Moore.
However this does not fully explain why the English have opted for right wing governments over the last several centuries. Unlike the United States, Israel and Australia, England is not a modern settler-colonial society rooted in the theft, displacement, ethnic cleansing and genocide of its original inhabitants. But what many tend to overlook is that the United Kingdom, especially England has an imperialistically pruned population. Rather than actively bringing into question the Establishment’s order, the masses in England have chosen over the centuries to migrate to other parts of the world, including to the British Empire’s conquered territories. Between 1814 and 1914 at least 15 million people left the British Isles. Furthermore, thousands and hundreds of thousands have died over the centuries in the Empire’s wars. Naturally what remains after this inadvertent culling of the population through migration and war is inevitably that part of the population who do not find the Establishment disagreeable. As late as the mid 1940’s, Winston Churchill was advocating and envisioning the culling (“would ‘have to disappear one or another’”) of the British population by a quarter, 12 million people at that time, as a solution to the post-war economic crisis, with many dying of poverty and malnutrition rather than emigrating.
In the aftermath of World War One, hundreds and thousands of British people lost their lives in an imperialist slaughter over world domination. Within months of the war’s end in November 1918, race riots in the UK erupted because the British white working class scapegoated the small number of migrant labour from the Empire’s colonies as the reason for their socio-economic predicaments. Scapegoating migrant labour rather than focusing on the bankrupt Establishment was clearly a vote in winner in 2015 as well as the anti-immigrant UKIP scored emerged as third main party with 12.6% of the vote.
With respect to foreign policy, Cameron’s victory is a complement to Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in Israel. Cameron had led the calls for the NATO intervention in 2011 in Libya and he also led calls for a Syrian intervention up until the Damascus gas attacks in 2013. The problem for Cameron is that the current American administration is not as militaristic as the British establishment requires.
British imperialism does not possess the military capability to solely conduct global impacting operations. The only way this can be remedied is by always joining the United States as a supposed “junior partner” in its military adventures. But if the “senior partner” is not keen on massive military interventions, Britain’s role in the world is seen as greatly diminished. As an editorial in the London Times argued in February 2015, “Greater resolution in foreign policy requires a lead from Britain’s most important ally, the United States. Under President Obama, that is not forthcoming.” British imperialism has as much contempt for Barack Obama as Israel’s Netanyahu. Both are longing for the end of his presidency to come sooner rather than later.
Needless to say, the United States is mainly important to the British establishment because it has the greatest military muscle in the western world. In the nineteenth century, the British establishment had nothing but contempt for the United States as there was no need for its military and more so it was seen as competitor and not an ally. British imperial decline powered the alliance with the United States.
But, now that Cameron and Netanyahu are both re-elected for at least four more years and Obama currently seeing out the final 18 months, a new American President, either Republican or Democrat, would be seen as completing the tripartite as long as he or she is more receptive to British and Israeli warmongering. The new President would be the final piece of a tripartite in another war on the indigenous population of the Middle East.
And the British can’t wait or as Charles Moore expressed this bloodlust urge in the aftermath of the Cameron victory, “Over the past five years, in Britain as a whole, we have learnt how a country that forgets to defend itself properly starts to lose a sense of its identity. In the next five years, that sense must be restored.” The morning after the news of the election victory, the London Times also editorialised a demand for more war on Arabs because it is “time for Mr Cameron to find his inner Churchill. During his first five years in Downing Street Britain’s standing in the world was weakened by indecision in the Middle East…” Obviously the Libyan intervention which eventually laid waste to that country counts for nothing.
It would be very difficult to imagine Cameron not demanding another military intervention during the next several years. Most likely, beginning with louder calls for a “no fly zone” over Syria.
In conclusion, the British elections were only dramatic because a decisive number of people were lying to the polls. These liars clearly won Cameron the election, so another war on an African or Asian country based on false and deceptive pretexts would most likely be politely welcomed by the electoral constituency which delivered him his victory.
 Clive Ponting, Churchill, (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1995), pg. 748