Boris Johnson's election victory: what does it mean not just for the future of Labour, but the future of the union?

Boris Johnson features on a wall painted by a street artist in the UK

‘The challenge for Boris Johnson is that he is finding that the better he does in England, the more he alienates Scotland’, Professor Matthew Goodwin comments on this week’s Conservative Party election victories in The New York Times.

The Conservatives won decisive election victories in this week’s recent UK regional elections, sweeping aside Labour in its traditional north-eastern English heartland and losing control of Durham County Council, which it has run since 1925,  as well as 15 seats as the Tories took 14.

This follows the Conservatives winning the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election and receiving 73% of the vote in the Tees Valley mayoral election. Professor Matthew Goodwin commented on the significance of these successes for The Conservatives and Boris Johnson in The New York Times.

‘If the Conservatives can take Hartlepool, they can take probably two dozen other blue-collar Labour seats where voters lean left on the economy and right on culture’, Goodwin commented. ‘The Labour Party cannot simply pivot to graduates and middle-class professionals; there are not enough seats for that to work.’

So ultimately Hartlepool represents ‘the Labour Party’s broken bond with the working class and reflects a deeper realignment in British politics where the old left and right is making way for a new divide, between liberals and conservatives, that is really more to do with identities rather than class or how much money you have.’

Mark Landler and  summarise, this leaves Boris Johnson ‘Victorious in England, with an opposition so vanquished that it gives the Conservatives a simulacrum of one-party rule, but threatened by Scotland, which could make him the prime minister who presides over the dissolution of the United Kingdom’.

Read the full piece in The New York Times.

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