Britain No Longer Has National Parties

Dan Hough

University of Sussex

Dr. Dan Hough is a Professor of Politics at the University of Sussex.

There is always a unique drama to an election night in Britain, but the events of Thursday, May 7 surprised even the most hardened of British election watchers (see here for a full breakdown of the results). Indeed, if Quentin Tarantino directed results’ nights, then they would probably look like this – ministerial blood everywhere and general carnage as the unexpected just keeps on happening.

The long and short of a dramatic night is that whilst David Cameron will be returning to 10 Downing Street as prime minister, this was an election that fundamentally changed the face of British politics – very possibly permanently. That’s the case for four reasons. First, Britain is now a country with effectively no national political parties. Everyone is now a regionalist in some form. Second, and perhaps most significantly, the success of the Scottish National Party (SNP) has put the very future of Britain on the line. Third, the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) have gone from being a party of government to a marginal force with a meagre eight members of Parliament (MPs). That is as close to wipeout as it gets in British politics. Finally, Labour’s performance was deeply underwhelming, and that despite the previous Conservative-led government pushing hard-hitting austerity politics. If Labour is going to win next time round, some serious soul-searching will be required.

The original text of this article was published by The Washington Post on May 8, 2015. Continue reading here.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.