The rise of Corbynism

The results of the UK general election have been at the heart of the European public debate over the past few days. Many commentators were surprised by the performance of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, which managed to win back many seats previously lost by the party. Among the latter, Jonathan Freedland, a staunch critic of Corbynism, writes on The Guardian that the leader of the Labour party was able to rewrite the rules of political competition. Among the notable results of this election, Freedland notes, are the huge support to Corbyn on the part of younger voters.

Writing on Politico, Tom McTague, Charlie Cooper and Annabelle Dickson focus instead on the Tory’s disappointing performance, which is tantamount to a defeat. Describing the behind-the-scenes of the Conservative electoral campaign the authors pinpoint all the little details that added up to the final result, from the lack of campaigning experience on the part of Theresa May to the unpopular party manifesto drafted by chief-adviser Nick Timothy. The latter, after resigning from his advisory role, wrote a post on Conservative Home suggesting that the main reasons for the Tory debacle rely in a “divided” British society, in which many are tired of austerity, Brexit and the lack of opportunities for younger generations.

What about Brexit now?

Other commentaries reflect on the consequences of the UK vote on Brexit. Writing on the Independent, Denis MacShane suggests that one has to take into account the large opposition to a “hard Brexit” scenario in order to understand the election result. With some 48% of voters opposing Brexit in the 2016 referendum, it should come as no surprise that a Tory leadership pushing for exiting the European Single Market was punished by the electorate. According to MacShane, the losers of the election were nationalist parties, both in England and Scotland, with the UKIP and the SNP facing disastrous outcomes. “As in the Netherlands, Austria and France, Europe has emerged as the winner”, Mach Shane concludes.

In a long editorial published on the The New York Times, Joan Smith draws a parallel between former Prime Minister David Cameron and Theresa May: both struggled to find a solution to a divisive issue such as the country’s EU membership. Smith argues that the scenario of a wounded May starting negotiations with the EU in the upcoming week is “catastrophic”. From the left to the right, the UK looks like the land of divisions that eventually risk tearing the country apart, he adds. Last but not least, Smith writes that “another election later this year must be a real possibility”.

New elections?

From former Prime Minister, David Cameron, to the French President Emmanuel Macron, after the elections, many politicians and EU institutional representatives hinted at the possibility that the UK might now steer towards a “soft Brexit” deal. On The Guardian, Matthew d’Ancona claims that the Tories now need a leadership contest to strengthen the party. Among May’s potential successors, d’Ancona lists Boris Johnson, Ruth Davidson and Amber Rudd–with Rudd facing the best odds. Most importantly, d’Ancona calls for a fast leadership contest in order to move on to a new general election, which might make things easier for the future government when it comes to the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Ed Balls, the former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, called for a new general election to secure a stable Brexit deal. However, Balls specified that such a deal would not be defined earlier than late 2018. Commenting on the electoral outcomes, he rejected the prospects of a grand coalition between the Labour and Conservative parties.

This Ideas Monitor is by Carlo Burelli and Alexander Damiano Ricci

Photo Credits CC UK Parliament 

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