DC Edit | Britain votes for a change as Starmer wins huge mandate

Keir Starmer leads Labour to a landslide victory, marking a transformative shift in UK politics after years of Tory rule

A landslide win for the UK Labour party had already been etched in writing on the wall. As Keir Starmer comes storming into 10 Downing Street like the red knight on a charger, it is the margin of victory that will be seen as stupendous as it goes down in red letters in history books.

It was a classic case of anti-incumbency that saw the rout of the Tories in their worst performance in decades, but it could be said that they had brought about this disenchantment in the British people on themselves in 14 years, gradually to begin with and then with a wrecking ball velocity in the last four years since the Covid pandemic.

All the signs pointed to a decline that can be paraphrased in one simple sentence — “It’s the economy, stupid.” And the Tories did not tend to it well enough as the standard of living plateaued even as cost-of-living threatened to mow down everyone in its path. It was up to a son of immigrants and Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to take the blame while bowing to circumstances as the fall guy.

Among economic and social indicators that worsened during Tory rule are hospital waiting lists, homelessness, net migration, productivity, asylum waiting lists and graduate debt. Having restructured Britain since 2010 and promoted Brexit after slashing spending on welfare and public services in unpopular austerity moves, Tory rule left most Britons with the impression that they were worse off.

Data show the economy, along with productivity, has been stagnant since 2008 and growth did not recover after the pandemic slump. Since wages have been stagnant (after adjusting for inflation) throughout their reign, the electoral calamity was foreseen long before the voting day of July 4. And whatever three Tory Prime Ministers since David Cameron and his EU referendum misadventure of 2016 attempted was insufficient to change the course of this ultimate poll disaster.

The expectation is that things will change dramatically in this swing to the left, quite apart from pressing the exit button on the promised Rwanda haven for migrants and such measures that had a Tory stamp on it. The rich will be taxed more even as private school fees will have VAT imposed on them. What remains to be seen is how far the metrics will change under a pragmatic Labour leader and whether he will be a transformative PM as Labour would like to believe.

As far as India’s ties with the new Labour government goes, it may be time for a reset on the old question of the party having supported self-determination for the people of J&K. But that was under the radical leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. It is believed that Mr Starmer, who needs no propping up by fringe elements of any religion in multicultural UK, will take a more realistic stand.

Improved strategic relations with India, now far more of an economic power than in 2010, are on Mr Starmer’s radar, so too the Free Trade Agreement that has been waiting to take off for long. Britain’s place and prominence in global geopolitics may have changed over time, even declined, but this political twist with Labour romping home might prove historic in a positive way after years of chaos under a soap operatic Tory leadership.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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