Why did Cameron gain absolute majority? What will he do now? Will he vote ‘yes’ in Britain’s in – out EU referendum?

Special European Council on migratory pressures in the Mediterranean. From left to right: Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg Prime Minister, David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor. Migratory pressure in the Mediterranean was the main topic of this special European Council of 23 April 2015, after the dramatic sinking of migrant ships off the Libyan coast. Migration pressures are expected to become the main issue in the British in-out of the EU referendum to be held in 2017. (European Council – Council of the European Union, Audiovisual Services, Shoot location: Brussels – Belgium, Shoot date: 23/04/2015).

Special European Council on migratory pressures in the Mediterranean. From left to right: Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg Prime Minister, David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor. Migratory pressure in the Mediterranean was the main topic of this special European Council of 23 April 2015, after the dramatic sinking of migrant ships off the Libyan coast. Migration pressures are expected to become the main issue in the British in-out of the EU referendum to be held in 2017. There won’t be much laughing in Brussels at that time. (European Council – Council of the European Union, Audiovisual Services, shoot location: Brussels – Belgium, shoot date: 23/04/2015).

The UK election results came as a shock to many but primarily shook the British public opinion poll experts. All of them failed to even come anywhere near predicting the final results. For Britain, David Cameron’s win means no-change where it counts, the economy, the foreign policy and the home affairs.

Regarding the repercussions on the relations with the European Union, Brussels and some other mainland EU capitals had already relaxed and stopped worrying about the results for a very good reason. During the few weeks before the election, it was more than evident that the two major contestants, the Tories and the Labour party, had omitted from their rhetoric any important reference to or critique for the European Union. Only Nigel Farage kept attacking the EU, but his UKIP managed to gain just one parliament seat and he was obliged to resign.

No competition for Cameron

In the foreseeable future Cameron will be the unquestionable master of the British political scenery and the contestants of the leadership within the conservative party will lie low, at least for quite some time. As for the other two major parties, the Labour and the Lib Dem leaders, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg both resigned, acknowledging a devastating defeat.
The British PM feels now very confident about the policies he followed during the past years and so he clarified that there will be no changes in five key government positions; the chancellor, the home secretary, the foreign secretary, the defense secretary and the education secretary. Of course Cameron’s pride must be the economy. George Osborn his Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury is considered as the main economic policy brainpower behind the unexpected 331 seats victory in the House of Commons (parliament) of 650 members.

“It’s the economy stupid”

Bill Clinton in 1992 said “it’s the economy stupid” and in every major electoral confrontation in the developed world this motto proves to be quite right. Cameron and Osborn followed a pretty austere economic policy right after the 2010 election. This policy though despite its unpopular character brought about some very positive results improving government finance and reducing unemployment to very low levels. The impressive attainment is that the people in employment has now reached 73.3% of the labour force, the highest rate ever since the Office for National Statistics keeps records. That’s why Cameron is the only Prime Minister to have increased his party’s majority in the Parliament from a relative level (301 MP in 2010) to an absolute preponderance (331 in 2015) after five years of austere economic policy.

There was more

Of course it was not only that. The Labour Party didn’t offer any concrete and better policy option. The tangible positive results in job creation and state finance that Osborne managed to bring about, couldn’t be beaten just by rhetoric. On top of that, Ed Miliband made another even bigger and fatal for his political career mistake. The result was that all the traditional Labour parliamentary seats in Scotland were lost. During the past eight months he ‘forgot’ to actively press the Cameron government in the Parliament to live up to London’s promises for more Scottish autonomy. On the election day every Scot remembered – the unfulfilled – promises for more self-rule that the entire London political elite, Miliband included, had made in view of the vote for the independence last September.

Miliband’s problem turned out to be that he didn’t recon that Cameron had nothing to lose in Scotland, by forgetting the promises they had jointly made in Edinburgh in September 2014. The Tories had never had any backing there, so they had nothing to lose by forgetting the Scots. The Labour party however had always been counting on the Scottish vote in order to govern the UK. This time though the Scottish National Party wiped out all the labour MPs there and gained a massive win, taking 56 seats in the 59 constituencies of Scotland. The SNP held only six seats in the previous parliament. The unexpected triumph of the new SNP’s leader Nicola Sturgeon last Thursday deprived Labour of around 50 deputies. Let’s continue counting.

More to reckon

It was not only Miliband’s total disaster in Scotland though. Cameron’s Tories seems to have almost entirely absorbed the LibDem vote. Nick Clegg’s party lost almost its entire parliament strength, from 57 in the previous parliament to only 8 last Thursday. Obviously, the unadventurous voters thought that since the Tory policies worked and the liberals had been at times opposing Osborn, the LibDem candidates had no place in the legislative. Then let’s count; around 50 seats that the Labour party lost in Scotland, plus the 50 seats that Cameron gained from Clegg and the sum produced an unbelievable absolute majority for the Tories.

What about the EU?

Now as for the referendum that Britain is expected to hold in 2017 for the position of Britain in or out from the EU, Cameron’s position would be the key to the result. He has stated that he wants to support the ‘yes’ side, but he adds that for this to happen he requires the Union to change many things. In any case this discussion has just started and Brussels, through Jean-Claude Juncker, already aired the message that Britain alone cannot change the European Union. In the next months this discussion will heat up. However, many people predict that at the end the referendum will turn out to be a procedural affair.

If Cameron declares that Britain is satisfied with the changes the EU is ready to realize, the ‘yes’ outcome of the referendum will be quite predictable. So at the end of the day the wager will be what Cameron will ask from Brussels, Berlin and Paris to actively support the ‘yes’ side. And this cannot be the abolishment of the Brussels’ vital guiding principles like the free movement of people, capital and goods. But this is another story as Rudyard Kipling would have said.

 

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