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< Back to question Why did Labour lose the 2019 UK general election? Show more Show less

On election night 2019, Labour supporters watched in horror as the count revealed Labour's worst election performance in recent history. In the wake of the party's worst night "since 1935", Labour members and analysts attempt to dissect what went wrong. Was it the party's stance on Brexit? An unpalatable leader in Jeremy Corbyn? Or a misguided election strategy?

Demographics Show more Show less

The age divide between Labour and Tory voters, as well as class and racial divisions, played to the Conservatives' favor.
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Scotland no longer provides added Labour support

While never a haven for the Tories, Scotland once provided a solid result of Labour seats. In the last decade, calls for Scottish Independence have shifted the party support and lost crucial Labour votes.
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Proponents


The Argument

Scotland may only be home to 59 seats in Westminster, but a solid number of those seats once belonged to Labour. The small boost of support in parliament has since gone to the Scottish National Party (SNP), leaving Labour without the extra support from the nation in the North. With increased enthusiasm for Scottish Independence, the SNP has dominated Scotland's government for the past decade. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon led a triumphant victory in 2019, securing 48 of the 59 Scottish seats in London for her party. In the past, Labour dominated Scottish politics and as recently as 2010, Labour won 41 of the 59 Scottish seats.[1] Though Labour also lost in 2010, it was not nearly the landslide that defeated Jeremy Corbyn. Labour did not address the concerns that many Scots currently are most worried about; mainly, independence and securing economic strength in Scotland. Among other things, Labour must consider luring more Scottish voters back to the arms of the party. If not, they may not see the power they enjoyed during the Blair years for some time to come.[2]

Counter arguments

Scotland is too much of a risk for Labour to invest the time and effort to win back those votes. The SNP's dominance has cost votes for Labour, but it is too difficult to tell when and whether their popularity will fade. Labour's growing disconnect with English voters is of greater concern. Considering the vast majority of parliamentary seats are within England, Labour would be far better suited investing in those voters. Scotland's politics have become its own, and the time may have already passed for Labour to maintain its power in the country. Labour has some soul searching to do in the aftermath of the 2019 election, but they won't find it in Scotland.

Premises

[P1] Scotland once offered solid support to the Labour party. [P2] The SNP's dominance in recent years and niche message of Scottish independence has been more alluring to formerly Labour voters. [C] Labour must win back seats it has lost to the SNP in order to rely on extra support in Scotland.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The 59 seats are not worth the investment by Labour. [Rejecting P2] The SNP is a wave that will eventually crash. [Rejecting C] The relatively small number of votes the nation offers, the debate over independence and Labour's deeper issues with English voters all make Scotland less of a concern.

References

  1. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/03/strange-death-labour-scotland
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/06/labour-scotland-voters-lost-snp

This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 03:28 UTC

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