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Why did Labour lose the 2019 UK general election? Show more Show less
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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?

A strong Tory showing Show more Show less

The numbers suggest that it was the Tory strengths, not Labour's failings, that determined the 2019 election result.
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Tories ditched the austerity

The Conservative Party ditched the unpopular policies of days gone by.

Context

Under Boris Johnson, the Conservative party ditched the deeply unpopular austerity program of the Cameron and May years. This meant that they could pick up working-class votes who would never have voted for an austerity program, but wanted a Leave party in power. [1]

The Argument

The Conservatives adeptly recognised that voters no longer care about austerity. They want a big state willing to spend on issues that matter like the NHS and the police, particularly the working class, whose support the Conservative's would need to wrestle control of the North from Labour. For the first time in more than a decade, their messaging steered clear of excoriating Labour for its reckless spending under Blair and Brown and pushing the national credit to the limit. This time, the Conservative messaging was more willing to talk about spending money than saving. Sajid Javid revealed that the government would increase spending by 4.1%, the largest expenditure increase in 15 years. There are also to be no spending cuts. [2] The Conservative’s victory in the 2019 general election stems from their exceptional ability to read the electorate and reinvent themselves as the party of post-austerity.

Counter arguments

Proponents

Premises

[P1] The Conservatives needed to win working-class votes to make up a majority. [P2] The working class would never have voted for an austerity party. [P3] They ditched the austerity messaging. [P4] They won the working-class constituencies they needed for a majority. [P5] Therefore, the abandonment of austerity played a key role in the Conservatives' election victory.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://theweek.com/articles/884063/real-warning-labours-crushing-defeat
  2. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2019/11/age-post-austerity-why-labour-and-tories-have-embraced-big-government

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 at 20:36 UTC

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