Analysis – UK elections amplifies the City versus Town / Metropolis vs Periphery divide

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds (R) leave the Conservative party headquarters in London, Britain, 13 December 2019. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

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There is a striking similarity between the seismic shift in British politics that enthroned Boris Johnson last week and the Yellow Jacket rebellion that tried to depose President Emmanuel Macron in France last winter.

John Lichfield, a former foreign editor of the Independent and was the newspaper’s Paris correspondent for 20 years writes in POLITICO that much commentary in Britain has focused on a North-South divide — the capture of dozens of once solidly Labour seats in the industrial North and Midlands by Johnson’s promises to “get Brexit done” and “unleash Britain’s potential.”

It adds that if you study the new electoral map of the U.K., you will see that this characterization is misleading. The great new divide is not really “North versus South.” It’s “City versus Town” or “Metropolis versus Periphery.”

In the great northern and Midlands cities — Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham — the Labour vote in 2019, like the anti-Brexit vote in 2016, held up pretty well. It’s in large or small industrial towns that constituencies fell to Johnson’s Tories in their droves.

Johnson’s Conservative Party secured 364 of 650 parliamentary seats in a vote that drew comparisons, in terms of its gravity, to Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979. In the end, the result drew an additional dotted line to the Iron Lady. It marked the Conservative Party’s best result since Thatcher’s third election win in 1987, USA Today reports.

Thatcher, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s political soulmate, launched Britain on a path toward economic reform and aggressive privatization of its major industries from which it has never looked back – or recovered, depending on your politics.

 

Via POLITICO / USA Today 

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