LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservatives won a resounding victory in the British general election, with nearly complete results on Friday showing that the party had secured an overall majority in Parliament.
The vote was a stunning disappointment for the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Ed Miliband, who had shifted the party away from the more centrist strategy it pursued in the late 1990s and early 2000s under Tony Blair. Mr. Miliband stepped down on Friday, opening up a new debate over the party’s direction.
The result defied pre-election opinion polls that suggested a tight race between the Conservatives and Labour. It returns Mr. Cameron to 10 Downing Street for a second term, with enough seats in the House of Commons to act on his agenda without having to rely on support from smaller parties.
He went to Buckingham Palace on Friday to be invited by the queen to form a new government.
Labour was nearly wiped out in Scotland by the surging Scottish National Party and did more poorly than pre-election opinion polls had suggested it would in the rest of Britain. Several of Mr. Miliband’s top lieutenants lost their seats.The predicted final tally is 331 seats for the Tories out of 650, a stunning gain of 24 seats from the last election in 2010; stunning because the Conservatives have governed so diffidently, implementing unpopular neoliberal austerity that is au courant on the German-dominated Continent.
The "dead-on-arrival" Liberal Democrats were replaced as Britain's third party by the surging Scottish National Party (SNP). SNP ended up with 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland.
But nothing is more noteworthy than the complete collapse of Labour under Ed Miliband. Labour is predicted to end up with 232 seats, a loss of 26 seats from 2010. What makes this collapse so noteworthy is that it clearly augurs ill for the Democrats going into the 2016 presidential elections.
Labour and the Democrats are largely the same, led to the weakened, listing place they are today by the corporate-friendly leadership of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.
Miliband made all the right noises during the campaign. He attacked austerity, promised to raise wages and restore funding to National Health, much the same way that Hillary is mouthing the appropriate progressive words on income inequality and racial justice. But here is the thing: No one, only the most deeply-committed partisan, believes anything that Labour/Democrats say anymore. Everyone knows that once Labour/Dems take office and begin to govern the "people" they answer to are the corporations.
Is there any other way to interpret the election results in Britain?
Democrat bosses in New York City and Washington D.C. should take note and quickly implement a Plan B. SNP kicked ass because the party has no baggage and it stands for something that people want: independence from empire, broad equality and social spending.
Democrats should take a page from the GOP playbook post-2008 and do a "Tea Party makeover," except in this case the Dems need to swing sharply to the left. It is the only way to avoid disaster. Instead the Democrats are doubling down on the New Democrat corporate-friendly leadership of Hillary Clinton, a strategy that has placed the party at the edge of doom.
I bang my little toy drum on this page. The Democrats should beat a retreat from Clinton right now to avoid disaster -- unified government under a radically conservative Republican Party. That no change will be made, no Plan B implemented to avoid this onrushing calamity is amazing to me. Yet it is a sign of the times.
Look for Hippies vs. Punks tomorrow morning -- Black Flag's My War.