We have been flat chat here getting ready to pack up and decamp. On top of that, I have been up to my armpits in an editing job (a book of ~610 pages), but in among all this hard, sometimes tedious work was one bright spot. In the UK general election, the Conservative Party was trounced, suffering their worst defeat ever. Losing their seats were people such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose loss made my day. If there was ever a more pompous, vacant twat, I have yet to see one. Former short-term Prime Minister Liz Truss, lost her South West Norfolk constituency to Labour by 630 votes, having previously held a huge 24,180 majority. Conservative House of Commons leader and prospective leader of the party Penny Mordaunt also lost her seat, as did Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan lost to the Liberal Democrats in Chichester, a West Sussex seat the Tories have held for a century. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer lost Ely and East Cambridgeshire, also to the Liberal Democrats. Chief Whip Simon Hart – the obviously useless person in charge of party discipline – lost to Plaid Cymru in Caerfyrddin, as the Tories lost all their seats in Wales. In addition, former deputy prime minister Thérèse Coffey, former business secretary Simon Clarke, and the former justice secretary Robert Buckland all lost their seats1.

Buckland, when it became clear he had lost, said his party faced “electoral Armageddon” and said too many Conservatives had focused on “personal agendas and jockeying for position” instead of “concentrating on doing the job that they were elected to do”. He continued: “I’ve watched colleagues strike poses, write inflammatory op-eds, and say stupid things they have no evidence for [read lies], instead of concentrating on doing the job that they were elected to do”2. Sound familiar, Australia?

It is good that recriminations have started, but who to point the finger at? After all, it was the Conservative Party who elected the vastly incapable Liz Truss and the pathological liar and party boy Boris Johnson as leader, and organised the UK’s leaving of the European Union (EU). The last of these has done enormous economic damage to the UK, seemingly largely in the service of xenophobia. Why did the referendum to leave the EU succeed? People apparently voted to leave because Membership of the EU ‘wasn’t delivering for them’. They thought it should deliver a prosperous economy, protection against crime and terrorism, control over immigration and efficient public services (what was the UK government for?). If they did not feel that membership helped to deliver these things, they opposed membership. Many of the latter felt ‘left behind’ by changes in society (in part, read Xenophobia) and the economy3.

Other perceived reasons included: the UK’s inability to effectively recover from the 2008 recession; the increase in the numbers of refugees because of unrest and wars in North Africa and the Middle East (read Xenophobia), the fact that the EU opted for austerity as a policy actually delayed recovery from the 2008 crisis. Another factor was the ‘Leave’ campaign’s dual nature3, with Johnson leading the official campaign appealing to Conservatives, while the appalling Farage appealed to the xenophobes and neofascists.

As Polly Toynbee said in the Guardian “Out with the scoundrels … At the stroke of 10, the country knew it had liberated itself from the most contemptible government in living memory. The wreckers, destroyers, bullies, incompetents, cronies and crass self-servers are gone4. One cannot but agree.

What UK’s Labour government needs to do is what a government is supposed to do; serve the people, not themselves. Australian governments should take heed.


  1. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/jul/05/penny-mordaunt-grant-shapps-lose-seats-tories-face-electoral-armageddon
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cv2gezr05xko
  3. https://www.essex.ac.uk/research/showcase/why-britain-really-voted-to-leave-the-european-union
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/jul/05/general-election-tories-politics-labour?CMP=share_btn_url


  • JON says:

    Plenty of reasons why the Tories were finally given the royal order of the boot in what is still a democratic anachronism (more on that later). Almost a mirror image of the Morrison “government” in this country, albeit without the religious fanaticism and righteousness of the Morrison cabal, and minus the complicity of the equally incompetent and obseqious public service here (which has still to be held fully to account despite the findings of the Robodebt RC).

    This brief list of UK afflictions will be very familiar to anyone with an interest in contemporary Australian politics:
    – Huge egos, invariably accompanied by commensurately disproportionate competence.
    – Lack of interest in, and concern for, the country’s needs. Jack Lang’s famous observation that you should always back self-interest because at least you know it’s trying has rarely been as stark as it was under Johnson and ’50-day-Liz’ in particular.
    – Barefaced lying (a regular occurrence at No 10 under Johnson), sleaze (the continuously expanding Tory sleaze file suggested they were either too arrogant/stupid to care or those implicated were intent to outdoing previous malfeasants).
    – Dog whistling (to wit, Patel & Braverman. Rather ironic that).
    – Corruption and cronyism. Little wonder that Dorries threw a tantrum when she didn’t get the peerage she’d slavishly worked for. Seems Johnson had some limits.
    – Brexit economic realities. The pre-vote distortions about EU costs and sovereignty, and lies about future post-Brexit economic miracles by Johnson and Farage were always going to be exposed with time.
    – Failure to deliver on infrastructure and “levelling-up” promises. Massive black holes left by Brexit (billions of pounds under previous EU arrangements vanished almost overnight) were not offset by Tory budget allocations and even the funds that were made available were subject to the same corrupt pork-barreling we saw here. Many of the poorest UK towns received nothing at all.

  • JON says:

    As most know, the UK’s version of electoral democracy is essentially a basket case and, as this and previous elections have shown starkly, is unrepresentative from a proportional perspective. First past the post (fptp) election, optional voting and an unelected upper house are anachronisms which don’t belong in the 21st century.

    In 2024 fptp – along with effective targeting – has delivered Labour a huge majority – 412 of 650 seats – or 63% from just 34% of the total vote. Lib-Dems won 71 seats (11%) with a 12.2% share of the total vote. On the other hand Reform (primarily disaffected conservative voters, sundry racists etc) won just 5 seats but had 14.3% of the total vote. Karma. In 2019 Bozo Johnson got 56% of the seats with just 43% of the vote, SNP got 7.3% of seats with 3.8% of the total.

    As far as optional voting goes, surely anyone who values democracy in the UK would be concerned about the plunging participation rate, which hovered around the 75% rate for 80 years but has plummeted since 1997. In 2024 only around 60% of eligible voters turned out.

    The UK hasn’t yet plumbed the depths of the USA – with it’s barely functional House, clearly partial Supreme Court and far too-powerful President – but unless Starmer can turn the wealth/income inequality and the economic and labour malaise around then they won’t be far behind. That’s good news to the world’s fascist leaders in Russia, Asia, and the middle east and very bad news for this country.

    • admin says:

      Yep, again. If Starmer cannot do much, then the UK is rooted, and it will end up being a failed state just like the US seems to be. One of the interesting things I did notice on the assorted videos I saw of reactions to the Conservative rout was the call for proportional representation from quite a few people. However, now that the Labour Party have such a huge majority, they will be unconcerned. Another interesting thing was that although the Tories list ~240 seats, Labour only picked up ~209, so there is a drift to minor parties (Lib-Dems, Reform, Greens etc) and independents, just as in Australia. With regard to the US, I have read a nit on the Project 2025, which is the largely religious conservative who are drumming up support for Trump and have plans to emasculate (if any more can be done) the civil service, by abolishing NOAA, DOJ, Department of Education, and making all senior civil servants political appointees. Disturbing stuff.

  • Doderamus says:

    What I want to know is how the appalling Farage was elected to parliament. Is this a case of the electorate not really exposing him ‘with time’?

    • admin says:

      I think it is a combination of things. Many people are easily frightened by the perceived threat posed by brown people/immigrants/asylum seekers, and that is what Farage trades on. And given that he wants to preserve the status quo where the wealthy run the show, the corporate media (Murdoch and others like him), being owned by the wealthy, run dead on Farage’s lies and other bullshit. There was an interesting article by George Monbiot published a few days ago, stating that if the Starmer government doesn’t do what is required to make their nation better for the people to whom Farage appeals, then they are simply paving the way for the far right to obtain power. The same applies to Australia and the Albanese government.

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