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British Politics - The Year Ahead

Some thoughts



The past few years in British politics has been something of a spectacle. From the chaos caused by Brexit and Covid to party leaders (and Prime Ministers) who have defined the norm – it seems as though 2023 is the year we’ll finally get back to normal, boring, unwacky politics. But what are the challenges that lie ahead?



Conservative Party

The Conservatives definitely have an uphill battle on their hands, to show people they can be trusted, that they do care about local issues and what matters to people rather than makes a snappy soundbite. I do think this will be helped by the fact Rishi Sunak is leader (and Prime Minister) – unlike the previous two-party leaders, Sunak embodies sensibility and caution and not trying to do something so spectacular that he’ll be remembered in the history books as the Prime Minister who was encompassed by a vanity project.

Image source: Day, J. (2022) 'The UK constitution and its decline: Is there any hope for the future of British Politics?', The Daily Express, 14 Nov. Available at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1695004/uk-constitution-boris-johnson-liz-truss-rishi-sunak-westminster-spt (Accessed Date: 12 Jan 2023).



One of the main problems facing the Conservative Party over the next year - as they prepare for the next General Election – will be showing aspiration younger people, that the party is listening, and are taking seriously the requests of what splinter groups within the party are asking for them to do. Otherwise, the Conservatives are looking at being locked out of governing the country, on their own, for at least two generations.


Labour Party

Unfortunately for the Labour Party, their struggle will continue to be the pulling a part of the party between the London metropolitan elite and traditional Labour Party voters. The party needs to work to win back traditional Labour Party voters who voted for the Conservatives at the 2019 General Election. One advantage though, is Jeremy Corbyn is no longer party leader.



Image source: N.A,(2020) 'Sir Keir Starmer promises to shift power from Westminster.' The BBC, 21 Dec. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-55384938 (Accessed Date: 13 Jan 2023).


2023 will also be a big year for Sir Keir Starmer, trying to prove himself as a worthy contender to be Prime Minister – getting himself positioned nicely for a General Election at some point in the next two years. The local elections taking place this year, will be a great indication of where the country will be heading at the next election.


Liberal Democrats

I’m including the Liberal Democrats in this because they do really have a strong chance of demonstrating they’re back to being a serious party. I personally think with the party going back to their actual roots – a focus strong on civil liberties and crucially accepting the Brexit vote - they could get over the ‘blip’ they had when Jo Swinson was leader.


If the Liberal Democrats can overcome their NIMBYISM and realise they could re-capture their once strong-core-coalition voter base (young people and middle England), a coalition could be on the cards again.


Issues

Unless we get hit with another global health crisis, the main challenges of this year will be the ongoing migrant crisis, getting the economy under control and the government re-building good relationships with trade unions. If November 1978 to February 1979 was known as ‘The Winter of Discontent’ then goodness knows how the recent disruption will be remembered in the history books.

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