Voters across the UK still care about identity and borders

News Letter editorial of Saturday May 8 2021:

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 7:00 am
News Letter editorial

The electoral success of Tories in England and the SNP in Scotland is telling (see page 19).

It seems that in England the Brexit effect is still having an impact.

The Conservatives have become associated strongly with the UK’s departure from the EU and the party is even more eurosceptic than it was some years ago. Now the pro European wing of the Tories, which was always a minority, is very small indeed.

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Much nonsense has been talked about Brexit being an imperial fantasy or an English nationalist project – in fact all four nations of the UK were split in 2016 with large Remain and Leave votes in each. However, it is true that the largest Leave vote was in England and so that has been a particular boon to Tories there, with Wales not far behind.

Yet other issues are also at play. Many working class people have traditional values and do not accept a woke or hyper liberal agenda and this has facilitated a shift to the right (that might be counter balanced by a liberal shift away from the Conservatives in cosmopolitan London).

Early returns from Scotland last night suggested that strong nationalist feeling had helped the SNP to hold its ground in the Scottish parliament or maybe even move closer to an overall majority.

In England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland one thing is clear. Nowhere is moving to a ‘post national’ future where voters are indifferent to identity and borders.

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Alistair Bushe

Editor