General Election 2024: This is a new Government on probation

Professor John Bryson reflects on surprises from election that sees Labour take majority with lowest share of vote from any single majority Government

Sir Kier Starmer smiling and holding a microphone during a campaign event in the West Midlands

Image credit: Kier Starmer, General Election campaigning, West Midlands, United Kingdom - 03 July 2024, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Professor John Bryson provides expert comment following the results of the General Election 2024:

That was a surprise election outcome. We had all assumed that the Labour Party would win this election, but the reality is vastly different. Labour’s share of the vote only increased by +2% and our new government will have the lowest share of the vote of any single majority government. In addition, the collapse in the SNP share of the Scottish vote is part of the process that has led to this shift in government.

Our new government needs to be very humble and to reflect on why the Labour Party has failed to win the hearts and minds of the British people. This is a new government that has failed to convince the majority of the British people that they have an effective and inclusive manifesto for change. In fact, one could argue that the Labour manifesto seems to have been anything but inclusive given this election outcome.

This is a new government that is really on probation for the next five years. Over the next five years, the Labour Party needs to prove that it can enable sustainable economic growth.

It has the benefits of a strong economic foundation to build upon as the UK economy is growing, inflation is down, and the Back of England will soon begin to cut interest rates. There is no spiral of economic decline and the UK economy is not broken. The key question is what the UK economy will be like in 2029?

The answer to this question is an unknown.

Labour have promised economic stability that is coupled with sustainable economic growth. However, no government can keep such a promise as economic stability is dependent on many factors that are outside the control of any one government. In fact, the UK government has very limited power to influence growth. However, there is a paradox here in that a government can do many things that can limit or deter growth.

It will be interesting to see how this government balances the tensions between the interests of jobs takers and those of job-makers or wealth creators. Only time will tell.

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