Safe seats have ceased to exist


Safe seats have ceased to exist

Thahmina Begum Thaniya reflects on what the election results tell us about the state of the nation.

As the dust settles and the ballots are counted, I contemplate the prospect of experiencing a Labour government for the first time in my adult years.

Though the Labour Party secured a majority, they did so on shaky foundations, with Starmer assuming office with less than 35% of the vote. This election served as a concerted effort to unseat the Conservative Party and Labour’s share of the vote was diminished partly due to the prevalence of tactical voting. Voters from various political affiliations, including Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, and Reform, collectively contributed to ousting the Tories. Many were aware that their votes would ultimately lead to a Labour government and intentionally supported this outcome. Rather than casting ballots for candidates with little chance of success, progressive voters strategically aligned their votes, with Labour now serving as the biggest party in England, Scotland and Wales. It seems not so much that the Labour Party’s efforts to rebrand or Starmer’s ability to exude as much charisma as an earthworm have suddenly captured the British public, but rather that the Conservatives’ knack for failing upwards has spectacularly lost its magic. Fourteen years of rhetorical promises to stabilise and unite the country, while backing policies that materially accomplish the opposite, has seen its sorry end.

Despite the typical general election fervour being somewhat subdued this year, the desire to reprimand the Tories for years of political misconduct was evident and in a way that jubilant support for Starmer was not. Across the board, Labour’s vote share declined in constituencies with large Muslim populations, after receiving criticism for the party’s lukewarm stance on the dire situation in Gaza. In Leicester South, Jon Ashworth lost his seat to the independent candidate Shockat Adam and in Ilford North Wes Streeting held on by just over 500 votes against independent Leanne Mohamad. Though political pundits should avoid generalisations about the “Muslim Vote”, it is clear that large segments of Labour-loyal Muslim voters in Britain, with recent cultural and policy changes, are no longer seeking reassurance from the party regarding its ability to represent their interests.

The Liberal Democrats have reclaimed their status as a serious force in British politics, unseating several prominent Tory cabinet ministers and re-establishing themselves in their traditional South West strongholds. Emerging as the third-largest party in Westminster, they hold more than half of the Conservative seats. I expect to see Ed Davey’s face making frequent appearances but hopefully without Sweet Caroline belting out of it.

Likewise, the Greens achieved notable and somewhat surprising successes, quadrupling their number of seats in the Commons to four. The party extended its parliamentary presence beyond its usual urban strongholds, securing two predominantly rural constituencies previously held by the Conservatives. Carla Denyer, one of Green’s co-leaders, had her main character moment as she unseated the shadow culture secretary in Bristol Central by more than 10,000 votes.

The UK is craving change. At the constituency level, margins of victory are narrower, rendering the concept of a secure electoral stronghold obsolete. Both the SNP and Tory dominance have dissipated, reflecting heightened electoral instability. Safe seats have ceased to exist.

The main takeaway? Well, the Tories have fallen and CCCU’s Politics and IR department is still standing. Happy days, for now…

Thahmina Begum Thaniya is an Academic Tutor in the School of Law, Policing and Social Sciences

Share this page:

Comment on “Safe seats have ceased to exist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *