Where do you begin in reflecting on last night’s extraordinary result in the General Election? The exit poll suggested a landslide victory that slowly materialised throughout the night.
Boris Johnson is no longer Mayor of London, he’s now Mayor of the UK. No longer an internally elected leader. There’ll be no more talk of lying down in front of bulldozers, he’s now got the keys to the bulldozer factory.
The strap-line ‘Get Brexit Done’ has proved as effective as ‘Take Back Control.’ The election strategy of staying on message and avoiding scrutiny from competency assassins like Andrew Neil, worked.
I was speaking to CEO of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Paul Faulkner last night at a Christmas celebration and he told me their policy unit have produced two press releases; one in the event of Boris achieving a working majority, the other focusing on the implications of a hung parliament. I suspect both were shredded come 10pm.
The biggest shock for me was West Bromwich East turning blue. I grew up in this constituency and its always been Labour. If I placed a bet on the easier outcome, Tom Watson losing 8 stone or Labour losing West Bromwich East, I’d have said 8 stone will be a walk in the park compared to a Tory win in this Black Country seat.
What are the implications for the West Midlands? A key one has to be the Metro Mayor Elections in May 2020. It is imperative Andy Street is returned for a second term. The opportunity of having Mayor Andy represent our region with the support of a powerful Conservative Government is impossible to calculate. Choose gold taps not cold showers.
A Labour Metro Mayor would be a futile exercise in sour grapes. I wrote three years ago, the Metro Mayor for the Midlands has to be the same political hue as Central Government; our region has benefitted from joined up thinking over the past three years of Andy Street’s first term. You only need to take a stroll through Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and the Black Country to witness the level of investment we’re seeing in this part of the UK.
Labour must learn from their devastating result; the new working class are the self employed freelancers, the home owning workers who operate in manufacturing plants and the construction workers who build glass and steel towers they see their children one day, find high paid employment in.
The dream of nationalising the Railways and the Utilities is dead, the hope of remaining in the EU is over and the vision of a Socialist utopia where Billionaires are hung, overdrawn and quartered is no more. If the country spoke in 2016, it roared last night and it demands radical change.
The Conservatives unshackled from coalition and unleashed from being in minority will be determined to carve their ideology into the granite of this country over the next five years.
Bruce Springsteen in the song Atlantic City warned ‘Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line.’ Five years of untempered Conservative rule will see no end of inspiration for Banksy murals about homelessness, nor will the opportunities to donate to food banks be taken from you.
Boris Johnson is our Prime Minister, the Conservatives are our Government. Strap yourselves in, this is going to be quite a journey.
Author: Jas Sansi