Labour’s majority raises hopes and concerns for UK's future

Lord Bhikhu Parekh Wednesday 10th July 2024 07:40 EDT

Results of the Election have been beyond expectation. No one had expected that Labour will return to power with an unprecedented majority and on the ashes of the Conservative Party.

This is welcome but is also fraught with danger. There will be virtually no opposition and that is obviously unhealthy. It is difficult to predict where this would lead, but there can be no doubt that it would have serious consequences. Absence of effective opposition could mean autocracy or internal divisions and quarrels within Labour.

This kind of majority arouses the hope that it will be used to radically restructure our major institutions. That can happen when the Party is driven by a passionately felt ideology. There does not seem to be strong evidence of this. Therefore, the danger of drifting, making small changes here and there, remains, especially as this is also what previous Labour administration have been urging.

Secondly, Farage and his party have a public platform, happily only in the Commons and not in the Lords. This will give them the opportunity to propagate their views and even recruit some members of Parliament.  The fact that Reform UK came second in over 100 constituencies gives them political depth and a measure of self-confidence. The rest of the MPs have the opportunity to expose and discredit the politics of Reform UK. One hopes that the opportunity to do so will not be missed, of which there is a real danger.

Finally, the political consequences of the crushing Conservative defeat could be serious and should not be ignored. Every party will have to rethink its position in the new landscape. The Conservatives are obviously the most important in this regard. It is very important that they should not be allowed to turn further right. That would be dangerous not only for them but even more for the country. They have been in power; they understand the responsibility of power and have a deep commitment to the country.

Labour has a responsibility to see that our political life should not become deeply polarised. Labour should be concerned with the long term interests of the country as a whole and avoid quick short term gains, however tempting they might be.

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