The British political system is in a state of flux. In the last decade, we have seen a rise in anti-European sentiment, leading ultimately to the country voting to leave the European Union. There has also been a resurgence in more radical ideas on both sides of the fence with the resurgence of the far right as well as a strong socialist movement headed by Jeremy Corbyn.
At the present moment, it is clear that British politics is shifting but what isn’t clear is what the political landscape is going to look like in the future. Unprecedented factors like social media and the election of Trump in the US are certainly going to have a knock on effect but it’s difficult to know what the impact will be. In order to make any assumptions about the future of the political landscape in Britain, we must consider the major shifts that have occurred in recent years.
The Rise Of Anti-Government
Faith in the government appears to be incredibly low at the moment. The Conservative Party have come under fire for their austerity policies with critics claiming that they’re damaging to the economy and they ignore basic human rights in some cases. It is on the back of this criticism that figures like Jeremy Corbyn, promising an overhaul of the political system, have managed to gain ground.
Anti establishment sentiment also did something to fuel the rise of figures on the right like Nigel Farage, ultimately leading to the Brexit vote and a backlash against government intervention of all kinds. Social media has a big part to play in this because the power over political debate has been taken away from established media outlets and put back in the hands of the people. This has given rise to a lot of political reform organizations that advocate a complete overhaul of how the political system works. It’s clear that a lot of people, regardless of their political leanings, are unhappy with the current systems of power in Britain and there is likely to be some change in the future. What is not clear, however, is what form that change will take and whether we will see more government intervention as the left advocate for, or whether we will go in the opposite direction and see a reduction in the power of government.
The Brexit Question
The result of the Brexit vote was so close, splitting the country down the middle. At present, the details are still being argued and we don’t know what our relationship with Europe will be in the future. There is some evidence to suggest that people are changing their minds on Brexit as 41 percent of small business owners think it will negatively impact their companies. We cannot yet speculate on what the impact of Brexit will be, but the success or failure of our leaving the EU will certainly shape opinions of the Conservative Party in the near future.
When Scotland voted to remain a part of the UK, it seemed that the question was settled for a while at least. However, once Britain leaves the EU, the debate may be reopened. If Scotland isn’t happy with the deal that we get, Nicola Sturgeon has already said that she will call for another referendum to decide what their future will look like.
There is no telling what the future of British politics will look like in a decade, but these factors are sure to have a big part to play in shaping the new landscape.