This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus
I’m not an expert on British politics obviously, but I do follow their politics and government similar to how British political junkies follow American politics. And what the British Labour Party went through from 1997 after they just lost the U.K. Government and were back in the opposition for the first time since 1979 and really didn’t start recovering until 2008 or 2009 when David Cameron became their leader in opposition, looks very similar to me how the American Republican Party looked in 1961. After they just lost the White House and were now not only the opposition party in America, but the minority party in both chambers of Congress with small minorities at that.
It took the Republican Party in the 1960s really 6-8 years before they started recovering from the 1960 presidential loss with Richard Nixon. They didn’t have that one voice that could unite the whole party together. The Conservatives with the Northeastern Progressives and their growing religious conservative base in the South. The British Conservatives in the late 1990s and 2000s were much worst off actually than the 1960s Republicans. The American and British systems of government are obviously very different. Where in America you can still be in power even without the White House. By controlling either the Senate or House in Congress and having a say in the national agenda.
In Britain winner takes all. The majority party in the House of Commons in Parliament decides who the Prime Minister is and can form the U.K. Government. And because the Conservatives lost in 2001 and 2005 and the fact that Britain doesn’t have what America has in mid-term elections, they were out of power the whole time from 1997 until May of 2010. Thirteen-years and were stuck in the minority in Parliament and as the opposition party as well. And they pre-David Cameron never had that one leader that could bring the whole party together and convince their country that the Conservatives should be back in charge in London and back in government.
The Conservatives were in charge in Britain for eighteen-years from 1979-97. That is a long time to have all the power in one country, especially a country of sixty-million or so. And always having to be responsible for governing the country and having to deal with all the bad and good on your own. And I think they just burned out and the British people wanted a different voice and a different vision in how to lead their country. Which is what Tony Blair represented as New Labour as someone who would use government to try to empower people. And not try to run everything in the country through government. And Tony Blair was able to lead Britain for ten-years with that message.