Time for Triumphant Tories to Restore Britain’s Global Power
The British Conservative Party’s victory in yesterday’s British elections should give hope to U.S. Republicans who remember how Margaret Thatcher’s decisive victory in 1979 preceded Ronald Reagan’s sweep of the U.S. election in 1980. That Prime Minister David Cameron’s party managed to actually pick up seats in Parliament — despite being the incumbent party running on a program of economic austerity — makes the victory even more significant. The Tories have shown how to win an election under difficult circumstances, by projecting a degree of economic competence and leadership that was lacking in their opponents. Now they must return Britain to its historic leadership role in the world.
Clearly British voters were unconvinced by the Labor Party’s determination to rewind the clock to 1970s-style economic nationalism, with vitriolic attacks on British business and the reform program that recently has made the UK the fastest-growing big economy in Europe. On the campaign trail, Labour leader Ed Miliband sounded more like an enraptured college student who had just read Marx for the first time than like the prime minister of a country that hosts the world’s financial capital. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who lost his parliamentary seat yesterday, could not name a single British business leader who supported the Labour party’s economic platform.
However, beyond failing the credibility test for 10 Downing Street, history must also remember Miliband – along with his campaign manager, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander — for their pivotal role in defeating Prime Minister Cameron’s motion for the House of Commons to support airstrikes against Syria in 2013 after Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. That shock vote upended a nascent U.S.-British-French coalition that was preparing to launch military action against Assad forces within days. As one French official put it, “Our fighter jets were on the runway.”