The Conservative Party won an absolute majority in Parliament in Great Britain’s elections Thursday, ensuring not only that Prime Minister David Cameron will still reside at 10 Downing Street but that the party can govern alone after five years in a coalition. The results confounded British pollsters, who had predicted a tight race and perhaps even a loss for Conservatives, also called Tories. (Completely wrong polls sound quite familiar.) But National Review’s Andrew Stuttaford has a theory: “Where did the pollsters go wrong? Probably by underestimating the amount of ‘shy Tories’ that there are. Brits should pause to think of what it says about the country’s intellectual climate that so many voters on one side of the aisle are unwilling to disclose their voting preferences.” That, too, sounds sadly familiar.
Cameron ran on a referendum of the Tories’ record of turning around the nation’s economy. He defeated Ed Milliband, whose leftist Labour Party promised a return to a more robust, government-led agenda that would increase spending on entitlements. Labour’s loss was largely attributable to Scotland, where the Scottish National Party took 56 of 59 seats in a typical Labour stronghold. That could mean a new push for Scottish independence, though Cameron could perhaps head that off with a British version of American federalism, shifting more power to the four home nations of the United Kingdom.
Next up: a referendum by 2017 on British membership in the European Union.