Boris blasts off

Boris Johnson has won a smashing victory in the British parliamentary elections. As of this morning, the Tories have secured some 364 seats and, based on that number, a parliamentary majority of 78. The Tories picked up 47 seats in the election.

The vile Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour Party to an ignominious defeat. Labour has come away with 203 seats. Two hundred three seats is 203 too many for a party led by a Commie anti-Semite, but it represents a bitter loss. Indeed, Labour’s loss exceeded the Tories’ gain; Labour lost 59 seats. Corbyn will be stepping aside as Labour leader some time before the next election. His exit from the scene cannot come soon enough.

The Scottish National Party has won 48 seats, up by 13. The SNP is a separatist party. Having lost one referendum on the question of separation, it apparently seeks another. The SNP is a headache in the offing for Johnson. Were Scotland to depart, however, the Tory majority would look even more formidable, wouldn’t it?

I draw the numbers above from Eleni Courea’s Politico story “Boris Johnson hails election triumph.” It includes a few interactive graphics that bring up the numbers. See also the numbers compiled here by the BBC.

The election has already produced a ruling cliche to describe the results: Labour’s “red wall” crumbled. (In the UK, the colors are reversed: blue represents the Tories, red Labour.) Among the many seats in its “red wall” that has now crumbled, for example, is Tony Blair’s Sedgefield constituency. The Tories picked up a shocking number of seats that historically belonged to Labour in the industrial and rural north. It overstates the results to observe that Labour is contracting to a metropolitan party, but the tendency seems to be implicit in the outcome.

From a distance, at least, Boris proved himself an ebullient and optimistic campaigner, and not just by contrast with the dour and deceitful Corbyn. Boris staked the election campaign on the theme of getting Brexit done. His performance made me think of Steve Hayward’s observation in Churchill on Leadership: “[F]rom time to time, and especially in a crisis, the genuine leader must simply exert his personal force and summon up his willfulness.” Boris seems to me to have met the moment with some part of this quality in leading his party to its remarkable victory yesterday.

UPDATE: Rooting for Brexit, I followed the campaign via Jonathan Isaby’s BrexitCentral email newsletter. Isaby itemizes a few of the notable results in his newsletter this morning:

[T]he first sign that the Tories were certainly going to have a good night came when Blyth Valley in Northumberland elected Conservative candidate Ian Levy on a 10% swing from Labour, the first Tory to win there since the seat’s creation in 1950. In his acceptance speech, the mild-mannered victor simply but memorably declared: “On Monday, I’m getting the train to London and we’re going to get Brexit done” – watch here.

It was the first of what is now an extraordinary list of Tory gains in the North and Midlands and the common thread amongst virtually all of them is that they voted Leave at the 2016 EU referendum: places like Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Blackpool South, Bolton North East, Burnley, Bury North and South, Darlington (seat of shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman), Don Valley, Durham North West (seat of Corbyn ally Laura Pidcock), Great Grimsby, Heywood and Middleton, Leigh, Redcar, Rother Valley, Scunthorpe, Tony Blair’s old seat of Sedgefield, Stoke-on-Trent Central, Stoke-on-Trent North and Wakefield.

In the Black Country, the Tories gained an impressive clutch of Brexit-backing seats – Dudley North, West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, Wolverhampton North East and Wolverhampton South West – as well as another array of seats in North Wales, namely Clwyd South, Delyn, Vale of Clwyd, Wrexham and Ynys Mon.

Among the most notable Tory gains was that of Bolsover, the very seat which gave them the magic 326th seat to confirm their overall majority, where the 49-year Commons career of the man who would have become Father of the House, Dennis Skinner, was brought to an abrupt end.

Check out the BrexitCentral site here.

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