Labour Party Recaptures the Government after 18 Years
Haque, Mohammad Zahirul, Economic Review
Labour Party, under the aegis of its new leader Tony Blair, has been voted to power in England with an absolute majority, by capturing 419 seats out of 659, and thus ousted conservative party that was occupying the government for the last eighteen years at a stretch. The world political scenario, in the meantime, has undergone a considerable change. When Margaret Thatcher, the leader of the conservative party gripped the power for the first time in 1979, by defeating Labour Party leader James Calleghan, Great Britain was usually called 'the sick man of Europe'.
By the close of polling on May 1, the new Labour Party of Blair went on wiping out the Conservatives, ultimately resulting into resounding defeat. Everywhere from Scotland to Wales, most of the major towns and villages voted the young Blair and his party to power.
Why Tony Blair became so popular overnight. There is a twofold answer to it. The first is the reorganization of the Party for which young Blair worked day in and day out. While the second thing is the changes brought about in its manifesto, which brought it very near to that of the Conservatives. Some of the results, particularly those of London, made even the friends of the Labour Party dumb-founded, when they noted that the party had won, beyond their expectation, more than 63.5% of seats, when there is a record that even in the worst circumstances, Conservatives did not go that low. This was decidedly the most impressive triumph of the Labour Party since the ouster of Churchill immediately after World War-II, when the Conservatives faced the most ignonymous defeat by scoring the lowest number of seats (31% or 165 seats) since Duke of Wellington was trounced by the Whigs in 1832. This time again Tories could get no seats in Scotland, and Wales. They even lost Finchby seat in the north London which was maintained by Thatcher for the last 32 years.
Tony Blair who is now about 44 is one of the youngest Prime Ministers of England. He is Oxford educated barrister. His wife, Cherie is also a practising law graduate. They have three children. When they reached 10, Downing Street, their supporters and fans were in such a rupturous mood that Cherie feared that she would be shredded by their ecstasy. Tony believes in work with untiring zeal and he likes to step into the shoes of J.F. Kennedy. According to the biographer of late labour leader 'Harold Wilson, Blair can become very popular, if he comes closer to the public in a guarded way. The face of this gentleman's club, called the "House of Commons" will be drastically changed into a feminine look with a cosmetic gesture with 120 women members, who will require more cloakrooms for themselves. Tony has been a member of the Parliament for the last 14 years. In this long period he has collected a lot of experiences.
John Major's popularity began to decline since 1995 when a minister was removed from his cabinet for his extra-marital affairs. He was replaced by an elderly MP John Horam, because he preferred experienced old gentlemen to "young Turks", and prefers to follow 'peace at all costs'. But his selection appeared like a fateful error, because Horam was a man of "low key affability". In 1970 he served as a Junior Minister in the Thatcher's first cabinet, and had been a zealous pro-European. In 1980, he slided over to Social Democratic Party, and became soon a pro-European Tory and lastly on April 16, he was the first to break Major's golden rule that all ministers ought to 'first negotiate, then decide' on any policy particularly on British entry into a European Unity for a single currency. Major personally opposed the entry, though he supported government policy.
This was the issue on which Major had a difference with the Tories. On this issue, the members of the government "were going to issue a manifesto that reflected the national manifesto of the Conservative Party. So far as Horam and Paice, a friend of Major, are concerned, they did not support Major. …