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The Tories’ Right Has Much to Celebrate

State of the Union: Britain votes left, but England moves right.
England flag with Big Ben
Credit: Peter Nicholls/Getty Images

Much as I like a good lament, I found TAC contributing editor Peter Hitchens’s ode in UnHerd to a dead conservatism in Britain far too pessimistic. The Tories were indeed hammered by the Labour party—at least superficially—but that only tells a small part of the story. 

Consider that Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman won. The Reform party is the third largest party, according to the popular vote. Nigel Farage is again a force in England. On the other hand, the liberal-Tory establishment center is decimated. Jacob Rees-Mogg is out. Liz Truss is gone. Penny Mordaunt lost. Grant Shapps lost. Theresa May and her fellows are destroyed. It was a night of Cameroonian liberal-Toryism charred to crisps in a bonfire. 


But, Labour won 65 percent of seats but only 34 percent of the vote. 

As Sophy Ridge tweeted, “As it stands, Labour’s vote share is the lowest to have secured a majority. (Let alone a landslide.) To put in context: David Cameron got a higher share of the vote when there was a hung Parliament in 2010.” Britain might have voted left, but it was a protest vote. Britain cannot escape the rightward drift in both Europe and America. 

Suella Braverman, the potential new Tory leader, said in an emotional statement after holding on to her seat, “I’m sorry my party didn't listen to you.” The forces that won on the right are the forces of non-alignment, free trade, foreign aid skepticism, and anti–mass migration instinct. They have not just won on the right; they have taken over the right, with the moderates on the way out. 

This was, counter to all intuition, a good night for the Tory right. The future belongs to them, and the next party leadership election may very well reflect their party's changing mood.