Absolute majority for the Tories

According to early results the Conservatives won a surprising absolute majority in the UK general election on Thursday. Meanwhile the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the current government, suffered major losses. Labour didn't stand a chance with its left-wing agenda, some commentators argue. Others complain that the country has lost its position in the world regardless of who is in government.

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The Times (GB) /

Labour never stood a chance with left-wing agenda

In a conservative country like Britain the defeat of the Labour Party with its decidedly left-wing demands in this election comes as no surprise, writes the conservative daily The Times: "You cannot win an election in Britain, even in a fractured landscape, as the beneficiaries of a defunct electoral system on an avowedly left-wing prospectus. ... There is no genuine appetite in this country for rent controls and price commands. If you scare business you frighten the people who work for businesses. If you make it plain that you relish high taxation, do not be surprised if people look elsewhere. Tony Blair used to win big majorities. He always maintained that this is, in its heart, a conservative country. You cannot pretend this law has been repealed. It hasn't."

Expressen (SE) /

Lib Dems punished for being in government

The Liberal Democrats' election debacle highlights a worrying trend, the liberal tabloid Expressen writes: "Clearly those who assume responsibility aren't rewarded by the voters. The Liberal Democrats gave national interests priority over tactical considerations when they agreed to form a government with the Conservatives after the 2010 election. … The voters have delivered a harsh verdict on this. … Similar tendencies can be observed in other European countries, too. If a small party wants to gain support among voters it's better off heckling the government from the opposition. This risks a trend in which the small parties gain more and more votes but are not very motivated to take over the responsibility of government. And that's worrying in view of a situation which requires strong governments capable of pushing through unpopular decisions."

La Stampa (IT) /

Britain's global influence waning

Even if it has emerged as election winner the Conservative Party has made it clear that Britain has forfeited its role on the world stage, the liberal daily La Stampa believes: "The election campaign has revealed a United Kingdom which has surprisingly distanced itself from two of its major strengths: its international mission and its stable form of government, which guaranteed a clear allocation of roles between the government and the opposition. While the latter - the country's political instability - reflects a trend that unfortunately too many European parliamentary democracies share with Britain, the former - the loss of its international vocation - threatens to leave Europe too weak and to turn the West into a toothless tiger. Without its British mainstay, America will be increasingly tempted to turn its eyes from Europe to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region."