What Happened in the 2001 and 2005 General Elections (UK)?

Tony Blair's involvement with the USA's George Bush and the invasion in Iraq proved not to be a popular move.
Tony Blair's involvement with the USA's George Bush and the invasion in Iraq proved not to be a popular move. | Source

The 2001 General Election - Another Labour Victory

In 2001, Tony Blair was once again elected the Prime Minister with almost the same great success that he saw in the 1997 election.

  • Only 21 seats actually changed parties.
  • Both the working class and middle-class continued to vote for New Labour as they did in 1997.
  • The continuation of this trend marked the transformation of the UK electorate
  • Although the public were disappointed with the Blair Government, they felt like Labour was still the best party to vote for
  • The number of people voting for Labour actually dropped, but this is said to be because of the lower turnout of 59.4% that year
  • The Conservatives misread the public's views and focussed on tax cuts and Euroscepticism when the public were worried about the quality of public services
  • As a result the Conservatives saw an even lower amount of votes from middle class voters than they did the previous election.

The 2005 General Election - A Third Win for Labour

  • Labour won with a 35.2% share of the vote and a 66-seat majority, the worst of the three elections it would win in a row but a win nonetheless.
  • Tony Blair was the Prime Minister until 2007 when he stepped down and let Gordon Brown fill his position until 2010.

Changes

  • Labour lost support from all regions and social classes, achieving only 9.6 million votes - the party's lowest since 1983.
  • The Lib Dems won 62 seats in total with 22.1% of the vote (highest since 1987).
  • The Conservatives gained 33 seats

Why Labour Lost Popularity in 2005

Labour's decision to support the invasion of Iraq as well as Blair's policies on tuition fees are infamously known for the downfall of the Labour government.

  • Constituencies with a high proportion of muslim voters (many in London) tended to switch their vote to Lib Dems (who did not support the war) because although Blair gave the go ahead to invade Iraq in search of WMD's (weapons of mass destruction), none were found.
  • The young social groups became heavily anti-Labour as university fees were introduced (David Blunkett taking responsibility), and many students held protests, sit-ins, walk-out and even occupied (through smashing the windows) the headquarters of the Department for Education and Employment in Westminster.

What This Meant for 2010

In 2010 Labour could not continue its streak, losing 91 seats whilst the Conservative party gained 97.

The embarrassment and unprofessionalism of not finding any WMD's after invading a country for the sole reason of finding just that proved the final straw for the Labour Government.

Although people were dissatisfied with the Labour government, just like in 2005, many people would nevertheless refuse to vote for the Conservative party which, with its reputation for sleaze and economic incompetences, was still not trusted by the majority of the public. The Conservatives were as a result short of 19 from winning.

Indeed, because the public was not leaning to any party, the first post-world war II coalition was formed between the Conservatives with 307 seats and Lib Dems with 57.

Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the coalition government?

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What do you think?

Only time will tell which party will next be voted in - was the country satisfied with the coalition government?

Will it be back to Tories as it has been for most of UK political history? Or maybe the public will forgive New Labour for their stern and assertive invasion and questionable educational policies. Let's not forget too, the rise of the third main political party: the Liberal Democrats, who have seen slow advancement in popularity in the recent years.

After all is considered, the decision is down to you, the public. What do you think?

Who do you think will win the next general election?

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