Keep this in mind about the UK result. The Conservatives won less than 44% of the vote. Polling has consistently shown that if there were another referendum on Brexit, a majority would vote for Remain. But the Conservatives won 56% of the seats, so Johnson is banging on about his great “mandate” to “get Brexit done”.
You see, electoral systems matter.
Even if you add in the Brexit Party votes (which got no seats), the combined votes cast for parties still advocating outright for leaving the EU do not reach a majority. In fact, it barely breaks 45%.
Meanwhile, the SNP has won 81% of the Scottish seats, with 45% of the votes cast in Scotland. And their leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is going on and on about the mandate for Scotland to decide on independence. It’s a fishy claim.
Which party gained the most in votes, relative to the last general election? That would be the Liberal Democrats. But the party suffered a net loss of one seat (and its leader was defeated).
The first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system makes a country seem more divided than it is, and often leads to policy outcomes a majority of voters actually oppose.
FPTP certainly is not very representative. But it can produce a decisive government, and Boris Johnson now looks like he could take his place among the significant Prime Ministers in the country’s recent history.
At least this result means my old lectures about British majoritarianism do not to be heavily caveated as they’ve been for the past several years.