Watch Nidhi Razdan — UK Election Results decoded Video Credit: Gulf News

The UK has a new government with Labour winning by a landslide in the general elections giving the Conservatives a bloody nose. It brings 14 years of Tory rule to an end in what is the worst ever defeat the party has faced.

There are many issues to unravel in how these elections have played out. The very future of the Conservative Party for one, and the course that it will now take.

The good performance of the ultra right wing UK Reform party led by Nigel Farage, at the expense of the Tories, will be another long term worry. In many seats, Reform pushed the Tories into third place.

For Labour, this victory is a stunning comeback after years in the opposition. Only 5 years ago, Labour had its worst performance since before World War II.

Keir Starmer, once considered too “dull and boring” and “uncharismatic” to be prime minister, deserves full credit for turning Labour around, by moving it away from the far left ideology of Jeremy Corbyn, to a much more centrist party today.

From his low key days as a human rights lawyer to his rise in politics, Starmer’s story has been incredible. He entered Parliament less than 10 years ago, in 2015. But there is no time for him to revel in this win.

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Britain in a mess

The new Prime Minister has to hit the ground running. Britain is in a mess. The country has been in a state of decay since the UK left the European Union after Brexit in 2020. The erratic rule of the Conservatives saw as many as four prime ministers change in the last 5 years.

Boris Johnson’s term was riddled by controversy and scandal over Covid lockdown parties. Liz Truss was an unmitigated disaster. And Rishi Sunak was not able to bring the country out of its misery.

Britain is a shadow of what it once was. An economy that has seen people struggle with a cost of living crisis so acute that many folks were rationing the time they could use their heating in the winter.

The healthcare system under the NHS is so broken that people have had to wait for up to a year to meet a doctor. You aren’t even guaranteed an ambulance at your doorstep should you have an emergency.

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“Legacy of ashes”

Falling sick in the UK is almost the kiss of death. Public services meanwhile are pathetic in a system that has been plagued by strikes and shutdowns including doctors and teachers who are short staffed and demanding more pay. These are only some of the immediate domestic challenges that await Starmer.

Some of new PM’s options include limited trade deals with Europe to help the economy and his plan to overhaul planning so that housing picks up, potentially reviving a building boom.

Labour has also promised to cut down NHS waiting times through more appointments while increasing CT scan and MRI machines in hospitals. Implementing new tax rules for those that have avoided paying them is key to this plan.

It will also be interesting to see how Starmer deals with the rise of the far right in Europe, particularly France and the very real possibility of Donald Trump back in the White House. This election reflects the desperate desire for change among the people of Britain who will not be patient with Labour for very long.

They want to see results now. The question is this: Is there much Starmer can do immediately having inherited a “legacy of ashes”, as one political scientist has observed? His time starts now.