Thursdays General Election result was one of the most extraordinary political realignments in the last 40 years.
Huge numbers of blue collar traditionally Labour voters deserted the party and backed the Conservatives, a situation which only five years ago would have been unthinkable.
Alongside this, the Conservatives have lost group in more metropolitan liberal areas which again, five years ago, would have been natural territory they where to win a majority in Parliament.
The reasons for this are to an extent obvious, in that Brexit played a part, and in a way not so obvious.
Blue collar voters
For a long time, the interests of the blue collar voters (who are socially conservative, patriotic and industrious) have not been served by the leadership of the Labour Party.
This has only been exacerbated by the takeover of the Party by Momentum and their chosen leader Jeremy Corbyn.
However this result has sent shock waves of horror through the ranks of the Labour Party.
Throughout its history as one of the two major party’s of British politics, Labour has relied on a coalition of very different groups of voters.
The metropolitan liberal centres of the larger cities (who are often populated by younger voters and students), Wales (the former industrial north and the valleys of the south in particular), Scotland (the central belt especially) and the blue collar former mining and industrials areas of England (such as County Durham, Yorkshire, Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire).
Since 2015 this coalition has been falling apart.
Scotland was lost and seems to be drifting further away and now many of the English blue collar areas and north Wales are beginning to look far from secure, with many parts of abandoning them altogether.
Unless the Labour Party can find a way to recapture these lost voters I personally can not see a way that the party, in its traditional form, can form a majority government again.
Many Labour MPs and indeed members should remember this as they look to choosing Mr Corbyn’s replacement?
The Conservatives have certainly done well out of this, but they should remain aware, as some of them (including Boris Johnson) are, that they were “lent” votes on December 12th.
They have an enormous challenge to deliver on the wishes of their new electorate, who in many instances hold very divergent ideological views to the Party’s.
Adapting and surviving
However in my opinion the Conservative Party is doing what it has done since its foundation, adapting to survive in changing times.
This has made it arguably the most successfully political organisation in history and this latest pivot is just the latest iteration of its organic adaptive ability.
One of the little commented upon but significant victories for the Conservative Party at the 2019 election was the holding of the suburban-commuter belt vote.
Many of these seats look vulnerable when the elections as called due to many of them have voter to remain in the 2016 Referendum and being sceptical of the direction of the government.
However the holding of key seats, such as Guildford, Winchester and Cheltenham proves that in the end these votes stuck with the Conservatives overall.
This was vital as coupled with the gaining of the new blue collar seats delivered the large majority.
Dominant political party
Holding these seats combined a new national voter coalition for the Conservative Party that could change British politics for ever.
If the Conservative Party pulls this latest period of organic change off, it will likely re-secure its place as one of Britains dominant political parties (something that has been questioned as recently as 1997) but could also be in government for the considerable future, especially if they can convince those liberal metropolitan types who have lent towards the party in the past back into the fold after the UK’s exit from the EU.
Labour’s challenge is greater, as I argue above, the party faces an existential crisis in terms of its natural support crumbling in the faces of a myriad of ways.
Equally the party itself seems more interested in maintaining ideological purity than winning elections, sprinkled with a little self deception (for example that they “won the arguments” but managed to loose an election).
Although their appeal seems to be hardening among a core of metropolitan liberals and students their losses are considerable and unless the next leader can find a way to win back some of the lost support or to find new sources, there is a possibility that the Labour Party will cease to be a serious player in British politics outside of London and the major cities.
Ian Lewer has been a Conservative councillor for West Putney since 2014