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Brits Finally Have a Reason to Vote Tory

For most of 2024 – and 2023 for that matter – the British Labour Party properly positioned themselves for government after a 14-year hiatus. Having watched the Conservatives destroy much of their rationale [1] for keeping power, Opposition Leader Keir Starmer kept his party firmly in the center of the British political spectrum.

Thus, when Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out a timetable [2] for the UK to spend 2.5 percent of its GDP on defense, one would have expected Labour to pledge to follow suit in rearming Britain to face the new, more dangerous world. One would be wrong [3].

Labour has been accused of failing to keep Britain safe in a “dangerous world” after the party refused to back the Government’s boost to defence spending [4].

Shadow ministers declined to promise that 2.5 per cent of GDP would be spent on defence by 2030, as Rishi Sunak has pledged, instead saying they would have to decide after the general election [5].

Labour’s position was attacked on Wednesday by defence industry sources, who warned it could create “uncertainty” and undermine the industry’s confidence to invest.

Of course, the governing Conservatives, desperate to find any reason for the British voters to keep them around, clung to the life preserver Labour threw them. For reasons known only to themselves, Labour chose to re-open the door to the specter of Jeremy Corbyn and the old, unsafe Labour of the Thatcher years. For the uninitiated, Labour’s left-wing views on global affairs kept them locked out of power by the voters throughout the 1980s. Only when the Cold War ended did Labour even become competitive.

From nearly any measurement, the Conservatives do not deserve to stay in power. The domestic opportunities of Brexit were largely squandered. The hard fought gains from fiscal prudence in the early 2010s – all in partnership with the Liberal Democrats – are gone. The Truss budget discredited supply-side policies for a generation, at least.

However, on national security, the Conservatives once more can show that they will be a safer pair of hands than Labour would. Whether the British electorate is willing to even listen to the Tories, let alone be convinced by them, is another matter entirely.