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Robert Cowland, Portugal
"Power has passed from parliament to a very manipulative executive"
 real 28k

Ian Mosley, Munich, Germany
"I really don't believe in a federal Europe"
 real 28k

Sylvia Prince, Singapore
"I don't like to see such a majority, I think that it is very bad for democracy"
 real 28k

Guy Ruben, London, UK
"I think there are some success stories"
 real 28k

Volke Dornheim, UK
"I think they [Labour] should stay in government for another four years"
 real 28k

Rathin Roy, New Dehli, India
"It was not a low turn out globally"
 real 28k

Margaret Griffiths, South Africa
"If they want to see a change, why don't they do something about it"
 real 28k

Andrei, Russia
"Many western countries look more like liberal dictatorships than democracies"
 real 28k

Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Is Tony Blair's victory best for Britain?

Select a link below to watch Talking Point On Air

Tony Blair has won a historic second term for the Labour Party with a landslide victory in the UK general election.

But despite the massive majority for Labour, the voter turnout in the election was only 59%, the lowest since 1918. Only 1 in 4 people in the UK population voted for the elected government.

What does this tell us about the nature of British democracy today?

The prime minister described his victory as a "historic moment" and told cheering supporters: "Our mandate is to carry on the work we have started".

But what do you think of Tony Blair's Britain? Can Labour deliver on its promises? How will his massive victory be viewed by other countries around the world? What will it all mean for Europe?

We have now discussed the implications of the UK election in a special Talking Point phone-in programme broadcast on BBC World Service Radio and on BBC News Online. However, you can still add to the debate by using the form below.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

  • Your comments after the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    Your comments after the programme

    Not only is Blair the best choice for Britain but he has achieved what Thatcher did in her era and made himself the only choice. The people at either end of the political spectrum are guaranteed votes for their respective parties. They never change allegiance and therefore never dictate who gets into power. The voters in the middle, without political prejudices, are the ones that decide who governs and for the time being anyway Blair owns them.
    Iain Macintosh, UK


    I can only view his huge majority with concern

    Duncan, UK
    Considering the alternatives I think it's a good thing that Blair was returned to office. However, I can only view his huge majority with concern. It does mean he has a great mandate to carry out "sweeping" and "radical" (his rather dubious choice of words, considering his policies) changes. However, it also undermines Parliament's power to hold the executive to account. With the loss of such outspoken members of parliament as Heath and Benn and Blair's huge majority I fail to see how this parliament will act as anything but a rubber stamp. I'm very much opposed to the Tories policies, but I can't help wishing more of them had got in. Blair's re-election may have been "good for Britain" but was it good for democracy?
    Duncan, UK

    Tony Blair seems like a nice person, kind of like having a lap dog guard the hen house. We had a do-nothing president who never received over 43% of the popular vote. You will wake up after he has given away your secrets, money and advantage for the sake of entering the EU. Perhaps so many of you have escaped to the US, Australia, South Africa, Canada etc. that all the good individual thinkers are gone! I hate to be provocative, but you need to be running your government, not listening to it so much.
    Tom H, Chicago, USA

    Thanks to the voting system and the parties in opposition being incapable or not entering candidates in some constituencies we had no choice in the matter. Blair was the best of a bad bunch, my only hope is he now gets to work properly.
    Neil, Wales

    At the least you have to say that Labour are the best of a bad bunch, I don't think there are many apart from the odd right-winger that would dispute that! As a first time house buyer I feel much more secure in the knowledge that the economy is likely to remain stable under Labour. I would have seriously considered pulling out if the Tories got in and returned us to a climate of boom and bust, tax cuts for the rich, rising unemployment and a further fall in standards in the public services. Most rational people accept that most of the problems in this country are leftover from Thatcher's legacy. I feel Labour deserve at least one more term to try and rectify the situation they inherited.
    Andy, Nottingham, UK

    What this election result proves once again is how unfair the electoral system is in the UK - 40% of the voters voted for New Labour - nowhere near a majority - and yet, with over 60% of the seats, Tony Blair's party now effectively has a dictatorship for the next four years. The amazing thing for me in this election was how little was made about Labour's scandalous broken promise in their last election manifesto to hold a referendum on PR. Having won such a big majority last time perhaps it was not surprising that they suddenly had a change of heart on the matter. But why the Lib-Dems kept quiet about it worries me.
    Algis Kuliukas, High Wycombe, UK

    To all those feeling smug about low voter turnout, OK, you have the right not to vote, but what you don't have is the right to bitch about the government later if you don't like it. Voting is a right, but it's also a responsibility.
    Toby Jones, UK

    I didn't vote in this general election as I feel that none of the parties were going to give me what I need. Labour promised cheaper and more accessible childcare, I'm still waiting. I'm a working mother earning just over the minimum wage and what I earn goes straight to nursey fees. They want us to go out to work but are making it harder and harder for us to do so. When is this Government going to listen to the people? I don't think they ever will.
    Bev Williams, Telford, England

    I didn't vote, after all - I didn't want to vote Labour, but didn't want to vote for William Hague as I didn't think he was capable. Sure - the pound is important, but that was the only thing that Hague said which was good - shame he didn't campaign so hard about the many of other issues affecting the country.
    Stephen, Chester, UK


    I wouldn't like to be charged with doing the rotten job

    EM, UK
    Personally I think that Tony Blair and NL deserve their second term. Anyone that can take on the decimation that the Tories took 18 years to create and try to repair the damage has got to be alright and extremely brave in my book, I wouldn't like to be charged with doing the rotten job. They have done OK so far, they have been honest about the state they found everything in and it is true they have made a good start so all you knockers stop whingeing and hoping they fail to deliver, this is our country we are talking about and I want them to succeed for the greater good of us all even if you moaning minnies don't. If you do not like it, next time try voting.
    EM, UK

    I think this particular topic is now played out, but I would like to protest the "Animal Farm" credit given to the Blair government for delivering a strong economy. Labour may have done nothing to jeopardise the economy, but they did not create it. Years of tough economic rationalism, implemented by the Tories, handed Labour a strong economy. Prudence should still be a keyword in Labour's economic policy, however, it is now time to rebuild the infrastructure, invest in health, education and communications.
    Tom, Perth,Australia

    Of course Tony's victory is best for Britain. Heaven help us if the Tories in their present incarnation had triumphed! Of the two main parties, Labour is by far the best, fairest and most moral choice - and yes, I deliberately mentioned morality to dispel the notions mentioned by others below that social authoritarianism as expressed by modern Tories is the same as morality. Turnout means nothing - maybe many people were happy enough and didn't want to vote. Probably if they had been forced to vote, the 41% would have voted along the lines of the 59%. Blair has talked often about the first term letting them sort out the economy in order to provide the investment for the second term. Well, I'm now trusting Labour (for whom I voted for the first time) to deliver - they know they won't get back in otherwise.
    Paul, London, UK

    Until the UK introduces compulsory suffrage and proportional representation the claims of victory by any party must ring hollow. Don't want to vote because the whole thing turns your guts? Cover your ballot paper in the slogans of choice and have it counted as "informal" i.e. no vote. The higher the informal vote the greater the measure of voter dissent. And while your at it, why not legislate that party political donations to electoral campaigns must be a matter of public record? And how about complete disclosure of all political party funding? You are a long behind in the open government race and fall far short of a workable and open democracy.
    Myrtle, Australia

    Tony Blair is everything people consider to be the best of British. He is progressive, has vision for a definite future and is moderate in his approach. With leaders like him, Britain will go on to lead Europe and the world toward a bright new future. If only our country had people like him.
    Andrew, New Zealand

    Of course, Labour won't be able to deliver on its promises. You're asking bloated bureaucracies to solve problems they're incapable of understanding or solving. Labour and left-wing policies are flawed from the beginning. Of course, when they fail once again, we'll continue to hear that more money is needed. When will that charade end?
    Jeff, USA

    In re-electing Blair, Britain has chosen to continue being among the most highly taxed and costly nations on earth. With health services and transport infrastructures breaking down, you need to ask what are you getting for your money. Is the slow impoverishment worthwhile?
    Andrew Crane, USA

    The Labour party's greatest achievement is that they haven't (yet) wrecked the golden legacy they were left by the Tories. They have failed to deliver anything else - anywhere you look, schools, hospitals, police, transport, is falling apart. The Dome wasn't exactly a raging success either. All this and taxes have gone up to pay for it! Thanks Tony!
    John B, UK

    I find it difficult to fathom the blindness of the average "liberal left" voter when it comes to phoney Tony's performance. His government has been the most arrogant in history, bypassing Parliament as much as possible, destroying the democratic process and achieving next to nothing of any substance. This government has been concerned solely with winning a second term and I hope those who voted for them enjoy the economically outdated old Labour tax and spend policies that will now emerge along with the further loss of sovereignty to faceless Brussels bureaucrats. A fond farewell to the UK.
    Andrew, Edinburgh,UK

    Tony Blair said, "Our mandate is to carry on the work we have started". What work? As a British subject resident in Canada all I see is a rundown NHS system, rampant youth crime and a deep desire to sell Britain to Europe. Is that what the electorate wanted? I'm glad to see my fellow countrymen haven't lost their sense of humour!
    James Adamson, Vancouver Canada

    It has become obvious on this forum that most of those who are whining about Tony Blair's landslide re-election are Euro-sceptics. It is also becoming obvious that rather than any well reasoned argument all Euro-sceptics are capable of is some vague xenophobic ramblings. Learn guys this is the reason the Tories lost the election. The result of this election is what has made me proud of my country. It has affirmed that most of the people of this country are not as xenophobic and bigoted as most of the Tory party seem to be.
    Colin Wright, UK

    This was by no means a "landslide" victory for Labour. The landslide occurred in 1997. Labour have fewer seats now than in that year. The fault of the Conservative campaign was to shore up the blue-rinse constituency which is, by and large, declining.

    The Conservative party now need to offer an alternative vision for Britain that appeals to the young who can vote Conservative without thinking that it represents a by-word for elitism and social exclusion. This will not happen overnight and it's not obvious that the talent currently pervades the senior line up. A total transmogrification is required. I for one will sign up today to join the party and pressure to bring it back into the centre. It must learn that its ideological support for the individual and family is not best manifested by tax cuts.
    Christopher, London


    We are still waiting

    Lachlan McLean, Cambridge, UK
    If Labour's current record is anything to go by, there will be more concerned with superficial causes like banning fox hunting, keeping Lords out of the House of Lords and extending political correctness. They are afraid to tackle serious problems such as reform of the monolithic NHS and codifying the archaic and confused British law, problems which have been ignored by governments for 50 years. If Tony Blair really wants to reform and undo all the "damage", then now is his chance. We are still waiting.
    Lachlan McLean, Cambridge, UK

    As a UK citizen living in the USA I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating Tony Blair and his party of winning a second term in government. The Tories were in power some eighteen years, which left many in Britain on the poverty line, plus the Tories became so complacent because of their long term in power they lost the respect of the British people brought about by their self important attitude and in the end the sleaze exposure.

    As a Prime Minister Tony Blair comes over as a concerned human being, he may make mistakes but that's what makes us human, he does learn from his mistakes but more importantly he does listen to the people which is more than can be said of the Tories.
    Dave Marriage, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.


    He promises so much and delivers so little

    Dave P, UK
    He promises so much and delivers so little. I would like to congratulate Mr Blair on his success with the British economy. Success achieved by following the policies of his predecessor. His and his party's obsession with spin and focus groups, has produced a body of voters totally indifferent to the political process. This is dangerous. Everyone seems to be saying that it is a good message to send to the politicians, but the downside is it will result in elections dominated by single-issue pressure groups. That cannot be a good recipe for a diverse society. If Blair does not deliver again then he may well feel the backlash of the electorate.
    Dave P, UK

    The real reason no-one voted, is because no-one really cares about politics in the UK, except maybe the older generation. As long as the country motors along nicely, doesn't involve itself in any dangerous activity and allows us to go about our day to day lives normally, then that's fine. The only reason the Conservatives didn't win was because of William Hague, who had an annoying voice, and looked like the boy at school that everyone bullied. It's all that simple really. Politics is uncool
    Jeff Scholey, UK

    If I choose not to vote, then I am making the decision that I do not wish to back any of those standing. This is a valid position, in a representative democracy, when no candidate adequately represents your beliefs. The problem comes when people do not vote for reasons such as apathy or plain laziness!
    Doug Manton, Portsmouth, England

    Tony Blair was given the benefit of the doubt regarding his first 4 years. This term he has no safety net to fall back on. Everything he and his government does will be accountable to them alone. Failure to deliver will be costly at the next general election.
    Paul Jonas, Colchester, UK


    The arguments about low turnout cut no ice with this voter

    Karen Wallace, UK
    The arguments about low turnout cut no ice with this voter. Labour was elected by a majority of those who bothered to vote. Those who couldn't be bothered have given up their right to be considered in the process. Their choice certainly, but they shouldn't expect their views (or non-views) to be given a second thought.
    Karen Wallace, UK

    Congratulations to the UK on choosing progress over reaction and politics over absurd xenophobia posing as patriotism. Once again, as four years ago, I am proud to be British and wish Blair all the luck in the world in seeking to undo the tremendous damage done to the very fabric of our society by the Thatcher years. Thank God the voters have had the sense to see that continually draining the public sector of adequate investment ends up with a third rate, Third World country. I retain a sense of healthy cynicism about Blair and his acolytes - but they are far, far more likely to deliver the kind of inclusive and fair society that we all wish to see then the awful alternative Conservative Party.
    Japglish, Japan, Tokyo

    Does the fact that 41% of the electorate did not vote not indicate a degree of contentment with the status quo? As a younger voter in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency I have found a general consensus amongst friends that Blair's aims are admirable and that he is the only choice for Britain at this point in time. We should not view his massive majority negatively, indeed it is a brilliant opportunity for Britain to improve her public services and continue with a strong economy.
    Matt, Durham, UK

    It is hardly surprising that the Tories lost by a landslide when they portrayed themselves as a party of white heterosexual well to do country dwellers. The Conservative party has failed to realise that the UK of today is much more diverse than it was 20 years ago.
    Gary, London, UK


    Apathy is a dangerous thing

    Maureen, Vancouver, Canada

    As a Canadian/British citizen, I am dismayed at the outcome of the British election. There's an old saying that you get the government you deserve. Apathy is a dangerous thing. By 41% of the population not bothering to vote, you have four more years of weak government ahead of you. Heaven help the land of my birth!
    Maureen, Vancouver, Canada

    What point do people feel is being made by not voting? The only point that is therefore made is that nobody trusts the rest of the voting public to make a competent decision, because they are either too lazy or too incompetent to make a decision. If you don't feel that your point of view is represented effectively by any of the parties then you have the right to stand for election.
    John Paul, Spain (UK)

    I don't understand the fuss about the low turnout at this election. The make-up of parliament is essentially the same as last time when the turnout was 70%. When more is at stake or people feel more strongly about key issues then more will vote. I think the result reflects the wishes of the electorate as a whole.
    John, London, UK


    People had the chance to vote against the pro-European leanings of New Labour but they did not

    Dave Craik, Kidderminster, England

    The choice for Britain was quite clear. Proceed with the development of a European social democratic state where everyone has a stake in society and access to the world's largest trade area and has social rights, or a free-market, free trade economy divorced from society where people have few social and economic guarantees. This is a vote for closer integration with Europe. People had the chance to vote against the pro-European leanings of New Labour but they did not.
    Dave Craik, Kidderminster, England

    Regardless of the number of people who turned out to vote, It was still a 100% democratic process. It does not matter that in reality 25% voted labour, those who abstained could have voted if they wanted to make a difference. I think the real reason people did not vote is because generally the average person is comfortable under this Government. Why change it for something that went down in flames just four years ago?
    Ian Woodbridge, Cheltenham, England.

    Why are so many Britons paranoid about the outcome of the election when this is the first time that labour has won a second term? If other parties were given an opportunity in the past surely Labour deserves a chance to prove itself.
    Muru, Melbourne, Australia

    Your comments during the programme


    If we take the Euro I will be able to spend money in 11 countries without having to go to a Bureau de Change to get it changed

    James, Bath, UK
    I don't understand. The media says that joining Europe means that Britons will lose their freedom. Yet I can go anywhere within the 15 member states of the EU to work without a work permit. If we take the Euro I will be able to spend money in 11 countries without having to go to a Bureau de Change to get it changed. Plus I can use the excellent French healthcare system for nothing (I think), if need be. Sounds to me that Europe gives us more freedom, not less!
    James, Bath, UK

    One way to encourage Britons to participate in elections would be to allow ex-patriots to vote at their nearest consulates, embassy or high commission. Scandinavian expatriates can do this. At present, registering for an overseas vote is too cumbersome. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Britons are effectively disenfranchised due to the difficulty of voting from overseas.
    Matt Robinson, Lilongwe, Malawi

    I am an Australian currently living in Ithaca, New York. Having seen at close hand the US election, and now listening to your programme about the UK election, I believe Australian compulsory attendance at the ballot has a lot to recommend it, namely every taxpayer has to make a decision about whether to vote, or who to vote for. Politicians therefore have to address issues concerning all groups in the electorate.
    Jill Clemson, New York

    When one considers the advances made by Labour in just four years, compared say to that of the four previous years under John Major, there can be no doubt that Tony Blair and his team had to be given the chance to carry on what they have started. Training Nurses, Teachers, and recruiting new members to the Police Force take time. They now have some of that time. Moreover the protest, particularly those relating to pensions have been noted and acted upon. They listen. One hopes that they have also learnt.
    Norrie Hearn, France

    Your comments before we went ON AIR


    Look at Ireland, their economy is doing extremely well and their world influence has only increased as a part of the EU

    Neil Anderson, Scotland

    I'm puzzled by the Tory Euro-phobes who claim that greater integration in Europe will undermine Britain's sovereignty. Look at Ireland, their economy is doing extremely well and their world influence has only increased as a part of the EU. Of course to do this they had to cut ties with the Euro-sceptics in England.
    Neil Anderson, Scotland

    In politics as in business, you can talk all you like but in the end people expect you to deliver on your promises. If you don't you are history. So it will be for Tony Blair and the Labour party. If he loses support in the UK over the coming 4 years his colleagues will ruthlessly get rid of him. Deliver or be history Tony, you've had the cash now deliver the goods.
    John Kingston, Rotherham UK

    Mr Blair has no reason to be happy. He now has only 4-5 years to improve transport, health and education when he had made no real headway in the first 4 years. He knows that the chances of success are very remote. The Euro issue will divide the new parliament, the far left and right of the party will now use it's voice and serious rebellion is threatened by the white-collar industries. The media has its eyes on the administration as do. Well done on your second term and entering the history books for a second Labour term, congratulations too on encouraging apathy, disenchantment in politics and rest assured that only 1 in 4 people actually put you where you now are!
    Forbes Cunningham, Netherlands & UK


    I don't blame people for not voting it's their right to or not to vote

    Martyn D, London UK

    I went to vote and spoiled my ballot paper on purpose. None of the parties published views correlated with my wishes. I don't blame people for not voting it's their right to or not to vote. They probably felt the same as me there was no real option. I chose to go through the process to make a statement.
    Martyn D, London UK

    I'm puzzled as to why people think that Britain will loose its identity if it becomes more involved with Europe. Germany, France, Spain, etc haven't so why will we? Or is it just what the Europhobes what you to think in order to scare you?
    Phil, Chesterfield, UK

    The British people will make the decision about further integration with Europe. As there will be a referendum on the Euro, I wonder what all that talk about Labour "selling Britain out" is really about. Many Europeans will be happy with a British government that is open-minded towards the EU, but that is asking the questions countries like France and Germany have failed to ask.
    Franz Bleeker, Emden, Germany

    How we cheered on Wednesday night as England scored those goals. There we were, in the pubs, round the neighbours' house, feeling proud of our country. On Thursday, however, my hometown decided to place its fate in the hands of Brussels and lose its identity by electing the Lib Dems! And then on Saturday a stroll through the town centre and what do we see? England shirts proudly displayed on almost every chest. Confused? I certainly am!
    Jennifer, Kingston Upon Thames, UK


    UK citizens can expect to see more of their freedoms and rights gradually subordinated to the Euro bureaucrats in Brussels

    Christopher Flores, California, USA
    It is quite obvious that Labour was able to win an unprecedented second term in office due to the fact that they had a much better public relations team than the Tories. However, this victory will no doubt provide Mr. Blair with the pretext of moving to get the UK to adopt the euro, and scrap the pound. UK citizens can also expect to see more of their freedoms and rights gradually subordinated to the Euro bureaucrats in Brussels.
    Christopher Flores, California, USA

    I am extremely irritated by all the hysterical euro phobic reactions to Tony Blair's re-election, particularly from British Ex-pats (stay there - please !) and Americans ( who probably couldn't even point us out on the atlas). Europe and the EURO are well down on the list of most British people's concerns. That's why Hague and his cronies were slaughtered again. Memories of 18 years of misery under a sleazy, arrogant Conservative government also had something to do with it!!
    William, London

    The Liberal elite has once again defeated the right. Tradition and moral values will continue to be undermined or even outlawed over the next few years. The only man with convictions and backbone was dismissed for speaking the truth. The truth hurts so let's not have the truth anymore. Is that what we want to teach our children? ! Keep it up Britain...soon you will be the "mongrel nation" that John Townend spoke of, and was punished for.
    Dan, Worcester, Ma. USA


    I predict this is Labour's last election win, they'll lose the next one

    Stephen Kenney, USA
    I predict this is Labour's last election win, they'll lose the next one. As the saying goes "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." It's time for Blair and Labour to back up their words with real tangible improvements. No third chances!
    Stephen Kenney, USA

    Isn't it funny how those who did not vote never indicate their political leanings? I suspect that very many of them are basically Tories who either saw no prospect of them winning or could not bring themselves to endorse William Hague's policies. I may of course be wrong, but if these people saw no point in voting things can't be that bad can they? Therefore Tony Blair's victory must be right for the country.
    Steve, UK

    I wish all the people who have fled to the US would stop carping on about Euro super state and all that rubbish. If the voters wanted to opt out of Europe then they would have voted UKIP. They didn't. Respect their will and shut up, this is what a Democracy is. The people who chose not to vote, have very little right to make statements or judgements, there were as usual enough points of view on offer, so that almost everybody could have voted for someone they approved of.
    Gavin Taylor, London


    How can they possibly rectify 18 years of neglect to transport/health/schools in only 4 years?

    Glen, Sheffield, UK
    I think Labour should be judged on this new term in office after a decent start last term. How can they possibly rectify 18 years of neglect to transport/health/schools in only 4 years? The hypocrisy of the Tories makes me seethe. Who introduced spin? Who introduced the fuel tax price escalator? I just hope Labour grasp the nettle this term and take a few risks with some much-needed reform in the health service/public transport areas.
    Glen, Sheffield, UK

    Bye, bye Britain. I guess that this means I still cannot return to my homeland and expect to pay a reasonable rate of taxes. My postal vote was not for the smarmy Blair, and I can now hear the bells tolling for the decease of an independent Britain.
    John Atkins, Singapore, Singapore

    He's the British Clinton--sly, quick-witted, and funny...so much so that you know you can't trust him. Yet somehow everything seems to be going right...
    Stephen, USA

    Mr. Blair should move Britain forward with better services and create new economic opportunities. Address the issue of Europe and the expansion of EU. Dismantling institutional racism in multicultural Britain is a pressing issue. Let Britain move forward and play an important role in world and European affairs. Tony Blair is the man.
    Mo Ahmed, San Clemente, Calif. USA


    Where is the British pride?

    erbeoin@nbnet
    I am appalled that the British people will turn over what has been fought for these many centuries. What European invasions couldn't do, you are giving away to those whose real aim it is to see Britain a third rate European State. Where is the British pride?
    erbeoin@nbnet

    Why can't we have an extra voting option on the ballot paper? Why can't we have the option of "None of the Above, I vote to overhaul our democratic system"? We wonder why there was such a low turnout; perhaps the answer is because there is barely a choice to make and consequently disillusionment with the whole process is setting in.
    Allison, Sydney Australia

    Tony Blair and the "new labour movement" occupy what is though by the electorate to represent the safe and middle ground. New Labour will continue to conduct their moderate policies, continually looking over their shoulders at the latest opinion polls, tempering decisions of the day with voter/pollster surveys. This way no radical or, decisive policies will ever be implemented and the UK ship of state will sail on, weaving its way down the middle, ultimately failing to satisfy anyone.
    Aaron Daly, Seattle, U.S.A.

    Congratulations Mr. Blair and the people of England. The eyes of the United States still look to our Briton neighbours as the leaders of thought and ideology. The actions your people took today give the people of America hope that the world is all right. For those who are unhappy with the results of the election: It could be worse for you. Imagine George Bush running your country. Scary huh?
    Mike, CA, USA

    Well done Supertone! A most excellent result. Now I'm definitely coming home. Congratulations.
    Dave, returning ex-pat, Vancouver, Canada


    The old adage "it's better to be lucky than smart" has once again been validated

    Rich Vose, California, USA
    The old adage "it's better to be lucky than smart" has once again been validated. Blair owes his success to the Tories' ineptness and lack of talent rather than his performance over the past 4 years. He failed to deliver on any of his major promises (yet blames the Tories), his only successes being a half baked devolution of Scotland and legislation to promote homosexuality teaching in schools. His dithering "leadership" on the foot and mouth fiasco alone should have been enough to get him thrown out, and he seems to be a na´ve puppet in the hands of the Germans, French and IRA
    Rich Vose, California, USA

    So we have Blair again trying to lead the country ... lead it where I wonder? If it carries on like this we'll be subservient to the rest of the world. Germany failed to rule Europe through violence twice. It's winning now through politics and Blair is not strong or bright enough to do anything about it.
    F Webb, UK

    Blair eliminated centuries' old rights, is on the verge of completely reworking British government and is doing so because of a temporary political opportunity. This shows the folly of having, in effect, governmental power concentrated in the hands of a single body (i.e. House of Commons) without ANY check on a temporary parliamentary majority.
    Daniel Rego, Los Angeles, USA

    You have "left him" in office... by a landslide it seems. So nobody will complain when petrol is still taxed high... nobody will blame him for the tourism slump because of the way he handled foot and mouth... you all seem to be content with the way he runs the country. Plenty of opportunity for you to criticise the way American politicians "screw up" America.
    Clive hill,


    The people of this country seem to be sleep walking into disaster

    Clive Dyer, Battle
    I find it frightening that the people of this country seem to be sleep walking into disaster. We have had 4 years of incompetence, cronyism and lies. Yet the voters give this shallow, devious, and untrustworthy man another substantial majority. It will all end in tears
    Clive Dyer, Battle

    I must answer Joanna Preston-Wyse and all the other people who put forward this daft argument. If all the so-called mess is due to 18 years of Tory rule, then the state of the economy must also be, surely.
    Graham, UK

    Congratulations to the Prime Minister and Labour. Generally, I think the market reaction is a local one to speculations. Considering the proven stability of the government and already an international favourable response, time will reveal a more positive reaction. Overall, it is a good outcome for all of England...
    PWilson, Auckland New Zealand

    It is a pity that all the people who claim that they didn't vote 'as a protest' couldn't have gone into their polling booth and either spoilt their papers or voted for one of the small parties. Had all the small parties polled thousands of votes this would have sent an unmistakeable message to Blair that most voters see Labour as the best of a bad bunch. Not voting will simply be shrugged off as voter apathy.
    George, Hull, UK

    Tony Blair will deliver exactly that he delivered over the last 4 years, nothing apart from erosion of what this country used to stand for. 25% of the electorate may now reap that which they have sowed, corruption, hangers on, sky-high petrol and devastating taxes.
    Phil Davies, Evesham UK


    I am pleased that Labour can now build on the foundations built in the first term

    Gu Rubin, London
    I am pleased that Labour can now build on the foundations built in the first term. The minimum wage, the literacy and numeracy hours in schools and the introduction of the working family tax credit are real achievements. I used to be embarrassed by the incompetence and ineptitude of the Major government. It is a pleasure to have a government that I can be proud of.
    Gu Rubin, London

    Goodbye, United Kingdom! We will miss you very much! It breaks our hearts to see the UK sold out to the EU by Tony!
    Gordon, Seattle, USA

    While voting Labour accross the board locally, I retain the cynicism taught me by the Tories. And will accept the inconsistencies, unrealistic promises and letdowns which are part and parcel of the normal running of any type of business venture. But I would expect there to be benefits coming from other directions, which hopefully provide some kind of balance. Personally, I place the environment and human/animal welfare issues above all else and, though I won't digress on foot-and-mouth, the crisis has been an emotional nightmare for more than 5% of the population simply because we're vegetarians who didn't need animals to be used for human benefit in the first place!

    But whilst being cynical let's also be realists: The so-called apathetic voters may actually be making a point in not voting. The low turnout can be viewed as a rejection of politics in general, as people feel themselves increasingly distanced from whichever party happens to be 'in'.
    Pete G, Exeter, UK

    As far as I am concerned, Tony Blair is the best prime minister we have had in a long time. He was never going to be able to rectify the mess the Tories left this country in after 18 years of misrule in just 4 years. God bless you,Tony!
    Joanna Preston-Wyse, London, UK


    He has messed up everything

    Tim, Wokingham, England
    He has messed up everything - 6,000 fewer police, growing waiting lists to get on the waiting lists, and he had one of the best economies in the world four years ago. He has allowed unemployment to fall unacceptably low, which will harm the economy as companies cannot afford to recruit. I predict he will be responsible for a recession soon, despite the "highly intelligent" economists of the Bank of England.
    Tim, Wokingham, England

    France outlaws the publishing of opinion polls in the immediate weeks before a general election - this is certainly not the only thing that needs fixing here, and I'd welcome a debate on PR in the House of Commons, but might this not help to rectify apparent voter apathy? If people think their vote will not make a difference, will they vote ?
    Martin, Farnham, Surrey

    I think the low general election turnout is a good thing. If you look at the rich areas of the world such as Western Europe and North America you will notice that they too have low general election turnouts. If the people are politically heavily involved in a country, that means something is wrong with that country.
    David, U.K


    Why doesn't Britain hold its elections on Sundays

    Nigel Mould, Brussels, Belgium
    Why doesn't Britain hold its elections on Sundays like every other European nation? Surely then turnout would be much higher?
    Nigel Mould, Brussels, Belgium

    I cannot think of one service (education, law enforcement, medical, fire protection, etc) that has remained the same let alone improved since Labour came to office. How bad does it have to get before the majority of this country see the light? The next big change - your return address on international mail will indicate 'Europe' instead of 'England.'
    John Alkire, UK/USA

    The Prime Minister must heed the words of the 41% that didn't vote; he only represents 42% of the 59% that did. That is a small figure indeed, and certainly leaves no room for complacency or abuse of power.
    T J Won, Seoul, Korea


    Many people want radical changes in how the country works

    Ray Girvan, Exeter, UK
    My fear is that New Labour - having gained power by moving to the right - will always take the safe 'middle England' option. Many people want radical changes in how the country works - for instance, proportional representation, and green policies on transport and energy - but I doubt that New Labour will ever risk their position by making such changes.
    Ray Girvan, Exeter, UK

    Keith Marshall, your decision not to vote merely increases the relative influence of those that did. Don't try to portray it as a positive act, it wasn't. If all the people who couldn't be bothered to make the effort had instead supported independent candidates or small parties concerned with the issues they felt were important, a real message would have been sent. Personally though I'm quite happy with the outcome..
    Peter Denyer, Beaconsfield, England


    We also have the right not to vote

    Martyn, UK
    Why is everybody criticising those who didn't vote?- we have the right to vote - therefore we also have the right not to vote. Now those who did have re-elected Labour, we should not see this as bad democracy, actually, if you read between the lines, it has given us a very accurate picture of the thoughts of our nation and has given a clear message that Tony will have to heed if he wants any chance of continuing his planned reforms beyond the next five years. I look forward to Europe. Be assured, if we don't embrace Europe, this country will gradually crumble. At least if we do join Europe we will have a fighting chance.
    Martyn, London UK

    Yes; I'll pop over to visit my mother but see no other reason to go there. The Britain of well-educated, polite, hard-working people, who were respected because they were respectable, has gone. With the Euro-rubbish that Blair embraces, it will now be run by -- what do we call it: The Fourth Reich? All hope is gone. I see no reason to return.
    Nigel Rees, Milford, CT, USA (Briton)

    Absolutely fantastic. Of course changes take time to show effect. It's good to have a party that is open minded towards the European Union (because England is part of Europe anyway, people tend to forget this) and open minded towards change in general. You can't progress when you stand still. And this is why Tony is good for Britain. Hurrah!
    Volker, High Wycombe, England


    The people to blame for low participation... are those self-same politicians.

    Dr Duncan Campbell, UK
    We will doubtlessly hear more calls from lazy politicians bemoaning the fact that less people bothered to vote in this general election. However, they are the ones who have corrupted this country's political system. They are the ones who have made the differences between the major parties to be so few and so small as to make the policies indistinguishable. They are the ones with the tightly controlled party machines where everyone is "on message" and any dissenting thought is ruthlessly crushed. They are the ones who parachute lickspittle candidates into safe constituencies to become lobby-fodder for the division bell, rather than effective parliamentary representatives for constituents. They are the ones who stifle national debate when they cosy up to the print media barons. Political parties need to relax their grip so that a range of candidates can stand under a single party banner. Each would be forced to campaign, rather than rely on the party loyalty of large swathes of the electorate. As it is, it is in Tony Blair's own self-interest to maintain the system of tight control over his fawning backbenchers so that he can force through legislation without any opposition.
    Dr Duncan Campbell, York, UK

    The fact that 41% of people didn't vote was not down to voter apathy. More like they expressed their feelings about how unsuitable they view the parties standing. I spoilt my ballot paper as a way of registering my feelings about them. If more people had, perhaps they'd understand that apathy doesn't come into it. It's the fact of having more unelectable parties than ever that causes more and more people to resist voting.
    Steve Gillingham, England

    The voter turnout in the election shows that 41% of the British population take democracy for granted. If they were to experience a period of one party dictatorship with no freedom of speech and the rest that goes with it, maybe then they would realise how important it is to 'make an effort to vote'.
    Sima, UK

    On the whole I think this is good news. Why? Well, for a start, it conclusively demonstrates how reviled the Tories' right-wing extremism is among the nation as a whole; and the mediocre turnout means that Mr Blair can hardly claim that the entire country loves him, either. In other words, it demonstrates that the need is there for a major rethink of the two-party system and it gives an opportunity for someone else to stake a claim as the main party of opposition.
    Tom, Hampshire, UK


    If he doesn't deliver, I can see the electorate's patience wearing very, very thin

    Michael Thomas, London, UK
    The electorate seem nonplussed by four more years of Tony. He has to deliver now. After following Tory spending plans almost to the letter, it's time to see Labour's plans. If he doesn't deliver, I can see the electorate's patience wearing very, very thin. If that isn't enough for him to deal with, he has to preside over a weakening economy and the 'euro' question as well as the more blatant EU federalism from France and Germany. There are already rumblings from the left of the party about resisting moves to introduce private enterprise into public services and his own party has internal divisions over European policy. I think he has a lot on his plate and with only the support of 1 in 4 people in the country, it isn't going to be easy.
    Michael Thomas, London, UK

    No, it's quite worrying that he has such a large majority again. We have already seen the damage his government causes with ill thought out policies that they railroad through without proper consultation, such as IR35. It just seems that we will get more of the same.
    Bill Crawley, Dunmow, England

    I think it is fairly indicative of this country's political situation that more people failed to vote than actually voted for Labour. I chose not to vote this General Election, though I voted last time, and yet I know that I am to be pigeon-holed into the 'apathetic masses' even though I made a conscious decision not to vote, which surely is a vote in itself. That Labour were victorious is no better or worse for the country than if the Tories or the Lib Dems had been successful. The NHS will still be woefully understaffed and the quality of education will continue to decline.
    Keith Marshall, Wakefield, UK


    Historic it may be, but as a mandate it's severely compromised

    Andy Millward, Broxbourne, UK
    Historic it may be, but as a mandate it's severely compromised. Tony has a long way to go to prove he can truly represent the views of the average voter if 25% of the electorate voted Labour but 41% abstained. Substance and an inclusive brand of politics that does not anger people at grass roots must come before posturing and grand visions.
    Andy Millward, Broxbourne, UK

    I sincerely hope that Tony Blair isn't able to deliver on his promises, otherwise the NHS will be privatised, the tube will be privatised, and nothing at all will be done for ordinary people. The labour Party is no longer the party of the working classes and British politics now appears to be resembling US and Irish politics, where the two main parties are centre right and there is no one that speaks for ordinary people. Blair should be wary, though. One quarter of the population voting for him is not a mandate, and the recent wave of strikes across Britain indicate that people are increasingly willing to stand up and be counted where it really matters - on the picket lines trying to save jobs and services for ordinary working class people.
    Gina, Ireland


    The disgracefully low turnout takes the shine off Blair's mandate

    Chris Klein, England
    This was not a landslide, that happened in 1997. Instead it was a non-event. Although I didn't vote for Blair and I don't particularly like his sanctimonious style, I hope that he will be himself rather than what the spin doctors say he should be. Labour will find it hard to deliver on public service promises without very radical changes, especially in the NHS. Europe will probably like the large majority, though the disgracefully low turnout takes the shine off Blair's mandate.
    Chris Klein, Chandlers Ford, England

    This is great news for Britain and an affirmation that only the Labour Party, under its greatest ever steward, Tony Blair, is the only solution for Britain. Tony Blair is the best-placed man in recent history to transform our nation into a modern, adaptive 21st century economy. Good luck, Tony, we wish you the best !
    Shaukat Tola, UK


    With such a small opposition, what chance does real democracy have?

    Alex, Wakefield, England
    Considering the fact that the Conservatives are still recovering from 1997, Blair was probably the least worst choice. However, such a landslide will do the country no good at all. The Labour Government has shown a complete lack of regard for public opinion on a range of issues - most recently foot-and-mouth disease, about which all the scientific advice has been ignored. Labour MPs have never yet given a straight answer to any question on television, in contrast with both Tory and Liberal MPs, and there is an intolerable smugness about Tony Blair and all the other Labour politicians and supporters. But with such a small opposition, what chance does real democracy have?
    Alex, Wakefield, England

    The New Labour government reneged on 1997 promises: It was re-elected by the votes of approximately 25% of the electorate, yet considers that an adequate mandate for dragging Britain deeper into the mire of a European Super state. I think that says a lot for the low esteem in which politicians are held in Britain.
    Brian, Belfast, UK

    Even as a dyed-in-the-wool Tory, one must be gracious and congratulate Tony Blair on his victory. But I think his victory has more to do the electorate thinking he is more likely to fix the country's infrastructure (NHS, schools, etc.) than the Tories. What, precisely and without waffle, is he now going to do about these issues?
    Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

    I think this election has been interesting. I don't see how the current Tory party can remain and I suspect it'll split in two over Europe. I think the Labour party now has an over representation in parliament, but the best news of this election was the increased support for the Liberal Democrats. I hope the next election will be fought using proportional representation so that voters have a real voice, rather that them feeling that "nothing will change".
    Colin, Netherlands

    How can it be viewed as a "massive" victory when most voters did not support Labour? It's only because of a quirk in the way winners are declared that Labour have any Commons majority at all.
    Tharg Thargson, London

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