A divided Britain: A tale of two cities

The Conservative victory in the May 2015 elections set the scene for a divided Britain – the have-nots took to the ballot box a year later.

Divided Britain

The results of the May 2015 UK general elections were received with contrasting reactions from two camps in a divided Britain.

Less than 48 hours after the results, and before the dust had settled, it seemed the lines were already drawn and everyone knew on which side they stood. Unlike Margaret Thatcher’s victory of 1979, the losing side did not hang around for matters to unfold. When they woke up on 8 May, they knew what would be coming their way in the next 5 years and so the battle for the heart of Britain began before Mr Cameron had time to settle back in.

The haves have plenty to look forward to in a divided Britain

Within 24 hours, property companies were predicting a boom in the prime housing market. Lucian Cook, Director of Savills Residential Research, said that a Conservative victory meant “… certainty over the political landscape and economic policy should allow both prime and mainstream markets to naturally pick up some momentum compared to pre-election. Given that the spectre of a mansion tax is now lifted, the prime market can expect much of the deferred demand from the pre-election period to flow back into the market over the remainder of 2015 and 2016.”

Also commenting on the Conservative victory, Alison Platt, Chief Executive Officer, Countrywide Plc, said: “We now expect there to be greater activity in the housing market, especially in the £2 million plus markets facing the prospect of a Mansion Tax.”

Less than two weeks after the Conservative victory it would appear that the scene is set for what to expect over the next 5 years: the have-nots will take to the streets and the haves will take to their favourite watering holes in the City of London or their £2m plus mansions in the heart of London. We are living in interesting times.

Postscript: The have-nots bided their time and took to the ballot box on 23 June 2016, they registered their discontent and voted UK out of the EU.

Original text first Published in The European Business Review on May 1 2015.