FTSE 100 futures leapt nearly 1% as the scale of the Conservative’s win over Corbyn’s Labour Party became apparent. The pound rocketed by even more, shooting up by over 3.5% against the US dollar in the early hours of Friday morning.
The mandate handed to Boris Johnson shows that the people of Britain really do want to “get Brexit done”. But although that would account for some of the remarkable swings to Conservative candidates in traditional Labour working class constituencies, the Brexit issue alone doesn’t fully explain Labour’s worst election showing since the 1980’s, and possibly even the 1930’s. The reason for the collapse in Labour’s vote around the country is more likely the fact that for over 50 years it has been unable to secure a parliamentary majority for left wing policies. Blair pulled his party to the centre and won three successive elections. Corbyn and McDonnell have done the opposite.
Today’s election result will escalate the change from austere monetarism whereby a government reins in its spending and allows the central bank to support the economy through very low interest rates, to fiscalism, where the government borrows and spends to generate increased demand and, with it, improvements in productivity and positive GDP growth. If the Tories want to hold some of their new working class constituencies they will need to generate rises in real wages, a better performing NHS, improved infrastructure and more widely available social services. Austerity is dead, which will make long-dated bonds the worst investment over the next few years. That is why we have been avoiding them like the plague.