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Brexit threatens to disrupt traditional two party dominance in U.K. politics

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Political predictions are never wise and often disastrous, especially when they concern long-term trends and major change. But right now it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the two-party system in British politics is under the greatest threat that it has ever faced.

In the latest survey of voting intentions in the United Kingdom the Labour and Conservative parties are reduced to third and fourth place, with the former at 22 per cent and the latter a miserable 17 per cent. Leading the pack is Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party at 26 per cent and the Liberal Democrats are at 16 per cent.

This comes after the European elections, when the Brexit Party and the LibDems dominated and the two major parties were thrashed. That was startling but not entirely unseen. That the indications are that this would be replicated in a domestic general election, however, has stunned the British political world.

One aspect of all this is the dramatic demise of the Labour Party in Scotland and Wales, where it has long enjoyed strong support. This has enabled the nationalist parties to solidify their base and dominate the body politic in both countries. That is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible to reverse.

Political parties as we know them developed in Britain in the late eighteenth-century, and by the mid-Victorian era were established as Conservative and Liberal. In the early 20th-century the........

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