No matter how much Nigel Farage might want it to be, this is not America. This is Great Britain

5 July 2024, 19:25

We should never take for granted the peaceful transition of power
We should never take for granted the peaceful transition of power. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Perhaps it was the intense lack of sleep, or perhaps it was the fact I was covering the first General Election of my career, but as I neared the end of my shift after Sir Keir Starmer’s first speech as Prime Minister, I felt quite emotional.

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Not because Labour won a resounding victory, not because the Tories suffered a disastrous election defeat - not even because Sir Ed Davey’s fun, stunt-laden campaign translated into an incredibly succesful result.

No, I felt emotional because of how this great nation remains one of the most enviable democracies in the free world.

Just look at the United States, the supposed leader of the free world.

If you’re following what’s going on across the Atlantic, you’ll need no reminding.

But if you’re not, brace yourself.

Currently, the President, 81, is refusing to step aside as the Democrat candidate in the US election, despite clearly being in cognitive decline. During his disastrous CNN debate performance, Joe Biden was barely able to string a sentence together.

He is standing against Donald Trump, 78, who is a convicted criminal and a liar.

A man who refused to accept the result of the 2020 election and played a huge role in encouraging his supporters to storm Capitol Hill, as they ‘fought’ back against the result.

Jump to Britain in 2024.

There’s no denying the last few years have been chaotic; Partygate, Covid, Liz Truss’ 44 days in charge. Some of it the Tories fault, some of it simply events dear boy, events.

But the way the majority of Tories have accepted this defeat is not only something to behold, but something to be proud of.

First up, Jeremy Hunt.

Again, perhaps it was my lack of sleep, but his victory speech as he retained his seat in Godalming and Ash almost reduced me to tears.

The veteran Tory congratulated the Labour Party, paid tribute to Rachel Reeves and Sir Keir Starmer, labelling them “decent people and committed public servants”. He said their resounding victory was a chance to carry out vital NHS reform and continue to position the UK as a key backer of Ukraine.

This line got me in particular.

"We are incredibly lucky to live in a country where decisions like this are made not by bombs or bullets, but by thousands of ordinary citizens peacefully placing crosses in boxes on bits of paper.”

He perfectly captured the feeling of the moment, because he is right. We are incredibly to live under a democracy - which is far from perfect - where we can vote for whatever party we want, or not all, without fear of the repercussions.

It is a sentiment that was also captured by the outgoing PM Rishi Sunak, as he conceded defeat to Labour.

Like Hunt, Mr Sunak referenced the strength of British democracy, humbly accepting his parties’ defeat and fully respecting the result of the General Election.

And as was the case with Mr Hunt’s speech, a key line stood out to me.

"Today power will change hands in a peaceful and orderly manner.”

While Mr Hunt was right to point out Ukraine as a democracy that is under threat, as I said at the start of this piece, it is not just war-torn countries that are facing troubling trends, but key world leaders like the US.

Hunt and Sunak's speeches also represent a marked difference from the tone of Nigel Farage, who continues to speak of a 'political revolt', and seems keen - like Trump - to instil a political culture where anything goes without repercussions.

The US has experienced that reality and there are consequences.

Putting it bluntly, US citizens, like many around the world, can no longer truly live without the fear of power changing hands in a peaceful and orderly manner after the horrific scenes on January 6, 2021.

Simply put, the US did get to observe the peaceful transfer of power four years ago. Despite all fractured and emotional nature of the election result, Britain did today today, and I hope, always will.

While it may seem like the bare minimum, it is something we should never take for granted.

LBC Views provides a platform for diverse opinions on current affairs and matters of public interest. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official LBC position.