Reason Roundup

U.K. Election: Brexit Wins, Jeremy Corbyn Crashes

Plus: "Vaping policy" consumes the White House, the porn wars portend something bigger, the DHS wants subpoena power, libertarians in space, a Milk Freedom Act, and more...


The U.K. election has delivered a huge victory to conservativesand to Tory leader Boris Johnsonand astounding losses to the Labour Party. The results mean much more than the Conservative Party continuing to control the U.K.'s governing bodies.

With at least 364 seats won, the Conservative Party has well surpassed the number required for a majority in Parliament. Prime Minster Boris Johnson "will now enjoy a comfortable majority to 'get Brexit done'—in other words, to pass the withdrawal agreement that he negotiated with European Union leaders in October," notes The Economist.

"In truth, the election-night story was not so much that of a Tory surge but of a Labour slump," the magazine adds.

The Jeremy Corbyn–led Labour Party will see its parliamentary vote share drop eight points. It was the party's worst showing since 1935.

Labour's steepest drops came in areas where the Nigel Farage–led Brexit Party did well. (But as The Spectator notes, Farage's party did not "even come close to winning a single parliamentary seat.") 

In any event, it looks like Brexit is on.

And with the chances of Scottish secession rising again, some say this could kick off the destruction of the United Kingdom itself.

The election also speaks to the rising power of combining left-leaning economic policy with conservative social views and immigration policies (so, you know, the worst of all words for free minds/markets/migration types).

Britain's third largest party, the Liberal Democrats, also "had a dreadful night," points out The Economist. And yet

the Tories' mighty new coalition is sure to come under strain. With its mix of blue collars and red trousers, the new party is ideologically incoherent. The northern votes are merely on loan. To keep them Mr Johnson will have to give people what they want—which means infrastructure, spending on health and welfare, and a tight immigration policy. By contrast, the Tories' old supporters in the south believe that leaving the EU will unshackle Britain and usher in an era of freewheeling globalism. Mr Johnson will doubtless try to paper over the differences. However, whereas Mr Trump's new coalition in America has been helped along by a roaring economy, post-Brexit Britain is likely to stall.

Some say the results highlight how it's easier for right-leaning politicians and parties to embrace left-leaning policies than vice versa, though this idea has its skeptics:

"The British election results, like any election result, is the result of unique circumstances and multiple factors," suggests Jonathan Chait at Intelligencer. "It is also, however, a test of a widely articulated political theory that has important implications for American politics. That theory holds that Corbyn's populist left-wing platform is both necessary and sufficient in order to defeat the rising nationalist right. Corbyn's crushing defeat is a decisive refutation."


"Vaping policy" consumes White House.


A good piece from Jane Coaston on the new porn wars, with cameos by Katherine Mangu-Ward and myself:

For several decades now, movement conservatism has adhered to Andrew Breitbart's maxim that "politics is downstream of culture," arguing that rather than engage the forces of government to create change, conservatives should focus on changing popular culture instead. But some social conservatives are now arguing the very opposite….

Arguments in favor of the use of laws to change or improve human behavior hasn't been a characteristic of the post-2010 conservative movement that still bears the influence of the Tea Party and libertarian-leaning Republicans. In fact, Mangu-Ward told me that such arguments were, in her view, generally made by left-leaning politicians and thinkers. Referencing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to ban large sodas, she said such rationales stem from "the idea that we should prohibit people from making bad choices," or in short, "make the bad thing illegal."

Catholic theocrat and New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari told Coaston that pornography is "degrading" and "Andrea Dworkin was right."


  • Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) is introducing a milk freedom bill:

  • Uh-oh:

  • 3D printers are building houses for poor families in Mexico.
  • "Space entrepreneurs tend to share a fondness for libertarian principles," says Wired.
  • A West Hollywood councilman wants to launch a task force to look at the "lived experience of sex workers in West Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles area" and prepare a report for local and county authorities.
  • American Samoans are U.S. citizens by birth, says a federal judge. "American Samoans living in Utah brought the suit in 2018, arguing that being 'non-citizen nationals' instead of US citizens closed the door to some employment opportunities and didn't allow them to vote, among other rights afforded to US citizens," reports CNN.
  • California's gig worker "protection" bill continues to harm gig workers and freelancers.
  • The new U.K. Parliament will have a record number of women:

  • Lol: