As the dust settles, part 1: the national picture


ballot box

Well that, my friends, was an unmitigated f**king disaster.

I barely know where to start. There won’t be any glossing over on this blog, because frankly there is no glossing over this. Labour were preparing for government on Thursday, and on Friday the Tories have a majority.

I don’t really know what went wrong. Clearly the majority of the British people were not convinced by the policies that Labour were offering. Which, to be honest, is a shame because I do believe that we had the best ideas for the good of the whole country. But if we can’t communicate that effectively and convincingly then it’s worthless.

This isn’t going to be a tirade of “the stupid voters got it wrong” though. This is a democracy; you don’t get to do that and then pretend you’re a democrat. You may not like it (I don’t like it -Ed), the voting system may not be fair, but according to the rules of the game, the Tories won.

Why, though?

Well, firstly I think the single-minded focus of a campaign based around the NHS was a mistake. The NHS is important, undoubtedly, but the economic argument was too often neglected. This is probably something which I am guilty of too. If you keep only to the areas where you are strong, then you will only ever reach the people who already support you.

It’s not like we didn’t have good policies, either. On housebuilding, for example, I maintain that we had the most credible policy of all of the parties. But on business policy we were too often silent, and failed to rebut the accusations of our opponents.

And speaking of, I cannot for the life of me understand why nobody explained why the Tory “dependent on the SNP” line was a crock of nonsense. It was easy. I did it many times on the doorstep. Even the swollen SNP with which we have ended up could not have held a Labour minority government to ransom.

It is, in this blogger’s view, over-simplistic to say that the party chose the wrong Miliband brother. True, the attacks which were deployed against Ed would have been less effective against David, but anyone who thinks that our opponents wouldn’t have simply come up with different attacks is being rather naive.

But the fact remains that for an election we were expecting to win (Sort of -Ed), Labour have done an astonishingly good job at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And as a result, I am not feeling at all optimistic for the five years to come.

Firstly, all of the stupid promises — unfunded pledges, that right-to-buy-for-housing-associations nonsense. All that stuff that they promised, expecting to be able to ditch it in coalition and blame on the Lib Dems, etc. We’re still going to have the welfare state slowly dismantled, our position in the world eroded, our justice system trashed, and an EU referendum which will throw the dismal recovery into chaos.

So where do we go from here? Well Labour need a new leader, for starters. I’m not going to speculate, as I want to see who the candidates are, and what ideas they present, but I hope for a shorter contest than the last time. We need to have a deep and considered debate about where the party is going, but in the meantime the Tories will be wreaking merry havoc on all we hold dear.

Hold fast Britain, the next five years are going to hurt…

There were a few silver linings to the night though:

  • George Galloway is no longer an MP.
  • The look on Nigel Farage’s face as he was told he hadn’t won. The look on Al Murray’s, for that matter:

  • The Lib Dems going down to 8 seats feels like justice, to be honest.
  • Poor Boris will have to wait to be leader. Diddums.
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