Saturday 9 May 2015

UK general election - 5 things we learned

1. The Conservatives have managed three surprise election wins in the last half century – 1970, 1992 and now 2015. Labour have achieved none.

2. The British electoral system is as undemocratic as ever. The Tories now get to rule us even though nearly two voters in three were against them. UKIP won nearly three times as many votes as the SNP, but they got 1 MP while the SNP got 56. So far, the Labour-Conservative coalition has blocked any move towards real democracy, but if Labour begin to feel they no longer benefit from the current unfairness, will they abandon the road block?

3. It was refreshing to see Messrs Miliband, Clegg and Farage accept responsibility for their failures and step down (though Farage rather devalued his resignation by saying he might try to get his job back). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if politicians in power took a similar attitude?

4. There is such a thing as a good election to lose. If Labour had lost in 2005, as they should have done after Iraq, they could have held to account the conspirators who created the war, and made a fresh start, while, through serendipity, the Tories would have been landed with the world economic crisis. Today David Cameron is a hero, but with a tiny majority, he could soon find himself the prisoner of the Tory extremists, and by 2020, he may have lost Britain’s place in Europe, and lost Scotland.

5. They say countries get the politicians they deserve. The Liberal Democrats made many mistakes, but when Britain faced a severe economic crisis in 2010, they put the British people before party interests by going into a coalition that many Lib Dems found unpalatable. The British people responded by giving them the worst electoral drubbing in modern political history. It may be a long time before another party puts the national interest before its own selfish interests.

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