Don’t Look Back in Anger

BY MANDY BALDWIN

So, the irons have been pulled out of the fire and we didn’t have to face the terrifying prospect of Catweazle shuffling resentfully into the presence of our beloved Queen (or ‘Comrade Windsor’, as he no-doubt refers to her in his wildest dreams) to be given permission to surrender us to whatever poisons lurk in the mud.

After a sleepless night watching the Labour gains mount up, what a joy it was to spend a day gloating shamelessly over the hypocrisy of ‘snowflakes’ who shrilly condemn the DUP for their Christian Fundamentalist beliefs (“they’re, like, from the 17th century!”) in a week in which West Mercia Police contravened the Human Rights Act by arresting two people for posting a video of a burning Quran!

It was also joyous to see the Conservatives told, loud and clear, that there is a strong opposition such as should exist in any healthy democracy, and that having previously eviscerated the Lib Dems through coalition, no further deals will be struck.

I personally can’t bear Tim Farron and greatly fear his commitment to Remain, but he goes up in my estimation for refusing the bait. T May hardly bothered to campaign, such was her assurance of victory, and this is all wrong. Every politician should live in fear of being ousted, every minute of every day – if not, we have despotism.

GE2017 was a close-run thing, and offers lessons which all parties would be foolish to ignore.

For one thing, it showed that there is, in fact, no longer a class divide in this country. No, really, stop laughing at the back there – people constantly waffle about the ‘class system’ in the UK, but it no longer applies in the polling-booth at least.

Look at the graphs of voter intentions. People voted according to age and experience, with the young of every social class and income most likely to vote Left, the more mature most likely to vote Right.  This shows three things – first that the young don’t remember the 1970s, second, that they all assume someone else will foot the bill, third, that our educational establishments are a veritable infestation of people who never took that black-and-red print of Che Guevara off the wall.

It also showed that, when push comes to shove, a majority will put the country before their own interests: think about this – a majority of people who intended to vote to keep Corbyn out, admitted that under a Labour government they would be less worried about their own family’s well-being – but more worried for Britain.

Think about how splendid it is, therefore, that they voted as they did, and – take note, Conservatives – don’t think their vote gives you a green light to cut everything except your own salaries and the taxes of your cronies. Remember that forming this government required the suicide of smaller parties and a bail-out from a group you’ve looked down your noses at for a long time. Put a foot wrong now, and you’ve had your chips.

Give a very long, hard thought to the fact that, in the end, we were rescued from the brink by the Celtic Fringe: by Wales which turned blue with outrage, by the Irish who either don’t take up seats or are willing to share power, and most interestingly, by the persuasive verve and dash of Ruth Davidson, currently looking far more Churchillian than BoJo, for all his airs.

But the most important thing the election demonstrated, was that, in truth, no notable majority really wanted what either party was selling.  It was, as the makers of South Park put it, a choice between “a giant douche and a turd sandwich.”  And the main reason for that is what both main parties have clearly forgotten – their “star turns” (respectively, Blair and Thatcher) were modernisers, who picked up the values of their parties, and gave them a violent shake to make them more saleable.

In contrast, Comrade Corbyn and Mrs May are each, in their way, fossils, offering a vision of the past rather than a glimpse of the future.

In the red corner, we have a millionaire who sees no irony in dressing as Lenin and calling himself a Marxist while being endorsed for his anti-Semitism by none other than the English language version of Der Sturmer; in the blue corner there’s a vicar’s daughter who genuinely believes that a re-vote on fox-hunting is an acceptable item to put on the menu at a time when food-banks and homelessness are growth industries.  She might as well have donned a powdered wig and advised us all to eat cake.

Regardless of the tender feelings of many on this page, I’m telling you: without this, there would have in all likelihood been no need for any coalition.

Both main parties need to kill their darlings without delay, and face facts – perhaps even read the definition of the word ‘populism’ instead of thinking they don’t have to show ‘support for the concerns of ordinary people.’

It may be, in fact, that the day of the main party is done – after all, landslides seem now to be a thing of the past.  The free exchange of information via the internet which both extremes want to control to differing ends has ensured that most of us aren’t quite the gullible fools both main parties still take us for.

Once more, read the results loud and clear: we voted against what we hated most, rather than what we loved best, and that bodes badly for the practical manifestation of a first-past-the-post system, even if it’s never actually altered in law.  All the results indicate is that a slim majority were more delighted and relieved that Corbyn lost, than overjoyed that May won.

So, think on, main parties, and only continue as you were, if you wish to commit political suicide.

Because we all know now that, even without proportional representation, a government of sorts can be cobbled together from many voices, and next time, the smaller parties of all shades won’t be riding into any valley of death on your behalf.

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