My reaction to the General Election result was shock, horror, despondency then determination. I have a million thoughts in my head, and one blog post will not rule them all, so I’m going to try to order my thoughts in dribs and drabs.
I guess one of the biggest questions may be, what happened to Labour?
I’m reading some excellent post-mortems of the election, and many of them say (which I completely agree with) that one of the biggest ways Labour went wrong was to not challenge austerity and not challenge the deficit myth (not there wasn’t a deficit, before people pick me up on that, but that a government deficit is a completely different beast to a household debt, in which terms it was being presented to us; I can find economists who say this if anyone wants to challenge it, feel free). However, the problem I have with some of these analyses is that they are very generously attributing this failure to foolishness or lack of opportunism or vision. Unfortunately, I cannot see that Miliband and his merry men would lack that vision or that knowledge. They will have no lack of experienced, highly regarded economists telling them in no uncertain terms that austerity doesn’t work and that the deficit is misrepresented. The fact is that they are from the same background as Cameron, and austerity benefits them just as much as it hurts us. Those people, and those being held up as possible Labour leaders, are never going to put up more than a half-hearted argument against Labour because it’s just not in their own interests to do so.
If Labour are to really represent the majority of ordinary people in this country (I deliberately avoid ‘hard-working families’ because so many of those who we should be caring for are not in this category through no fault of their own, look at the disabled, the elderly, children, the sick, those in jobs yet below the breadline), they need to remember where they came from and who it is that is faithfully voting for them, despite everything.
In the meantime, we see the SNP answering the call of the disillusioned Labour voters in Scotland. Who is answering that call around here? UKIP and the Green Party. I know who I’m putting my faith in, but UKIP can and do shout very loud and very appealing messages. However, the Green Party is beginning to gain momentum. Over 2500 members joined since Thursday, only four days ago. We have to see if a calm, measured yet strong voice of reason can be heard over the hysteria of the right-wing.