More election thoughts

Wow, that was a rollercoaster.

On the one hand I’m disappointed that Cameron and Osborne are still in power. I’m a software developer, I earn a decent wage, I might even be a couple of hundred pounds per year up with their tax breaks. But I strongly disagree that they are good for the country overall or the health of the economy in general.

As I said earlier, the Tories’ vote share is not significantly higher than it was in 2010, so this is not the voice of the British public, it is just an artefact of our stupid voting system which essentially randomises its input. Blame the system, not the voters.

I’m bitterly resentful of our FPTP system which tells me my opinion is worth less than a Tory voter’s. It’s the second general election I’ve voted in, but I still feel like I was tricked into legitimising a system that is artificially weighted against me. I think it is a complete failure that we have 3 million Ukip voters, who feel strongly enough to seek out a relatively extreme party, and we are telling them “nah sorry, your vote’s worthless because you support the wrong party”. That doesn’t address their concerns. That just makes them think they’re being marginalised. And they’re right, and they’ll come back stronger and more extreme.

I don’t blame anyone for not voting because the system is stupid and frankly I feel stupid for legitimising it.

On the other hand, I said before that I thought this was a bad election to win, and I still believe that. I don’t really class a Labour win as a personal win since I don’t really support Labour, but it would have been more of a win than what actually happened. Let’s put the feelings aside and look at this logically.

The Tories were confused about whether they even wanted to win. Their campaign was lacklustre and only late in the day did they suddenly promise lots of free money (which they can’t possibly follow through on) to everyone. Now they have won they might remember why they were hesitant, and they can’t hide behind the Lib Dems this time around.

Economic growth has been bad over the last five years, but the Tories have managed to get the public to believe that it’s on the verge of a strong upswing, even though there’s no real evidence for it. Had Labour taken over and that upswing never occurred, they would have been blamed for wrecking the Tories’ carefully laid plans. Now when that fails to materialise, the Tories have to take the blame and we might lose the absurd perception that the Tories are more economically responsible than Labour.

A crushing Labour defeat is the only outcome that could possibly cause Labour to be in a strong position in 2020. Ed Balls was never a popular figure and he’s now lost his seat, so there’s no risk of him becoming leader. Miliband was never a popular figure, rightly or wrongly, and he’s now gone. It’s not ideal, but Labour will have learnt a strong lesson about the value of choosing leaders who are not so easy to ridicule. Miliband was a bad leader of the opposition regardless of personal attacks; he spent about four and a half of the last five years staying largely out of the public eye, and when he did finally appear he focussed on shallow issues that were transparently populist. Sure, he got his act together in the last few weeks, but that’s not enough. Had Miliband got in with a minority government or coalition they’d have brushed off a lot of problems, refused to learn from their mistakes, and then been hammered in 2020. I hope that their leadership election looks to their backbenches instead of going for a senior party member, and the new leadership gives the boot to their current liabilities like Diane Abbot and Harriet Harman. I also hope that if they get it wrong, they’re willing to call a no confidence vote in 2017 like they should have done with Miliband.

The main downsides of this outcome, aside from the obvious concerns about NHS and other public spending, are:

Voting reform is off the agenda. The current system is undemocratic and frankly offensive. A possible silver lining is that as FPTP is benefiting the Tories much more than Labour, Labour might come out in favour of reform. We won’t get it while the Tories hold a majority, but it might become a pledge in the 2020 campaign.

We have to survive an EU membership referendum. It’s absurd that Cameron can simultaneously claim to have a “long term economic plan” while not knowing whether we’re going to have access to European markets in three years.

We are locked in to Tory economic policies which have so far been extremely underwhelming and quite hostile to young people. Don’t expect any wage growth for a while. This is seriously bad news for lower earners.

We now have to take the full authoritarian Tory surveillance state. The Lib Dems torpedoed their plans before, now we have no such protection. Theresa May is already promising to spend lots of taxpayer money, which we allegedly don’t have, on spying on us all. Oh the joy.

We’ll probably see a tuition fee hike in the near future. It’s an open secret that the Tories wanted them higher than £9k, and I suspect they’ll introduce that sooner rather than later – they won’t want it to be on people’s minds nearing 2020.

We’ve lost some good Lib Dem MPs like Julian Huppert and Vince Cable. We have a high enough ratio of muppets in the commons without kicking out the MPs who genuinely know what they’re talking about.


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