What have we learned?
Saturday, May 08, 2010
We already knew that so few people care about habeas corpus, jury trial, the presumption of innocence, policing by consent or even respect for privacy or freedom of choice that these were not election issues. The parties banged on about what they could do for us if elected. What they could spend on us. They talked about tax credits, benefits, "investment" in education and health - all without any word about the cost or who would bear it. Except, of course, for the evil "rich". All three main parties despise those guys, yet all also seem convinced of their loyalty, patriotism and generosity. If you based your opinion on what politicians expect of the rich, rather on how they speak of them, you might think them wonderful.
Nor was there talk of reforming a "democracy" in which the Conservatives' electoral failure would, for Labour, have been a triumph. No-one mentioned the iniquities of a system that allows a Scottish led Labour Party to bribe Scots with English gold into imposing a socialist system for which the English did not vote.
No-one was promising to end the sickening waste of human potential involved in a state education system more Marxist than any ever implemented in the Soviet Union. No-one even hinted at a plausible plan for weaning corrupted millions from state dependence.
The outcome could scarcely have been worse. While the politicians squabble over their dunghills, the decisive economic action we need will never be taken and the cost, when it is finally forced upon us, mounts. This unstable situation will not last. We are stuck in a permanent election where no question is too dangerous to be ignored. The electorate has voted for denial.
The political mould was not broken. The number of Liberal Democrat MPs fell. They are now reduced to political whoredom, pimped by their lightweight leader. The Labour core vote - incredibly - held. I cannot imagine what Labour would have to do to a Glaswegian, Geordie or Liverpudlian before he would stop voting for them, but I am pretty sure - if filmed - it would get an "18" certificate. The Tories sold their souls, but the Devil cheated them of their price. If a two constituency sample is anything to go by, it seems that Britain has about 65,000 Libertarians. Even if all well-armed and fighting fit (and most of us are neither) it's barely enough for a coup d'etat, let alone an electoral breakthrough.
It seems the British people will sleep until external forces wake them from the childish dreams which comprise their political thought. They will believe in "something for nothing" until economic realities take that something away, a la Grecque. So much for the voice of the people then. We will hear the voice of money now. Don't expect it to sing lullabies.
Apart from an uncharacteristic spasm of activity during the two hundred years from 1650 and the ten years from 1979 the English have a rich tradition of lying back and thinking of nothing in particular.
So, regardless of who we voted for and regardless of what Cameron, Brown, Clegg and Her Majesty decide, it will be the men from the IMF who will shape the next generation.
Unless, of course, part of their medicine involves the Scots paying for their prescriptions, in which case the Greek-style riots on the streets may trigger a bit of temporary hanky waving by we southerners.
Posted by: john miller | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 05:31 PM
Hold on chaps
This was a fraudulent election to start with, fought under fraudulent rules. The High spot was the reaction of those denied the vote.
Those who voted Labour were frightened into it by wanting to be protected, The Tories believed they had the divine right of buggins turn, The Lib Dems amazingly enough are woefully unprepared for this moment.
I would sell my soul to the devil to get PR, yes Mandelson that means you, I would prefer that it was a Con/Lib pact that brought this about, but I fear the Conservatives do not have the moral backbone to accept this.
This next six months are going to be critical for this country.
Posted by: Guthrum | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 04:06 PM
Thank you, Tom, for the best summary of the election I have read.
Democracy, more than ever, appears to be The God That Failed.
Posted by: Suboptimal Planet | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 02:54 PM
Where I live, labour won back a number of local council seats, which they'd lost because many labour voters can't be bothered to vote in council elections, unless they're held the same day as a general election.
Posted by: Trooper Thompson | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 02:04 PM
You are right but not because of the reasons you give. The rich will simply not hang around to pay the price. If you guys want a "progressive" country (and the results suggest you do) it's time to close those borders and impose exchange controls.
Posted by: Tom | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 02:00 PM
In our present world the rich will not be paying the price, at least in taxes. Moreover if there is any real inflation it will be the rich etc. who will gain further advantage. As they have now bought the legal system and the police there is not much hope for the rest of us.
Posted by: Demetrius | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 01:39 PM
The Tories sold their souls, but the Devil cheated them of their price.
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is all you need to know about what happened.
Posted by: jameshigham | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 11:12 AM
This post is so unbelievably true. I cannot say how glad I am that I uprooted five years ago and settled in France. Also unbelievable is that France must be the only long term socialist country that seems to be reasonably democratic. Apart from the political establishments love of Brussels.I despair for my own country and the devastation caused by Labour. When about half of the population are given money from the other half, where is the incentive for change?
Posted by: Peter Whale | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:10 AM
Liblab may well lead to riots, but they will be thatchers fault, as is everything that is wrong and unfair in the UK.
Posted by: marksany | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 09:22 AM
After his most excellent analysis, Tom Paine writes: "It seems the British people will sleep until external forces wake them from the childish dreams ..."
Yes, but 'been there, done that' (1974..79). Clearly we have not learned from that mistake, and so need a more radical change of policy.
Let us give the taxpayer more power to insist that tax money is spent more wisely by government. For example, revision of the House of Lords as a fully elected House of Taxpayers, where each vote goes to a pound of tax paid (so pretty much the economic footprint of the nation, and for practicality, this is judged on income tax and NICs actually paid averaged over say 3 to 5 years) rather than having only a vote going to each citizen (the existential footprint of the nation).
With such a change, there would be much greater influence by those who fund government. This would be without loss of the clearly essential continuation of one person one vote, which should continue to be there through elections to the House of Commons.
Posted by: Nigel Sedgwick | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 09:21 AM
The British people deserve a Labour Lib-Dem coalition for a few months until the realities hit home. Then perhaps when everyone is on strike and burning down buildings will they turn on the politicians who have wrought so much economic and social damage and turn to sensible right wing politicians to save the day.
Posted by: Antisthenes | Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 08:54 AM