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Brushing swiftly past the obligatory WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING, PEOPLE WHO SAID YOU'D VOTE LIB DEM AND DIDN'T, the result of this election really wasn't terrible. Here's why.

When I eventually went to bed this morning, fuzzily disappointed, I read a bit more of Charlie Brooker's The Hell Of It All. Including this column, from just under two years ago:

You're a passenger in a car that someone else is driving, and your hands are tied, and up ahead is a container lorry full of hot liquid manure that you're definitely going to run into the back of, but your driver's deaf and blind and not slowing down, so there's nothing you can do except writhe in your seat and brace yourself for the impact.

That's roughly how I feel following the Crewe and Nantwich byelection. Thanks to a 900% swing to the right (or thereabouts), a Cameron-fronted Tory government now looks like not just an alarming possibility, but an awful, grinding, inescapable certainty - yet another preordained slice of doomsday, like climate change or the War Against the Machines. The countdown has already begun.

This is what EVERYONE THOUGHT. The fact that the Conservatives don't have an outright majority, even with the UUP and taking into consideration the fact that Sinn Fein don't attend parliament, is pretty amazing. It feels like a huge let-down because of the inexplicable collapse of the alleged Lib Dem vote, but what's really happened is that even with a global financial collapse, riots in Greece, strikes all over the UK, virulently pro-Tory media and a hugely unpopular Prime Minister and Labour government, we still didn't vote in the Conservatives. Take heart, fellow lefties!

Other positive things to take from the night were:

  • The first ever Green Party MP was elected - Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion. And she could end up with a disproportionate amount of influence.

  • The BNP was absolutely pwned. Got nowhere in Barking or Dagenham in the national elections, and has apparently lost all its council seats there too.

  • It seems pretty much certain that we'll end up with some form of PR - or at least a referendum for PR - out of this.

  • I doubt the Lib Dem backbenchers and members will let the leadership get into a coalition with the Conservatives.

  • "Gay-curing" evangelical loon Philippa Stroud didn't get in. Peter Robinson got kicked out, as did Jacqui Smith, and Charles Clarke.

  • Scotland still only has one Conservative MP. *shakes fist at Dumfriesshire*

  • ID cards? Gone. So gone.

  • The BBC is fucking awesome, and Dimbleby, Paxman and Vine should be knighted. And sent for a long holiday.

  • And best of all, the BBC enlightened us to the fact that "the Queen is only activated under certain circumstances."

And it's possible if PR is agreed by the parties or in a referendum, we could do it all again in six months or a year. Hurrah!


( 17 comments — Comment )
May. 7th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
It's quite something. I just hope the LibDems don't get overawed by the prospect of actual government, but I hear someone dumped a 24-page document of demands in Cameron's lap that had been prepared a good while ago, so it does sound like they know what they're doing.
May. 7th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Ha, I hadn't heard that - excellent. I just can't imagine any way a Tory/LD coalition could work after they'd got rid of ID cards...
May. 7th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
They agree on a lot of stuff according to the news - ID cards (obv), environment, taxation. Where they clash is on Europe, defence and proportional representation. The last is, I think, the one that's going to cause the most trouble and it's the one the Libs are most likely to hold out for.
May. 7th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
If they agree on taxes then one of them has been lying to us fairly blatantly! I expect there's a few tax policies they agree on - not cutting Child Tax Credits or something - but I don't believe they're all that similar. That could be just the impression the LDs like to give, though.
May. 7th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
I'm going with what BBC news claimed so it's probably more like they agree on some or a wide-range of taxation policies, certainly not all.

I'm interested to see how this pans-out. I'm quite happy that whoever gets in will likely need Lib-Dem support and that a "proper" Tory government isn't going to happen. Of course, there's the argument that there might be another general election within a few months...
May. 7th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
What're you up to tomorrow? http://marrog.livejournal.com/434081.html
May. 7th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
Working from 2-12, sadly, or I'd totally be there.
May. 7th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
# It seems pretty much certain that we'll end up with some form of PR - or at least a referendum for PR - out of this.

I'm hoping for this and I think the Libs should hold out for it regardless. One of them will give-in eventually.

# I doubt the Lib Dem backbenchers and members will let the leadership get into a coalition with the Conservatives.

Why not? They're not a "smash the Tories" far-left party, they're very centrist and they'd be allying with the most centrist Tory leader in living memory. They also know that their best chance at any power is a coalition with whoever is more willing. I doubt the Liberals like Labour much either but they managed to get into government with them in Scotland and make it work.
May. 7th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm going mostly by the reactions of the Lib Dems I know on Twitter and here, so there's an obvious selection bias, but I think there is a large hardcore anti-Tory faction of the party. They don't like Labour, but they hate the Tories.

I have some faith that the promise of power on its own wouldn't be enough for them to make too many compromises :S
May. 7th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
but I think there is a large hardcore anti-Tory faction of the party

Oh, I don't doubt that the Lib Dems as a whole are anti-Tory (and that the Lib-Dem left will be particularly so) but I also think they're anti-Labour. Thing is, they have to do a deal with one of them and I honestly don't think that the party, as a whole, strongly prefers one over the other. If the Tories were lead by someone like IDS then I think they'd find it more difficult but Cameron's a bit more palatable to the Libs.
May. 7th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
You're definitely right that Cameron's more palatable than other recent Tory leaders, and there are areas where the Lib Dems are closer to Con than Lab - notably civil liberties, I think.
May. 7th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Libs and the New Tories tally a lot on the civil liberties issue, although I'd imagine there are still differences.

What bothers me about a Lib-Con alliance (well, one of the things) is how influential the Tory right actually are. Cameron talks very differently from them, especially on issues like gay rights and the NHS, but I think Cameron's more spin than substance and he strikes me as an appeaser. Of course, that latter attribute could be useful to Clegg if the Lib-Dems were to become kingmakers.
May. 7th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
I think that any alliance with the Tories would doom the Lib Dems to marginal status. I know a lot of Labour supporters who did switch to Lib Dem, or wanted to, who will never trust them if they help out the Tories. Maybe the Lib Dems don't want an influx of ex-Labour supporters, but my hackles are raised and my Labour roots are showing again.
May. 7th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
But more people DID vote Lib Dem. It's just that more people voted for other other parties, too.

I should probably be honest here and say that for the first time in my voting life I didn't actually vote Lib Dem, but that's because I take the view that I'm voting for an MP to represent my consistency and the Lib Dem candidate turned out to be so unimpressive that I swallowed my pride and voted for the standing Labour candidate. I can still taste the bitterness.
May. 9th, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)
Every single seat!
While I was 99% sure that the BNP would not return an MP from either Barking or Dagenham & Rainham, I will confess to cacking myself slightly when contemplating the potential makeup of the local council.

Their policies, well those that could be untangled from the general air of stuff anyone that doesn't have 300 years of anglo-saxon family history, were seriously fucked up. I was starting to investigate what it would take to force another council election.

I really really would have loved to be a fly on the wall at the council-count.

I will let Nelson have the last word.
May. 17th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
What's happened to your Doctor Who reviews?
May. 20th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
Laziness! I must make an effort. This weekend, for sure, since I'm not busy on Saturday for once!
( 17 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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