Living in Interesting Times

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Election 05 - my analysis

Thursday in the UK was the election that no one could win and no one could lose. Despite all of Blair's recent woes it was clear that the Labour party wouldn't lose the election. On the other hand their majority was (as expected) sharply reduced, therefore they can't exactly claim a win. The Conservatives for their part couldn't win this election - they were never going to take back no.10. But they weren't expected to. All they had to do was increase their representation to claim a win. And it was almost impossible for them not to do that. Likewise with the Lib-Dems. Sure they didn't get as many seats as they had hoped, but their representation in Parliament is bigger than it has ever been. So no win no lose.

The only person who really won outright was the pro-Saddam George Galloway. He defeated the wonderful Oona King. A Black, part Jewish woman MP - lets just say a Westminster rarity. On the plus side Jeremy Paxman completely nailed Galloway in this great interview. Speaking of antisemites. (Galloway I mean of course - not Paxman) the BNP might not have won any seats but around 200,000 people voted for them. That may not be all that much in percentage terms - but it is still 200,000.

My overwhelming sense through this whole election however has been 'So what...who cares'. And I am not alone in that. Turn out was just 61% (although this is an increase from last time) which means almost 4 in every 10 people didn't vote. I don't think my attitude is just because I don't live in England anymore.

I am one of Thatcher's children. I grew up only knowing Tory rule. I was 20 before I knew a Government that wasn't Conservative. I remember that day in 1997. The day of the Labour landslide. What I remember most was the feeling of hope. The sun was shining, I had stayed up all night to watch the results come in. The Labour theme song 'Things Can Only Get Better' was ringing in our ears and everywhere I went people were smiling. It was like it was true, things were going to get better - the world was made new. Even at the time we wouldn't have been English not to maintain a healthy dose of cynicism, a realisation that it was all an illusion. And yet for a few hours or days in 1997 this new Government seemed like it could make things better.

I guess for many people that disillusionment has made them more cynical and negative about politics. But not for me. I love Politics and elections. I never fail to vote - or lecture my friends about their responsibility to do so. Each time there is an election (be it here, in the UK, or even elsewhere in the World) I long for that hopeful morning after feeling. The brief sense that things will improve and the world will change for the better. It might be fleeting, but it was intoxicating.


  • Harking back to 1997- ah, memories, memories...did I mention that a man who gave me a first on an essay that same year was the 2005 RESPECT candidate for Preston?!

    By Blogger tafka PP, at 4:44 PM  

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