Let me say this now: with perhaps the exception of Scotland and their sweeping, landslide, windfall from all of the other parties to basically a sea of gold (SNP, for those who might confuse their colours with the LibDems), I am still appalled by how the UK GE2015 election went.
Generally speaking, the turnout was good (about 70% of the voting population actually voted) and while I’m seriously going to be boycotting Clacton (UKIP’s only MP win) and Thanet (UKIP council majority), I can’t argue that the people have spoken…
And like true masochists, it seems what they want is to take greater and harsher beatings. What? what what? No, really, I’m still trying to mentally get my brain wrapped around this concept. I’d compare it to how victims of abuse often keep going back to the abuser, but I already did a piece on that back during the Scottish Independence Referendum.
Besides, it really doesn’t have the same feel as that; this is something different. A part of me wants to make some kind of sweeping gesture and dismiss it as it just being a “British Thing” like poor customer service and smaller packages in grocery stores, but that also isn’t quite right.
Some in the media are of the belief that the people of the UK simply voted for a Conservative majority government because they do not want the insecurity of Labour or whoever (i.e. they don’t want to risk someone else coming in and f-ing it up) making a mess of things.
Personally, I’m of the view that it’s already pretty messed up, undoing some of the worst of the things that have been done wouldn’t spell the end of the world, but hey, I’m just an immigrant; what would I know, right? Please…
So where did Labour go wrong? Honestly, it probably started when they chose Ed Miliband to be their leader. With all due respect (see: none), the man was a pancake much like Mitt Romney was and still is a pancake; he tried to be everything that everyone wanted even when it was contradictory. Heck, I make pancakes and I don’t flip them as much as they do on their opinions on topics.
Miliband had several missteps, however, beyond just sheer pancakiness (shut up, it’s a word in my world :C ). I still hold that, though most have likely forgotten by now, his worst was when he threw the unions (you know, the Unions that helped get him into the position in the first place? Yeah, those guys) right under the bus not two months after he assumed his new role. Not exactly the best way to make friends, now is it?
This of course heralded the shift of New Labour closer to the “centre” in terms of politics – which I will call mistake number three. See, they aligned themselves in such a way that it is now even harder to distinguish the difference between them and the Conservatives. And I’m not the first person to say it; many others have concluded that they’ve more or less become Tory-lite.
Meanwhile, the Tories, in their own shifting, have moved even further right to become what is in essence UKIP-lite. Which is, again, the reason why my mind is utterly blown away by how the UK voted but I digress.
We were supposed to be talking about Miliband’s mistakes (we can cry about the rest later). His fourth mistake was refusing to support Scotland during their referendum. Had Labour played its cards right it could have more or less ruled in Scotland until the cows came home. But they didn’t and so they lost Scotland – probably just this side of forever, but we’ll see, I’ve been surprised before.
Their fifth mistake? By my troth, it had to be when Miliband refused to work with the SNP during the debates. He could have been a real leader and put differences behind them, but he didn’t and instead he looked like the doofus who threw the baby out with the bath water.
Every step and misstep spelled the slow and steady trickle of lost votes for Labour. Their manifesto, while nice enough, read like a somber, lacklustre, trombone playing. Pitiable at best, it didn’t exactly come alight with passion.
But I’m an equal opportunity basher, so lets move on to the next biggest disappointment: the Greens. True their manifesto was like a pipe dream to candy land, but it at least it wasn’t a sad, washed out, excuse for a campaign like Labour. What was their greatest folly? A lack of charisma. Not even joking. Natalie Bennett, a lovely person as she is, does not have a commanding presence (the one who has that in spades is the new leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon) and this was especially glaring during the TV debate.
She also lacks in some pretty basic skills when it comes to giving a politician’s answer. What is a politician’s answer? It’s the answer that a politician gives to satisfy the enquiring minds while, at the same time, not actually answering the question. Miliband was also remarkably bad at this, while (and the main reason why he was so popular) Nigel Ferage is fluent in politician BS.
Without this skill, no matter how good or bad intentioned a candidate is, they will never be able to really sway the minds or hearts of the masses. If you’re a good person and you’re bad at giving the politician’s answer, you’ll come off as being dishonest or dodgy (how many times did Miliband refuse to answer a question and instead push his sound-bites? Yeah, case and point), or, in Bennett’s case: incompetent because when it comes to politics women have to be three times as good at it just to be recognised as being equals with the men.
Again, I cite Nicola Sturgeon as my evidence. I cannot understate just how much on her game she was. So much was she that even Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru – also no pushover – came across as mediocre in comparison. And, as I’ve already stated, a mediocre female politician is simply not strong enough to break the glass ceiling in politics. Even if mediocre by female politician standards is STILL better than most males. Which, in a way, I’ve now explained why both the Greens and PC didn’t do as well as they honestly should have.
But there’s an elephant in the room, I can hear you all say, “what about the LibDems? They suffered the most in this election.” What about them? No, seriously. Are you honestly surprised?
Okay, okay, to be fair they did lose a bunch of seats to the Conservatives; their leading partners in the coalition – and the ones most responsible for every bad policy that has been used to punish the poorest and most vulnerable. So what gives? Why and how did the Conservatives come out looking shiny while the LibDems took a tumble through the manure patch? Simple really, and I blame Nick Clegg: integrity.
Say what you want about the Conservatives (you know I don’t hold back my dislike for them), but at the very least they did what they said they were going to do in their manifesto. They may have lied about it through their teeth while they did it at the time, but they did honour what they wrote down. Can’t say the same for the LibDems. Nick Clegg has all of the courage of the Lion in the Wizard of Oz and he sold his party down the river for the low, low, cost of five years of power. He sold their integrity and, in the words of a very wise friend of mine: “once you’ve sold your integrity, it is worth nothing.”
Translation: the LibDems could only be trusted at that point not to do anything they said they wanted to do. When that’s what people think of a party, it really is no surprise that – for all his charisma and charm – Clegg was their downfall.
“So what about UKIP?” That’s a question? Ugh, okay, fine. Like Clegg (more so, even) Ferage is a snake-oil merchant if there ever was one. He could probably sell ice to an Inuk in Alaska in the dead of winter. But you can polish a turd all you like, at the end of the day it’s still utter schite. And while they got WAY more votes in the UK than they ever should have in a decent society (for that I blame the media and their monopolisation on fear and hate), UKIP was and remains a Xenophobic, Racist, Sexist, Ableist, Homophobic, f-ckbucket (new favourite word, for the win!) of a political party. Not an understatement.
As far as all of that goes, my faith in humanity is… well, not restored, but it isn’t in critical condition at the A&E, either. Because, guess what? We’ve got FIVE MORE YEARS of Tory “meanness” (in the words of Russell Brand) to wade through.