Opinion

Election 2019: Where did it all go wrong?

I’ll start by thanking everyone who got out there and voted. Whether it be in a secure safe seat or a razor-thin marginal, your participation and use of your democratic right proves there is hope for the future.

A good friend of mine told me after most of the results had been declared that there was nothing we could do locally to substantially make a difference. The election had been decided the moment it had been called. And yes, this is correct. Although they say that a General Election is just 650 mini campaigns at once, there is no denying that the national picture ebbs away at the “candidate factor”. To give the Tories credit, their strategy was fairly perfect (aside from obvious blunders, “disabled people don’t understand money” anyone?). Eliminate the threat of the Brexit Party to your right, invent a genius slogan, shield yourself from press scrutiny (which whilst immoral is also a sound tactical move), profit.

From my point of view, Labour’s campaign was fairly strong. Its messaging was sharp and on point.. What really brought the whole thing crashing down around them was long-term attitude issues that stemmed from the arrogance of the hard-left. They seeked purity of view point amongst all other things. Anyone who wasn’t a Corbyn socialist like them could, “f*ck off and join the Tories” which, of course, they did. Labour’s hostility to opposition parties that they could have worked with in the “remain alliance” also did them no favours. No, the Lib Dems are not perfect but they’re still a darn sight better than the Conservatives.

As for the so-called “Yellow Tories” the national campaign was all over the place. Most voters I spoke to on the doorstep were in favour of my local candidate, a hard worker with ten times the empathy of the incumbent. However, they could not get over the attitude of Swinson to Leavers and the tone of the revoke policy. It was difficult to explain to people (in the little time we have on the doorstep) that revoke was only in the unlikely event that we formed a majority government and that we would revert back to second referendum otherwise. This begs the question of why bother? If the policy was just going to be replaced within a couple of weeks then why have it in the first place, especially considering our second referendum position was a lot stronger? Admittedly, there was a lot of spin on it by Labour and the Tories but that proves how ill-conceived it was.

When I saw the exit poll that evening I was, as I am sure you were, mortified. How could people have voted for this lying, racist, misogynistic buffoon? An insult to the office of Prime Minister! That was my initial, angry reaction. I’m still trying to frame this answer so please forgive me if this comes across as poorly thought out. People, naturally, are seeking change. Blair offered change in 1997. Obama offered it in 2008 and Trump offered it in 2016. Brexit, no matter how much we disparage it, offers that change. Yes, it’s mad, but think about how you would feel if you were ignored the one time you voted in your life; that one time you interacted with the political process and those “bastard politicians” ignored you. We need to come to terms with that.

However, there were silver linings to the evening:

  1. Anne Widdecombe, crass homophobe and every crazy, racist aunt ever, lost to a gay man, Luke Pollard, in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport. 
  2. Count Binface got 69 votes. That’s all.
  3. Well-known anti-semite Chris Williamson lost his seat in Derby North. Good riddance.
  4. David Cameron got caught talking to a tree.

So it wasn’t all bad news.

This final point may not seem like good news, what with the damage that this Tory government will do, but just bear with me. What this election has granted us is time. Time to reflect on our failures, I don’t see Labour being in power for at least a decade and I don’t see the Lib Dems ever breaking back into the 30s anytime soon.  We need to take our time. The Tories will mess up eventually, they always do. Take our time to learn to work together, let bygones be bygones and let’s work to try and break down that majority. It’s been pointed out to me before that liberalism and socialism aren’t natural allies and this is true, they are not. However, I’m willing to believe that we have one thing in common that transcends this: progressivism. So let’s sweep away with tribalism, shake hands and begin anew. God knows we’ll have to.

Featured photo by ChiralJon on Flickr licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

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