The reaction to the result of Thursday’s election on the left has been one of confused outrage. How could so many people back the evil Tories after five years of austerity? Protests were organised on Facebook, and all day on my Twitter timeline, people have been Tweeting about how the Tories have no mandate because 75% of adults did not vote for them.
Well you know what? 80% plus people did not vote for the Labour Party either. I am someone who has never voted Tory and can’t imagine any circumstances under which I would, but I just couldn’t stomach voting for Labour this time either. They just didn’t deserve to win. I suspect a lot of people felt the same way as me. Turnout barely hit the mid 60s%.
We have a first past the post electoral system in the UK. It’s not a fair system, but the result under this system was fair. More people voted Tory than voted for any other party and they have won enough seats to command a majority in the House of Commons. People who voted Tory aren’t bad people, they just think differently to you.
Moving on to Labour, the early signs are not great. None of the MPs who currently say they are considering leadership bids particularly inspire confidence that they can transform the fortunes of their party. The front runner seems to be Chuka Umunna, a man who seems to be held in high regard by those inside Westminster, but who I’ve always thought has nothing interesting to say about anything. His strategy seems to be to do what Labour’s opponents have always demanded. An apology for ‘overspending’.
The Conservative’s majority is small. They will struggle to get anything controversial through, and anything the leadership wants, they will have to trade with the right wing nutters on their backbenches to pass it. That does not make for harmonious government. The Fixed Term Parliament Act means they will probably limp on for the full five years though.
Hopefully, the childish hissy fits that have followed the election result will soon make way for some more constructive opposition to whatever bright ideas the Conservative front bench come up with over the next few months. A lot of the pressure is going to have to come from outside Parliament as it did with things like on the sell-off of forests early in the last Parliament. Petulant protests against the legitimacy of a democratically elected government probably ain’t going to do it though.