I’m not going to lie: I love politics, I’m very passionate about it and probably spend way too much time thinking and talking about it. Having arguments with my fellow students is one of the greatest things about being at university. However, on Thursday, the argument was settled by the British public: against all odds, the electorate returned a majority Conservative government.
Despite all the passionate efforts by Labour to describe the past five years as a period of time when the UK has been turned into a ‘burnt land’ governed by greed and selfishness, the majority of the UK are just not buying it. I am genuinely convinced – and I know very many left-wingers disagree with me on this – that the public are actually quite
good at knowing what’s best for them. This time, people across the country actually feel they’ve done quite well over
the past couple of years compared to what they had before when they were losing their jobs.
This is the thing: the British are a very sensible nation, and they don’t really care that much about abstract political ideologies and high profile speeches by party leaders. That’s why parties on either end of the political spectrum always do so badly, unlike on the Continent. The party which can give people a decent job, allows them to keep as much of their own money as possible whilst providing the essential public services, and the party that gives people a hope that if they put aside a little bit of money each month, they’ll be able to buy their own house
and look forward to security in retirement will win. Labour did that in 1997, and the Tories have done it now.
It’s absolutely staggering: the Tories gaining seats from Labour in places like Wales or North East of England, places where my puppy, if I had one, would have traditionally won if he was Labour. Whilst I’m constantly told by people that the Tories are a bunch of posh,Champagne-drinking toffs wearing top hats – admittedly I find it interesting that this argument is often made by Oxford students from very privileged backgrounds – we have seen a major shift of working class voters from Labour to the Conservatives (and UKIP for that matter). The support for the Conservatives has surged among ethnic minorities, young people, LGBT people or people on the lowest incomes since the last election. I must confess that to some extent, I find the total collapse of the Liberal Democrats a bit unfortunate. I think they made the right decision to form a coalition with the Tories and I feel sorry that they had to go through such a rancorous, hate-fuelled campaign against them.
However, they just never really came up with any positive reason why people should vote for them. They have been living all these years off the rent of different forms of protest vote which have now gone all over the place: to the Greens, UKIP or the nationalists. I know it’s very exciting the SNP have won virtually all Scottish seats,but let’s all remember the Scottish people voted to stay in the UK last year. The majority of the votes in Scotland went to
unionist parties, and the Prime Minister is still the leader of our one, single United Kingdom.
Everyone was saying this election campaign was a bit dull and not very engaging. Well, we’ve seen on party win a majority beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. We’ve seen Miliband, Clegg and Farage go.
We’ve seen a complete wipe out of Labour in Scotland. It almost makes me want to say the British have a sense of humour.
Every election sparks a lot of emotion. There has been a lot of intense disagreement and sharp debate over the past couple of weeks, but I believe we can all still be respectful of each other’s views. Every country needs a well functioning opposition, and I wish Labour the bestof luck in finding a new leader. We must all be intellectually honest with ourselves and admit the world isn’t black and white.
No one is of course claiming everything is great in Britain and that everyone is doing fantastically well: there is still a lot to be done to make the UK a fairer place where an honest day’s work pays and provides security for your family. I believe the record of the Conservative Party shows they have the best shot, and on May the 7th 2015, the British people agreed with me.