As the dust settles…
I’m sorry not to have kept blogging through the run up to the elections, but with polls closed and votes (mostly) counted, there is now much to be said. Now is not the time to rest, other than to grab back some of those lost hours of sleep. Now is the time to get working on building the civil society response to slash and burn cuts, or indeed any of a myriad of Tory policies, even though we know this still might not happen.
First, the turn-out. I think it fairly firmly proved that people who fail to vote do not necessarily do so out of laziness or lack of interest; smart people choose not to vote when they strongly believe it won’t matter, and that’s exactly what has happened here.
Second, that the BNP vote has collapsed. They have lost out almost everywhere the stood. We can celebrate this. But we mustn’t write them off. It probably means that the EDL will be less of a problem in coming months, and it probably means they will lack the resources for a campaign in York at the next Council election. Evidence from this last 4 weeks shows they’re barely interested in this city, which will be a relief, and will enable people to get on with campaigning for real politicians with real politics as we seek to end the disaster of the Lib Dem council in York.
With the Tories being elected in York Outer, the Lib Dems are now unlikely to make a strong showing in the next election. On the subject of that election: I’m glad Madeline Kirk wasn’t elected. I know who I’d rather spend time with, even though I realise Julian Sturdy will be harder to push on certain issues. Labour can take Westfield Ward and others, and the Greens can probably move in on a couple more seats. Even if I campaign for Labour in the west, I’ll be pretty sorry if the Greens keep their presence.
Of course, we then get to the issue of the coalition. I can’t say I have some great insight into Nick Clegg’s mind, but the situation appears thus: given Clegg must then get the support of 3/4 of Lib Dem MPs and 3/4 Lib Dem National Council members, he’s got to get either a really good deal, or the ConDem coalition isn’t going to happen. This would then give us three more possibilities. Either Clegg visits Brown, or the Labour party offices. I’m pretty sure he’ll do the latter. Obviously, Cameron will then try and find his way to the Queen’s door for a quick chat. All of these are better results, in my mind, than the ConDem government that could put the clock back on electoral reform.
So for the average person, who feels disconnected from politics, what can be done? Well, unless you genuinely want a ConDem government, its time to put pressure on the Lib Dems to refuse a coalition. Have you a Lib Dem MP in your constituency or your neighbouring/home/parents/university constituency? Now would be the time to get on the phone, tap out an email (I’d do this first, then ring), even get a group of Lib Dem voters who did so to oppose the Tories and go to the office. There’s even a facebook group, and people should join it right now…
For the Lib Dems, the ConDem government poses some very obvious let downs. After all, many people voted Lib Dem to show distrust in Labour, without voting for the Tories. Its fairly reasonable to assume that, given Labour cannot rule alone, 50%+ of the British public must be prepared to accept a Lib-Lab government, but a ConDem government will hold even less public backing than a Con solo-act. It will also shoot down the Lib Dems gains; essentially it could be suicide for the party. A few Lib Dems in the West Country who have had their seats nicked might be OK with it, but anyone up north knows that the Lib Dems will be on a loser with this one.
If the ConDem coalition goes ahead, the bi-election in North Yorkshire at the end of this month will suddenly become a much more tense event, with potential for huge Labour gains, though little possible chance they can take the seat from the Tories. Thank Goodness its not the Kingmaker-Seat it very nearly was.
I’ll have more from the elections tomorrow I’m sure… but remember…
Every Day is Election Day