When an election is won convincingly, it’s said that it’s the settled will of the people that the country is governed by the winning party – even when that party wins a minority of the votes cast and the country descends into riots.
The 1980s and 90s were marked by mass opposition to what the government was doing. The rest of the population dumbly accepted it or weren’t really paying attention. A handful thought it was great. But a notion that Thatcherism was inevitable and is immutable has become an unchallengeable narrative.
Now it’s said that the people don’t know what they want so will vote for a coalition, as though a fragmented populace is a coherent mass. Coalition is not a box on the ballot paper. No one elected the last one. People who vote Lib Dem are voting for a coalition by default, but not all of them, few though they may be, are enthusiastic. Many are voting tactically, or vacantly, or because it’s something to do.
This is probably the first election in a long time when Labour’s only hope of a convincing win would have been to offer something boldly radical. But Blair made more of an impact on Labour than he did on the country. Most people would rather not think about him any more, but Labour is still stalked by his ghastly henchmen, and still traumatised by having been in thrall to a madman for so long.
And now it’s lost Scotland and would need the support of its main enemy there to pass any legislation. The SNP will look convincing in Scotland because it’s managed to clothe nationalism in something that looks progressive – not difficult when Labour offers so little.
My bet is on the Lib Dems rescuing Cameron again, and ‘better us than UKIP’ being their feeble boast.
#232: Rue Britannia ● The legacy of the British Empire ● An interview with Priyamvada Gopal ● The People’s Olympics ● An interview with Neville Southall ● Agribusiness in India ● Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
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'The left case for Brexit was an interesting exercise, a bit like a Marxist review of The Very Hungry Caterpillar or one of those games where you work out whether it would be better to have no arms or no legs'
'After winning an open contest with massive support, Corbyn has been accused of "seizing power"...'
'Nuclear weapons cannot be seen purely as a source of jobs'
'Not many people would stand by and watch someone drown if they had the chance to rescue them, but that is what Europe’s governments are doing'
'The highlight began when it looked as though Corbyn could win, and continued thereafter'
'No, it’s not time to rehabilitate Tony Blair.'
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