Okay, right, a few quick thoughts. The first being: that was a bit fucking brutal. I suppose the Labour Party now know how Brazil’s national football team felt last summer. Actually, it was more like that bit in Game of Thrones where a viper violently disagrees with a mountain.
According to many leftists, the appropriate reaction to this incredible failure is for Labour to be more left wing. That seems quite insane, at least by Einstein’s definition. Of course, the mark of the true zealot is to have a worldview so entrenched that confounding evidence only re-enforces it. Aspiring Guardian columnists are already penning a million wanky columns explaining how best to win over the 2020 electorate – basically it involves not listening to a word they have to say.
When the electorate delivers the wrong result, the first instinct is to blame them for it. If only we could just remove them from the equation, our democracy would be a lot more sensible. And if there’s another thing worse than the electorate, it’s the right-wing press. If only we could just bring THEM under control, eh? If only.
Can I just pre-empt the inevitable moaning about Murdoch et al’s influence? That a crappy newspaper puts forward terrible reasons to support a particular party is not an argument against that party. It’s an argument against buying crappy newspapers. That Rupert Murdoch prefers one party over another does not necessarily follow that it is the wrong one. If Rupert Murdoch were to express a liking for strawberry ice cream, would you automatically stop eating strawberry ice cream? Of course not. Strawberry is the best fucking flavor.
Most of the people who hoped, like me, for electoral reform, will end up disappointed. That won’t stop them from laughing at UKIP, though – who, despite having the third-highest share of the vote, have ended up with only one seat. But that’s alright, because they’re UKIP – a fringe party whose concerns can be glibly dismissed, because they’re all just so horrible.
Attempting to paint your political opponents as monsters – when they quite manifestly are not – wins no-one over. You will instead find them changing the subject. And then later voting Tory. Because people who vote Tory tend not to come out and pontificate about it. Especially, it seems, not to pollsters.