The Ericle cast his vote for The Liberals (Democrats), the same party that he has voted for at every General Election bar one; when as a student at Sussex University in 1969 he campaigned for Labour to oust Julian Amery from Brighton Pavilion. My vote though deeply rooted in my political DNA was, in reality, a coward’s one as there was much that I did not agree with the LDs about, (Revocation of Article 52 and retention of the Trident nuclear deterrent, being the top two). Also, having voted for Ed Davey to be leader, my less-than-positive impression of Jo Swinson sadly proved to be accurate. The ‘sorry’ – and I use the word most intentionally – truth was that I got what I really hoped for: a Conservative victory with a working majority. This, IMHO, was the ‘best-worst’ result from an election where no objective positive was possible, after Lord Snooty’s releasing of the Brexit monster from the Pandora Box that should never have been opened. Sadly the recriminations with regards to Brexit are not going to go away for many years, but I do sincerely believe – especially given the new government’s insertion of a leave-in-2021 clause – that we are at The Beginning of The End
There are some who will want to see the election as a victory for nationalism – the UK’s and Scotland’s. In both case’s the electors that viewed matters through this lens were responding to a perceived disconnect between their framed homeland and a political whole to which they belonged. This will undoubtedly be a feature of many national elections with Europe in the years to come, given an EU that proscribes a political association beyond the national consciousness of its parts. However, to substantially ascribe these feelings to pure nationalism is to miss the point completely as to why The Referendum vote went the way that it did; namely a guttural scream against a central government that seems insensitive to regional and personal pains in an economic downturn. Both the UK governments and the EU need to quickly and effectively respond to this, if they wish to avoid further fissures. Easier said than done. Both the European & UK governments will have their work cut out persuading separatist factions that they have an empathetic understanding for all parts of their Unions, and that they have an appetite for progressive policies that address regional needs.
The Ericle tends to be a political optimist. Hence his one-year membership of the Labour Party, 2015-6, in order to support Jeremy Corbyn as Leader. Was I mad? In hindsight, I leave the issue of my sanity to My Reader, but the optimism of my expectations was certainly questionable. In politics I am always looking for the middle ground; the franchise that will embrace the broadest community possible. And in this quest, if there is an error in my ways, it is the hope that leaders of political parties will initiate agendas that appeal across the breadth of their membership. Sadly, Corbyn reverted to type and regressed not only to the Hard Left but also to a proposition of a Socialism that was rejected in the 20th century; and certainly had no place in the 21st. Of course, the biggest factor in the 2019 election was Brexit; but this on its own – Remain or Leave – was not the guarantor of victory. The tipping point was the domestic agendas proposed by the major parties and it was the rejection of Labour’s extremist manifesto that ultimately cost them this election.
One – perhaps the only one – personal positive that I can take from the 2019 election has been the active engagement by my daughter in political campaigning for The Labour Party. The Ericle has in the past pointed to his perception that today’s younger folk have a tendency to espouse grand causes – feminism, the environment etc – but not to engage with national politics. Naturally, she is very disappointed with the election result but I am encouraged by her proclamation that she plans to stick with it; and if she discovers, as part of this process, that politics is not only a matter of personal convictions but also about taking the majority along with you, then she – and hopefully many other young people who campaigned with her – will be on a path that will eventually be to the great benefit of the country. I also place some hope that among the arrival in Westminster of over 100 new MPs many are engagingly young. This has only got to be a good thing.
I am still convinced that the UK is a country with its heart in the right place – certainly more so than most others. UK elections are won by parties that gain the support of the centre, and if for this reason alone, perhaps we may be pleasantly surprised to find that Boris turns out to be more of a ‘One Nation Tory’ than most give him credit for. If he isn’t and he reverts to type, then surely a new New Labour or a credible 3rd party will have evolved by the time of next election. I did say that I was a political optimist, didn’t I?
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