Who would be English today?
There might be some reason for celebration – even pride – if you live in Scotland or Wales, which returned, respectively, a big Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour Party majority.
But if you are English and a socialist,all you can do this morning is cry. Just go for it. Howl, rant, let rip the spleen, the fury, the despair. Ask yourself what the hell you are doing in this godforsaken place and why so many of your compatriots voted the way they did. Who are these people? They can’t all be rich, blinkered, bloodsucking bastards, can they?
Pundits have been pouring over the smoking ruins for several hours already. The Labour Party did so badly because it wasn’t ‘New Labourish’ enough. The Labour Party did so badly because it wasn’t socialist or anti-austerity enough. (A fact that became patently clear when the hapless Ed Miliband faced the women leaders from three smaller parties, SNP, Plaed Cymru and the Greens).
People voted Tory because they were scared of the even-more-rightwing UK Independence Party (UKIP), some say. Erstwhile Liberal Democrat Party supporters voted Conservative because they couldn’t tell the difference any more.
Think positive? Okay, the one Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who might have lost her marginal Brighton Pavilion seat, actually increased her majority. In East Oxford, where the New Internationalist editorial office is, Labour incumbent Andrew Smith increased his majority by 7.5 per cent. And there was the odd unexpected Labour victory – in Cambridge, for example.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to win Thanet, promptly resigned and may have disappeared into the pub for good now. After all the fuss and bother, the anti-Europe, anti-immigration party only held one measly seat.
But that’s only because Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system is dramatically un-representative. Just look at this: the SNP got 56 seats with 1.4 million votes; the Green Party’s 1.1 million votes resulted in just one seat, and UKIP got just one seat too, but with 3.8 million votes.
If the seats were allocated on a percentage basis, out of a total of 650 seats, the Conservatives would have got 240, Labour 199, the Lib Dems 50, the Greens 25, Plaed Cymru 4, and, wait for it: UKIP would have got 82 seats. Shit! And I thought I believed in PR!
Think positive? Sorry – try me another day.
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