Election reflections

The general election result provides confirmation, if it were needed, that the UK is not a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word. The Conservatives took 51% of the seats with 37% of the vote on a 66% turn-out, meaning their “triumph” was achieved with the support of just 24% of the electorate – and when the 3 million people who didn’t even register to vote are included that figure falls to 22% (for Wales the position is even more starkly undemocratic: we will be run by a party voted for by a paltry 17% of the electorate – but I will come to Wales later).

In the Mother(fucker) of Parliaments, all votes count – but some count more than others. First-past-the-post carefully loads the dice in the Tories’ favour and, to mix metaphors, the playing field isn’t level either. A massive overdose of rightwing propaganda and bias is intravenously injected into the masses from cradle to grave by the Tory media, and the millionaires’ party also have the wherewithal to pump double what is spent by all the other parties combined into electioneering. By this method the Tories gather their votes from the brainwashed and the bought – and yet, despite these vast, inbuilt mathematical, cultural and financial advantages, they still only scraped home with a measly 11-seat majority. It is clear that in an imaginary UK where all political parties had exactly the same resources and exactly the same media backing, the Tories would never form a government again. This was no victory; it was a putsch. Crow while you can Cameron; without the gullible LibDem patsies and stooges to take the blame and deflect the hate, your day of reckoning will come…

Not having a legitimate democratic mandate never stopped the Conservative Party before, and it won’t now. Unleashed from the slight moderating restraints imposed by the coalition, the Nasty Party are immediately getting cracking on abolishing social security, transferring public assets into corporate hands, completing the commercialisation of health and education, further feathering the nests of the super-rich elite, entrenching savage inequalities unprecedented since the era of feudalism, and generally acting out their reactionary obsessions and pet hates. Nothing symbolises this better than Cameron’s declared intention to repeal the Human Rights Act. Yes, to Tories the most pressing issue among the numberless problems afflicting the queasy queendom is the urgent need to abolish Human Rights! Says it all really. This will be government by Daily Express editorial; government by lowest-common-denominator demotic populism; government of the thick by the thick for the thick.

The tabloid-reading morons cheering on the prospect of their rights being taken away wouldn’t know that the Human Rights Act has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU, because the xenophobic Tories have deliberately conflated the two. The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms came into force in 1953, with the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) a passionate supporter (today, even an aristocratic High Tory like Churchill would be on the far left of the Labour Party, so far has the UK political spectrum lurched to the right over the last 40 years). The EU is not a signatory to the Convention and has no role in administering the European Court of Human Rights. It is administered by the Council of Europe, an independent body of which the UK was a founder member, set up in 1949 to promote co-operation between European countries in the wake of WW2. The Convention enshrines precious rights and freedoms hard-won across centuries of struggle, which only tyrants and despots could disagree with and which no individual would want to be without if ever unlucky enough to be in a position where they were needed. Just because, if one is to believe the gutter press or TV cop shows, there might be an infinitesimal few examples of people ‘abusing’ some provisions of the Act (ie: as with all laws, trying to use them to their best advantage) is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater – any more than manipulation of, say, the complex clauses of the Homicide Act would justify scrapping the law against murder.

But draconian, repressive, autocratic authoritarianism is in the Tory bone-marrow. Having not had their hands on untrammelled power for 18 years, they’re drooling at the prospect of making up for lost time. Stand by for lots of attacks on civil liberties, like for instance record-keeping of all our internet browsing histories, ministerial vetoes on freedom of information requests and sweeping new ‘counter-extremism’ measures – all already promised by Cameron. As we know from Blair’s ‘counter-terrorism’ legislation, which I’ve had quoted at me by private security guards in Cardiff’s High Street Arcade because I committed the terrifying act of writing in a notebook, such laws will quickly expand to cover any activity deemed to threaten the interests of the secret British state or the domineering system of ‘free market’ ideology.

As for the Labour Party, which used to exist to protect and defend the people whenever the Tories wage class war…do we laugh or cry? Perhaps a bit of both. The count had hardly finished before Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones, now the only Labour politician with any semblance of power in the entire UK, was up on his hind legs giving us the benefit of his considered interpretation of the vote’s lessons: apparently, Labour must be more “pro-business” (I will come to Wales soon). The four deeply unimpressive, nakedly ambitious Party functionaries seeking to replace Ed Miliband all concur with Jones’s analysis. Amid the vacuous prattle about “fairness” and “working people” they too reckon Labour “went wrong” in not supporting “aspiration” and “business” enough (ie: not being Tory enough). So completes this clinically sick organisation’s final infiltration and takeover by rightwing entryists. Devoid of aims and ideals, Labour is now completely pointless. By rushing to ditch any policy that might deter and adopt any policy that might appeal, like a whore changing out of lace into latex for his next client, they make the category error of assuming that the UK’s arbitrary and rigged electoral outcome imparts some wisdom that must be learnt, when in fact the result only reveals that around a third of the population are venal ignoramuses. Without any principles to stick to, Labour is reduced to touting for the votes of the greedy and the selfish for no other reason than they desire another stint fattening their bank balances at the Westminster feeding trough. No wonder they’ve lost 5 million voters since 1997. Why go for pale pink Tories when you can have the real thing?

Turning briefly to the LibDems (I will come to Wales shortly), the mathematics of their annihilation are so shocking (an 86% reduction in parliamentary representation – the all-time record collapse in UK electoral history) that there is precious little mileage intruding on such overwhelming private grief, especially as I know so many of Cardiff’s LibDems well. Some very well. Indeed some very, very well – like, for instance, my partner (that’s why I always wear long sleeves!). Hmmm. Never mind sweetheart…we’ve got each other…we’ll be ok…xx

The uplifting, encouraging thing about this Election was the stunning landslide victory of the SNP, winning 56 of the 59 Scottish seats. Not only does it show that there are plenty of alternatives to the ‘austerity’ consensus of the London parties, it also propels Scotland further along the road to the only prize worth having for any self-respecting people: independence. The sweet irony is that the Conservative & Unionist Party now make the best argument in favour of that independence. Tory strategists, desperate to hurt Labour in Scotland, painted scaremongering apocalyptic scenarios of the SNP “holding parliament to ransom”, thereby admitting that this is a ‘Union’ in name only – or otherwise there would be as little objection to Scotland ruling the English roost as there has been to England doing the same in Scotland for these past 300 years. Now that Cameron is Prime Minister of Scotland and runs the country despite having just one MP there, he has suddenly stopped fretting about such matters. He has no problem when Scotland is “held to ransom” by English MPs; and thus Cameron confirms he’s actually England’s PM, ‘Britain’ is a fabrication and Scotland is no partner, it’s a possession. Furthermore the glaring contradiction in the Tory (+UKIP) position – against centralised power in Europe yet in favour of the very same thing in the UK – makes it abundantly clear that the only power Tories approve of is their own. Oh what a shock. The SNP, thanks to the rising groundswell of the Scottish people and magnificent, motivated leadership, are exposing Westminster for what it is: the one layer of government we can absolutely do without.

And finally (to symbolise our supreme unimportance within the UK) I consider Wales…but which Wales? British Wales (Lab+LibDem+Green, 30%)? English Wales (Tory+UKIP, 24%)? Welsh Wales (Plaid Cymru, 12%)? Or the alienated majority who probably weren’t even aware there was an election taking place (34%)? These are the four quarters of Wales; the grim reality those of us who dream of freedom must face, and tackle. We know it is possible, and we also know change can happen rapidly: just 30 years ago the SNP took only 11% of the Scottish vote; now they have over 50%. The Labour Party in Wales stands increasingly exposed as the enemy of Wales, nonsensically insisting we must stay shackled to governance they in the next breath tell us is bad, and blocking the autonomy that is the only way to escape the perpetual Tory rule they simultaneously facilitate and berate. Next year’s Assembly elections will be a chance to hammer another nail in the coffin of these crooked collaborators, charlatans and chancers by voting Plaid in numbers and denying Carwyn Jones the majority he needs to spend another five years doing nothing except pour cold water over pro-Welsh feeling. Of course, this runs the risk of giving Andrew RT Davies and the ‘Welsh Conservatives’ (excuse my French) a sniff of power, but what tangible difference would it make? In fact, so similar are the underlying political philosophies of the two parties they might just as well form a coalition in Cardiff Bay. They could call themselves the Laxatives. Boom! Boom!