[This is a guest post]
Throughout the election I did my (small) bit for democracy by delivering leaflets for my local Lib Dems. I've always found leaflets a little annoying, but then, as I'm not a Lib Dem I didn't feel comfortable canvassing for them yet I wanted to help defeat the incumbent Tory.
I cast my ballot for David Rendel and waited up until 4 in the morning to hear that he'd been defeated. Here I suppose I could rant that a Tory was always going to win in the end anyway, but I don't want to.
I would still vote the same way as before and I would still get out there and try to support the Lib Dems. I'm under no illusions, they are not a party of the left, but I am as much a Liberal as I am a Socialist and even if the Liberals sacrifice their pretensions of leftism at least we can hope they will somewhat neuter the social reactionaries in the Tories.
Although this position puts me in the mind of this Beau Bo D'Or picture, with hindsight it seems the best I could hope to achieve on May 6th, and grim pragmatism has always been the way I have approached elections.
To begin however there is still a lot with which to be disappointed. The Tories are going to reduce the deficit too quickly and this is going to damage the economy; the Lib Dems are sadly acquiescing in this. The anti-deficit vanguard have taken control, despite the deficit of evidence to support their position.
Of course, this being the Tories there is also some hypocrisy to worry about. The Tories claim to be worried about debt, yet they have pledged to reduce immigration, something which will make the debt burden worse and trend GDP growth lower. Two of my main concerns, a chance for a decent living for me, and a chance to give a leg up to those unlucky enough to be born within different borders have been dealt a severe blow.
The positive side of this election is less clear. But I do think it offers a chance to regroup, although I appreciate this may be me taking refuge in a cliché.
There will likely be 5 years to get the left's electoral platform in order, and that means the Labour electoral position. The Labour Leadership contest is leaving me somewhat nonplussed - especially since the exit of John McDonnell, but it is not the distance of the election that leaves me uninterested. For me the next 5 years are not about getting elected, they're about fighting for services.This is for pragmatic and strategic reasons.
We will enter the next election in an odd position; normally a government has to lose an election, an opposition rarely "wins" it. Nobody won the last election and this puts the left in a strong position. Rather than wait for the Government to fail the left can spend 5 years presenting an alternative.
This is how I want to see the next 5 years spent; the Labour party spending some time becoming a party of the people rather than one claiming to be for the people despite evidence to the contrary; bloggers fact checking the government; unions defending their members; the public protesting for their services and the Tory's cuts delayed.
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