Friday 5 June 2015

England, awake

I recently wrote about how the SNP showed change is possible within our political system. Even the safest seats are vulnerable to a well-organised and inspiring opposition party.

In England, the SNP were not on the ballot paper. A plurality of voters backed the Conservatives.

The Conservatives aren't promising a better tomorrow. Oh, they want to tinker with health, education, and policing as all governments do, and they have their obsession with the EU. That is not the core of their electoral appeal.

They want to cut taxes, slash public services, deregulate and make life easier for business; but I don't think the typical Conservative voter believes this will bring a new golden age of joy and prosperity.

Here is the Conservative promise: If you are one of the 64% of Britons who owns a home, and you have a good job or pension, tomorrow will be pretty much like today. That's all.

(Corollary: For the other 36%, including all of the poor and most people aged under 30, tough shit.)

It's not noble or ambitious, but it resonated with frightened voters in these uncertain times.

It's a depressing truth, and I fear the consequences. As a resident of England, I am seriously concerned at the damage the Conservatives may do to public services in the next five years. However, Tory victory was not inevitable. If some alternative party inspires the English to come out and vote in sufficient numbers, the Conservatives will be beaten.

What could this alternative be? I don't know. It wasn't Ed Miliband's Labour, with their vapid platitudes carved into a stone tablet. It wasn't the clowns and xenophobes of UKIP either, for which I am grateful.

I can only hope that before too long, someone better comes along to knock the Conservatives off their perch.

England! awake! awake! awake!
Jerusalem thy Sister calls!
Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death
And close her from thy ancient walls?

Thy hills and valleys felt her feet
Gently upon their bosoms move:
Thy gates beheld sweet Zion's ways:
Then was a time of joy and love.

And now the time returns again:
Our souls exult, and London's towers
Receive the Lamb of God to dwell
In England's green and pleasant bowers.

— William Blake

Yes, I've read a poem. Try not to faint.

— Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

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