Friday, 8 May 2015

Post General Election Thoughts

It seems presumptive to post this with the results still being finalised but if the exit polls are anything to go by it's safe to say that the Conservatives will win this election. The victory will either be with a slim majority or just be shy of the needed 326 seats, enough to throw a crumb or two to any one of the other parties such as the Liberal Democrats, DUP or even heaven forbid UKIP. So let's get my obvious thoughts out of the way.

Image Credit Theresa Thompson
Despite my rather grandiose soapbox ranting about the importance of voting over who you should vote for, I am utterly stunned by this pending result. I cannot believe the electorate opted for five more years of the following;
  • crippling austerity that will lead to more dependency on what little benefits we have left and an increase in the need for foodbanks
  • continued privatisation of the NHS
  • even more cuts to legal aid denying more people access to legal representation
  • continued cuts to vital services such as refuges and help centres for women escaping violent partners and spouses (let's not forget the ex's)
  • increased energy costs that will see more elderly and infirmed unable to keep the heating on risking death by hypothermia
  • pushing through regulations allowing for fracking to be carried out under peoples homes
  • introduction of TTIP that will ensure none of our vital services can be nationalised and put power into the hands of big companies to strike essential legislation such as health and safety, ethical & fair trade, and fairer wages
  • Katie Hopkins staying in the UK
This of course is just the tip of the iceberg. I will particularly mourn our NHS as not only has it helped with treatment of my sleep apnoea but has provided vital care and treatment to at least three generations of my family, as well as my friends.

Image Credit League of Women Voters

I hope those who know me try not to take this too personally but I loathe every vote cast to keep the Conservatives in power, it was the wrong decision in my opinion and I now fear that we are in for some tougher times ahead. Still this is a democracy and the downside to trumpeting on about getting out there to vote is that those who listen and act on that war cry might not vote the way we'd like them to. On a Facebook post about the need to vote I pointed out that I wouldn't hold it against any of my friends if they voted for say UKIP and the same goes for Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters. Freedom to choose right or wrong is a fundamental principle but whilst Conservative supports wake up smiling permit me to indulge in a little celebration of my own, some small victories that offer us a little hope and put a smile on our faces;

  • George Galloway loses Bradford West to Labour's Naz Shah.
  • UKIP's Mark Reckless lost his seat in Rochdale and Strood
  • Karin Smith of Labour is my MP
  • The SNP coup
  • Lib Dem Stephen Williams is no longer MP for Bristol West
  • Although I feel a little sorry for them, the Liberal Democrats paid the price for betraying their electorate
  • Twenty year old Mhari Black (SNP) becoming the UK's youngest MP
  • Girl Power is riding high in Bristol with all four Bristol constituencies having elected strong women MPs Thangham Debbonaire (Bristol West), Karin Smith (Bristol South), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) and Charlotte Leslie (Conservative) - three out of four isn't bad.
  • The Green's Caroline Lucas holds onto Brighton Pavillion. Clearly people shared Russell Brand's view that it would be a travesty if her voice was lost in Westminster
  • Nigel Farage is on course to lose in South Thanet which would be made better if he lost some votes to Al Murray.
It's going to be a tough five years but if we get our MPs on side and keep the pressure on perhaps the damage can be minimised until the next election. Just be grateful that "only dogging" enthusiasts were not allowed to vote as according to Channel 4's "Alternative Election Coverage" it would have resulted in a UKIP majority.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred - Martin Luther King Jr

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