What a night and a long day. I put some TV hours in from 4.45am to well after 1pm. But it is obviously as nothing compared to the people actually involved in the real thing. They may not enjoy my political support but they most definitely have my admiration for their commitment and stamina.
I predicted the local result in many ways but didn’t take into account the rise and stability of the UKIP support. Many people thought that UKIP just appeals to retired golf club captains who think that anyone not from Surrey is from Bongo-Bongo land, they overlooked the signals in Heywood and Middleton and other by-elections where significant sections of the “Working Class” identified with what Farage was saying. They are concerned about immigration and only to a lesser extent European Union membership.
Labour did not connect with them enough, focusing on zero hours contracts (actually liked by some, better than nothing think others ) the “crisis” in our NHS and “Secret Tory plans” to sell it to a Google-Amazon-Costa Coffee consortium. This almost arrogant disconnect was earlier signalled by the famous Emily Thornberry, Islington Labour MP, tweet about the St Georges Flag and white van in the Rochester and Strood By-Election
I believe that the substantial and surprising UKIP vote came from neglected Labour voters not disaffected Tory voters, the tattooed roofers on the council estates not the directors in the posh suburbs, the Aldi and Asda shoppers not blue rinsed ladies in Waitrose. They were all there to be brought into the Labour fold but were ignored as irrelevant or taken for granted.
Overall I was astonished by the final result, I expected the Hazel Grove result based on what I knew locally but would never have imagined an overall Tory majority across the whole country.
What also surprised me too was the vitriol on social media directed towards everyone who didn’t support the left . This dummy spitting was in contrast to the overall lack of triumphalism shown by many including David Cameron in his constituency acceptance speech. When did Labour decide it has a monopoly on compassion? Other people care and actually do things about it too even though they may hold different political views to you.
There is so much more that could be said but there is enough out there to fill a thousand hours of reading. It’s bye-bye to Ed Balls, Alexanders Danny and Douglas, Vince Cable, Simon Hughes, Nigel Farage, Esther McVey, Labour in Scotland, the Lib Dems in the West country and most pleasing of all, George Galloway.
So that’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed the 2015 election as much as I did. I feel a sense of deflation and the party’s over but nothing, as I said above, as much as the real participants probably do.