What a weird couple of days it has been. Now that the dust is beginning to settle over what may turn out to be one of those rare but defining moments in British politics where the true repercussions are only felt years later, the strange initial mix of elation and utter horror has been replaced by the realisation that this is a country screwed up in so many ways it’s not funny.
Essentially people chose to back a government that is in hock to some of the richest and most privileged people on the planet. As in any democracy – even one as thoroughly broken as this one – that is their choice, and it is maybe no surprise that in an era of continuing economic chaos the whispers of ‘if those people who are not like you get less, you would get more’ that have come to define Conservative thinking in its entirety has had such a powerful draw on the minds of the so many of the voters. Nobody, though, expected the Tories to win a majority no matter how slender – and with only 6 seats beyond the half way line it is certainly that.
The Labour opposition proved weak and ineffectual once again. This failure to properly rise to the fight characterised them in the eighties, and it was evident to anyone paying attention over the last five years that once again they seemed utterly bereft of any ideas in how to combat Tory viciousness. It was a failure of ideology first and foremost. The Labour party’s continuing drift rightward, designed to appeal to the middle class southern voters in the Tory heartlands, was at the root of their downfall. People might be cruel and selfish, but they are rarely that stupid; why buy a can of supermarket own brand cola when you can simply buy a Coke? Beyond this, though, there were failures of belief, of standards, and of imagination. They were a party increasingly uncertain of what they stood for, and why, and led by a decent enough man who was entirely lost beneath the weight of expectation. It was a horrifying repeat of the Neil Kinnock years.
Up here in Scotland, though, things were as different as it was possible to get. People of every age, of every class and background came out and simply voted for the Scottish National Party. In fact, so many voted SNP that they won 51% of the entire Scottish vote – a record in the post-war period. Scotland has been Labour’s heartland for decade after decade, a symptom of the age-old sickness of ‘I vote Labour because my Dad voted labour and his Dad voted labour’. But since last year’s Independence Referendum, where it was so painfully obvious that Labour had sided with the hated Tories to smear and attack anyone who disagreed with the establishment’s gravy train system, and it’s aftermath where all the promises made in the last minutes of the ref turned to the dusty lies we all suspected they would, people finally started to ask the question, ‘what has the Labour party ever done for us?’
The answer was ‘Not very much’ and people voted accordingly. Labour was destroyed, along with the Liberals – another party who promised much and failed at every opportunity. There are a number of Labour supporters and former politicians today who actually feel betrayed and angry that people didn’t do what they were told and vote for them. This is what happens when you take people so much for granted you think they should be happy to be screwed by you.
The SNP now controls 56 out of 59 Scottish seats. Labour, the Liberals and the Tories now have one seat each north of the border. Although not every person who voted SNP supports succession, I suspect that if the Referendum was held again tomorrow (or in a years time, or five) we would be gone. As much as I don’t really believe that one party controlling virtually every seat is entirely healthy (real political consensus can only come from the interplay between the winners and a strong opposition) I am proud that so many people here rejected Westminster’s dirty campaign of lies, smears and fear in favour of something more progressive, more genuinely centre left and something truly grass roots and organic. And what a dirty campaign it was. The fact is that Westminster no longer has any mandate whatsoever north of the border. There are going to be some fun times ahead.
Anyway, enough of that. Tonight’s tune is by Autechre. Lost was the lead track on their 1994 EP, Anti, which was written in response to the Criminal Justice Act, a piece of legislation that existed for no other reason than to attack the freedoms and liberties of people the Tories and their supporters didn’t like, and to give the police the legal basis to smash free parties and raves wherever they took place. To be honest, I don’t have enough energy left today to say much about the music so I’ll let it speak for itself.
Any of you guys down south who don’t want to live somewhere dominated by the Tories, feel free to move up. Glasgow’s a bit of a dump sometimes but the people and the music are great, and Edinburgh is pretty. Inverness is a great little town too. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a flat, and if you can’t I’m sure the rest of us can make some room. Make it quick, though, we might not be here for too much longer.
For everyone up here already: We might have cleaned up in Scotland but the Main Bastard and his brutal, vicious slum landlord mates are still down in their lair beneath Big Ben. So sober up, stop gloating and get serious. There is work to be done. Let’s get to it.