Like all elections, the day after is not really the time to try and properly assess what the result means for the future. I am surprised that I feel slightly emotionally drained from watching the results come in – I thought that I had a greater detachment these days.
I suppose it is a compliment to Edis’ contribution to the campaign diaries that I got so committed to wanting a good showing to be made by the Liberal Democrats. I have had so many years of entering elections with high hopes and then having the disappointment of ambitions not being realised. Once again, I hoped for more than in the end the electorate delivers in terms of seats. Yet, in a day or two, I will realise that once again they have taken another real step forward towards becoming part of a three party system. I cannot help feel, however, that Kennedy has taken them as far as his personable but limited skills are able. They need a new, harder and more managerial edge to their leadership, a Dean to work on the internal policy, but the reasonable result will give them little incentive to change, I fear.
The Tories were kept out of office and still have a long way to go. This is good news as far as it goes. My concern here is that they did better than I would have liked. To some extent, it nullifies the gains made by the Liberal Democrats. More importantly, they ran a nasty campaign with its underlying theme appealing to the baser instincts of the right-wing Little Englanders whilst disguising their programme with a veneer of softer conservatism. The problem is that there is no incentive in the result for them to radically re-think their position or even change their leadership. Meanwhile, one or two of those sharp, ambitious younger Tories gain a few extra seats and prepare themselves for the future. It will remain, in Theresa May’s words, “the nasty party”.
What of the Labour Party? Weakened, yes. Yet once again, the results have not made the sort of difference that will result in immediate pressure coming on Blair. He was totally discredited in the election campaign but he will only be ousted by internal machinations within the Parliamentary Labour Party and he may hang on for a “graceful” exit until 2007. This is not the outcome that I hoped for, as the end of one of the most shameful episodes in British politics.
A detail, that I hope will not be important, is that I utterly dislike the fact that Galloway has returned to Parliament. He is a man who voices many of my concerns but I do not want to hear them expressed through him. He will damage and make vile a number of the causes that I hold to be important because he taints them with an uglier source of inspiration.
Which brings me to my real point of post-election night blues. All those revelations that emerged in the last two weeks of the election have not been mentioned by any commentator in the last forty-eight hours. “The Iraq War” as a general concept been discussed, obviously, as a factor in the election results. The fundamental deception of what happened in the run up to war, the lies and the frauds perpetuated on the people, however, have not been maintained as the defining factor of UK Election 2005.
It is as if those shocking insights that have become known have had their catharsis in the election and the media are now ready to leave this behind and move on. This must not happen. The election campaign must not be seen to have been the Michael Jackson trial of Blair and his cabinet, and the election result must not be seen as the decision by the jury. One way or another, we must keep the conventional media still hungry to hold to account those responsible.
This is what the Republicans have publicly maintained. They declare that the 2004 election was their trial on the Iraq issues and the jury gave them a free pass. So move on, they and the media demand, it is all so yesterday. Even on Daily Kos we get those who regard these events as “old news”.
That is why the cross-Atlantic tag team strategy must work. From the UK came the evidence for the Democrats to reawaken the interrogation of the untruths that have changed the world in which we live. We shall need them to keep this alive long enough for the aftermath of our own election to subside before accepting back the inspiration to progress these matters in tandem.
I just wish our own voice here was that of Congressman John Conyers and not George Galloway. Maybe we can make that so.