The general election and beyond.

The age of austerity or plenty, so we are told but who will decide?

Douglas Carswell Douglas Carswell

The general election result. Some seasoned political analysts, who had the benefit of experience got it right, so they tell us, and could see the result for David Cameron coming. On the other hand it might be like guessing the weight of the cake at a fund-raising event, someone gets the prize, always, even if it is a guess! Then there was the skewed system that gave the SNP all those seats but UKIP just one. This problem is admitted by the Electoral Commission but it remains to be seen what will follow. There is also the turmoil for the losers as new leaders are selected for the opposition parties. Let's start with the SNP 'victory', which like the result for Cameron is not quite what it seems.

Prior to the election Hugo Rifkind did a good job of explaining what he sees in the SNP approach. It's all very well constantly spoiling for a fight, as they do, but for the fact that you cannot win them all. Alex Salmond has gone from ex-leader to attack dog, his comments following the death of Charles Kennedy have done neither himself or his party any favours. By contrast the ever chippy historian, David Starkey, said that the SNP were like the Nazis and the nation rolled its eyes but nothing came of it. How unfair! But it does not help the current leader, Nicola Sturgeon, who having got some power post-election might like the mood to change, Salmond seems stuck in 'slugging' mode.

Other Scots from the SNP have been crackling with indignation, suggesting the Tories have 'no mandate'. That's just barmy. What the SNP cannot face is that under Salmond they lost the referendum. Also that despite the skewed, in their favour, result of the general election a large number of people in Scotland still vote for other parties; and across the still united kingdom their share of the number of votes cast is small. Pre-election Nicola Sturgeon made far too much of trying to lure Ed Miliband into a pact to keep the Tories out of government, and did so far too soon. She should spend more time picking a careful path and making alliances than just picking a fight. Choosing Miliband, who turned out to be the big loser in the general election was daft. Also in time there will be a new Labour leader and how Sturgeon reacts to them will be a point to watch. The Miliband blunder will have helped David Cameron a lot, if he wants to get tough with the SNP. But then you never know with Cameron do you?

The problem for the SNP is they have a sense of totalitarianism that we also saw in Tower Hamlets. In the month prior to the general election the disgraced Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, was finally removed from office. Yes there are differences in the way Rahman took power and held it compared to the march of the SNP but the overwhelming sense of entitlement is notable in both cases. Andrew Gilligan from the Telegraph has reported on both these stories giving examples of intimidation, Gilligan suggests the cybernats are indeed controlled by the party and not some rogue element working beyond their reach. Also both in Tower Hamlets and Holyrood the word 'progressive' is very much in vogue.

In the days after the general election that result was firmed up in favour of David Cameron with the results of the local elections. Put simply the Tory majority, although slender, was fairly won. So if the people who voted for Cameron get annoyed by the antics of the SNP their mood will turn against the latter. Standing up for Scotland does not automatically mean antagonising the rest of the UK. So does the future look rosy for the SNP? Well yes, at the moment, but as Tony Blair liked to tell us, 'it's too early to say'. But then who would have thought that his party could sink so low not just in Scotland but the whole of the UK after being so popular?

But it is not the winners of the general election we next look at but the losers. The LibDems have simply vanished; where are they? Although, because of this the LibDems have, so far, maintained some dignity in defeat. However, one can always rely upon Lord Ashdown to act daft, he has started to use the word 'progressive'. The fool seems not to have noticed this has become both a weasel word and a turn-off for many voters, certainly in England. The same can be said of Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn who is is one of the candidates in the Labour party leadership contest, Corbyn uses both progressive and socialist in the same way which is at least honest as they now have the same meaning.

And so we come to the Labour party, their defeat was well deserved yet still generally misunderstood by them and their supporters for example Polly Toynbee . One of the give-away quotes, from the first paragraph, was “hit the ground running”. Toynbee should remember that this was a popular thing said by Tony Blair about Gordon Brown prior to the first Labour win under Blair. Perhaps she has forgotten all those things? Well the voters did not! For Blair it was a mantra and it became boring. But then how can the current crop of leadership contenders own up and still expect to become the leader of their party? For Labour, by contrast, there has been no dignity in defeat. They simply don't get it, yet, why it happened and then what to do about it.


While on the subject of the Labour party we should pity the BBC, first Labour do badly then beyond that the party falls apart, right in front of the cameras and the BBC are forced to report this. For example Chuka Ummuna, the BBC's favourite candidate, dropped out of the leadership contest, for the BBC this posed the question; how will the nation cope with that! However, consolation is at hand, the BBC can now get on with leading the YES camapgin in the promised referendum on EU membership. And as a bonus give us chapter-and-verse on the Labour party leadership story. Which despite their best efforts at delivering news stories does with each day passing come across more like a party political broadcast. Somethings never change!

So to UKIP, here it's a little more complicated in that Nigel Farage and UKIP are very much the same thing. The former lost, again, in an attempt to get a seat in the House of Commons. While the latter, the party, did rather well but has little to show for it. The resignation then reinstatement of Farage because UKIP refused to let him go may in time, become something the party may come to regret. There will come a time when Farage will have to go and it seems UKIP, like Labour cannot see this. They may also start to annoy people with their sacking then unsacking routine. A bit different from the non-resignation of Farage but equally weird was the strange case of Suzanne Evans, originally Head of Policy at UKIP, then 'let go', perhaps on orders from Farage, is now back in post.

And the only UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell had to be rescued from a mob as he walked to the House of Commons. His attackers were the usual crowd, the anti-cuts people, although since the rise of the SNP we have seen the term anti-austerity become prominent. Either way it could be those with a heightened sense of entitlement who will dominate the political news in the near future.