Histories of the present: The May 2015 Election a year on

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2016 by kmflett

Histories of the present: May 7th 2015 a year on


A year on from the Tories narrow victory in the 2015 General Election (overall majority: 12, the smallest in recent decades) how do the events of that day look?

It is obviously too soon to say history wise.

It is more or less a matter of record that Cameron did not expect to win, at least not outright.

He did however and the Government since, amongst other matters (schools, steel) has had to deliver on Cameron’s promise on an EU Referendum, continued to preside over a lacklustre economy (at best) and promoted a trade union bill that it subsequently dawned on them wasn’t the most sensible idea (they needed union backing for an EU ‘yes’ vote).

Exactly how the Tories won a rather unexpected victory remains less than clear. The acolytes of Tory campaign manager Crosby claimed it was due to a superior phone and interweb canvassing effort, there being no question Labour had more people on the ground.

12 months on this point seems increasingly questionable. First through the unfortunate suicide of a Tory activist for reasons still not sadly fully understood it became clear that the Tories lack of activists had been replaced by a campaign bus of young-ish Tories who toured the country. Then stories, still to be tested, appeared that numbers of Tory MPs had spent more on their campaigns than allowed by Electoral law.

Then there was the issue of Ed Miliband’s leadership. The matter was not much mentioned at the time (no not even by John Mann, naturally as he banged on about Miliband, who is a secular Jew, almost as much as he does about Corbyn) but looking back you can see the kind of dog whistle politics at work (think picture of man eating bacon sandwich) that Crosby’s associates used in Zac Goldsmith’s London Mayor campaign.

The LibDems were nearly wiped out and elected Farron as leader. The more rather intemperate utterances emerged from him, the more the thought arose that perhaps there was a reason why he was one of the few LibDem MPs not to be a Minister at some point after 2010. He however now seems to have disappeared from view (you can find him on twitter), along with LibDem support (although of course the party still does well here and there in local elections).

Labour meanwhile turned to the surprise of many, including the left, to the left and elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader. Ever since Blairites at all levels have been throwing toys out of prams. The matter remains in play but the tension between MPs and numbers of local representatives who appeared in the New Labour era and a large, mostly, new and young-ish membership who are often post-Blair is significant.

It can be argued that Labour lost on May 7th because the seats of many LibDem MPs went to the Tories rather than Labour and also of course because Labour lost in Scotland. The gap between what the SNP is and what it does in Government and the mood of the ‘yes’ to independence movement there is as significant as the gap between Blairite Labour MPs and many Labour members but again it does not appear likely to be resolved anytime soon.

UKIP should also be mentioned not least because it is still around and still of course xenophobic to racist.

Whether it is the same people that are around in UKIP I think is often questionable, and it can be seen as a cross between a repository for disaffection that the LibDems used to exploit until they joined the Government and also as a sort of empty political shell to be populated from time to time by whatever malcontents decide to use it as a vehicle.

One thing remains clear: it may well be the chosen part of discontents and malcontents in some areas, but it is not a party of the left in any sense, and to the left that remains a serious concern.

Morbid Symptoms as Gramsci noted. When the new will be born and how still remains to be seen, but as ever, what people do can make a significant difference to the matter.



One Response to “Histories of the present: The May 2015 Election a year on”

  1. “When the new will be born and how still remains to be seen” – when, how, and above all, you might have said, whether. The choice of socialism or barbarism remains, and at present barbarism looks rather more likely – though as you do rightly say, what we do matters.

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