Saturday, May 08, 2010
Election Night 2010: The Best and the Worst
OK. Here we go.
1. The fact that we don’t have a majority (Neo)Conservative government, and the truly frightening prospect of fanatical neocon warmonger Dr Liam Fox as Defence Secretary may still be avoided.
2. The likelihood that we’ll get a move to a more democratic voting system, which will lead to the break-up of our traditional parties and reinvigorate our political system, as I argued here.
3.The re-election of the solidly anti-war John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn and some other genuinely leftist Labour MPs.
4. The conduct of Gordon Brown. As regular readers will know, I'm no fan of Brown's neoliberal policies, but I must admit to admiring the way he has conducted himself over the last 48 hours. His speech outside Number 10 yesterday was very measured, and politically, very astute. (on the subject of Brown, here is a very interesting piece on the Blairite plot to replace him with David Miliband in the event of a Lab/Lib coalition).
5. Er, that's it.
1. The defeat of George Galloway in Poplar. The neocon warmongers, who are itching to either attack Iran or destroy the country through the imposition of swingeing new sanctions, will be gloating that their strongest critic in the UK won’t be in the next Parliament.
2. The way that the cult of celebrity has infected election night television coverage. Did you want to hear the views of Bruce Forsyth, David Baddiel and 'property guru' Kirsty Allsop on a hung parliament? No, me neither.
The BBC spent £30,000 of OUR money on a freebie junket for millionaire celebs and hangers-on, all of whom were perfectly capable of paying for their own wine and champagne. All at a time when we’re told that the state must drastically curb its spending. It's beyond parody.
3. The contestant from ‘The Apprentice‘- I didn’t catch her name- who seemed to imply that public sector workers should be disenfranchised because they don’t vote the way she wants them to.
4. The way that working-class voices are nowadays almost totally excluded from election night, and indeed during the election campaign. Solidly upper middle-class presenters, introduce solidly upper middle-class analysts and then interview solidly upper middle-class politicos. If you’re working class you can sod off- unless your name is Mrs Gillian Duffy, make comments about Eastern Europeans ‘flocking‘ here, and have a spat with Gordon Brown.
It hasn’t always been like this. I recently re-watched the BBC’s coverage of the 1979election night, the last election before the neo-liberal era. There were regular interviews with Trade Union leaders, and interviews with workers and ordinary people (including a cleaning lady), about how the result would affect them. Today all the talk is about how ’the markets’ will respond, and what ’The City’ thinks of the result. And what's the end result in this most upper middle-class of elections?: two upper-middle class public school Oxbridge-educated politicians from elite backgrounds discuss how they're going to form the next government. Welcome to the 'classless' Britain of 2010.
5. The election of the solidly middle-class Blairite carpet-bagger Luciana Berger, (a candidate who didn't even know who Bill Shankly was) , in the solidly working-class seat of Liverpool Wavertree. If only Ricky Tomlinson had stood against her. Let's hope he does in October.
Anyway, that's my 'best and worst'. How about yours?
(This piece also appears over at The New Statesman).