In a bizarre election that saw all the major pollster get it spectacularly wrong, David Cameron’s conservative party thoroughly trounced Labour winning enough seats in parliament to form a government outright. They will remain in government for the next five years and continue their program of rolling back the state and privatizing much of the economy.
No one expected this result and the Labour party must now contend with the reality that voters did not buy into what they were selling. Labour leader Ed Miliband quit today making way for a leadership contest that will decide the direction of the party in the future. It was a sad day all around for the left in Britain as the Liberal Democrats, the minority party in government, were also thoroughly hammered by voters. Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg promptly resigned as leader of the Lib Dems after having helped make his party virtually irrelevant on the political landscape.
However, while the Tories have clung onto power in Britain, they should be under no illusion that their days in power are numbered. Labour’s spectacular flop at the polls had little to do with the success of the Conservatives who ran a campaign built on ludicrous falsehoods and fear. The Tories essentially convinced the public that the country’s economic woes were the result of Labour’s economic policies under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, neglecting of course to mention the fact that Blair and Brown had adopted conservative economics. It was Labour’s reckless spending on welfare and infrastructure that was apparently to blame for the country’s economic implosion in 2008, not the banking industry. Immigrants were responsible for low paying jobs, not the corporations making them, and the only way to remedy all of this was of course to cut everything in sight and allow self interested corporations to work in the public interest. The public voted for this out of fear, and the Conservatives will continue to govern through fear. Fear of immigrants, fear of poor people, and fear of change. Fear does not last though, and neither will the Conservative party.
Their vicious policies against the the working poor and unwavering support for the ultra wealthy is unsustainable in the long run. It may not manifest in a victory for leftist parties in the near future, but it is sowing the seeds for something far, far bigger. The pressure put upon the working poor is extreme, and in a country with a history of political revolt this is literally like playing with fire. London is now a city for millionaires while a severe housing crisis is forcing the poor to live in squalor. The gap between rich and poor is ever widening across the country with the cost of living spiraling up and up. The middle class is evaporating and the National Health Service alongside other vital welfare services are stretched to the point of breaking. The Tories tell the public that this is necessary for economic recovery, but the truth is that this ‘recovery’ is a permanent state of affairs. The Conservatives govern for the interests of the wealthy, and that means maintaining a large and flexible labour market that works in the interest of capital. Conservatives don’t like the minimum wage, investing in public education or social mobility for good reason – rich people need poor people to work for them, so they must ensure a certain proportion of society remains that way. The conservatives won’t do much about the so called immigration problem either – it works in their interest to keep poor people fighting one another while they laugh their way to the bank.
But there is only so long the country can stay at war with itself before taking out their frustrations on those in power. This has always been the case throughout history, and the Tories have only postponed their reckoning. The establishment has won, but it presides over a country more divided than ever, more resentful of those in power and more likely to explode in the near future. David Cameron won the battle but is badly losing a war he doesn’t even know he is fighting.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.