In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

After the Election Night

Initial forecasts placed the Conservatives as the largest party. The actual results gave them a slender overall majority. (Edited: IB Times)

Initial forecasts placed the Conservatives as the largest party. The actual results gave them a slender overall majority. (Edited: IB Times)

After the votes were counted, the Conservatives have won a slender majority in the House of Commons. Regardless of party, a fantastic new set of members of parliament have been elected. Campaigners have been working so hard in many constituencies, and now deserve a good rest.

Chippenham

In a paradox, I was unable to write much about the election, because I was spending so much discussing politics on the doorsteps around the Chippenham constituency. With great pride and a reflection of her ceaseless dedication, Michelle Donelan was duly elected as the member for Chippenham. Ms Donelan received 26,354 votes, or 47.6% of all votes cast, which is a Conservative majority of 10,076 over her Liberal Democrat competitor.

Michelle Donelan wins the seat of Chippenham with a stable majority. (Source: BBC)

Michelle Donelan wins the seat of Chippenham with a stable majority. (Source: BBC)

After her victory, Ms Donelan said:

It is actually the greatest honour of my life that the people of Chippenham have chosen me. It is a dream come true. But the reality is, I am going to deliver and I am not going to let the people own. I am going to spend all of my time in Parliament ensuring that all of my constituents come first.

I'm not in this photo, which is probably a good thing as I'm not very pretty. (Source: Wiltshire Times)

I’m not in this photo, which is probably a good thing as I’m not very pretty. (Source: Wiltshire Times)

The Triumph of the SNP

With 649 seats declared, the Liberal Democrats are reduced to eight seats, and Labour have fallen by 26 seats. UKIP and the Greens have only one seat each. The Scottish National Party (SNP) now hold 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats in the parliament.

In a spectacular election, major losses have hurt all three main parties. Minister of State for Employment, Esther McVey, failed to triumph in Wirral West. The Minister of State for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, fell to the SNP surge in Dunbartonshire East. Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was also toppled by the sheer might of the SNP. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, could not retain Twickenham. Key Labour figures are now out of parliament: Douglas Alexander (Shadow Foreign Secretary), Jim Murphy (Scottish Labour leader) and Ed Balls (Shadow Chancellor) all lost their seats.

The leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Labour and UKIP have all resigned. Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg are both honourable men, as was demonstrated by their gracious resignation speeches. Mr Farage kept his promise to resign as leader of UKIP.

(Video: Sky News)

Parliamentary Democracy

In a democracy, you will inevitably have governments you do not agree with. Even political campaigners do not necessarily agree with every line of a manifesto. Indeed, this majority means I will be arguing against my own party again on some proposals, which may have been swept aside in a coalition agreement. Whenever your preferred party is rejected by voters, the view cannot be that parliament should dissolve the electorate, and choose another in its place.

I would urge caution against the hyperbolic declarations to flee the country at this time. Whenever an unexpected result occurs, it is best to investigate how and why.

One plausible hypothesis for the Conservative majority is that the country portrayed by opposition parties and campaigners jarred too harshly with the electorate’s own experiences. If everything is a crisis, nothing is.

I sincerely hope that this will be the last election where we discuss personality instead of policy, and everyone who is politically active will reject personal attacks wherever they occur, and whatever their target. It is also important we do not assume each other are evil for merely disagreeing, lest our politics becomes even less about policy debates, and becomes the comminations of preachers. It is time for the realistic appraisal of the status quo, and the intelligent investigation of political alternatives.

After every election, my only hope is the government that forms will govern in the interests of the whole nation, and will make Britain even better. Parliamentary democracy is the grand experiment, and now the work of government begins.

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