Denial isn’t a river in Africa – it’s an election in the UK

Just a few words after a depressing but somehow familiar-feeling election. My overwhelming sense is that many of us – and I certainly include myself in this – have been in denial, before, during and now after the election.

The Lib Dems have been in denial about the reality of their coalition for pretty much the whole of the five years, right up until the end. They were in denial about what the coalition did. They were in denial about how it looked to the electorate. They were in denial about the extent of the carnage that lay ahead – and even now they’re in denial about the reason for their catastrophe. I’ve had Lib Dems blame people like me for ‘talking them down’ and for pushing the ‘myth’ of their betrayal…

The number of things the Labour Party have been in denial about is probably too huge to even guess – but the denial about what happened to them in Scotland is the biggest. Even a few weeks ago they were still denying the extent of the likely disaster, and even now they seem to have very little idea of why it happened. They are still, to an extent at least, blaming the electorate – suggesting that people have deluded themselves about what the SNP really is, and that they’ll soon come to their senses. They’re in denial about the details – about the vote where Ed Balls (sigh…) voted in favour of austerity, suggesting that he didn’t, and that he avoided Osborne’s trap. He didn’t avoid a trap – he blundered right into it like a blindfolded elephant.

UKIP are (and have always been) in denial about the whole nature of their party – even this morning I had one of their supporters taking me to task for suggesting they were racists, since they had some Sikh and Polish candidates. Yes, some of their best candidates are black… but… And they were no less in denial about their own electoral prospects – a few weeks ago, they were talking about five or six seats. One was always the most likely, and that was more about personal loyalty to Carswell.

And the Tories? Or rather their supporters? They’re in denial about the harm that their policies will bring to vulnerable people, to the legal system, and much, much more. They really believe there is no ‘real’ poverty in this country – just relative poverty, where people watch big screen TVs and play with their Wiis… They really believe that disabled people aren’t going to suffer – and those that do are mostly faking.

It’s that denial that’s the worst of all. And people are already suffering as a result….

7 thoughts on “Denial isn’t a river in Africa – it’s an election in the UK

  1. The case of the LD leadership is particularly striking. They went into this campaign saying quite openly that they would work with either main party; their only criterion was who had the biggest mandate (whatever that meant). They genuinely seem not to have realised that this looked incredibly cynical and unprincipled – or that looking like that might have consequences. My hunch is that they didn’t realise what a big change this was to their public image, as it’s exactly what they did in the 2010 campaign. In other words, they haven’t realised that when they campaigned on a principled, liberal, left-of-centre platform, we believed them; they think it was just marketing.

    I think there’s been a lot of denial in British politics for a long time. I’m feeling weirdly optimistic about the next five years – partly because Grayling’s out (Gove can’t possibly be worse, can he?) but partly because I feel as if a phony war has ended. This isn’t a principled coalition coming together for the good of the country; we haven’t got a Labour Party that can sit back and wait for unreformed boundaries to deliver a parliamentary majority; the Scots aren’t going to go back to the two ‘main’ parties. None of those things ever were true, but a lot of people kept on hoping that they might be for a very long time. Now it’s different; now it’s just the Tories vs the rest, with a very small majority. It’s going to be interesting.

  2. “And the Tories? Or rather their supporters?”


    The CON gov’t isn’t in denial – they know full well what they are doing – lining their pockets thru’ privatizations – even increasing the NHS budget so that there is more available for them 🙂

    We are mugs. Similar to charity status for private (Public) schools – our money is supporting them.

    Robing from the poor to give to the rich – hmmm Where’s Robin Hood? 🙂

    I simply ask: Where is the real alternative political party?
    Ans: Non existent.

    Hasn’t been one for some time and I can’t see anyone coming fwd.

    1. OK I’m half Greek, a big fan of SYRIZA.

      I watched SYRIZA go from 4 per cent of the vote at one end of a month to 30 per cent of the vote at the end (yes, two general elections in one month) and become the official opposition.

      Labour has suffered PASOK’s fate that became too close to New Democracy, the right wing of extreme austerity (there is no basic tax allowance in Greece, everyone had wages cut and layers of multiple taxes imposed by the EU and IMF).

      Over 90 per cent of any bail money from the EU just went straight back out of Greece to pay debts. Greece did not get a penny.

      And I’m half English, a big fan of Cromwell that began the people’s parliament, abolished the monarchy and the House of Lords. But he did so after he led the English Civil War.

      Being old, victim of welfare reform and state pension reform (NIL STATE PENSION FOR LIFE after decades in work), both more about abolition, then I can write up a party any time you like.

      But even with the richest people on earth supporting you in the UK, you cannot win in England, as shown by UKIP, who got 1 MP (second hand Tory) after decades of existence.

      Tell me how to get the funding from the trade unions to affiliate to our new party, and I’ll write up the party.

      Then your young legs can somehow get it started.

      But have we got decades to wait while the people starve?

  3. “Gove can’t possibly be worse, can he?” Ah! Well, speak to anyone involved in the creative aspects of education. He singly handedly and overnight managed to wreck the last thirty years of education, some would say the last century. With little knowledge of education apart from his own rather privileged experiences he has done significant damage.

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