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….