I started this blog because I wanted to make loads of comments that were a fraction as eloquent and incisive as those made in Dougald Hine’s post “The only way is down; 18 Notes on the UK election”
The one cold comfort that Labour – and perhaps even the Lib Dems – could take from last night’s results is that events have forced them into a confrontation with reality, while the Tories will continue to govern on the basis of delusions, with ugly results, for a while longer, before gravity catches up with them. This could give the defeated parties a head start, but only if they are prepared to enter into a kind of soul-searching deeper than anything we have seen in British politics in a very long time.
For that to have a chance of happening, it will have to start somewhere else, somewhere beyond the party machines and the earnest, highly-educated, decent people at the centre of them, who are almost entirely unequipped for the journey to the political underworld which is now called for.
Before I read this I’d pondering on just how old-fashioned both the “Blairite” and “Old Labour” calls were sounding in 2015. There’s not a lot in either stereotype for the zero-hour worker, for the those attempting to balance multiple jobs to make ends meet, for the exploited Lithuanian immigrant, or for the bloke in the pub who feels that maybe things would be better if there weren’t so many foreigners around. (These could all be the same person, by the way – such is the diverse and complicated nature of the 2015 labour market)
The strength of Blairism was recognising that the landscape had moved on since the 1970s; the next progressive leader(s) will only triumph if they recognise that 2015 is as distant from 1997 as 1997 was to the 1970s. I’m not quite sure what the new politics will look like yet, but in a funny way, I’m looking forward to finding out.