From my point of view the final result of the UK’s general election is more or less perfect. The Labour party has been returned with a majority in the mid-60s, there are more Liberal Democrats and the increased number of Tories is something I can live with especially since their share of the popular vote hardly changed at all from what they got in 2001. If we add the Labour and Lib-Dem votes together there is still a majority in favour of what might loosely be termed ‘progressive’ politics.
Parliamentary politics in this country should now return to something more historically normal after the rather obscene majorities Labour has achieved in the last two elections and Thatcher had in a couple of hers. Blair will find Parliament much less bendable to his will and will have to pay more attention to other people’s views and arguments. That can only be a good thing.
I find some of the results from individual constituencies disappointing. The success of George Galloway in Bethnal Green, where I work, annoys me. I’ve never liked smooth talking socialists who drive smart cars and wear snappy suits. Some of the things which Galloway said in his acceptance speech were downright insulting to the people in the area. In Barking 17% of the voters supported the British National Party (BNP) which is rather worrying. I stayed up until five in the morning watching the results come in and was struck by the fact that all the BNP’s male candidates looked like thugs in suits while all their females looked like what the Americans call ‘trailer trash’.
My own constituency turned in a rather surprising result. It appeared to be a pretty safe Labour seat with a majority of over 10,000 which the Liberal Democrats managed to overturn to produce a 2400 majority of their own. I’d suspected that something like that might be about to happen when I turned up at the polling station on Thursday morning to find huge queues. I still don’t know why it happened. Perhaps it’s down to local factors about which I’m not aware.
Posted 7 May 2005, 07:00 BST