Sunday, 17 May 2015

Easy Like Sunday Blogging - Election 2015

It is 2010. The election is in full swing. For weeks the rise of the Lib Dems led by Nick Clegg has been all over TV screens. David Cameron for Conservatives and Gordon Brown for Labour barely get any coverage; it is all about the 'new boy' and the 'liberal way'.
It seems like maybe voting for Lib Dem could be a good way to make some changes in the UK, maybe they will be the new light that the country needs. Maybe they will be the ones to make everyone happy and provide everyone with what they want.
At the time I was 16. I was in year 11, going into year 12. University was my main aim at that point, as it was for many other people of my age and younger.
Nick Clegg promised that he would not touch anything to do with universities; he would not touch tuition fees. He promised that.
For the hard-core stubborn Tories and Labour supporters, the new wave of Lib Dem supporters seemed crazy and uninformed. How could a party suddenly sweep the nation like this? It was exciting. Everything had the potential to change.

I watched the results come in during one of my last Citizenship (yes Citizenship) classes. That was all we did for the entire morning. We watched as no majority was gained and a hung parliament was announced. A coalition would ensue between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
It seemed like there might be something good happening in the UK.

The first policy that the Lib Dems passed was to triple university fees. This may not seem like a major thing to many people, but it was the fact that so many people had believed in someone who said one thing, and then completely backed out on that.
A lot of people were devastaed; people of my generation felt betrayed and singled out. Riots broke out. Students protested. It was a difficult time to be a student.
This was also not helped by the fact that the year the fees would rise would be my year; the year that had been just too young to vote at the time. Yet many people who could vote believed that Lib Dems were the right choice for young people, and that they had their interests at heart. It was a horrendous let down.

Fast forward five years to the 2015 election. Everyone of my generation is still bitter and hurt by the decisions made by the Lib Dems; something which has then funnelled through many other areas of society. The amount of people that could then vote in this election included three years of people harmed by the decisions relating to universities which Lib Dem made.
It was obvious that they were not going to get back any power.
Yet Tories had allowed them to make some of the decisions; they were after all the ones who had the majority of the power. David Cameron had been the Prime Minister, and Nick Clegg only the Deputy. Yet they had only helped Lib Dems and the only changes which occurred were for the worse. And what of Labour? The biggest news story regarding them was the power battle between the Miliband brothers over who should be the leader; it doesn't inspire too much confidence when a party is unsure over who should lead it.

But this election saw somewhat of a rise in the underdog. UKIP, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru, they all began to have a louder voice and stood for much more than they had previously. It wasn't a surprise that SNP tried to take some limelight; after the referendum for whether or not Scotland should leave the UK came and passed by without change, Scotland realised that they could actually be noticed.
Nigel Farage also gained a large following; It was almost as if the Scottish referendum made many people question the legitimacy of everything about the UK, and began to think that maybe we should become our own little nation.
And as for Green, it started to seem as if anyone could have a shot at a coalition, and maybe it could be Green.

This was the most unpredicatable election for decades. Nobody knew what the outcome would be. Nobody could predict it. But worst of all? Nobody predicited a majority.
It was near 90% certain that there would not be a majority. The exit polls were released. The Tories were just short of a majority. Labour had fallen. Lib Dem had plummeted. Yet it stll seemed uncertain of what would actually be the outcome.

I watched the results for 12 straight hours. Even after I was no longer at my laptop, I checked my phone every five minutes for updates. Up until when I went to bed at about four in the morning, the results looked exactly like the exit polls. There was not going to be a majority.

I woke up a few hours laters, and everything had changed. Conservatives had rocketed into a majority. Ed Miliband has resigned. Nick Clegg had resigned. Nigel Farage had resigned. Green gained over a million votes but only retained their single seat. SNP had taken nearly every single seat form Labour in Scotland.
Change had happened. But it was not the change anyone had expected.


It has taken me over two weeks to really digest this information and to really consider how I feel about it and what it means for the country that in less than a month I will return to.
I think that it is safe to say that I am still in shock about the outcome, and that feeling will probably forever remain with me, such as the feeling of disappointment at the hands of the Lib Dems in 2010.
But it has happened. And we must all accept it for what it is. Maybe it is not the best outcome, but it sure isn't the worst either.

But I end this with a quote taken from Twitter during the Leader debates: 'Trust in democracy is a precious thing. Once stolen, it cannot just be given back.'
This is something which we should all keep in mind, as go into a Conservative government for the next five years.