Upset at the election result? Angry even? Demoralised at the thought of at least another five years of Conservative government? Frightened at the thought of what might become of the NHS or where IDS’s £12bn welfare axe will fall? Sick of the sight of Dave, George and Boris, let alone May and Gove?
I don’t suspect you’re about to vandalise a war memorial but don’t go taking your anger out on the Tories in other ways either. It’s a waste of time and energy. And it’s the wrong target.
If you’re looking for people to blame, looking for an outlet for your anger, look no further than the Labour Party. It’s the failings of Labour, more than the collapse of the Lib Dems, more even than the rise of UKIP, that ushered in a majority Conservative government.
Failure in Scotland over the last 9 months to understand the siren call of independence and to counter it with anything more than an outdated economic analysis. Failure in England and Wales during this campaign to appeal to anyone on the up or hoping soon to be. Failure to acknowledge its faults when last in government. Failure to contain the power of a few Union barons. Failure to look beyond a narrow group of inexperienced, self-serving, self-selecting second-raters for its top team. Failure to elect a leader who seemed able to ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time. And his failure to nail the Tories, and Cameron in particular, during the course of the last Parliament.
And now it’s clear, from what Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Chuka Umunna, Dan Jarvis, and even Eric Joyce have had to say over the weekend, failure at the top of the party, where private polling told them it was going wrong, and failure on the frontline, where voters were telling them it was going wrong, to speak out and demand change.
Labour had time to change strategy, to change tactics, to change its leader, to change it’s message well before the election campaign got under way. They knew exactly when the poll would be held, exactly how long they had to get their act together.
They knew when Ed Miliband came off stage at last year’s Labour Party conference, having forgotten to mention the deficit, but more importantly having failed to ‘cut through’, that he was no election winner and that his message to Britain did not have broad enough appeal to win.
They did nothing about it.
If you’re angry that people will still be paying the ‘bedroom tax’, that there will be cuts to Child Benefit, that bits or lots of the NHS will be ‘privatised’ or that there will be more free schools and ever higher tuition fees don’t blame the Tories. They will just be delivering on their policy promises.
If you’re worried in any way about what the Conservatives will do to Britain over the next five years, blame the party unable to come up with a decent set of policy promises to fight them with and a Leader fit to promise them, let alone stand any chance of winning the right to deliver them.
Don’t waste your anger on the Tories. Save it for Labour.
On March the 11th I wrote, “Scrapping the bedroom tax, banning zero hours contracts and the like are merit-worthy ambitions but they only have relatively narrow appeal, and even then only to people not especially likely to vote, not especially likely to live in the marginal constituencies where this battle will be won. Ed needs two or three policies that set a completely different tone to what’s on offer from Dave, not a saner version of the same. Two or three game-changing pledges that define the kind of country we would – all – live in if he were Prime Minister.” Just saying.