Recently I had someone comment that those who were unhappy with the election results “do the general public a disservice” by saying this. He went on to say:
“You assume that people must be misinformed or that they aren’t able to make decisions by themselves. Have you considered that the general public DO know what the Tories are offering and that is why they voted for them OR what they offer was still better than the other options? This wasn’t a squeak over the line but a clear majority. This wasn’t a vote by the rich alone, but by a whole nation.”
I wish that were true, that the people of the UK really engaged with what the parties offered and used their heads rather than their hearts. But that isn’t the case. If it were, The Sun wouldn’t have carried photographs of Miliband eating a bacon sandwich because he pulled a funny face, they would have focussed on policies. The main right wing newspapers and broadcasters wouldn’t have gone out of their ways to insult Miliband personally, they would have focussed on his policies. They wouldn’t have stirred anti-Scottish racist sentiment that will backfire in the long term because now the Scots genuinely (and rightly) feel they aren’t really part of the UK.
But they did do that. Why? Because they know how to tug the emotional strings of a populace they have already frightened with outright lies, of which there were so many that unless you took the time to dismantle how each lie sat on top of the next, you would simply not have a clue how much distortion had gone on.
Most people also don’t vote on abstract concepts. They didn’t vote to save the NHS because on the surface it still appears fine, although major independent groups are warning that it is being rotted away inside. Just one example.
Most people don’t vote on what doesn’t directly affect them, such as the extraordinary high fees in education which entrenches levels of class entitlement and privilege that we haven’t seen since before the war, because most people aren’t students.
Most people vote for a simple thing: an ideal, an emotion – they don’t have degrees in economics which enable them to really take the figures apart. They don’t have degrees in media studies which enable them to dismantle the semantics of media broadcasts. They vote on a gut feeling. On what is essentially a faith.
And that is what this result is. A victory for ignorance and fear over justice and hope.
And if you voted for that, knowing the facts, well… I hope you sleep well at nights.