Who would have predicted such a decisive and commanding result from the Conservative Party at any point during the campaign? Here at the Evans Review we predicted a hung Parliament; it was, after all, the conventional wisdom following months of polling suggesting that Labour and the Tories were neck-and-neck.
But what does it mean for this country? It’s hard to tell at the moment but it’s clear that politics has been irrevocably changed in a single night; Ed Miliband is no longer Labour leader, Nick Clegg is no longer the Lib Dem’s Premier, the “new kids on the block” UKIP and The Greens failed to make any significant gains and the SNP have overwhelmingly proven that Scotland needs to be heard.
While the Conservatives are forming a government, people in the cyber-sphere are angrily denouncing their legitimacy because of their millionaire donors, their backing from a strong proportion of the national press and their “bullingdon club” origins. But really what many of these angry internet commentators is coming to realise is simple.
We’re not as important as we think.
Despite numerous hashtags trending telling us to vote against Cameron and support the Milifandom or to fight against austerity, people are this morning waking up to realise that they have done something seriously wrong this election campaign to have been backing the side so vehemently and still be completely annihilated in the polling booths. Not because they were wrong but because Armchair (or computer desk) politics has never gotten anyone anywhere; is it any different to be extolling the virtues of one system and to be criticising another from the safe realm of Twitter than preaching to the converted?
Russel Brand may sing and dance the merry tune of activism but his message is largely being ignored, people will happily retweet or share his video suggesting us to become active but that clearly hasn’t translated into meaningful change or very much activism. This country can’t and won’t change over night so there’s no good trying for short term success, if it’s change we want you have to take the SNP as a resounding example of how it works, through decades of relentless campaigning, talking to real people and actively doing something to fix a broken system they achieved a landslide in Scotland.
Although many will today be shocked that our parliamentary system is so unbalanced (over five million votes went to the Greens and UKIP but delivered only 2 representatives in Parliament) meaningful change won’t happen in an instant but through engaging with ACTUAL politics, and trying to change things from within the system we have now.
Russel Brand has been wrong many times but last night was a testament to just how wrong he was when he told us not to vote, his progressive left-wing ideas may have begun to become a reality if enough people actually voted yesterday but instead of campaigning in the real world many were content to leave that to Conservative supporters who took real – silent – action by electing Cameron into office.
It may be hard to accept at this stage but our parents and grandparents have made the era of Social Media activism look like a resounding joke – and let’s be clear, it IS.
Image Rights; Russel Trow