Better the devil you don’t

Jonathan Freedland rationalized last night’s qualified whatever-it-was as a success for the voters over the politicians, a skilful manoeuvering by the collective unconscious expressed through the ballot boxes. There’s probably some Jungian phrase for it. But I think it was even more qualified than that. Last night we—whatever “we” actually means—didn’t get any of the alternatives we specifically didn’t want. A government with carte blanche; an opposition without experience; a return to the spiteful, ignorant, deceitful, vicious 1980s: we woke up to none of these. If the voter’s id expressed anything last night, it was fear of all the alternatives.

And while I personally was willing the Tories to perform their two-strikes trick of self-destruction in the face of policy complexity, I’m happy that democracy and liberalism have been re-injected into British politics. I’d have been happier still if my woeful opinion of the British public hadn’t been confirmed by the Tories’ surge, but as it stands we have a healthier House of Commons. And a distinctly sickly Blair.

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