So I managed to stay up until 4.15 am and was back up to follow the televised coverage of the election at 8.30 am. I now feel pretty bad on two counts: the result and fatigue.
I am not sure what I was really expecting the outcome to be, but with my love for colour would have been content to see the possible emergence of a rainbow coalition with a few progressives in there pressing for a reduction in austerity and much needed changes in society. In retirement I now suspect that it is very easy to get cocooned in your own little philosophical bubble and perhaps become unaware of the political inclination of the country. Of course I was not alone in failing to anticipate the sudden leaning to the right resulting in a majority Conservative government; certainly the opinion polls were far off the mark too.
Is it because people are already forgetting the horrors of the Tory years from 1979 to 1997 (or were even too young to experience them) ? Did the electorate really vote purely on the basis of self-interest and greed or did it fall hook, line and sinker for the need to cut the deficit and balance the books within the next Parliament? Unfortunately economic theory was hardly debated and, a bit like the comparisons Margaret Thatcher used to make with her father's grocery store, we were constantly told that running the country was like managing a household budget. A dumbed down easy to understand sound-bite that the electorate has bought into and in so doing signed up to £12 billion cuts of a kind we know not what, because we have not yet been told.
So I guess that austerity can only get worse; inequality, food bank numbers and housing shortages will continue to rise whilst public services and welfare benefits will be cut still further. Back-door privatisation of the National Health Service will continue and life for so many people, especially in Northern England, Wales and Scotland, will become harder whilst the rich will benefit from tax cuts. The alleged trickle-down benefit of capitalism has been seriously disparaged globally and yet we have elected a Government on that platform and given it an outright majority of seats.
No wonder we didn't open the champagne last night and it is raining today.