Sunday, 20 December 2015

The most significant political moment of 2015


The most important thing that happened this year in Britain (aside from me getting re-elected) was the election of a majority Conservative Government. I find it odd that all the pundits are gently tiptoeing around this truth and the fact that this is probably the year's most telling and surprising political moment:

Now I didn't see this live on the BBC but instead heard it on the radio as we pulled up to park across the road from Victoria Hall in Keighley. At that moment the first flicker of a smile was on our faces as we realised that nearly all the pollsters, newspaper pundits and TV experts were wrong. What we'd heard on doorstep after doorstep was right - "we don't want that man", "a deal with the SNP would destroy the country", and most commonly, "things are just about OK we can't afford to mess it up".

We still had to stand through the seemingly endless process of an election count conducted by Bradford Council - indeed it wasn't until the next day when we arrived at Bradford Brewery for a pint with George Grant the brilliant (if unsuccessful this time) Conservative candidate in Bradford West that the truth of it all sank in - there really was a majority Conservative government that could make the necessary and right choices for Britain. As an aside this moment of reverie was interrupted by a slightly tipsy fellow who tried to pick a fight with my blue rosette. Although no fight ensued, I'm pretty confident that the rosette would have won even unattached to my suit jacket.

It now seems that this unpredicted (well, mostly unpredicted) result not only gave Britain good government but led to the Labour Party exploring the darker parts of its collective psyche and electing a man best known for appearing on platforms with terrorists as its leader. But the election of Jeremy Corbyn, for all the obsession of the left with its supposed significance (especially all the wibble about a "new, caring sharing politics" or whatever), was only possible because David Cameron won an overall majority.

Since that election success - presaged by that exit poll - it almost seems as if the punditry has decided that it was always going to happen this way, that Conservative majority government is the normal course of things (despite it being eighteen long years since the last one), and that other matters are more significant. No-one looks at what Cameron achieved and what it means for us - not just victory in the Scottish independence referendum protecting the integrity of the UK and leaving the SNP dominant in Scotland but hamstrung by its arrogant belief, just like the left's arroagance seven months later, that it had won when it hadn't - but also the prospect of a referendum allowing the country (and the Conservative Party) to lance the boil of its relationship with Europe.

Across the world there were any number of telling political events - the re-election of Alexis Tsipras in Greece, Angela Merkel's embracing of Syrian refugees, Turnbull's defenestration of Tony Abbott - even the final election of Aung Suu Kyi as prime minister of Burma sixty-eight years after the assassination of her father. But the most surprising was Cameron's election victory.

So for Britain, at least, 2015's top politician has to be David Cameron, the most important event his re-election as prime minister with an overall majority, and the killer moment the hesitant - blood drained from his face, unbelieving - announcement of that BBC exit poll at 10pm on 7 May.


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