Another election and the return of Gove

Well for the first election in quite a while I did not wake up feeling miserable and depressed. One of the (many) reasons for the surprising Labour resurgence was tactical voting and some cooperation from broadly left parties. Like the UKIP vote the Green vote decreased, although Caroline Lucas in Brighton showed what a good politician can do, whereas UKIP have been found wanting in this respect. But the point here is that those voters dispersed to other parties and it was where these votes went that played a big part in the result. Across England there were also some interesting results and I think there were many people, with a variety of reasons, who regarded this as a chance for a protest vote, Kensington is a great point in case. In fact it seems as protest voting us now the norm although that might not be as bad a thing as it sounds. Another way of looking at this is to say people are looking at policies and making informed choices. They may also be sick of the media and politicians but still want their voices heard.

Scotland was one place where the Conservatives had some good news and the broadly left SNP were rejected in several places for the Tories. Whatever people in the SNP say this was in no small part due to annoyance with talk of IndyRef 2 and being blamed for mishandling policy at Holyrood. I am not entirely happy with how the SNP are handling education. But because this was a Westminster election I didn’t factor this in to my decision. I couldn’t vote Green where I live as they didn’t stand a candidate. I considered voting Labour, partly to boost the overall vote share for Corbyn, who I think had been great during the campaign. However I decided I had a straight choice between Lib Dem and SNP. Either party, I reasoned, would challenge the Tories so it didn’t really matter. I even considered flipping a coin to decide. I had heard some good things of Stephen Gethins the sitting MP in North East Fife so eventually voted for him. So imagine my surprise when I heard, on election results morning, that there were only 2 votes between the two lead candidates. In fact if I’d voted Lib Dem then it would have been a dead heat… and in this case the returning officer would, and I’m not making this up, flip a coin to decide the winner. This has never happened before, although ironically given my indecisiveness, it seems I came very close to making this happen!

Since Thursday the fall out from this very interesting election has resulted in everyone now knowing a lot more about the DUP, and politics in Northern Ireland, and plenty of humble pie consumption from those who underestimated Jeremy Corbyn. The right wing tabloids have, unsurprisingly, turned on Theresa May, and Donald Trump suddenly seems less keen to visit (although I think it might be quite fun now). Then today a minor cabinet reshuffle has landed Michael Gove in the role of Environment Secretary. Having endured him as education secretary I am wondering what his new ideas might involve. A fishing Academy chain maybe? Free Farms anyone? And perhaps every house in the country will be sent a copy of his own thoughts on Fracking… quite how the next few years will pan out is anyone’s guess. But it is certainly an interesting time to be alive.

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