We found out that Boris had won – or was pretty much guaranteed to win – at about 3pm yesterday when Paddy Power paid out winnings to those who had bet on him winning. How depressing. In the immortal words of Kent Brockman: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy doesn’t work.
And so we enter four years of floppy-fringed fascism*. I think London should sit on the naughty step until it learns a little about democratic responsibilities such as actually examining manifestos and not believing everything printed in the Baby Mail, which showed its true colours over the past few weeks.
On a local level, though, there were reasons to be both cheerful and horrified:
Good news: the vast majority of the turnout goes to serious parties that had considered policies for the key issues in the city (although these policies obviously varied in merit): Labour, Tories and the Lib-Dems. Also, good news from my perspective: Labour hold the area.
Bad news: eight and a half thousand people – or 5% of voters – in my area saw fit to vote for the National Front. In nearby Bexley and Bromley (easily won by James Cleverly, a Conservative) the NF candidate took over 11,000 votes. Almost 20,000 people in South East London, then, chose to vote NF.
The NF isn’t, like UKIP, simply a party of anti-federalists and simpler “save the pound, God save the Queen” types united in a dislike of Europe – it’s a party that wants, according to its website, “Britain to remain a white country”. Some of the votes it has gathered might be a mere protest against the three main parties – but wouldn’t those who simply want to protest against perceived Westminster cronyism vote UKIP, who also ran in the area?
Although this election shows an obvious swing to the right across the board, almost certainly courtesy of petrol pump paranoia (again, no thanks to Dacre and co) and Northern Rock, I’d be surprised if former Labour voters would swing much further than Cameron’s Conservatives out of some generalised fear of an economic malaise or simpler dislike of Gordon Brown. Similarly, although some right-wing Tories might want to move away from Cameron and his hoodie-hugging (he hasn’t caught me yet, fortunately) I can’t see them moving further than UKIP.
And so we’re left with the prospect that thousands of people in this city genuinely want a political party that actually wants to deport non-white people from the UK (or “repatriation of all coloured people currently resident here” as it puts it). And that – however it might be caused – is both a terrifying and depressing prospect and something that needs to be addressed. Given Mr Johnson’s past I’m not entirely convinced that he’s the right man for the job, but this is something that should concern him and his supporters just as much as it does those of us to his left.
* Yes, I’m aware that Boris isn’t a fascist, but I adore asinine alliteration.