Belfast Telegraph

Tories need to share out power

By Mohammed Samaana

The Conservative Party victory in the general election surprised everyone. Even Samantha Cameron wore a blue and yellow dress to reflect the colours of an expected coalition with the Liberals.

The Labour Party Right wing - the Blairites, including David Miliband - criticised the leadership of his brother Ed, accusing him of taking Labour to the Left, which costed them the election. Lord Sugar left the Labour Party, citing similar reasons.

Let's think again: like the Tories, Labour promised more austerity. Hardly a shift to the Left (unless you are a Blairite).

This election, however, proved that anti-austerity parties to the Left of Labour are popular.

The SNP, which promised to keep education free and to protect the NHS from privatisation, won every seat in Scotland bar three.

Let's remember that 55% of the Scots voted against independence, so the vote for the SNP wasn't all about Scottish nationalism.

The Green Party, which identifies itself as a party of the Left, almost quadrupled its share of the vote.

In spite of losing one seat, the Welsh Labour Party, which rules Wales as a Left-wing party, increased its share of the vote and won 25 out of the 40 seats. Plaid Cymru, which is also to the Left of Labour, increased its share of the vote.

On the other hand, the Liberal Democrats, who were the Tories' partner in a government that implemented Right-wing policies, including higher university fees, lower taxes for the rich and higher taxes for the poor, the extra bedroom tax, freezing public sector wages and cutting benefits, lost 15.2% of their share of the vote.

The Tories didn't win the election because of their cuts. They used personal attacks on Ed Miliband - not on his policies.

They also used anti-SNP scaremongering tactics, which focused on fear of a Labour government supported by the SNP that would subsidise Scotland's welfare state.

This won them the election in England only, but enabled them to rule over Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where they lost.

This brings into question their right to rule outside England and makes a case for transferring more power from Westminster to the regions.

Mohammed Samaana is a Belfast-based writer

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph