Firstly, when it comes to predictions, we don’t always get it right. The one we made in the previous post that we could be looking at another hung parliament or just a small minority for Johnson was…shite! Look, we’re only human and we do get it wrong on a few occasions, particularly when we don’t notice that sometimes we do allow ourselves to get sucked into a bubble.
Right, onto the result, why people voted the way they did and the reaction to it from various quarters. We’ve had a look at social media comments regarding the increased vote for Jackie Doyle-Price (Con) in Thurrock. What’s interesting is that people are openly admitting that they lent their votes to her to get Brexit pushed through, implying that come the next election, assuming Brexit is done, she can’t rely on getting those votes again. Looking at the results across the Midlands and the North, again it’s pretty clear that votes were being lent to the Tories to get Brexit sorted and that’s it. Labour’s promise of a second referendum didn’t cut it with these voters.
Reactions to the result range from a clear understanding that Labour screwed up with it’s stance on Brexit through to some very ugly blaming of working class voters for letting their electoral choice be influenced by that issue. All we can say is that anyone having a go at working class voters for voting the way they did needs to put a sock in it pronto. This kind of blaming only emboldens those elements further off to the right than the Tories who want to get a foothold in our class. If when we’re out and about we catch anyone going in for this class blaming, we’ll give them a piece of our mind.
One thing we always do when analysing election results is look at the turnout. Yesterday turnout was a bit down on the last election in 2017. Here are the turnout figures for Essex:
Basildon and Billericay 63.1% (65% in 2017)
Braintree 67.1% (69.5% in 2017)
Brentwood and Ongar 70.4% (70.5% in 2017)
Castle Point 63.6% (64.4% in 2017)
Chelmsford 71% (70.2% in 2017)
Clacton 61.3% (64.4% in 2017)
Colchester 64.4% (66.9% in 2017)
Epping Forest 68% (68% in 2017)
Harlow 63.7% (66.2% in 2017)
Harwich and North Essex 70.5% (71.1% in 2017)
Maldon 69.4% (70.2% in 2017)
Rayleigh and Wickford 69.5% (70.4% in 2017)
Rochford and Southend East 61.25% (64.3% in 2017)
Saffron Walden 72.5% (73.3% in 2017)
South Basildon and Thurrock East 60.8% (64.1% in 2017)
Southend West 67.8% (64.4% in 2017)
Thurrock 59.6% (64.4% in 2017)
Witham 70.1% (71.2% in 2017)
There’s a fair bit of variation across the county with areas where there’s more social deprivation, people working on zero hours contracts and other issues recording lower turnouts than more affluent areas. That’s not at all surprising really as a growing number of people in increasingly stressed communities turn their backs on politics as they know the existing system has effectively dumped them.
As for the overall situation, when you measure the number of votes the Tories got against the whole electorate which includes those who didn’t vote, they got 29.3%. The vote share for the ‘winning’ Tories is less than those who didn’t vote whose share came in at 32.8%. Looking at it another way, 70% of the electorate (voters + non-voters) did not vote for the Tory government that Johnson will now be forming. By any reasonable measure, the coming Tory government has no meaningful legitimacy.
So, if you’re out on the streets tonight to protest against the coming government and some snark decides to accuse you of ‘defying democracy’, just cite the figures quoted above and in the diagram and tell them you have every right to make you’re voice heard. Away from the streets, enhance what solidarity networks we have and start to build new ones where needed in our communities, workplaces and places of education.
As community activists, our concern is the development of enough solidarity to ensure everyone gets through what’s coming. If we can get through this, we’ll be in a better position to build the movement that’s needed to sweep away the dysfunctional system that dropped us in this shitshow in the first place.
What do we mean by solidarity
- Everyone looking out for the people on either side of them and those people responding in kind.
- To keep things manageable, the ideal area for this is a street, close or block – this was learnt from the experience of some of the grassroots campaigns who fought the Poll Tax.
- Take particular care to look out for the more vulnerable members of your community such as the elderly and the long term sick.
Zero tolerance for divide and rule
- Regardless of who they are or where they came from, when crisis hits, everyone is in it together and everyone has their own contribution to make in working together to make sure the neighbourhood pulls through and stays united.
- Gathering intelligence in advance on the reactionary, divisive shit stirrers in your neighbourhood who may want to take their anger out on anyone they deem doesn’t fit into their depressingly narrow criteria of who does and doesn’t belong is pretty much essential to keeping your neighbourhood united.
There are also these pieces we’ve written:
Building the base for radical change
Rebuilding solidarity at the grassroots…
Things are going to get even tougher than they are already, that’s undeniable. People are genuinely frightened as to what the future holds for them. That’s why we have to come out fighting and show the bastards that we’ve no intention of quitting. Knowing that the scumbags who’ll presume to rule over us have no meaningful legitimacy and the solidarity we will strengthen and build between us fighting them will see us through.
While I completely agree with the idea of looking out for one another, good luck actually making that happen in a country so atomised by the Tories over the last nine years.
There’s also an issue with the idea of not blaming former Labour voters for voting Tory this time when they have thrown the sick and disabled under the bus to achieve a Brexit that will only harm their interests. Being a disabled person myself, I’m terrified of what’s going to happen to myself and my fellow disablity benefit claimants over the next five years, given that over 100,000 people have DIED and suicide rates have increased as a result of welfare changes over the last nine years.
I’m all for solidarity but no one stood up for the sick and disabled during the previous Tory governments and we were betrayed by supposed traditional Labour voters during this election so how can we possibly believe anyone would show solidarity with us now?