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Paris Lees

10 Good Things to Come Out of the General Election

Yeah, the Tories are back in. But it's not all bad news.

by Paris Lees
08 May 2015, 3:11pm


Illustration by Dan Evans

Hey, everyone. Welcome to Tory Britain. The Conservatives have won an outright majority for the first time in 23 years. David Cameron is Prime Minister proper. This is a nightmare. This is not a nightmare. You woke up like this. It's real. And it will be every day for the next five years. Suck it up, bitches.

On my way home from ITV's opinion room this morning, tired and, well, a teensy bit drunk, frankly, I had a little cry. There is plenty to mourn. How do you think the NHS will look in five years' time? How many more people will be forced to use food banks? How many more disabled people will have killed themselves because ATOS cunts have deemed them fit for work as their local councils penalise them for the shocking profligacy of having a spare fucking bedroom? And how much larger, do you suppose, will the gap get between our rich and our poor?

No point crying about it now, though, not if you didn't vote. The same number of young people didn't vote in the last general election as the overall number that voted Tory. And it doesn't look like Millennials turned up in any greater numbers this time round, either. I get it. No one has time for all that voting shit. We've all been too tied up with WhatsApp.

There is so much to be depressed about but the shittiest thing of all is that the blue bastards of Middle England have effectively voted to repeal our current human rights laws. It will be the first time any government in Europe has repealed human rights legislation since human rights became something we all kind of valued following the Second World War. If you think the Tories' "British bill of rights" is going to do more to protect human rights, think again. This election is a dark day for all decent, kind and progressively minded people.

But there is some silver lining to all of this, and I don't just mean all those job vacancies opening up at food banks. I just can't bear to think of you sitting there on a giant comedown today, so I've scraped the political barrel and counted our blessings, and it turns out that some of it is really quite encouraging. So here we go. Here's my top ten good things to come out of last night. Yes. Ten.

1) WE HAVE MORE WOMEN MPS

We run this motherfucker. Okay, so increasing the overall percentage of women in parliament to a quarter is hardly "running" things, but we're getting there, ladies. Before the election we had 147 female MPs. Today we have 190. That's a rise of about a third. You go girls. We've still got a long way before our parliament is truly representative in terms of gender, though – for that we'd need around 325 women MPs. Because I don't know if you've ever actually looked around Britain recently, but it turns out that just over half the population are women. Who knew?

2) WE HAVE MORE QUEER MPS

Gay mafia, coming through! Around 130 of people standing for Parliament yesterday were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And openly so. That might not seem like such a big deal to us today but it's a fucking giant leap on from the political landscape last time the Tories won an outright majority in 1992. Back then the age of consent wasn't equal, gay people couldn't marry and the "promotion of homosexuality" was banned in schools, leaving millions of queer kids isolated. Thirty years ago there was only one openly gay MP, Chris Smith, who came out in 1984. We now have more out LGBT MPs than anywhere else in the world – and that's something we can all take pride in.

However, as the brilliant Bisi Alimi – the gay migrant from Nigeria who hugged voters in Nigel Farage's constituency of South Thanet – has said, we are woefully underrepresented in terms of queer MPs from ethnic minorities.

And though countries as diverse as Japan, Poland and India have elected transgender politicians into office before, Britain is yet to see its first transgender MP. Maybe I will stand for the Monster Raving Loony Party next time.

3) WE HAVE MORE CAROLINE LUCAS

Caroline Lucas is badass. Fact. Everyone likes her. She's one of those smart, kind, no-nonsense women of the Left that make the world seem like a better place simply by their presence in it – I'm thinking Glenda Jackson, Annie Lennox and the even later Anita Roddick. Well she's just gone and increased her majority in Brighton Pavilion, retaining the only Green seat in Britain. Good for her. Good for the beautiful, beach loving, multicoloured dreadlocked people of Brighton. Good for the Left. I know the Green Party favours a new style of politics and doesn't want to idolise any one leader – but for fuck's sake, with Caroline back at the helm, the Greens have a real chance of pushing forward and making a genuine impact at the next general election. If the Greens believe we're destroying the natural world at a rapid rate – you know, like 97 percent of experts do – then we don't have time for high-mindedness. We need pragmatic solutions and we need them now. Caroline, lead!

4) WE HAVE LESS UKIP

What can I say? Nigel Farage had to stand on a stage with Al Murray mocking him in full pub landlord drag while he heard the news he hadn't even won his own seat, let alone presided over the "political earthquake" he predicted this time last year. Dickhead. Massive purple dickhead. Ha ha ha. Okay, so UKIP may have scored a big share of the vote, created a climate of fear and pushed the Tories and Labour to the right on immigration, and yes, we may well have a referendum on Europe now that may result in the British establishment leaving to pursue its own tribal agenda, but it could have been a lot worse.

WATCH: The New Wave: Meet the Young Politicians Aiming to Shake Up Westminster with the Outsider Parties

5) SCOTLAND FARTED iN THE TORIES' faces

Scotland the brave! I'm no fan of nationalism on either side of the border and I'd like to see the British Isles run for the benefit of everyone who lives on them, as one nation, but it's hard not to admire the SNP. Scots lifted up their kilts last night, found the nearest Tory and let out a big wet fart into their turkey-necked throats. We know that it is possible to defeat the Tories. Just maybe not in England.

Labour will have a lot of work to do to regain support north of the border, but they're in a much better position to succeed than the Tories. To the left to the left, I say...

6) CHANGE IS POSSIBLE


Mhairi Black

Speaking of Scotland, well done to Mhairi Black, the bright young woman who came in like a breath of fresh air to rudely eject Labour heavyweight Douglas Alexander. People say they want change, well here it is. A 20-year-old woman who gives enough of a shit about her country to stand for office and rip the backbone from the carcass of our rotten political system.

If you want to see more young people in politics, if you want politicians to stop shitting on under-25s, if you want to see more women taken seriously, this is how it's going to look. I for one would like to say goodbye to our identikit political class, all those podgy, white middle-aged men in suits that pay for sex. Seriously. I was on the game as a student. And our political elite has "client" written all over it.

7) THE MAJORITY IS A SLENDER ONE

The Tories did better than expected, but it wasn't a landslide. Look, I said I'd have to scrape the barrel.

8) THE LID DEMS GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED

"I believe the history books will judge our party kindly," said Nick Clegg as he announced his resignation. Yeah, Nick, and I believe I'm only a chemical peel away from looking like Cara Delevingne. Is it spiteful to say I'm pleased to see the Lib Dems humiliated? Sorry but I take a certain satisfaction in seeing the Tories cheerleaders these past five years kicked to the kerb. It may be unfair for the Lib Dems to take all the blame for our society becoming less equal and much less kind, but guess what else is unfair? Student loans. The bedroom tax. Proposals to take away housing benefits from under-25s.

I didn't vote last time because I was a hot mess and forgot to register, but if I'd been living anywhere other than Brighton, where the aforementioned Caroline Lucas was standing, I'd probably have voted Lib Dem. My ex voted Lib Dem last time. The girl who cuts my hair voted Lib Dem last time. But we won't be trying that again in a hurry! Liberal Democrats, learn something from this.

9) SEE YA LATER, SIMON

One particular Liberal Democrat I am glad to see the back of is Simon Hughes. He conducted a homophobic election campaign in the Bermondsy bylection in 1983, a dark chapter in the history of politics that saw Peter Tatchell ridiculed and attacked for his homosexuality. The worst bit? He's bisexual. Hughes has apologised for the campaign since – and Peter Tatchell has graciously offered his support, saying: "Simon Hughes is the best of the Lib Dem leadership candidates. If I was a party member, he'd get my vote" – but I don't think we should have anybody in office who first won that office through the profits of hate.

10) VOTER TURNOUT INCREASED

Finally, voter turnout increased. Not by very much, true, but it's still been the biggest turnout since Tony Blair swept to power in 1997. If this election has shown us anything it's that the winds will come and go and no one, least of all pollsters, can predict which way. The Left had better fix up over the next five years and provide a credible alternative to the Right's culture of blame and fear mongering. Maybe this is a rock bottom for Labour. An awful lot of damage can and will be done in the next five years – but even bad things come to end.

@ParisLees

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