I managed to stay up till about half one last night, and feelings of support for the Tories welled up inside me. This surprised me. It was the same emotion that I'd felt at the general election when the Tories won Putney, one of the first shock results to come through. I went to bed that night with a small but real belief that I might wake up to a shock Tory win.
I suppose that there's more to the Tories than Cameron's patronising leer. I am not happy with the boost this gives his style of leaderhsip, but I certainly empathised with all those hard-working, genuine Tories all around the country.
Needless to say, I love the fact that Labour took a clobbering. It's even better now Clarke's been forced to resign.
Despite the fact that most of the successful Tory candidates might as well have been blank pieces of paper with drawings of a pair of wellington boots on them, I think, in retrospect, that Cameron played a canny campaign. The environment is the perfect non-issue for a local election. It transcends class, unlike many of the traditional tory issues. It works well on a local level because it can be translated well into the humdrum issues such as graffiti, the state of parks and so on, aside from the more abstracted issue of global warming.
And, in today's namby-pamby climate, everyone's a green. Since Cameron's most ardent desire is to be namby-pamby, the green issue is perfect. Even I'm a green, though I don't think there's the slightest thing we can do to avert global warming, let alone that even if there was anything we could do, this or the next government would actually do it. So, to sum up, the beauty of the green issue is that it means absolutely bugger all. This is all the more important to Cameron because he has nothing else to say, on issues such as tax and the rest.
It is, of course, for this predictable reason that I am happy I stood by my resolve not to vote. Indeed, I am slightly annoyed that turnout doesn't seem to have been as low as I'd hoped. As I said at the beginning, this result gives genuine endorsement of Cameron. A really low turnout, or good results across the board for the fringe parties, was the message I hoped the voters to send. The three main parties need to understand that they are all useless bundles of shit. Labour doesn't represent it's traditional support, and no middle class voter with any sense would think Labour represents him. The Tories no longer represent their traditional support. The Lib Dems represent only a fundamental contradiction. Only the Labour party, losing to the BNP and in very small numbers, will have received this message. But buggered if they are going to aim once more at the working classes.
So this local election has, from my point of view, solved nothing. Cameron will continue on his odious course with a renewed vigour and confidence. Labour will redouble it's attempts to monopolise the centre ground. The Lib Dems will follow suit, thus perpetuating their irrelevance.
What can jolt the political establishment out of this somnolent state? Well, three things by my estimation, in order of likelihood. The most likely, but probably still a few years away, is an economic recession. It's becoming more and more of a bitter but necessary pill to swallow. This point is self evident.
The next most likely is success in the general election for the BNP. Even one seat would probably do the job. It's one thing to despise the BNP. But people need to understand that the BNP has a crucial, albeit inadvertant, role to play in sorting this country out. Of all fringe parties, only the BNP has the shock factor sufficient to make the mainstream parties wake up. Once that has happened, Labour will have a real fight on it's hands to secure the working class vote. With that knowledge, the Tories can safely head back off to the right, and the century old balance will be restored.
The third way is if Brown forces the issue when he enters number 10. I don't see this as too likely, though a little space might open up between him and Cameron over management of public services. Hardly exhilerating stuff though.
With these in mind, I shall make a prediction. Based on the idea that Cameron's ship has already sailed as far as his policy direction, I reckon the next generation of centrist Labour MPs, the likes of Milliband and so on, will eventually defeat the Tories on the programme of the flat tax. They will couch this policy in very simple, attractive terms. Firstly, it will go a long way to sorting the economy out. Secondly, though it benefits everyone, it benefits the poor the most. Simple.