Richard McGinley: Fear over hope won in England - pressure is now on the SNP to bring the wind of change to Westminster

CommonSpace columnist Richard McGinley - a Scot living in England - reflects on the General Election result and explores the different attitudes from voters north and south of the border

FIVE more years of Cameronomics.

If that's not a chilling thought, you haven't thought about it properly.

The Conservative Party will form the next government, with what looks like a slender majority. Only one party offered a real alternative to the austerity programme, singularly opposing the renewal of Trident and vowing to protect public services and creating wealth. The Scottish National Party (SNP).

It won 56 out of a possible 59 seats.

Cameronomics is only ever going to benefit a small proportion of the populace. That is what it has been doing, and that is what it will continue to do.

Over the next few days, the "experts" will blame the demise of the Labour Party on a nationalist surge, when in fact the SNP gained votes by offering people what they actually wanted, instead of what they thought they wanted. Fifty-six out of 59, a swing of around 30 per cent and an increased turnout is a very strong endorsement of a party's ideas.

Labour remained out of touch with the working man, the very person it was created to represent. In choosing career politicians to lead, it lost sight of its reason to be, and it showed when the votes were counted.

Labour didn't properly tackle the Conservatives on real issues, such as the health service, benefit cuts, the housing benefit rip off, the banking scandals, and the truth about the national debt. That should have been enough to be going on with.

Cameronomics is only ever going to benefit a small proportion of the populace. That is what it has been doing, and that is what it will continue to do.

The Fear over Hope campaign, taken up with glee by the media on behalf of the Conservatives, claimed that the SNP, if it worked alongside Labour in a coalition, would lead to an apocalyptic future, triumphed in the end. And yet no-one asked how.

The establishment won, using the same tactics employed in Scotland last year. Fear over hope.

In fact, no-one from Labour asked anybody anything.

In Scotland, the public learned after the referendum that the newspapers were not to be trusted, and neither were the southern-led politicians. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Try to fool me again and you'll get a swift kick up the arse. Which is what happened to Scottish Labour.

Unfortunately, in the big picture, it's five years since the establishment fooled the English and Welsh, so it's probably all been forgotten. In Scotland it's just a few months, so it's fresh in the memory.

Which is why Scotland rejected all the London parties, and it's why the rest of Britain fell for the same old nonsense yet again. The establishment won, using the same tactics employed in Scotland last year. Fear over hope.

It's a strange feeling looking at the new landscape this morning. Dismay at the prospect of the privileged few getting their hands on the NHS. Dismay at the prospect of millions relying on foodbanks. Dismay at zero-hours contracts and low wages further eroding the already diminishing standard of living for most of us.

Most of all, the feeling of complete hopelessness, an overwhelming impotence to actually do anything about it. The chance has passed, and the shot went blazing over the crossbar.

Change is coming. For now, the responsibility to keep the ball rolling lies with the SNP.

Yet, the wind of change may be stirring in the north.

You can't help but feel a little pride, and a little admiration for the Scots, who have stood against the establishment. Practically speaking, there's very little that the SNP can do to prevent Cameronomics from destroying the economy further. Not yet, anyway.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats paid the price for working with the Conservatives - one during the referendum, and the other in the coalition. They lost their credibility as a viable alternative before a vote was cast on Thursday.

But change is coming. It might take as long as a generation, and it will certainly take a lot of hard work. For now, the responsibility to keep the ball rolling lies with the SNP.

Alex Salmond spoke last night of a Scottish lion roaring in Westminster. It might help if it bit a few heads off as well.

Picture courtesy of Koala99

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