Handwringing and hopes as David Cameron returns to Downing Street | Letters

Letters: Miliband has paid the price for not speaking out louder and sooner to counteract the lies about the causes of recession

As a Glasgow resident I am hearing a lot of talk about the collapse of Labour in Scotland. This is secondary. The fact the Tories have a majority when they have campaigned on £12bn of unspecified welfare cuts, privatisation of swaths of the NHS and no rebalancing of the tax regime to a more progressive basis says that the UK has given up on consensual improvements for all and is willing to abandon anyone on low income or welfare and just cross their fingers that they remain in the “us” and do not drop into the “them”. This would still have happened if Labour won every seat in Scotland. Labour has been shredded from two sides. The south of England, where it feared being exposed as a tax-and-spend party. And Scotland, where it was exposed as not being a tax-and-spend party. The future looks very bleak.
Colin Reed

• There must be many voters who woke up thinking “Hang on … we didn’t want another five years of Cameron”. They trashed the Lib Dems for getting into bed with the Tories, and (in Scotland) they trashed Labour for not being anti-austerity. Miliband has paid the price for not speaking out louder and sooner to counteract the lies about the causes of the recession, and for treating core voters with contempt. The only winners are the non-doms, red-top owners, hedgefund operators and wealthy pensioners. The rest of us can kiss goodbye to the welfare state, the NHS and public services.
Jane Ghosh

• The exit polls have got it right in two consecutive general elections and the national opinion polls prior to this election got it wrong, not for the first time. The exit polls are based on a much larger sample than the numerous opinion polls before the election. In future, let’s have fewer opinion polls, based on larger samples, to give better guidance.
Sally Lynes

•The Tories will always benefit from superior funding and a supportive press; these can be overcome, but only with much better leadership The two Eds had five years to explain recent economic history and failed. David Cameron’s success is more one of surprise rather than scale. He now has the opportunity to reshape the Tories into a one-nation party again, but he will need to cultivate statesmanship, leadership and decision-making skills. His slim majority could disappear quickly enough if the more unpleasant, arrogant and intolerant elements of his party are allowed to shape the new parliament’s agenda.
Bob May
Much Wenlock, Shropshire

• As a Guardian reader and an ex-member of Lady Thatcher’s policy unit 1983-84, I have been telling all my friends and family throughout the campaign that David Cameron and the Conservatives would win an overall majority. The reason is simple – the Neil Kinnock moment. As in 1992, when voters entered the ballot box, they decided that Ed Miliband was not up to being prime minister. I wish the Conservative government every success in governing in the interests of everyone in the UK.
David Pascall

• Miliband’s advisers were clueless. The pledge stone was weird – and, in the last week, what word did you most want to avoid being associated with Ed?
Stephen Decker
Chelmsford, Essex

• A disastrous election for the Lib Dems but was it so disastrous for Labour? In all the major English cities Labour’s share of the vote increased. London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham, Sunderland and Newcastle all returned Labour MPs with increased majorities. Ed Balls lost Morley and Outwood on a 0.4% of the share of the vote, but the other five Leeds seats all showed an increased Labour share.
Veronica Matthew

• Did those Labour voters who put their cross against a Tory candidate because they feared a Labour/SNP alliance also want Scotland to secede from the UK? I doubt it, but with the Tories in power again, together with their expressed desire to get out of Europe, what are the chances of another referendum showing a majority for independence?
Peter Bird
Fakenham, Norfolk

• Who was the Machiavellian adviser who persuaded Cameron to leave “devo max” off the Scottish referendum? And why did we miss the fact that this gave the Tories a win-win situation? A yes vote would have removed all those troublesome leftie seats at a stroke while a no, as we now see, would lead to a nationalist surge to ensure Scotland had a strong voice in Westminster. That single stroke of genius has led us to this election result and we should have seen it coming.
Anne Cowper

• Say goodbye to the West Lothian question. Say hello to the Westminster question.
Bryan Glister

• So 1.1 million people voted for the Green party, result one seat; 3.8 million people voted for Ukip, result one seat; 2.4 million people voted for the Lib Dems, result eight seats; 1.4 million people voted for the SNP, result 56 seats. The Tory party will be delighted with 52% of the parliamentary seats from 37% of the popular votes cast. For the 7.3 million (25% of voters) who voted Lib Dem, Green or Ukip, a total of only 10 MPs between them might well appear a poor-value return for their cross. If proportional representation is not speeding to the top of the political agenda soon, then a large proportion of the voting population will continue to be disenfranchised, their votes will be seen to have unequal value and impact to others and people’s disengagement with politics will only grow deeper. The newly elected Tory majority government is a consequence of our first past the post system and of our failure to embrace PR when we had the chance. Let us hope its time might come again.
Jasper Dorgan
Edington, Wiltshire

• Not the result I wanted, but a result, and quite a lot of people will get what they voted for. Without the two-party system this would not happen. What people voted against was a post-election deal behind closed doors. Long live democracy, and better luck next time.
Mary Jackson
Gilston, Hertfordshire

• It’s the Sun Wot Won It (English and Scottish editions).
Chas Donaldson
Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway

• Will this be the best government (or worst) that money can buy?
Rae Street

• The election result and its welcome from those responsible recalls the quote by Robert Walpole on the eve of war with the Spanish in 1739: “They now ring the bells, but they will soon wring their hands.”
Peter Collins

• It’s not often that Anthony Trollope’s wisdom seems inapplicable: “Let no man boast himself that he has got through the perils of winter till at least the seventh of May.”
Simon Barley
Hope Valley, Derbyshire


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