The Conservative party lost the general election, even if they are still in power (at time of writing). It was a defeat — as awful and fundamental a defeat for the political right as any I can remember. Brexit is now endangered. And few would doubt that a subsequent election would mean a victory for a very left-wing and jubilant Labour party. It is, then, a catastrophe for the right. And here’s what hasn’t happened as a consequence:
1. There are no hordes of right-wing demonstrators on Westminster Green screaming ‘Labour scum’ and spitting at anyone they think might be a socialist. Nobody has, to my knowledge, set fire to their own training shoes in protest. There are no enraged conservatives mounting a picket outside Jeremy Corbyn’s house and hurling abuse. Nor have conservatives daubed paint on monuments, smashed up shop-fronts or brought traffic to a standstill while they attack the ‘pigs’ in a an expression of unconstrained toddler rage.
2. Conservatives have not denigrated those who voted for Mr Corbyn. Nobody has questioned the right of bone-idle people who soak up millions of taxpayers’ money in benefits to vote for whom they wish. Nor the obese northern losers in low-paid menial jobs. Nor the students who impose themselves upon a town or city for three years and have the right to vote there and utterly change its culture. Nobody, rightly, has attacked these voters. It hasn’t been mentioned (apart from here, obvs).
3. No Conservatives have questioned the very outcome of the poll based on a blithe and arrogant assumption that the Labour voters were thick, uneducated imbeciles who have been serially lied to by Mr Corbyn et al. There has been no demand for a re-run because conservative people didn’t like the result. There will be no challenges in the courts, superficially based on some arcane technicality, but really because people don’t approve of democracy when the vote goes the way they don’t like. Nobody on the right questions the veracity of the poll.
4. Conservatives are not screaming blue murder about how it was the biased meeja wot won it. There are no petitions to have the BBC and Channel 4 wound up. No assaults on the warped journalism presented each day in the Guardian, the Daily Mirror, the Independent, or weekly in the Observer. Nor any allegations that the election was lost as the consequence of ‘false news’. Or that it was down to Putin and the Russians. Or some kind of world conspiracy.
5. Conservatives are not bombarding Facebook with harrowing posts about how they’ve been sobbing uncontrollably since the result and cannot face life any more. The letters pages of the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator are not full of pitiful, self-obsessed, virtue-signalling whining.
6. Right-wing academics, if there are any, have not announced that they are ‘defriending’ anybody who voted Labour, because they are callous and heartless bastards who want to suck up to jihadi terrorists, hamstring the aspirational and overtax hardworking clever people who are good at stuff. My guess is that nobody has been ‘-defriended’ as a consequence of this election on any social media site.
7. Right-wing columnists have not been gripped by adolescent tantrums and attacked Jeremy Corbyn as an evil purveyor of lies and cant. Indeed, pretty much every columnist on the right has commended Corbyn for his campaign and congratulated him, generously, upon his success (including the most splenetic of them all, Katie Hopkins). Instead, the right has concentrated on an examination of its own failings.
8. No right-wing journalists, on the eve of the poll, suggested that anyone who didn’t vote Conservative was malign. Caitlin Moran announced that anyone who didn’t vote Labour was a ‘cunt’ — which will have come as a charming surprise to the majority of her readers at the Times who are pretty much down-the-line Tories. If anybody who buys the Times still reads the woman.
9. Nobody on the right has suggested that voting Labour was synonymous with being an evil, sick bastard who doesn’t deserve to live. There was simply an acceptance that other people have different views and opinions — maybe wrong opinions, but that doesn’t make them a bad human being. And on this occasion the left won: so be it. Will of the people etc.
10. Ruby Tandoh, who once nearly won a television cooking contest, demanded that all chefs must vote Labour. I am not aware of any chefs who said that all other chefs must vote Conservative or Ulster Unionist or Monster Raving Loony. Right-wing chefs, if there are any, presumably thought that the way one voted was down to the individual and there was no professional imperative either way. Ditto the other celebs — assuming we count the ridiculous Tandoh as a celeb. My guess is that future productions of Hamlet or The Good Woman of Szechuan will not be interrupted by right-wing actors, if there are any, haranguing the audience about what a complete bastard Corbyn is, spittle dripping from their stupid lips.
None of that happened. It never does when the right suffers a reverse, no matter how calamitous that reverse might be. People may be angry — very angry indeed— but their anger is focused on where the right went wrong, rather than sprayed about willy–nilly in the direction of anybody anywhere who dares to gainsay them.
I mention all this as a form of consolation, really. Last Thursday’s vote was pretty unpalatable. And it is a little irking to hear the liberal-left exulting and see the smirks on the faces of the BBC correspondents. But at least you have this over the lot of them. You are a democrat. And an adult.
Julie Burchill on how a book-club banishment inspired her Brexit play