Here in inner-city Leeds, there is a despondency – a collective grief. Five more years of the Tories isn’t an intellectualised abstract nightmare, it is true fear of how to survive the blows we know will come raining, unchecked this time. It feels horrendously real. It’s hard to talk of lessons learnt, of organising, of resistance. But we must.
The SNP was the credible left alternative when Labour never was, but also the turnout was much higher in Scotland. It’s not that the English are pro-austerity, it’s that the poor here are disenfranchised. And the ones who aren’t voted Ukip. Instead of merely mocking them as racists, we need to face that they too were ‘voting for change’ in the only form they saw as plausible. Labour is fucked, but as long as charismatic Farage is gone, Ukip will inevitably dwindle. This gives us space inside and outside electoral politics, if we want to take it.
Other lessons are the ones we’ve always known. Community organising. The SNP did a fuckload of it. And it’s where our politics are between the ballot boxes. Be active in your neighbourhood, politicise, be kind, be seen, be the image of everything the Tories are desperate to destroy.
And be kind to one another, goddamit. The left can be brutal to its own with Twitter wars and calling-outs. No wonder the populace is reluctant to go there.
And finally, ultimately, we must offer hope. We should talk of love not just capital. As Pablo Casals said: “The situation is hopeless. We must take the next step.”