As the protesters of End Austerity Now walked through the streets, they must have felt like they had taken the next step in the crusade against Government budget cuts. They haven't. They have exercised their democratic right and, in so doing, wasted their time. The reason being that the General Election gave the mandate to the right, those who believe we, as a nation, are spending too much and need to tighten our belts.
I'm a centrist, hovering between either wing when it suits, falling into that prized position for all politicians, namely a floating voter. It affords me a position that is less tribal than some and I can quite clearly see the folly of the End Austerity Now marches. The Left lost the political argument and this is how.
There appears to be this common hyperbole that those on the Right think all people on benefits are scroungers and lazy louts. This seems to be built on the idea that everyone and their dog watched Benefits Street and Shameless, formulated an ill informed idea about the poorest in the country and ran with it. That isn't the case. The fact is everyone I know who voted Tory came from varying levels of wealth, including people who relied on benefits. However, what they did have in common is an antagonism built from personal experiences. They had seen people who were only interested in taking and not working. They saw people who lacked endeavour, initiative and work ethic. It was alienating because they knew that those people were not fussed about working. They are tired of people saying "I can't find work" when you can find websites, shop windows and job centres full of vacancies. The Left say that it is demonising the poor but the unwillingness to accept that there are people exploiting benefits is one way that they lost the argument.
Greece hangs like a financial spectre for those who support the Right. It stands as an example of a country that does not deal with its debts in due course. Oddly, the Left says you should cut slower and get the economy growing. The deficit is actually a political distraction. National debt is the bigger problem. It is the higher taxes or spending cuts that have to happen eventually. Greece is becoming aware that their loose tax control and high public spending is a recipe for disaster. The Left's argument amounted to shrugging off Greece's predicament and insisting it won't happen to us. It was to preach that growth would be the way out of the situation. Growth is the economic unicorn that we chased and then got us into a financial crisis. It is just another way the Left lost the argument.
The Left believes we should tax the rich more. The Right insists that will make them leave and with it goes the twenty percent that they spend on VAT, the rent they pay, the jobs they create and so on. The Left harped on about the NHS being a sacred cow that can't be trusted in the hands of the Right, as they forget that it was falling apart under their stewardship.
These are relevant points but it is not the key one, which was exemplified by the End Austerity Now marches. The Left has no respect for the Right's opinion. You only need to look at the tone and rhetoric used by Left Wing supporters on social media. It is aggressive, condescending and immovable. A lot of Right Wing sympathisers don't dare post on such sites due to the inevitable vilification that they will receive. The Left lost the argument because they are blinded by what they believe to be their righteous cause, when all they are is invidious. They won't back down. They won't endeavour to be inclusive. Some call that principled. The Right call that disrespectful. The Left shouted. The Right voted. And that's why the Right won the argument.