A new dawn is breaking in British politics and yet it is looking disturbingly familiar. Aside from various changes in personnel the great surprise of the 2015 General Election is that virtually nothing has changed. We were promised revolution and reform, a new politics of constitutional upheaval and representation. Yet on Friday morning we witnessed the return of a Conservative majority government, the first in twenty three years and a return to the politics of the past. We were told that 2015 would be the year of the underdogs, the small parties that would challenge the old mainstays and hold the balance of power. This morning we witnessed the return of solitary Green MP, Caroline Lucas and UKIP’s representation in Parliament halved from two to one. Perhaps most importantly we witnessed the annihilation of a Liberal Democrat Party which had spent five years in government showing how smaller parties could have an effective impact on politics, and a return to two-party politics in England.

Those criticising the Scottish electorate for losing Labour seats in their traditional heartland have dramatically misunderstood what happened on Thursday. The Scots were in fact the only ones to grasp the potential for change and the revolution in politics which was promised in the last decade. They voted for representation and change. They were disillusioned and disappointed in a political system which they didn’t believe was working for them – and they changed it! They voted for radical policies which they believed in and they had their voice overwhelmingly heard, shattering the status quo and reclaiming their politics.

For the past five years I have listened to the countless declarations that politics is broken in Britain. A nation has become despondent with the system, lacking trust and involvement in it which has had a huge impact on our lives. And yet still only 53 seats in England and Wales changed hands in this election, highlighting that whilst we complain about the failings of our system, we have failed to vote to change it.

One-third of the electorate did not bother to vote on Thursday, with over 40 per cent of young voters deciding to stay at home. As a result, I refuse to accept any criticism of our political system for the next five years. We have a chance to change the face of our politics every five years and this time around we have refused to take it. With the exception of Scotland, we have voted to return to a two-party system under which vast numbers of the population will continue to be ignored.

Austerity and inequality live on. The big businesses which we all love to hate continue to reign and the lowest in society will continue to face heavy punishment. That is not a criticism of Conservative policy as much as it is an assessment that England has chosen to pursue harsh policies of thrift and small government. We will now spend years debating our place in Europe and our place in the world. We will also spend years debating our relationship as a United Kingdom and the position of each member nation. We will continue to discuss cuts and taxes, immigration and the EU just as we have done for the past five years. Under a majority government however, calls for constitutional and electoral upheaval are likely to be shelved and our broken two-dimensional politics will continue to limp on having been denied the injection of change by the electorate.

We have seen in a sense the best and worst of democracy. The people have spoken and we have had the privilege of choosing our path for the next five years. Many, including myself, will be disappointed but the system has succeeded in presenting a government which will represent the people. Despite what may be seen as a regression in our political environment we must now look to the future and await what lies ahead of us.

David Cameron faces the task of uniting our nation. He will face battles to represent the Scottish and English nationalists who call for change, the immigrant communities and those who seek to challenge immigration, the poorest and the wealthiest, businessman and teacher. The next five years will be hugely important for the United Kingdom. The people have made their choice, now we must wait to see how it will work out.

With great hope for the future,

Liam Faulkner

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