The results are in and David Cameron's Conservative party have won a second term. The Lib Dems have suffered a crushing defeat, while SNP now rule most of Scotland. These are interesting times for politics – but I am personally bitterly disappointed that Cameron is back in power.
I was hoping the electorate would send the message to the Conservatives that austerity is hurting all but the most privileged and that enough is enough, but ultimately I think people didn't want to rock the economic boat and voted out of selfishness.
So what does this mean going forward? Well, if you're feeling pessimistic like I am at the moment, it means we have another five years of deeply painful cuts that will affect the NHS, social services, councils, law courts, transportation and welfare. The rich and powerful will become even moreso, while the masses will take the brunt of the effects of austerity.
If, however, you're more optimistic, it might be that SNP's hold over Scotland will give it enough clout to influence things for the better (given that they are anti-austerity). Also, the so-called 'green surge' has shown people are taking the environment more seriously, and having Caroline Lucas in parliament will mean a voice for Green issues continues to be present.
This time round, it felt like people were more passionate about politics than before so maybe it's the beginning of a new era of engagement. I know I've been more galvanized by what's been happening in this election and there seems to be a strong movement toward more parliamentary reforms (e.g. getting proportional representation) which will only help to make governance fairer.
Even though I have fundamental issues with politics in general, I'm determined to play more of a part and get involved. If I want to see change in how our leaders run the country I have to get off my backside and do something. Things won't change all on their own.
As I was weeping (figuratively) into my cereal this morning, wifey pointed out a Bible verse for day that she had on her phone: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." ( Romans 8:18 NIV).
In these times of despair and uncertainty, it's good to have a bit of perspective.