Sunday, May 08, 2011

Business as usual

And so the dust has settled, the rhetoric spent. It is a brand new day, but perhaps not exactly the one we were promised. On the whole, our voters voted for status quo, business as usual. The Workers gained a lot, the incumbents lost a little by way of vote share. So while there is movement towards more alternative voices in public debate, the electorate has been careful not to jump at making radical changes too quickly.

What the Workers proved is that the GRC system is not as undefeatable as is widely claimed. As long as the Opposition can field a credible, capable and trustworthy team to rival the incumbent, they will win the backing of their voters and their seats in Parliament. This election has already thrust several potential Opposition candidates into the limelight, so if they can get themselves together and prepare for the next election their challenge will be even stronger.

In the meantime, the incumbents have been shaken enough to make a campaign apology for past mistakes and they have a lot of catching up to win back the voters they have lost since the last election. But really, the writing is on the wall. This election has been the most exciting one in a long time. During the campaigning there was a sense that the results may not be the forgone conclusion they were in the past. With the massive turnouts at the rallies and the incumbents put on the defensive with practically every ward being contested, the people are beginning to aspire towards a less lopsided Parliament. But not so soon.

The Workers have their chance to prove themselves more than just fiery campaigners who can talk a good fight, but as the MPs their voters have mandated them to be. If Hougang and Aljunied can deliver both the goods and the alternative voice they promised in their speeches, the next election will prove to be even more exciting.