We talk about "apathy","disengagement", and how disillusioned voters now think "they're all the same", as though it were a politically neutral sociological phenomenon, that has spontaneously arisen. In reality, mass disillusionment was a clever electoral tactic, which has been disseminated by the right-wing press. They they knew this was an uninspiring Tory party, with no positive message and an uninspiring austerity agenda. Therefore, all alternatives had to be savagely discredited from 2005, so they looked even worse.
Depressing our expectations and optimism was helped by the widespread disillusion that followed from Iraq, Blair, the crash, the bailout, the MPs' expenses scandal and the character assassination of Gordon Brown. Even after all this, Cameron only just scraped in, failing to win a majority which, says one insider, made many Tories "furious". It's easy to see why they didn't win. The electorate didn't actively vote for the Tories; Cameron's uninspiring war of attrition against Gordon Brown did not excite voters. It just begrudgingly convinced them change had to happen.
We want more equality but we don't vote for the parties that promise to tackle it? Why? Probably because of our woeful, carefully engineered cynicism about politics: 63% of us think Labour will "say anything" to get elected. Therefore, we don't even vote for the parties that promise to address the issues we feel need changing!
This is the real coup of Cameron's era. He doesn't have to inspire us, he doesn't have to be lovable, and he doesn't even have to address the issues that we think should be addressed. He doesn't have to worry about not being popular - because his rivals have all been made just as unpopular too. We've been convinced that there are no alternatives, and we don't have a hope in hell.
Cameron is that horrible boyfriend who ruins your self-esteem so you never leave him. You know he doesn't make you happy any more, but you don't think you could do any better.
We don't think we ever could have an honest politician, good public services, economic equality and security. We've got uniquely downcast national expectations. We don't really believe that it's possible to be well-governed; though of course it is.