OK, the results are not all in yet, but it’s roughly what we were led to expect. So now what? The situation no politician was willing to speculate about. Looks like we have LibDems going to Conservatives to do the gentlemanly thing and talk to the people with the biggest share of the vote first. Nick Clegg talking about it as if it’s just about numbers, seems to be ignoring policies. And seriously, would anyone trust LibDems again if they propped up the Tories? is this genuinely what those people thought they were voting for? From the LibDems I know, I’d say emphatically not.
Who should be talking?
But here’s my problem: if it really is about going with the people’s mandate like he says, then Conservatives and Labour should be forming a pact, not Con-Lib!! (if anything Con and Lab have more in common, I’d say.)
So, we’re told we’re in confusion… as if The Public have failed to vote properly. It’s being presented as a crisis. I hate the stupid rolling news – BBC is showing a live helicopter shot of Clegg’s car “making its way through the London traffic”! And there’s speculation about 1974-type scenario: minority government then another election in months. Surely we’ve moved on from that?
The polticians said they didn’t want “behind closed doors deals” – all parties have said they don’t want to do this (they’ve used it as argument against nhing parliament). Fine: easy, just do the deals publically then!
Coalition not Pact
It makes absolutely no sense for the parties that came first and third getting together. Other countries must be laughing at us! The coalition should be between the strong first and second! The very fact that this is unthinkable to Labour and Conservative exposes someething ver deeply wrong with our political system.
It really is very simple. The people of Britain have placed most of their votes with Labout and Conservative. It is those two parties who should be working together to make a coalition that truly represents the mandate.
The Lib Dems should hardly get a look in, given their share of the vote. (And this is truly what people actually object to – them having “kingmaker” powers, large representation for small vote share)
What situtuations should the coalition be between first and third parties, excluding the second? It might make sense if Lib and Con were very closely allied in terms of policy and very far from Lab. But that is clearly not the case here. The Labour party has exempted itself for purely childish reasons!
People seem to think “work with” has to mean “agree with”. Trust shouldn’t come into it, it’s not needed: if you’re paying attention to the issues, you don’t need to trust the leaders, because you are engaging. It is only if you (the public, or the backbench MPs) are being lazy and not engaging that you need Trust.
A Hung Parliament Is Dangerous?
This myth of a “strong stable” government… meaning giving absolute power to one party – so entrenched in our political culture – really needs to be swept away. If we had a fair voting system (some form of PR), we’d never have a single party having majority control.
Is hung parliament really such a terrible thing. Isn’t it possible it’s actually a positive thing? If we had proportional representation in this country, all parliaments would be hung. Parties would be forced to always work together. Let’s use the word “coalition” – which suggests real engagement – as opposed to “hung” which suggests a failure.
Coalition government is pretty common too. In the whole of Europe only three countries currently have a majority government (France, Greece, Malta)
One argument against coalition government is that it will lead to worsening debt problems and and fiscal imprudence. Here’s the evidence that this is rubbish.
Coalition government is something we should strive for. It’s far more democratic than Supreme Power to whoever got half the seats (usually not much over a third of the votes) because it means the popular parties all get a say.
A Real Opportunity
We now have a real chance to develop our country’s political system into something mature and modern. A chance to finally sweep out the historical anomalies. To have a proper grown up political system. Like other countries.
We shouldn’t be in a situation where we’ve said what we want but we don’t know what we’re going to get.
A couple of positives
I’m encouraged by the anger of people being turned away from voting: not exactly the voter apathy we are told about.
I’m thrilled by the election of Caroline Lucas in Brighton. So refreshing to see her interviewed by Paxman and actually answering the question! It’s
refreshing but also actually exposes/shows up how poor other politicians are.