I keep hearing people on all sides saying what we need is “a strong and stable government. ” By strong we seem to mean unchallengeable: Supreme Power. In a democracy?
Coalition is NOT a failure of politics – it’s a success. We need people talking to each other, checking each other, stopping each other doing stupid things. It’s majority government that fails people by not representing the true breadth of views of the people.
Not that many days ago a few Conservatives and much of the right-wing press appeared to be calling for something like the equivalent of Acerbo Law (look it up). It was essentially a way to strengthen a party who didn’t quite have a majority – so that they do have a majority. Deeply undemocratic. And it resulted in Mussolini’s fascists gaining great power in the 1920s.
I’m finding myself getting extremely angry about the way all this has been conducted. The secrecy. The way politicians seem to have forgotten that they’re public servants. I’m angry with the LibDems for so easily and quickly teaming with the Conservatives. And I’m angry with Labour for being so unflexible and not engaging in discussions.
If we’re going to have coalition government, let’s have proper coalition government - where all the popular parties are represented.
I’d like to hope we’re moving away from majority government and into an era of coalitions. (PR will ensure this.) And if this is the case, then the parties have to grow up and accept that things need to be done differently. A proper democratic coalition would have Lab, Con, Lib around the table, getting proportional amount of seats in cabinet etc. I suspect it will take the British political culture a long time to work this out. But maybe in a decade things will be more civilised and more democratic.
So we have our ConDem government (probably). We can only hope that if Cameron tries to do anything seriously damaging to the country, then LibDems will vote against it. We can only hope that the LibDems have not committed themselves so deeply that there’s no way out. They can bring down this government if they want. Of course, the grim reality is that the LibDems have no money left for another election (unlike Labour and Conservative who can raise money from their rich friends). So they’re stuck there.
Last word to Mark Steel on twitter: “Now I know it’s not entirely your fault, but it’s only fair if all of you who voted LibDem to ‘Keep the Tories out’ lines up for a good slap.”