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My verdict on the election? It got weird, didn't it?

Cleggmania didn't deliver, in fact, none of them really delivered, but there was a narrow winner...and the attempts of the losers to turn narrow into nothing were sometimes shabby, occasionally hysterical. Just because the tories got more crosses in boxes it didn't mean that people had voted for them. Some people had voted conservative because their pens slipped or they thought they were signing deportation orders or malign spirits had possessed them overnight... those xs can't have meant that people wanted Tory government or there'd have been more of them. No, they wanted a minority government unable to rule because of an opposition guided by the mighty principles of Anything-Except-Tory and Because-The-People-Don't-Know-What's-Good-For-Them.

Clegg's party did not help themselves. New Politics? As they waited to see who would offer them the best deal and let the country chew its nails? PR? What had any of this to do with PR? It is a genuinely important matter - as is the organisation of our ballot nights - but compared to issues like the deficit and immigration, PR was very periphery to the main concerns of the country at this time. How did it get to be so central? Not because of the rights and wrongs of it, only as a bartering tool, and the longer the negotiations went on, the more it seemed like a blackmailing tool.

Punter to punter, pillar to post, all to see who gives the most...Blunket said the LibDem party was behaving like a harlot, and even I, inclined to write off the delay as caution over getting a good deal, found it all a bit...well, whoreish. I have nothing against whores, but I wouldn't pay one to run my country, any more than I would pay a politician to sleep with me.

Funnily enough Labour's distaste for the process warmed me to them once more. I would rather support a robust and honourable opposition than a 'Rainbow Alliance' of those united by nothing more than hatred of the Conservatives and so much contempt for the people's mandate, they are prepared to dismiss it, fuelling their power to do so with bribes. For a few brief hours I was in despair; I have never voted Conservative in my life, but yesterday I realised that if there was a forced election in 6 months time, I would probably have gone blue in defense of the principle that the people have spoken and no, we don't get re-runs until they vote the way we like.

Labour came out of this looking like the Party I remember and loved, ready to take defeat on the chin and fight on until they win again.

And Cameron? It is right and proper that he enters No.10. But he's still made of wax.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2010 09:43 am (UTC)
A party having the most votes - does not in anyway mean that it is the natural party of government. In this case - I think it was inevitable.

But it was right that the lib dems got some of what they believed in for suporting the tories. that's comproimse. And for the lib dems - electroal reform - is and always has been an utterly core concept.

And if they get it - expect much more of this horse trading- beucase it's going to happen.
May. 13th, 2010 08:22 am (UTC)
Hello Mavis! Nice to hear from you, even if there's no chocolate cake involved:-)

I agree that it was right for the libdems to get some of what they believed in, but I am very wary of pinata politics. Too close to bribery.

The trouble with this core concept business is that the party will suffer greatly if they are strongly identified with one unifying ideal - cos you never know, the country may just not want it. And what are the LibDems about then?

(Deleted comment)
May. 12th, 2010 11:42 am (UTC)
55,995,000 people did not march to the negotiations to demand PR. It will be interesting to see what the result of any referendum on PR/AV will produce, it may not pass. While it seems initially fairer to have that system, the results and horse trading that result from it can be far from fair as small parties, holding the balance of power, make astronomical demands. I offer you the fine, principled members of Plaid Cymru who announced that the cost of their 3 votes was £300 million. The Ulster MPs didn't name a price, but stated that that it would be about how much they could get for Ulster etc etc etc.

Yes, there does need to voting reform but it isn't simply restricted to the way MPs are selected. The West Lothian question has still to be resolved, party funding needs to be looked at, the second chamber etc etc etc. My point being that PR is not the be all and end all.

May. 12th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
More votes were cast for parties offering electoral reform than those against it.

Arguing the number of people not on the marches is facetious, I could as well argue that nobody marched on the negotiations demanding that PR not be part of the deal.

The second chamber is part of the deal agreed, as is fixed term parliaments.

Fundamentally, the Lib Dems had a mandate from a quarter of the population based on their manifesto. One of the key planks of which was electoral reform, including a referendum on a change to the voting system. As it has been since before I started voting in the 80s. Dropping it would be compromising their principles and abandoning their voters, I don't see how they had a lot of choice.

Anyway, as you see, there will be a referendum and we'll see what the country feels. I can't fundamentally think that's a bad idea after all the fuss about electoral reform in this election.
May. 12th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
re number of people not on the marches being facetious, my point is that such small numbers are themselves facetious and no measure of 'what the country wants'.

I am completely in favour of a referendum on the matter, it needs to be resolved one way or the other.

However my point is that it is far from the only issue and that we should take a fully encompassing review of it all, rather than pursue a single strand of the issue which would still leave us in a bad state.

Overall, I think that the compromise position that has been reached between the Conservatives and Lib Dems is the best outcome and in keeping with the results of the popular and fptp election.
May. 13th, 2010 07:39 am (UTC)
But as we see from other arguments on this thread, three quarters of the population were not fired up for electoral reform - I am pro a referendum on the matter, but I don't think it was appropriate for this issue to take centre stage, and I winced to see it reduced to a blackmail tool.

One appropriate way to deal with it would have been for Clegg to announce that he was opening discussions with both Labour and Tory to iron out a compromise that's good for the country, rather than be seen to go from one to the other looking for the best deal. In a time when Cameron was talking about the national interest, Clegg's party were all about what Clegg's party wanted.

I am not saying this is the case, but it certainly looked that way.

(Deleted comment)
May. 13th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)
Should we have just rolled over and accepted what the Tories wanted on all fronts (i.e. their entire manifesto, which seems to have been the approach taken by Labour in the discussions)?

Not at all. I am not anti the inclusion of PR as part of a compromise between parties; I am, however, very unhappy about a situation where it becomes THE deciding factor, because brutally speaking if it mattered to the electorate the way it matters to the LibDems, I honestly believe we'd have seen that reflected in votes and seats. I accept that this is subject to argument!

To my mind, the major fault was not in bringing the issue forward and standing by it, but in portraying the issue as the party's price for co-operation. I agree the media did much to demonise the dawdlers, but it did smack more of realpolitik than new politics.

With regard to personal preferences, my party allegiances are changing. Though I have been a lifelong Labour voter, I did not vote with that party this election, and I may not do so again. From now on, I will treat every election on a case by case basis. Can't believe it; I'm officially a swing voter!
May. 13th, 2010 08:12 am (UTC)
Re the hit, I think you are right, the LibDem party will suffer, mainly to the left of its ranks of course, but what can it gain? It gets involved in helping the country at a time of crisis. It is no longer seen as a distant third party, but as a true party of government. It forces through a referendum so the party faithful get to take their core principle to the country. Practically speaking for nation and party, this was always the way forward.

Edited at 2010-05-13 08:23 am (UTC)
May. 12th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
The Lib Dems had to fight for electoral reform, had they not, then they'd have lost all credibility.

And it's quite right for the Libs to fight for what they stand for. They're politicians, it's what they're meant to do.

I am getting tired of the deficit being used as a bogeyman - yes, it's important, but all parties are committed to austerity.

Investors knew this and waited.

Watch, our credit rating won't go down, none of the financial hell that was promised will happen. Yes, things will get tougher, but that was going to happen regardless.
May. 13th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
I agree that the Lib Dems would have lost credibility had they not fought for reform. I never suggested the battle was wrong, but the way they fought it certainly didn't help - for more on this, see my answer to yapman.

And it's quite right for the Libs to fight for what they stand for. They're politicians, it's what they're meant to do.

But wasn't there a new idea about a new kind of politics, that put the national interest above party interests? Whose idea was that?

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )



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