Sunday, May 16, 2010

a week is a long time in politics....

My great friend Ian has written an interesting piece on his blog this week entitled “emerging politics” about cross-party partnerships – calling for peace-makers and consensus-builders rather than those choosing the adversarial approach. I’m still trying to get my head around the the LibCon (as I’ve seen the Government referred to a couple of times this week!) coalition agreement and also the forthcoming election of a new leader of the Labour Party.
I have to admit that (if I try REALLY hard to ignore the fact that the Tories are now in charge!) I’ve found the spirit of co-operation between the coalition partners rather refreshing thus far. Of course, this is just the honeymoon period and, no doubt, as soon as we get back to Westminster (on Tuesday, I think) it’ll be back to the usual yah-boo stuff (and, of course, the media will be doing its utmost to find a chink in the coalition’s armoury)…. and there’ll no doubt be some bad blood between Labour and the Lib-Dems (along the “vote Lib-Dem, get Tories” line)…. although I very much hope not.
The fact remains, of course (and I appreciate that this is absolutely inevitable – especially with a hung-parliament), that I - along with hundreds of thousands of others - am left saying: “if I’d have known it was going to end like this, I would never have voted like I did” (not that it made a scrap of difference in our constituency)! I DID expect a hung-parliament and I voted Lib-Dem on the basis that a) the Lib-Dems would achieve something approaching a 30% share of the votes, and b) Labour and the Lib-Dems would make up the new government and come up with some sort of coalition agreement (with a commitment to a DECENT PR system). By dawn on 7 May, it became pretty clear that the figures meant that this was never going to work – because the Lib-Dems hadn’t won anything like the number of seats most people had anticipated – and that a LibCon coalition was suddenly a distinct possibility.
Nick Clegg is now saying that “there was no other responsible way to play the hand dealt to the political parties by the British people”. What he MIGHT have said was “I realised that an early general election re-run would be political suicide for the Lib-Dems, so teaming up with the Tories was our only way out”.
I REALLY didn’t anticipate that the Lib-Dems (who, in many ways, are left of the Labour Party these days) would ever team up with the Conservatives. I feel cheated. Ho hum!
Other thoughts from the week:
1. I’m not opposed to fixed term parliaments, but I AM very suspicious of the new 55% rule (which I think the Lib-Dems had pressed for?). A simple majority of 50% plus one on a “no confidence” vote will no longer immediately trigger a prime ministerial resignation or an immediate general election.
2. The electorate clearly voted for “change”, but I’m left pondering if it would all have been different if Labour had opted for a new leader say six months ago – someone with new ideas to drive the party forward and to drop some of its albatrosses?
3. I feel really guilty that I didn’t participate in the “Where’s My Vote?” rally at College Green in Bristol yesterday – pressing for electoral reform.
4. As far as a new Labour leader is concerned, I’m pleased that Ed Miliband has entered the fray (I thought he was an excellent Energy Minister); I’m really not sure about David Miliband – touted by many as being a brilliant and obvious “next leader”; Jon Cruddas would be a good deputy leader; but I have a horrible feeling that Ed Balls will be the ultimate victor (perhaps because support for the Milibands had been split?). I’m trying to ignore this possibility for the time being – SURELY they wouldn’t, would they?


just Gai said...

I'm also still coming to terms with the events of the last week. At least this election could hardly be described as 'boring'. My thoughts are as follows:

1 Gutted that Labour lost because, despite its obvious flaws, I'm still convinced it offers the best way forward.

2 Desperately sorry to witness the departure of Gordon Brown, as I believe he is one of our few remaining conviction politicians.

3 Unconvinced by the rhetoric of the two new best friends, Dave and Nick, whose 'civil partnership' appears to me to be borne more out of necessity than beliefs.

4 Disappointed that the first real opportunity to reform our voting system has been squandered.

5 Chastened by my desire for change. The old maxim 'be careful what you wish for' could not have been more apt. This isn't the 'change' I voted for.

Still, they say every cloud (does this include those of the ash variety?) has a silver lining. The third runway at Heathrow has been cancelled, which is good news indeed.

Alice said...

did you know their other brother has entered the race for leader? Steve Miller Band.

I've been annoying Dave with jokes on this theme for MONTHS. It's not so good when I get mixed up and say Glenn Miller band...

bigdaddystevieB said...

brilliant Alice!
love it... can I claim the "southern" rights to this?