A Right Hanging
As details of a coalition between the two unlikely lads came through, people started asking the most obvious questions relating to how two parties so diametrically opposed could find sufficient common ground and maintain a stable government.
The deal revolves around a pact to keep the new government in power for a fixed term of 5 years. To ensure this, one of the first acts of the new government will be to increase the percentage required to vote a government down from the present 50% + One MP, to a minimum 55% of MPs. Whilst this might have seemed like a great idea in the 4 days of tense negotiations, one wonders if in the cold light of day the new Prime Minister might want to reconsider. After all, does he actually want to go down in history as the first prime minister to change centuries of democratic wisdom?
With these new rules, the government could carry on governing even if it failed a vote of confidence since the new 55% target would not have been met. Potentially leading to a classic case of ending up with limbo governance. I knew this was going to be a ‘hung parliament’, but I did not know it would be as a result of ’hanging’ one of the very basic tenets of British Parliamentary covenants.
Guilt by Association
David Cameron and his team have negotiated a great deal by offering very little in substance and still getting the ‘tie in’ from the Lib Dems to the 55%. The Lib Dems will suffer serious haemorrhage in their voter bank. Regardless of the outcome of how effective this coalition is or might be; the Lib Dems have lost their mandate as the third force in British Politics. In the next election they will be lucky to secure more than 15% of the vote, and even with the AV system in place, it will secure fewer than 35 seats. Nick Clegg as their leader will be known as the man who in order to be in a governing cabinet, destroyed the very future of his party for decades to come. This hung parliament it seems has already hung one of its partners.
Dangers for Cameron
The coalition presents some very serious dangers for both David Cameron and the Tory Party at large. There is a sense that whether they succeed or fail in governance, the newlyweds will fall down together regardless. This may seem like a contradiction however when you consider the two possible scenario’s it becomes clearer. If the partnership is successful then by definition there will be no need for the Lib Dems. The voters will have a straight choice between the two main parties and the Lib Dems could potentially be out for another 50 years or more. If the partnership is unsuccessful then there will be a blame game between the ‘two likely lads.’ In their zeal to blame each other they will lose the confidence of the public and the only party remaining for disgruntled voters will be Labour, or god forbid, the extremists.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg are both walking the same tight rope at the same time but from opposite sides. Anyone who has seen such high wire acts will know that unless you are an expert, it generally ends in tears.
Challenge for the Tories
The natural instincts of the Tories might need to be tempered. I suspect it might be wiser to make friends with the electorate at the first opportunity. The next election will be determined by several main voter banks. The C1 (lower middle class) and C2 (skilled working class) groups in society as well as the BAME community. Whilst the Tories have made some progress on the diversity front, let us be honest – they are short of meeting even the modest of expectations. Within a finite amount of time, any party that begins to build its relationship with the ethnic minorities in a positive and proactive manner might well garner those few additional percentage points that will be crucial in the next election. It literally could mean being in, or out of power. This process needs to start now and not as a last minute knee jerk reaction closer to an impending election.
Double Edge Sword
George Osborne announced the setting up of the OBR (Office for Budgetary Responsibility) which does appear to have been granted some serious independent powers. How independent it truly is will no doubt be judged by history, however, it does give him a critical friend that would guide his policies. The move is clever and gives the dual advantage of blaming Labour for the state of public finances as well as mitigating his role in spending cuts that you and I will have to endure. If this works, it will give Tories a buffer to any wrath that they may come their way from the public. If it fails, there is a danger that these independent financial gurus (remember they made the mess in the first place) could take a position that is at variance with that held by the chancellor. All in all, a very interesting development, worthy of our attention.
Labour: The Good and the Bad
In my view Labour got the best outcome for their very future. By losing with 255 seats they might have actually won in the medium to long term. They have a great opportunity to select a good leader and re-focus on the core issues that affects the whole of Great Britain. There is however a serious fundamental flaw in their very makeup. One that forces them to commit ‘hari-kari’ at every opportunity. I of course make reference to the loony left which increasingly is getting a lot of financial and other support from far-left unions. If Labour allows itself to move away from the hard fought centre ground of British politics, we can safely assume the self destruct button they pressed in 1979 would have been activated yet again.