Saturday, May 08, 2010

Post-election thoughts

I have no problem with the Lib Dems forming some kind of agreement or coalition with the Tories, subject to electoral reform being a solid promise made in front of the voting public. Already Tory commentators and politicians are rounding on the Lib Dems for making electoral reform a key plank in any agreement.

The Tories whine that they won more votes and more seats than anyone else in the election, which somehow gives them a mandate to govern without doing deals. For the record, an election isn’t a race (and even if it was, they haven’t done enough to reach the finishing post). They may have polled more votes than any other single party, but they should remember that a substantial portion of the electorate – nearly 65% in fact – voted against them. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

They will claim the Lib Dems have no mandate because they didn’t make a breakthrough. Yet the Lib Dems carry 6.5 million votes with them. Add those votes to the Tories’ 10 million or so and you have a genuine mandate for governing. And if that means compromise, and a future whereby those 6.5 million votes receive fair representation in parliament, then so be it.

  • Cecil Parkinson reminded me why I dislike him so much on last night’s PM programme on Radio 4. His smugness and desire to see the “Liberal” Party “destroyed” (his own word) surely does more to illustrate his views of democracy than anything else. For all David Cameron’s centrist views, the likes of Parkinson continue to lurk in the background, and expect them to make themselves known should Cameron attempt to strike a deal involving electoral reform with the Lib Dems.
  • If, on the other hand, the Tories refuse to sanction such a deal, Nick Clegg must be prepared to do a deal with Labour and the nationalists to form an alternative administration. Seeing as electoral reform is now a central plank of Labour policy (how convenient – where has it been for the past 13 years?), a coalition of these forces can simply point to the number of votes they represent as proof they have every right to govern the country, regardless of what the media and Tories claim.

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