Sunday 9 May 2010

I don’t agree with Nick

If you need a good reason why PR is unsuitable for this country, look no further than the rather unedifying spectacle of the political parties horse trading behind closed doors.

The Conservatives spent the election campaign explaining why they, and they alone, should govern. LibDem policies were routinely trashed by senior Tories. Yet now, David Cameron is looking to get into bed with them.

Gordon Brown stood on the steps of Downing Street begging Nick Clegg to phone him, and yesterday the perma-tanned former bank robbery suspect Peter Hain was on his knees pleading: “Oh please don’t form an alliance with the evil Tories. Please, oh pretty please, form an alliance with Labour instead. We’ve always wanted electoral reform. We just forgot to mention it before.”

The public did not vote for coalition government. Indeed, whenever any of the party leaders were specifically asked what they would do in the event of a hung parliament, they refused to say. The public were entitled to know that if they voted for Clegg, they might get Cameron. Or Brown.

The LibDems won the lowest percentage share of the vote of the major parties, yet they now hold a disproportionate influence over the shape of the next Government. Conservatives and LibDems are holding secret back room talks, yet none of the parties have consulted with their members. This is an affront to democracy.

Most Conservatives would rather walk barefoot over hot coals than get into bed with the LibDems. The feeling is likely to be mutual. Whilst it is true that all political parties can always find some policy areas where they are in agreement (the Conservatives voted for Tony Blair’s education reforms for example) the reality is that real Conservatives and real LibDems are poles apart ideologically.

The LibDems are much closer to Labour, given that both are left of centre parties. It has taken a huge leap of faith for many natural Conservatives to support Cameron as he shifted the party away from the right, but a coalition with the enemy would be a step too far. The public have rightly condemned Gordon Brown as he bankrupted the country in his desperate attempt to hang on to power. They will take a similar dim view of Cameron if he does a grubby deal with the LibDems to win power. LibDems are unlikely to forgive Clegg either.

If the Conservatives cannot form a minority government on their own, then let the LibDems form a coalition with Labour. Frankly, given the state of the economy, it is better to be out of government right now as whoever starts making the necessary cuts in public expenditure risks incurring the wrath of the state dependent classes who rely on the taxpayer for their non-jobs and benefits.

A Lib/Lab pact would probably last no more than 6-9 months and a second election would more likely deliver a majority Conservative government with Cleggmania and Gordon Brown finally being consigned to history and the Tories winning those few extra seats necessary to cross the finishing line.


Dark Lochnagar said...

Cameron shpuldn't have fallen out with UKIP and he would have had a majority. Great pic BTW. Can I nick it?

Don't Call Me Dave said...


The Conservatives ignored the Referendum Party at great electoral expense, but it seems they did not learn anything from that experience. Unfortunately, we now have a political class which seeks power for its own sake. Ideology doesn’t come into the equation. In the old days, Labour was on the left wing. Conservatives on the right. And ne’er the twain shall meet.

It would be nice if the Conservative Party would once again be faithful to its roots and propose a Conservative agenda. If the public reject its right wing ideology so be it. It is surely better to have principles and no power than power and no principles? Or is that too old fashioned a concept?

Mrs Angry said...

It might be argued that Tories are terrified of PR because historically Tory governments have been acheived on a surprisingly small share of the public vote, even under the dreaded Margaret ... this fact alone is beginning to persuade me of the merits of such a system. I agree with you though DCMD that whoever forms an alliance now will be doomed as the public will inevitably protest at the consequential cuts and other actions. I therefore look forward to celebrating Dave and Nick's shotgun wedding. Marry in haste, repent at leisure, as they say ...

Steve said...

While at this election the parties refused to state what they would do in the event of a hung parliament, next time that stance will not longer be acceptable.

Should the country adopt PR then parties would risk alienating voters if they refused to state what they would do in certain scenarios.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Mrs Angry

I think it is clear that there are problems with First Past The Post in a three party system, but under the PR system that the LibDems favour, these secret backroom deals would become the norm. FPTP might not be perfect, but at least voters know who they are electing. The party list system which is used for European elections is truly awful as it allows the parties to tell us who our representatives are, rather than the other way around.

Perhaps a combination of FPTP with a transferable element in the event that a candidate polls less than 50% might be a solution. The French run-off system for the top 2 candidates is also worth considering. I believe it is important that we maintain the link between electors and elected which PR loses.

askmikefreer - I agree with you!

baarnett said...

Summary of London Council results: