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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Conservative/LibDem coalition government

I am shocked and surprised tonight. I never thought a formal coalition deal between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would take place. I was wrong, and now we wait for details of the new government. On face value it seems the Tories have given far too much away, and it will have probably finished the LibDems off in local elections next year. Let’s see how long this government is going to last. Probably longer than I thought it would.

All in the national interest?

“We are seeking a deal with [insert political party of your choice] in the national interest.”

How many times have we hear that over the last few days? Everything is in the national interest. No doubt the Liberal Democrats will tell us opening talks with Labour is in the national interest too, but  it is more in the interests of the Liberal Democrats, rather than the rest of us.

Can we get one thing straight? Although none of political parties secured enough seats to form a majority government,  and all parties failed to convince voters they deserved a clear mandate, there wasn’t a single person in Britain who cast a vote  for a hung parliament. We don’t know how our fellow citizens are going to vote, but we do know they will cast their vote for a variety of different reasons. What the public does want is a new government formed that is going to get a grip with the dire financial problems this country faces.

Think about how many parties will be involved in a Lib/Lab coalition. Along with Labour and the Lib Dems, there will be the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, the SDLP, and anyone else they can muster. It will only take one party to pull out of the coalition for the government to fall like a deck of cards. Stable government? Hardly.

If the LibDems truly want to act in the national interest, then stop this stupidity with Labour. Propping up a party the voters have clearly rejected, with the prospect of yet another unelected prime minister in September, is clearly wrong. A formal coalition between Conservatives and the LibDems will not work either, and I think the Conservatives can go it alone. When you remove the votes of the Speaker, his deputies and Sinn Fein (who don’t sit in the Commons, as they refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen), Cameron could seek support on a vote by vote basis. Therefore Clegg should have a confidence and supply agreement with Cameron, and allow a new government to be formed. It won’t last long and we will all be back to the polling booths in the Autumn, but at least we will move on from the current impasse

Campbell v Boulton arguing live on Sky News

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Conservative Party was not radical and it lost

I hate to tell you I told you so, but I told you so. I said the only way the Conservatives would win a working majority in the House of Commons was for them to be radical. They weren’t, and now we have a hung parliament.

As I write, deals are being hatched. Tomorrow, the horse trading will start in earnest and the voters will definitely not get what they voted for. Despite all the frantic deals, agreements made will collapse like a deck of cards, and then an election will have to be called. Some commentators say we will all be visiting the polling booths within twelve months. I’m confident the next general election will be in the autumn.

There is a cost to the nation whilst this uncertainty is played out. The markets will not have confidence in the government. There could be a run on the pound. Billions are likely to be wiped of the value of shares. It will be difficult for the government to borrow more cash at a good interest rate. Britain will be heading down a Grecian road, marked cul-de-sac. Meanwhile, in a manner Nero would be proud of, our politicians will not tackle government debt, and will fiddle whilst the UK burns.

The voters are not happy with any of the parties, and have voted accordingly. With an unpopular prime minister, and the government finances in an appalling state, I think it is fair to say the Conservative Party has succeeded in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

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