MAY 2010                                                                                                                                         Download PDF Version

Take me to you Leader

The mathematics of our recent election is fairly straightforward; only a Conservative-Liberal Democrat pact can form a majority. Even Peter Mandelson at his most machiavellian would be hard pressed to cobble together some other coalition; although I do not doubt he is burning the midnight oil and running up phone bills as I write.

Each of the current leaders has reason to be disappointed in the result. David Cameron was clearly convinced he would  win a slim majority and therefore, once the dust has settled the grass-roots of his party may start to question the current leadership. Gordon Brown led his party to a loss, however, not as bad as many were anticipating; therefore he remains a squatter in number 10 with the grudging support of his party. Nick Clegg had the worst night as he completely failed to make the breakthrough that the polls had suggested.

Weakened King-Maker
Nick Clegg remains the king-maker, albeit a much weaker one than expected. By default this means that the new king will also be weak.

Nick Clegg is being offered the world by Labour; it is reported 6 seats in cabinet and, most importantly, Electoral Reform. These offers are effectively worthless as Labour cannot deliver them in Parliament. The Conservatives will offer the Liberal Democrats a proportional say in a new Government as well as taking up a number of Liberal Democrat policies. On Electoral Reform they will not offer more than a cross-party commission.

The Conservatives cannot budge on Electoral Reform. The past elections have shown that the majority of UK voters are left-of-centre. Therefore any Electoral Reform will most likely lead to future UK governments being Labour-Liberal Democrat coalitions. So David Cameron now appeals to Nick Clegg to look beyond the self-interest of his party and consider the nation in its time of economic emergency. The invitation to Clegg is therefore to forego the opportunity of a generation to get a ‘fair’ voting system and instead to join a government which is about to slash public spending and increase taxes.What would you do?

Public Surprise
For the voting public there was very little real discussion during the election campaign of the massive economic hole that the UK finds itself in. As this crisis now comes to the fore and immigration, which was the surprise topic of this election, recedes the British public will be hit with a dose of reality. With mortgage rates and inflation being so low much of voting public have been living in a bubble with the crisis passing them by. It will now come and park on their front lawns and I would suggest they will have a chance to vote on the best party to tackle it before the end of this year.

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