Friday, May 7, 2010

Layer 300 . . . A General Election, A Hung Parliament

It was a big enough challenge just to find the polling station - the signposting was pathetic, and I wasn't the only one walking round in circles. It was even more irritating to find a long queue to get in! First time this has happened to me - it was almost like something out of Soweto.

So why the queue? Obviously a bigger turn out, but why only 4 booths, and only one person dishing out the ballot papers? This was rubbish organisation. Even so, everyone was surprisingly patient.

Elsewhere, however, it seems there were even longer queues, and in fact hundreds of people were unable to vote by the deadline at 10.00pm. There appear to be places where polling stations have been occupied by sit-ins of frustrated would-be voters.

My daughter said she'd been intending to vote, in her safe seat constituency, but on seeing the length of the queue she'd turned round and gone home to her family. There were probably hundreds and even thousands like her.

Cameron's speech in his constituency was measured and sensible. I guess the Tories are fortunate to have him as their leader and figurehead - and where would they be without him? The Tory party would still be up shit creek if they were relying on polibots like Hague, Osborne and Gove.

Lembit Opik's been thrown out by his constituents. What a joker he was. What a prat.

Another prat is Bill Wyman - interviewed on TV he said he wants a Conservative government. So much for being a working class hero.

Jacqui Smith and Charles Clark defeated! Excellent. Well done Redditch and Norwich.


It's now official - we have a hung parliament. Very good news. Tories massively pissed off, especially as they were looking at a 40%+ share of the vote prior to the election.

Lib Dems more or less kept their share of the vote in spite of having the most radical policies - not replacing Trident; PR; mansion tax. There's no question the mansion tax promise cost them dear in the Tory/Lib marginals.

Brown can't stick around for long, and will certainly be gone by the time we have another election. Possibly by the autumn. Very important for middle of the road English voters that Labour is headed by a genuine social democratic English person. Can they find one, though? Picking one of Brown's current cronies just won't do.

Tories sounding shit scared of a possible referendum for PR if they can't form a government. They were pinning such hopes on creating newer and fewer parliamentary seats to give them a guaranteed electoral advantage.


To the surprise of many Clegg, on his arrival in London, told us all that he was sticking to his view that the Tories should have first shot at offering a referendum on PR, if they thought they could be a government that acted in the national interest. Or words to that effect.

Brown then very smartly came out of No 10 and said he was content to wait whilst Clegg talked to Cameron, and they could have all the time they wanted!

Around 2.30pm Cameron, looking pretty rattled, made a feeble little speech in which he offered merely a cross-party committee of enquiry into electoral reform. As well he might. He knows, and we know, that the Tories would be doomed by PR, in that this country has a permanent majority of social democratic and liberal people. Had Cameron been able to offer a referendum on PR there and then - it would undoubtedly have been all over for Gordie and New Labour. But he can't do that - he'd be shafted by the people who actually run the Tory party, within days, if not hours. His only hope now is that Clegg and co will be tempted by an offer of cabinet posts, a deal on the timing of the repayment of national debt, and the smell of real power.

And so what it all comes back to is the single issue that this election has been all about all along - thanks to the TV leadership debates. Gordie has already said he'll legislate for a referendum on PR as his urgent priority, if he stays as PM. Everyone with half a brain knows that this is a potential turning point for our constitutional and electoral history. It's now or possibly never for PR, or at least for very many years, and possibly a lifetime. Everyone now realises that Cameron's priority would be to fiddle the constituency boundaries to give the Tories a perpetual advantage.

And if Clegg fluffs this one, then his party will be doomed as well. Personally I think he's played his cards very well. He's forced the Tories to say yea or nay to PR, and to have their say about it immediately. I think he's smart enough, and he has smart enough advisers, to go with Gordie's offer, just as soon as Cameron confirms he'll never allow us to vote on PR.

What will then follow a Lab/Lib deal is a referendum within months, followed soon after by another general election, by which time Labour will have found a new party leader and a new set of policies.

In many ways this is a better day than the one following the election in 1997, given that the Blairs, Mandelson, Brown, Blunkett, Straw and co were always a revolting crew. This is assuming that those in favour of full PR can win their case in the referendum, and assuming Clegg does the right thing this weekend.

I think Cameron's failed. I think things can only get better.

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