“I don’t think a hung parliament is a bad idea…who should we start with?” So said an unknown but pithy commentator on the recent UK elections. I think that comment sums up the mood of the country better than any post-election analysis. Your humble scribe couldn’t concentrate too much on work matters last Friday for following the unfolding drama online. And in the end – as you will no doubt be aware – the result was pretty much as many had been speculating’; a parliament where no one party achieved an overall majority and thus a clear mandate to govern.
As the final returns trickled in, a certain pall of gloom settled over Chateau Beerhound as I contemplated the fact that after the dust had settled, the incumbent first minister remained in residence at Number 10. I was disappointed – actually bitterly so – that a party I regard as having done so much damage to my country, and a PM that I so utterly despise, remained with their hands gripping on the reins of power. Albeit slightly less firmly than before. From there, it is all to easy to start blaming the opposition for their woeful inability to land a glove on what has got to be the worst government in modern British history. But then I got to thinking about it a bit more, and I realised that perhaps the good old British people had got the result they really wanted: to shake-up Westminster and put all MPs on notice that they are very definitely in probatio for the foreseeable future.
I think most people are heartily sick of the bureaucracy and political correctness; of endless rules and regulations, initiatives, spin, spiralling taxes and deteriorating services. And yet, after the expenses scandal, who do they turn to in an effort to sort it out? While Labour are completely discredited to all but the staunchest supporters, the Conservatives under Cameron would appear to promise little alternative if given the chance to rule. The Lib Dems make nice noises but appear to many to be strong on idealistic rhetoric but unable to delivery in the real world. The alternatives are too cranky or too small to offer any kind of credibility. And yet – almost magically – the British people appear to be heading for possibly the best solution in a difficult situation – an alliance between Cameron & Clegg.
To my mind, this has certain advantages. 1) Labour, and particular Brown, are out of office and will hopefully be so consumed in such bitter in-fighting over the next few years that they will remain so for a long time to come. 2) Cameron gets to try and implement his Big Society idea, but through a tenuous majority that means they’ll have to tread slowly and carefully, and they’ll have to bring a lot of people along with them rather than steamrolling through legislation. 3) Politicians of all hues are made keenly aware that none of them has the unequivocal backing of the people to rule and that the people will not tolerate more mistakes and hypocrisy at the top.