Up in the Air

Published by Banzai in the blog Banzai's blog. Views: 104

[Copied and pasted from my external blog. Please do take a look. I'm trying to update regularly, every few days or so]

Okay, so in less that 12 hours, Gordon Brown has invalidated more or less everything I said in my last post. So here's an emergency update.

Given Brown's resignation, and the apparant likelihood of an anti-Tory coalition, everything is now uncertain. In order to have a majority, a coalition would need pretty much all of the smaller parties in addition to Labour and the Liberal Democrats. A government like that has not been seen since the Second World War, and bears more similarity to those in continental Proportional Representation systems than to a First Past the Post system. Which is apt, because one of the first moves of such a government would be to take the first steps towards reformation of the voting system.

If the next election features a Proportional Representation system, it will most likely deny the Tories a chance of government. Why? Because they have conclusively demonstrated an inability to cooperate with other parties. I personally think that it's the party attitude which is at fault. Conservatives do not share. They look out for them and theirs, and the public face of their entreaties to the Lib Dems have shown just that. Cameron's speech about a "big, open, comprehensive offer" to them in fact offered next to nothing. He would not waver on the economy, Europe, voting reform, or Trident. Labour, on the other hand, would give them compromise on 2 or 3 of those.

If this coalition happens (and it is by no means certain yet) then the reason that Cameron will be denied government will be that he cannot put the country ahead of his own ambitions. He has left the country effectively without a government for days whilst he squabbled over this. Gordon Brown has shown true statesmanship by watching the wheel of the ship whilst he gives the Tories a chance to form a government. And now that they are failing to reach that compromise, he has made his own, even with his own resignation. It shows a level of maturity far beyond anything the Conservatives have shown, and I think should be applauded. Particularly the dignity of his resignation speech. It's a real shame that he has been forced into this. He was a true politician, who put the responsibilities he carried before all else. He might not have been perfect, but I think that he has done the Labour party and the country proud.

Coalition can work. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are showing that. The Tories doom and gloom over a hung parliament has been scaremongering from the off, and merely a manifestation of their selfish attitude. A Lib-Lab coalition is perfectly legitimate; it would have more than 50% of the vote. The new Labour party leader as PM is perfectly legitimate. This is a parliamentary democracy. We vote for representatives, not Prime Ministers. Leadership is an issue for the parties. Cameron has shown he cannot cooperate and compromise with other parties, ergo he has proved himself unfit to government in a hung parliament situation. And all he needed to offer was a referendum on electoral reform. No commitment to back it, just the referendum.

The Lib-Lab coalition might not happen, but this most honourable move by Gordon Brown has shown up the Tories selfishness. They will either up their game and compromise with the Lib Dems, or they will not enter Number 10.

Well, he campaigned for change. That might be just what David Cameron gets. We might just be on the edge of the biggest constitutional change in this country since the Magna Carter.
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