Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Still no government then

This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last -
Oscar Wilde

And so it came to pass that all three parties managed to lose the election (some of the smaller parties too, if it comes to that). Good news for journalists, of course, no worse than anything else for the public. Frankly, who needs PR when you can get this sort of instability and uncertainty under good old first-past-the-post?

Anyone who thinks there is some automatic rule that we will go back to the days of big majorities after the next election (in less than 12 months, I suppose) is kidding themselves. When the country is divided, elections often reflect that. Between 1910 and 1950 single party majorities were very much the exception rather than the rule.

While we're waiting to see which party manages to play a weak hand the least badly, I would like to highlight one option no one is considering: a Labour-Conservative coalition. After all, the two parties have as much in common with each other as they do with the Lib Dems; they could unite against their common enemies, defend first past the post, continue to grease up to their super-rich friends and give full vent to their shared authoritarian streak.

Better still, given the widely held belief that the next government will be obliged to take deeply unpopular decisions, both parties have plenty of suitable personnel for a government of national disunity. Harriet Harman as PM, George Osborne as Chancellor, Ed Balls in a sort of Peter Mandelson role as all round lightening rod for public odium, and so forth. Given no one is going to be satisfied with what emerges, this could well prove satisfactory all round.

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Blogger Vincent said...

Ha ha! I like it. You have hit on the assumption no one questions: the notion that Labour and Conservative are dedicated to mutual destruction. In fact, I think they are, which it makes it the funnier. And as a dyed-in-the womb True Blue, who suffers ersatz agonies at the thought of Brown occupying 10 Downing Street a day longer, I appreciate your bold suggestion all the more (because I am taking this all too seriously).

3:25 pm  
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