Friday 23 April 2010

Election time is here!

I re-read my February blog, and I don't have much to add to those thoughts, except to say that it has turned out really interesting since we had the first Prime Ministerial debates. I wouldn't like to see Clegg as Prime Minister, I must admit, though I think Vince Cable would make a good chancellor - better than George Osborne, who is a clever man but I'm not sure has the necessary bottle if things get tough (Cameron undoubtedly has - there is real steel beneath that smooth exterior, as we saw on the matter of Conservative expenses last year, and before that when he was campaigning to be leader of the Tories). A hung parliament is a gamble, as the Conservatives rightly point out, but it isn't surprising that the electorate want real change, something radically different - ironically just what the Conservative campaign posters offer us, but I suspect they didn't quite have in mind what has turned out to suit the public mood!

I don't think anyone except the truly committed activists knows what will be best for our country in the next few years, and perhaps the hung parliament option is something we have to try. If it doesn't work, a few months will have been lost and we will have to have a new election (which may of course bankrupt all the parties...). But it's an experiment worth making, if it's what the electorate choose. Maybe the time has come for us to find out what coalition is really about. It has worked at times of national emergency before, and there is going to be a national emergency quite soon, I think - whoever wins, and even if no one wins outright. We could do with making use of the best of the talent from all parties. And we might get proportional representation, which would at least be fairer. Does it make sense to have a breakdown where the Tories on 32% would get around 250 seats, while the Lib Dems on 31% would only get 110? And the Labour Party, on 28%, would get even more than the Tories. Surely that can't be right.