The Nick and Dave Show…

spot the differenceSo, we have a coalition. A left-right coalition. An unholy union. A new dawn in British political theatre.

And theatre it has been. Very entertaining. I have never known friends so exercised on Westminster gossip and minutiae. Fascinating.

I’m not going to say much, other than that this is obviously not the outcome that anybody wanted. So everyone is somewhat peeved. Well, in the words of Harry Enfield: “Calm down! Calm down!” You never know people, this might actually work…

I never wanted the wax-faced toff in power and neither did (nearly) anyone I know. But it was always the most likely outcome. And to be honest, I’d rather have my Blue diluted with a bit of yellow. A big, heavy dose of yellow. And this means we might actually have a chance of getting that…

The losers in all of this are undoubtedly Labour. The LibDems spoke to both sides and seemed to have done so in a relatively open way, taking similar-if-not-identical attitudes of give/take and redlines. For reasons that utterly escape me, the Conservatives treated the ‘Dems as potential honest partners, and gave way too. Labour didn’t.

Why that is, we will probably never know for sure. But it smacks of the arrogance and infighting that have characterised much of Labour’s last few years, and proved them unworthy of consensus, or even old-style-adversarial politics. It was unbelievable behaviour, considering they had no hope of governing without a Liberal partnership, and, to be honest, it leaves me hating them more. They aren’t just tired, they’re broken. I hope they take their bitterness and crawl into a dark corner of the House of Commons and die a festering death. We can do without them.

That leaves the coalition. What will happen? Will it work? Will anyone like the outcome? Probably not. But it’s a damn sight better than all the other possibilities we’ve been offered recently.

And it makes for good TV…

Vote!

It’s coming right down to the wire. According to some polls, a full 40% of people haven’t made up their minds yet. How exciting is that?!

Well, I just want to say, whoever you vote for, please go and vote. This time, it really, really does matter. This election result isn’t predicted long in advance. It hasn’t all be sown up by the newspapers and politicos. No one, not even the bookies, know how this one is going to play out.

Don’t vote tactically. Vote for who you believe in (or whoever come closest). The share of the vote  will be hugely important this time round, as well as the number of seats. If whoever has most seats has less than 30% of the vote (easily conceivable at this point), that will put a huge impetus behind the drive for electoral reform. And surely we all want that…

A couple of things to cheer you in your decision making. First, this excellent Spotify election playlist sent to me (but not created) by my friend Liz. And second, a subtle hint on who I would prefer you not to vote for…

Electioneering pt II

OK, all this rubbish about a “hung parliament” is beginning to piss me off.

Conservative Grandee Ken Clarke is claiming today that a hung parliament would be a disaster for the markets (and hence the country) and that the IMF would have to intervene! I have never heard anything so ridiculous.

The UK has had hung parliaments before. At their worse, it results in another election within 6 months. But that is really, really not a likely outcome. Because all the main parties now have a lot of experience in operating in parliaments with “no overall control”, something that was less true in ’74. Why? Well, both Scotland and Wales have had hung parliaments, consensus politics and minority governments. And got a lot done. Sure, a lot of horse-trading gets done, but that’s no bad thing. Keeping parliamentarians fighting among themselves in Westminster for a while prevents them from doing any damage to the country…

The very idea that our elected representatives would be incapable of sitting down and negotiating a settlement of some description is absurd. They even have a coalition government in Northern Island! The idea that Labour and the Conservatives are somehow more ideologically disparate and irreconcilable than Sinn Fein and the DUP is utterly, utterly mind-bogging.

So don’t worry about a hung parliament. Yes, it will slow down legislation. Yes, there will be lots of horse-trading. But that’s about all – somehow an administration will be formed, either with a coalition or a minority government. And as a result, the pace of legislation will slow (no bad thing: 12 Education White Papers in 12 years can’t be good – and that’s just under Labour), and it is far more likely that what legislation is passed actually matches the “will of the people”, because it will have to incorporate the views of more parties.

Surely, all that’s good?

***

The other horses**t going around at the moment is people saying “a vote for LibDems is a vote for Labour” (or a vote for the conservatives), or saying that change isn’t possible because of “safe seats”. Rubbish. Complete and utter b****cks.

Lets be clear. You vote for who you want to. If you think your MP is a corrupt idiot who’s diddled their expenses (all too likely given events in recent years), then DON’T VOTE FOR THEM! No MP’s seat is “safe” because they are totally at the mercy of the will of the people. That’s you. And me.

Vote for who you want not who you tactically think you “should” vote for. This election is up in the air enough that anything is possible. Really. Anything. Even a LibDem victory. You just have to get out there and vote for them.

Go on then!

Electioneering

The election is less than 2 days old, and already I’m p****d off. Too many of the papers (especially) are talking as if this is a two horse race. It really isn’t.

This is the closest UK election in decades, and it really, really doesn’t come down to a fight between blue and red. With the distinct possibility of a hung parliament in play, plus the aftereffects of the expenses scandal and the banking crisis, this time there is everything to play for. Every vote will count, and even the smaller parties are worth considering.

The BBC’s Election 2010 website lists 19 different parties standing for this election, from the Big Three, to the various Nationalist parties (only 1 or 2 of which are racist), 3 green parties and various left- and right- wing alternatives. And these are the serious ones – I notice names such as the Communists, the Liberal Party, the Monster Raving Looney Party and Free Parking Now are missing from the BBC list (all of which I’ve seen on ballot papers in the past).

Who cares? Well, you should. If you are disillusioned by politics and angry at politicians, then do something about it. If you think the Big Three are all the same, and the old guard are corrupt, then vote them out! There are lots of little parties out there who have real beliefs that are really different from the Red, Blue and Yellow. And, you can pretty much guarantee, tht none of their candidates have had their fingers in the trough – because none of them have been in parliament to have the opportunity.

I personally am leaning towards the Green Party. They have real policies on the environment (obviously), but (less obviously) are of a more socialist bent than all of the big three. If you are a traditional Labour voter who can’t abide the creeping privatisation of the NHS, then they might be worth a look. I’m open to convincing, though. One thing that might convince me is a good honest, local, independent. What better than a bloke (or gal) you know and whose hand you’ve shaken. Should one appear (in Brum where I’m voting this year), they will get my strong consideration.

The main thing though, is not to do what I tell you. Or your neighbour. And especially not the Sun or Sky News. The main thing is to look around yourself. Read the manifestos (when they are out). Grill a candidate or two, if you get the opportunity. Make up your own mind, in your own god time. Voting is not a right. It is a privilege, handed down to us by our forefathers, who shed blood that we might have it. Treat your vote with the care and due diligence it deserves.

[As an aside: David Icke believes that the world is ruled, in secret, by giant reptiles. David Cameron is the first politician to make me think this could be true…]