Governing Without Overall Majority Was The Best Option – “vote us out if you dare”
Britain Needs A Second Election To Underpin Democracy
“we have a government which nobody voted for, pushing policies running contrary to manifesto commitments which nobody voted for, and we are told no election for five years”
Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition idea had only one underlying principle – saving his political career. Don’t listen to talk of the desperate need for firm government from the likes of former Tory bigwig Michael Heseltine. Embracing the Liberal Democrats was a selfish and cynical move to save Cameron’s ass. The media doesn’t seem keen on accepting this obvious fact, but consider this.
Cameron’s campaign was not a great success. Sure, the Conservatives won lots of new seats, but they were fighting a despised and incompetent Labour government that has bankrupted the nation. Labour was led by an arrogant and cowardly sociopath. This truly was an open goal to aim at. But Cameron seemed frightened of aiming any killer blows at former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the TV debates (surely an innovation that will not be revived again, at least not in this format). Cameron’s campaign, orchestrated by new age weirdo Steve Hilton, was full of feel good, fatuous and meaningless marketing mumbo jumbo like the Big Society, whatever that was.
But Labour still retained a huge number of seats, and did enough to deny the Tories a working majority. This left Cameron with a dilemma, but in reality there was no real choice because of our traditional constitutional arrangements. The best choice for the Tories (and I mean the party as a whole, not the Cameroons) would have been to let former Prime Minister Gordon Brown hang on until September as he proposed, and try and stitch together a government from the Labour/LibDems and a balance of odds and sods. This might have stumbled on through the summer before succumbing and triggering an early election in October. There was another possible positive for the Tories; the coming financial crisis might well have come to a head, making sure that Labour took full responsibility for it. A likely early election would surely have been won hands down by the Tories, delivering a big mandate to sort out the country, a la Margaret Thatcher.
Childish, Soft-left, Hand-wringing Agenda
The second honourable option, if Gordon Brown hadn’t managed to cobble together his coalition of losers, would have been for the Conservatives to hold office as a minority government, saying to their political opponents – “vote us out if you dare”. Don’t forget that the Conservatives won overwhelmingly in England, so it would be relatively easy to face down arguments that a minority government wasn’t democratic. It might look bad in the fringes of Scotland and Wales, but who cares about the fringes? Given that the Labour party is leaderless now and will probably elect a new one (Ed Balls) in hock to the trade unions and the left making it unelectable for maybe a generation, this would seem to guarantee there would no early challenge from that quarter. And Labour has run out of money. The Lib Dems are also penniless, and unlikely to want an election any time soon. No threat there then, and no need to pay attention to their childish, soft-left, hand-wringing agenda. This is the format which might produce Heseltine’s firm and responsible government.
But the trouble for Cameron in adopting this patient, responsible tactic was that in the meanwhile, there might well have been some attempt to analyse his campaign in particular and his record in general. His head might have been on the block. After all, a substantial number of grass roots members have left the party (myself included), alienated by Cameron’s dumping of grammar schools, the embrace of the Zac Goldsmith/George Monbiot school of we-are-guilty environmentalism, and the shockingly insulting assumption that the Tory “brand” had been tarnished and could only be repaired by Cameron’s brand of ersatz Conservatism. So Cameron decided to use the LibDems to lead a putsch, disguised as some kind of National Government of Crisis to save the nation, which was in fact designed to save his rear. The LibDems couldn’t believe their luck.
As the dust settles, so far there seems to be surprisingly little opposition from the Tory rank and file, which is worrying given the hostages to fortune unnecessarily conceded by Cameron, including the agreement for a fixed, five year term, a steep increase in the job-killing capitals gains tax, and a referendum on a form of proportional representation (incidentally, one bonus from the haggling with the LibDems has been the outing of the true nature of PR – an election, followed by private negotiations where pledges which were voted for openly in the election are quietly dumped. What a travesty of democracy PR is). You would think that there were some members of the Tory party who weren’t careerists and anxious to restore a sensible leadership who might seek to protest at this insult to our democratic traditions. So far I’ve not heard any.
Lacking 40 Years Experience Between Them
Seeking a quick solution that quickly made Cameron Prime Minister was the key to prolonging his career. Watching LibDem leader Nick Clegg and Cameron at their joint press conference in the Downing Street garden made one thing very clear to me. Clegg and Cameron lacked about 40 years in experience between them. This is the price we are going to pay for our obsession with over-promoting the flashy but unready. Surely it makes more sense to have leaders with proven judgement and experience. Cameron managed to beat David Davies by using a compliant media and a dimwit Conservative electorate who seemed to think a cute family and a photographic memory was more important than values and a track record. Clegg managed to oust poor old Menzies Campbell. Oh dear, I think I’ve just undermined myself. Campbell, wrong about everything for about 40 years, reminds us that there is no fool like an old fool.
So we have a government which nobody voted for, pushing policies that often run contrary to manifesto commitments which nobody voted for, and we are told there will not be an election for five years. Some Tories are saying that this is OK because we have at least run the hated Brown regime out of town. That’s true, but surely we British deserve more than that this second rate, anti-democratic compromise.