Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Thoughts On Coalition Government

It's been a busy old week in politics and things have moved a great deal faster than this blog has. Ideas for various articles have been overtaken by events so in the end I've written nothing. I was so slow I couldn't even write much in the days it took them to form a government. So instead I thought I'd bring together some of the thoughts I've been having throughout the week in a summary.

1) Government paralysis - don't knock it, it's a great idea. If they're not doing anything then they're not legislating against us.

2) Clegg talking to Labour and the subsequent furore - I don't get it. Coalition politics is all about trying to assess what the best and most likely partnership is. Pretty it isn't, and it's one of the reasons I was dreading a hung parliament with Clegg's lot holding the balance of power. It was always going to be horrible. What he hell did everything expect, given where we were ? Personally I'd have been amazed if Clegg hadn't spoken to Brown to see if they could do a deal. In a way I admire those elements of the Labour party who told him to sling his hook.

3) The Cameron-Clegg love-in - OK, I've moved a bit on this now. I still hate it, I hate the Lib Dems, I don't trust 'em further than I could throw them and it all sticks in the throat. Big time. But if there's a better option out there, given the parliamentary arithmetic, I haven 't seen it. Cameron could have gone it alone in a minority government, but what would he have achieved ? Nothing, probably. I admire him for at least trying to make the best of a bad job, even if the bad job is partly of his own making in that he failed to win an election which was there for the taking. I wish him luck; God knows he's going to need it.

4) How long do you give it ? Well I don't it five years, that is for certain. I can see the Lib Dems walking not long after the going gets really tough. All this "doing what's in the national interest" stuff is moonshine. They're acting in their own self-interest because they've been desperate to get their people round the Cabinet table for the last 70 years. But the moment serving in the Cabinet stops being in their interest, they'll be out of there sooner than you can say "You're on your own, Dave".

5) Political reform - I hate it. The AV+ proposal, which I initially saw as the biggest sell-out of the lot, now strikes me, relatively speaking, as one of the milder ones. At least they'll be a referendum on that and the Tories will be able campaign against it. But fixed-term parliaments and a directly elected House of Lords ? Give me strength. The fixed-term government proposal is a naked attempt at self-preservation, designed to protect the Conservatives when the Lib Dems do a runner. It's underpinned by a proposal that a motion calling for the dissolution of Parliament has to be supported by 55% of voting MPs rather than 50% + 1, as now. In other words, more than half our MPs can vote for an election to be called, and yet that vote can be ignored. That strikes at the very core of our Parliamentary democracy and it stinks. And as for reform of the House of Lords; well, isn't there enough to do as it is ? The Lords is one of the enigmas of our constitution. No one can quite explain how it works, it ought not to work, but it does. As a revising chamber it has few equals in the world. I lost count of the number of times, over the last 13 years, when we owed it a debt of gratitude for reining in the worst of the Stalinist tendencies of New Labour. And that's not down to any political bias, either; the House of Lords gave Mrs Thatcher plenty of trouble during her time, just as it should have done. I haven't quite worked out what a directly-elected (by PR) second chamber is going to give us yet, but an improvement is not high on my list of possibilities.

6) Cabinet make-up. Clegg as deputy PM I suppose we're going to have to live with. At one point Iain Dale was predicting David Davies was going to be the new Home Secretary, which would have been tremendous. That role cries out now for a truly liberal mind, and I don't think Theresa May cuts the mustard in that regard. Keeping Vince Cable out of 11 Downing Street was a wise move, the appointments of Hague and and Fox were no-brainers. One footnote: Iain Duncan-Smith; that man worries me.

1 comment:

rogerggbr said...

What no one has mentioned yet, is be careful what you wish for. If the votes in Yorkshire were applied in a true proportional manner, the Lib Dems would have gained much more influence. Sadly the BNP would also have 2 Yorkshire MP's (4.4% of the vote). That is a very scary thought.