Mandate ? what mandate ?
I write this still in the strange spaced out daze that comes from doing two ‘stay-up-all-night’ sessions in one week. So I apologise in advance for typing errors, and make no apologies for not cross linking and evidencing everything I write.
David Cameron tells us that Gordon Brown & the Labour party have lost their mandate to Govern, and seems to believe he is now ordained as the next prime minister.
Leaving aside the fact that when he made his comments there were barely a handful of results in, and most of them had fallen to Labour, he is of course right. The mandate to govern – in the normal run of things – comes from having an overall majority – enough seats to outvote all of the other parties put together. Gordon Brown does not have that.
David Cameron’s Conservatives have more votes, and more seats – so can claim a certain amount of legitimacy in saying that they have a moral right to form the next Government. Problem is though that they don’t have a mandate either. In fact its clear that there are more people who voted against the Tories than for them, and more members of parliament who are not Tories than are.
So it becomes time to do a deal. Well to all left leaning political thinkers, the obvious deal is between Labour & the Lib-Dems – they share many ideals – and in particular there is a clear advantage in that for many in both parties it would be an opportunity to once and for all change the way in which Governments are elected, and ensure that a scenario such as today’s does not happen again. So Lib-Lab it is then.
Except David Cameron and the Murdoch empire think that would just be that nasty old Gordon Brown hanging on to power by any means they can – and it would just be so wrong. So instead of Lib-Lab, instead we get Con-Dem – and it already has been condemned by many, who can not imagine that the Lib-Dems and Conservatives have anything much at all in common. Except that this is really as things stand the only combination of parties that will deliver sufficient numbers for a majority – always assuming that none of the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats jump ship to another party.
But one way or another it would seem that one of these two options is likely to become reality.
I think both of these solutions are utter stupidity.
If our politicians wanted to transform British politics they would agree to form a government along these lines :
- not a two party coalition, but a three party Government of National Unity.
- Gordon Brown to step down – We love you Gordo, but your time has come – it’s clear that the public have not embraced your leadership – resign !
- David Cameron, well in the eyes of the public he has credibility, having gained the most number of seats, but in his own party’s eyes – you’ve failed Mr C. you’ve blown an ‘unassailable’ lead – Stand down and move on.
- Nick Clegg – well it could be argued that he’d messed up big style as well – certainly his party must be the most disappointed at their results, but actually I’d say no – Make Mr Clegg Prime Minister
- Next form an interim cabinet to select the longer term cabinet – each party to select 3 members who will have one week to thrash out the key posts – and to share the key posts between the parties.
- The Government then takes office – running a programme of legislation and Government agreed by the new Cabinet – with the whip removed from all members – they are always allowed a free vote.
- The Parliament will sit for a fixed term of 18 months. In the Autumn the parties will select their leaders if necessary, at party conference
- At Christmas or thereabouts we hold a referendum on different modes of electoral system
- An election is called at the end of the fixed term, and is held according to the new rules.
So we get stability, decisiveness, power sharing, a mandate to Govern, and an end to the disillusionment with political parties, and a brand new system of electing our parliaments.
A bit far fetched ? Naive even ?
Well maybe it is – but I’d prefer to use words like “radical” or “progressive” – because if British politicians are ever going to win back the trust and confidence of the electorate then they need to do something radical and progressive now – and stop sulking and doing deals to try and prop up the old political systems.
First past the post is designed for a two party system – as is our parliamentary system – yet in most constituencies yesterday we had 4, 5, or more candidates – First past the post doesn’t work – it distorts the picture of the vote, effectively disenfranchises voters for non-incumbent parties in safe seats, favours established parties, and throws up ridiculously stupid hung parliaments where the smallest group of members, effectively holds the other two to ransom. It has to go
I think it’s fair to say that I don’t think my proposal will be implemented