Saturday, May 09, 2015

Post Election

Well the election is over and between the gnashing of teeth on one side and the smiling faces on the other we find ourselves facing a return to one party government after all the speculation about who might work with whom on the roundabout of coalition politics. It always struck me as an odd thing that no one was suggesting that one of the lessons learnt over the last five years was that it is possible for  coalition to work, and that coalition politics are not as scary as some would have us believe. I wonder whether David Cameron is actually quite pleased about the whole coalition thing because his party seems to have got off scott-free whilst the Lib Dems have taken the blame! Only time and history will show us what affect the Lib Dems had in shaping the polices and practices of the last five years. I hope history is kinder to Nick Clegg et al than the electorate appears to have been.

I then wonder about the rash of resignations. I worry that this feeds the mentality that General Elections are primarily about electing a Prime Minister. All those questions in the media about who looked and sounded "prime-ministerial" always made me feel uncomfortable at some level. We do not yet have a president. We do not directly elect a Prime Minister. 

And then there were the polls. Apparently the pollsters were humiliated as one newspaper headline put it and now there is even a call for an inquiry about why they got their predictions so wrong. Let's hope that isn't publicly funded. I can think of very few greater wastes of money. Polls are polls. People change their minds. They've got it wrong before, they will get it wrong again. It's a glorified guessing game, let's not worry too much about it. Remember, an election is a secret ballot, there is no rule that says you have to tell anyone how you will vote or have voted.

It will be interesting to see whether this government goes a full five years or whether they revert to calling an election when it best suits them. There's also the question of redrawing constituency boundaries, something that happens all the time, but the worrying headline over the last two days was that from the Telegraph that suggested the primary goal of the process will be to keep Labour out of power for decades, New Commons boundaries top Conservative government agenda. The map is scary to say the least, but the numbers and percentages seem to imply that even with the changes there would be little difference in the majority. The worry is the intention, if it's true, to use boundary changes to secure winning an election. What does that say about democracy?

And finally, electoral reform. Could it be that the only sensible thing heard from a UKIP candidate was the raising of the question of electoral reform? It's doubtful that such a thing will ever happen, but at least it made me smile. What would be interesting would be to find a way of allowing people to express their party preference as well as their local choice. There is always talk about tactical voting, so we never get a true picture of public opinion. Perhaps that is what the polls actually tell us. They tell us what people generally think more than how they will vote once they enter the polling booth. Ooh look, I might just have saved someone a lot of money. No need for an inquiry anymore. Any know where I should send the invoice?

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