Monday, May 10, 2010

Dithering and dodgy dealing

Five days after the country went to the polls and we still do not know who will govern our country or who will be Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the Tories and Lib Dem leaders continue to meet secretly to thrash out little deals to satisfy their personal ambitions or the ambitions of their parties while the big hitters of Labour put out constant probes and feelers to test the waters or to force the issues.

Welcome to the world of hung parliaments - a world of dithering, shady deals in secret meetings and murky, clandestine politicking. A world where manifesto pledges mean nothing and all that matters is for each party to negotiate their own little slice of pie. A world where support for the government is dependent on backroom deals and money pledged to the causes of the minor parties.

This is the world we will see more and more of if we go through with electoral reform and some version of proportional representation. You think your vote counts for nothing now? Wait till we have PR - then you'll know how little difference your vote makes!

Sure, you'll have a parliament that more accurately reflects the way the people voted nationally, but we do not elect MPs "nationally" - but constituency by constituency. You'll have no connection to the House of Commons, the parliament will be more detached and remote than ever and your vote will actually make even less difference than it does now.

Instead we'll have dodgy deals to support dithering governments. This is only the first stage. Once this is over and we have some sort of coalition government, then the real horse trading begins - day by day, week by week, vote by vote - and none of this will have the government we want - just the government the political elite want.


Antisthenes said...

If a deal is struck between the Cons and LDs it will make politics very interesting and at least Cameron will only have fend of one group of critics at PMQs. Also it will show if this type of politics is workable in the UK or not and will put the question of electoral reform to rest one way or another. Maybe the deal with the LDs could be lets test the system for a year or two and if we all like it put into permanent practice if not ditch it.

Stan said...

I can't see that happenening, Antisthenes - once the genie is out of the bottle ....

Your point about PMQ's is a good one - i.e. that it will detract from the opposition to government and opposition is one of the crucial aspects of parliamentary democracy. It's one of the reasons why our parliamentary system has been so lame of late - a lack of credible opposition - and might even explain why MPs became so complacent over expenses.

We don't really need to test this out to see if it is workable - we know it isn't from the past and from Europe. It's not been such a problem in Europe for the last couple of decades because of the credit bubble which gave a facade of economic stability - but we're seeing that collapse all over the place and governments struggle with it (Belgium and Greece to name two). Spain, Portugal and Italy are on the knife's edge, France isn't far behind. Even the famed German model is in a precarious position.

It doesn't work. It might just about bumble along as long as things remain stable - economically and socially - but as soon as there is any hint of trouble it all comes tumbling down. Always does.

staybryte said...

Stan I am genuinely worried by ongoing developments. I can see very serious problems developing very quickly, in economic, social, constitutional, and law and order terms, in this country.

And everyone seems to be walking around with their hands over their eyes and fingers in their ears, whistling a happy tune.

Stan said...

Staybryte, those problems have been on the cards for months and everyone - not just the politicians - have been hoping they will just go away.

They won't - they are inevitable. I can understand why you'd be worried, but all I can suggest is that you should take every precaution you can to secure your own future.

TheFatBigot said...

One thing every FPTP general election provides is the sheer joy of seeing high-profile figures being discarded by the little people for getting too big for their boots. I remember it happening to Shirley Williams many years ago, then Chris Patten & Michael Portillo and this time to Charles Clarke and Jacqui Smith.

If for no other reason, FPTP should be retained so that we little people can deliver this sort of message to the self-perpetuating political "elite".

On the other point raised in these comments, it can only be a matter of time before heads must emerge from the sand and start facing reality. Countless billions of "economic activity" have rested for years on the continuation of unaffordable credit, not just in the UK but across Europe and the US. You know that, we've both written about it so many times.

Stan said...

Very true, FB - however, let's not forget that this will be the most inexperienced parliament - and probably government - we ahve ever had at a time we really need experience, knowledge and wisdom.

It does not bode well - mind you, having said that, the quality of the "experienced" politicians we've had over the last ten years or so has left much to be desired. How on earth someone like Jacqui Smith ever got to be an MP in the first place, let alone Home Secretary is staggering.