Saturday, 8 May 2010

Hung parliament

So, I've been quiet for a fair old while. I didn't have much time to blog during the election campaign, and with my limited amount of followers I thought it unlikely that I would do much of an influential job here, deciding instead to go and campaign on behalf of my local Lib Dems.

So here we are, the votes are in and we are in hung parliament territory with one of the trending topics on twiiter for the last two days being #dontdoitnick. The don't do it, referring to potential deal with the tories to allow them to govern, either as part of a coalition or as a minority government.

I hold a lot of distaste for the tories, but cannot agree with this approach. Nick Clegg said prior to the election that the party with the most votes and the most seats would have first right to seek to govern if no party got an overall majority. The Conservatives are the party that are in that situation, so surely he should stick to his word.

There is a definitely a case for electoral reform, in fact it is probably the one issue that I deem most important. However, while Lib Dem supporters may consider themselves 'progressives' and therefore closer aligned with Labour than the Conservatives, it would surely been seen as a stitch up, if Clegg brokered any sort of deal that let Gordon Brown remain as prime minister, when only 29% of people voted for his party!

So what would I do? There is one issue of electoral reform on which the Tories and LibDems appear to agree, and that is the need for fixed term parliaments. If a deal could be offered on that basis, with an agreement to abstain from the Queens speech vote, the Conservatives would be forced to run into a 4 year minority government, with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power on a case by case basis.

There would then be a chance for the Lib Dems to put through a private members bill backing a referendum on our voting system. This would clearly be voted down by the conservatives, but if it was voted down by Labour also then it could be held up as proof that they weren't sincere about it's importance. If it was passed by labour then surely it would also have minority party backing, particularly from the Welsh and Scottish nationalists and therefore become law.

I voted Lib Dem, but I am a democrat first. Shouting 'don't do it Nick' because you don't like the Tories, isn't democratic, and if you want them to jump into bed with Labour, well you should remember how illiberal they have been these last 13 years.


  1. Well said on all counts. The Lib Dems are a liberal party even if they don't often mention it, and the public gave an overwhelming vote against the illiberal poicies of this labour government and for the (admittedly woolly and possibly insincere) liberal message being put out by Cameron. I really hope that sensible voices in the Tory party allow for them to embrace true electoral reform as part of a deal, but if not what you describe here is certainly the next best thing and I would very angry if Labour prevented it happening.

  2. Yeah, and he is giving them a chance to run government in the national interest. BUT. He never said he would support them either.

    As a Lib Dem voter, I have to say a chance to get some voting reform out of this position is the only good thing Clegg can do.

  3. After attending the HUGE 'fair votes' protest today, it showed just how passionate people are to get a fair voting system. When we got to Smith's Square (Transport House) where Nick Clegg was, we chanted the extremely loud chant of "fair votes now" which eventually turned into "We want Nick"... Nick Clegg only came out to talk to us :)

    Nick Clegg spoke passionately when he told us that he was happy that we were there & he hoped there would be more protests like it. He told us that he came into politics because he's passionate about fixing broken politics & I totally believe him.

    Whatever decision Nick comes to over the next 10 days, I know he'll do what's right... I think Nick Clegg's a leader & not a follower, Cameron needs to listen to him & not the other way round!