Friday, May 07, 2010

Well Hung Parliament

I've been waiting so long to use that headline - if only I had a story to go with it! But hey! Was I right, or was I right, with regard to the election outcome, that is? A couple of posts ago I predicted the most likely outcome as a minority Tory government, and it looks like that's the way we're heading. However, it hasn't been a complete disaster for those of us on the left. Not only wasn't the Labour result anywhere near as bad as predicted, but the fact is that, despite all of their money and the fact that they had most of the media backing them up, the Tories still couldn't get a majority. My faith in democracy is - partially - restored. Not that all of our politicians and media commentators appear to have a firm grasp of the form of democracy we have in the UK. Once again we have the Tories and their media cronies moaning on about the fact that Labour has a disproportionate number of seats compared to its share of the actual vote. Which is a bit disingenuous, considering that the existing first-past-the-post system which produces these results, is the very electoral system which the Tories are apparently so enamoured of that they refuse to contemplate any reform of it. The drivel I keep hearing as to how any Lib-Lab coalition would lack 'legitimacy' as neither was the largest single party, is utter bollocks, and betrays a fundamental failure to grasp the principles of Parliamentary democracy.

The fact is that we elect a Parliament in the UK, not individual parties, or a government, or a Prime Minister. Parliament, in turn, effectively elects a government, in that, anyone who can command a majority in the lower house, regardless of the party political composition of that majority, has the constitutional right to form a government. Consequently, a government's legitimacy derives from its majority in Parliament, not from its nominal share of the popular vote. The 'popular vote' argument against a Lib-Lab coalition government is doubly bollocks, as such a coalition would represent a majority of the popular vote - more people voted against the Tories than for them. Anyway, politics lesson over. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I couldn't stomach watching the TV election results coverage. Nevertheless, I still didn't feel like going to bed when I got home from the pub, so I put on my DVD of Patton, (as I'm prone to do at times of stress), and fast forwarded it to the battle scenes - North Africa, Sicily, France and the Ardennes. Stirring stuff. It also resulted in strange dream in which cigar chomping Gordon Brown, wearing a GI helmet and heading a column of tanks, beats an effete Dave (complete with Monty-style speech impediment), to Downing Street, before triumphantly slapping that 'bigoted women' across he face, and ordering her to go back to the Polish delicatessen across the road. Ah, if only it had all played out like that...

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