Friday, 6 March 2015

Getting used to multi-party politics

John Major's intervention through the pages of the Telegraph urging Labour to rule out a post election pact with the SNP demonstrates just how much the UK political landscape has changed recently. Many Scots are burdened with a grievance at the outcome of the referendum (cynics may comment that many Scots are always burdened with a grievance and that it is never difficult to distinguish between a ray of Sunshine and one such) and no doubt many will paint themselves in woad and wear kilts of ancient clans to which they may or may not belong as May approaches in order to demonstrate their allegiances. 

In England, the Greens have become the insurgent party of the young and unfulfilled - all those young people with useless degrees from third-rate educational institutions who in years past would have made perfectly adequate hairdressers or clerks without the burden of tens of thousands of student debt. UKIP of course are the insurgent party of my own Alzheimer generation, fearing mental decline and the loss of national character in equal part. And some people may even vote Liberal Democrat.

All of this means that there are no 'constitutional conventions' to apply as the intense electioneering approaches. Whether this election of many parties is the harbinger of future multi-party politics or a one-off remains to be seen. What's certain is the result is more uncertain than at any time in my life. And that's actually a good thing.


Budgie said...

Sorry, Raedwald, there is no uncertainty in it. There will be a Labour/SNP coalition by the end of May. This will lead to independence for Scotland via UDI or referendum. The SNP are on a roll: they blame everyone but themselves and are getting away with it, though it won't last as reality sets in after independence.

As for the rest of the UK, predominantly England, it is a case of Elizabeth to Elizabeth: the rise and fall of an Empire.

We in these islands will all be the losers - the rest of the UK and Scotland apparently can't live with each other in the UK, but we will have to in the EU. We will both be poorer and weaker, and end up with the euro, because of this.

G. Tingey said...

I sincerely hope you are wrong.
I happen to think we are heading for another hung parliament.
Also, any/too much concession to the SNP will unite all the other parties agin them - which could be fun.
Beware the Greens (in England) though...I read a comment elsewhere, which is so appicable to them. Here it is:
one of the perennial "heresies" is believing that it'll be different this time because "our intentions are pure" or "we're really smart, unlike the last bunch to try".
Says it all, doesn't it?

hatfield girl said...

'there are no 'constitutional conventions' to apply'...

The sitting prime minister remains in office until he/she resigns. Resignation is brought on by absolute majority defeat at a general election, and/or by loss of a serious confidence, or a supply, vote in the Lower House.

There is much chat of 'X party can give confidence and supply to Y..' and/or more chat of potential coalition-forming by various parties. But it's very formal.

In reality Mr Cameron has a head start as he is the sitting PM and should he choose can face the House, rather than go to the Palace, if no party registers an overwhelming majority.

However, as an observer of Italian political alliances and their formation, of every level and degree over the last years, it has to be said that in the UK no-one is used to dealing with fixed-term parliaments and multi-party politics: in the UK the practice and the understanding is all a bit stiff, a bit slow in response, a bit fixed-in-longtime terms - with low appreciation of the infinitely subtle varieties of advantageous alliances, right down to single votes, and of factions of Parties acting separately on different issues.

If no party has an absolute majority then Cameron should start learning from Renzi, and fast. And in no circumstances give up Downing Street to Labour when every poll gives him a real, or almost, majority vote. Of course he has Osborne, who seems very able in the field of understanding political alliance and its making.

Whoever has Downing Street after the May election should play the new, (italo)-politics. The one constitutional convention that does stand is that it is Cameron's choice to refuse to meekly hand-over.

Michael said...

I think it will be a great thing for politics, if there is no conclusive winner.

I'm definitely not in the Alzheimer brigade, except by virtue of age, and I painfully remember how the Labour years ruined so many future employers, including our company, and made matters worse by causing mayhem with the stolen money from our hard earned private pensions, to pay for town hall apparatchiks to screw business even further. Their 'compensation for leaving after a year of failure' figures still beggar belief.

John Major was a failure to the end, when his weak, flaccid leadership made some people - yes me - vote Lib Dem as the only protest vote, (but luckily in only a local council election)! To think that his words bear any weight today is risible!

As a man who has been involved in construction and development all his life, probably like you Raedwald, I now have reached the stage, where the real world of intelligent voters has a chance to stick some of these people where it hurts, and by the time I leave this earth, presumably to get planted beneath it, I'll have at least made a difference.