Monday, 10 May 2010
It's been a bizarre week or two. Probably the most interesting election campaign I can remember, right up to the exit polls coming out at 10pm on 6th May. Utter disbelief, that after all the polls in the previous weeks, it looked like - and indeed, was correct - that we would end up with less seats than before. Even though we increased our share of the vote.
So, we are into hung-parliament territory. I believe this is a huge moment for British politics, and after all the scandal of recent times, it has presented a great opportunity for the MP's to grow up and act like adults, for a change. However, I have to say that I didn't see Liberal-Tory discussions coming.
I'm a Liberal Democrat party member, and have been for years, so I know full well that most Liberals would naturally want an alliance with Labour, they are very uneasy about teaming up with the Tories. But I've been thinking about this for a day or two, and I reckon this might suit me very well.
Whilst I remain a Lib-Dem member and supporter, I'm probably slightly right of centre, whilst the party are left of centre. This has often presented me with the odd dilemma. For example, I'm not a particular fan of European matters, whilst the Lib-Dems are staunchly pro-Europe. I've got a harder opinion of matters such as capital punishment; I'd have few complaints about bringing it back, whilst most Liberals would be horrified about this.
I do, however, stick with the Lib-Dems, because from experience, they have always been far more tolerant of differing opinions than the other parties, probably because everything is debated properly. So, if a policy makes the manifesto, I know that the party members at the conference had a democratic debate on it. I like that. I've also long held the view that although I'm not pro-European, I'd rather be represented by a party that wants to be there, than a party that exists to make it difficult.
Therefore, if the Lib-Dems make a coalition with the Tories, it may, strangely, more reflect my brand of politics. With one huge, enormous, universe-sized caveat. And that's parliamentary reform. The Tories are opposed to it, but I'm afraid any deal must at the very least, promise a referendum on this subject, primarily involving a change to our discredited, unfair voting system. This is why I came to the Lib-Dems in the first place. It's just not acceptable that a party that obtains a quarter of the vote, only gets 57 seats out of 649. Asides from the Lib-Dems, other parties have reason to want a change. UKIP got 4 times the number of votes - nearly 1,000,000 - than the Green party. Even the hateful BNP got more votes than the Greens. Seats in the commons: UKIP = 0, BNP = 0, Greens = 1. Crazy.
Check out some other results. Harrogate and Knaresborough, the Lib-Dem candidate came second with 44% of the vote, whereas in Hull North, Diana Johnson won with 39% of the vote. 13,000 Labour votes = win, 23,000 Liberal votes = lose. That's not fair. Not in my book. And that's not counting the 4,000 Tory votes in Hull North, that count for nothing at all.
That's why I want a voting system that means every vote counts, that's why I want Nick Clegg to insist on making this a part of a deal with whichever party, and that's why I'll continue to support the Lib-Dems.
And I promise to lay off the politics in the next blog entry!