Saturday, May 08, 2010

Deal or no deal?

Told ya so. (There, we got that out of the way.)

Never mind the impossibility of anyone ever managing to dodge the flying staplers for long enough to work with him, Brown's Labour Party (258 - including 41 Scottish MPs) and the Libdems (57) simply do not command a viable majority and will be hostage to nationalists. The Conservatives (307) plus the cabals of nationalists could also do it - but the obvious and preferred solution (for the English!) is that the Conservatives find some way to work with the Libdems. TMP suspects that a poll of the voters offered the various combo and "bogof" offers, will agree that this is the best compromise.

There is every possibility that the true financial situation we face is far, far worse than we had been lead to believe. There is every possibility that once Brown is surgically removed from office, examination of the Treasury books will reveal that he has behaved like the secretive bank clerk that has never been properly audited, where he has been embezzling funds for years to support an expensive wife: Labour's voters - the infamous but very real "client state".  Like that dodgy bank manager, 13 years has provided Brown with a lot of scope to devise clever ways of hiding the losses, and Brown will have kidded himself that he was going to be able to turn it all round, and replace the cash in the till before it was counted by external auditors.

The result of the election has produced the most exquisite set of circumstances designed to torture our politicians for their manifest misdemeanours. But however you try and spin it, Labour lost hugely; the Libdems lost embarrassingly - but in terms of their cruelly inflated expectations, they lost huge and comprehensively - with no sign of an improved mandate for their traditionally bonkers manifesto strategies.

So there was no mandate for big change in the electoral system, just a further example of a "curse on all your houses". In all the vox-pop interviews, what the people want is honest politicians, a sane electoral process - whatever that might be - and above all else, sound government that sorts out the financial mess of Brown's 13 spendthrift years. The people still want the opportunity to vote for strong government - and one that can be turfed out in its entity when it screws up.

Moreover, we are currently witnessing exactly the typical and unedifying consequences of PR - hung elections with factions of  losers frantically trying to stitch dodgy deals together. Can 5 losers make a winner? It's shambolic.

As a result, if this is handled adroitly, there should be less appetite for changing the system to make this the default process for every national election henceforth.  This crisis seems to arise from the people witnessing what can happen when one party is given too much power for too long, and wanting to spank the increasingly detached political class en masse. TMP suspects that what the people actually want is something like the US system where it is possible to balance the excesses of an over-powerful government by voting for a different flavoured Senate and House of Representatives - and indeed, President.

Gordon Brown has given every indication that he is a self-obsessed sociopath (long before the unguarded bigot comment proved the point beyond all doubt)  and seems incapable of accepting anything less than that he has a divine right to remain as PM. He will undoubtedly try every trick to try and scare Clegg that he will be tainted forever by a Tory deal, where the reality is that all Gordon cares about is that he remains in Number 10.

Of course a LibLab pact might work without the bombastic and messianic Brown as leader; but the idea that the Labour Party could then dump another leader and impose a "PM" on the UK once again is high farce, and the stuff of insurrection. Nevertheless, Labour apparatchiks like Harriet Harman, Ben Bradshaw and the perma-tanned and perma-absurd Peter Hain have suddenly seen the PR light and are rushing in that direction with embarrassing haste. The fact that Harman, Hain and Bradshaw are prime examples of career MPs who could not earn a living in the real world, needs to be kept in mind.

With this complex background, the only possible solution for Cameron was to make a generous offer to the libdems and put the onus on Clegg to be the disruptive one. Which is exactly what he did.

Cameron knows that Clegg is chronically lumbered by his own party's daft constitution that requires a 75% majority of the MPs for any deal, and that the (many) hotheads who have yet to fully appreciate that they they actually lost the election, will block any deal that does not offer a full route the sort of disastrous proportional representation that the wilder-eyed Libs have always craved. So there will be some form of Conservative government - with or without formal Libdem participation, and the plan must be:
  • Restore fiscal confidence
And then, in parallel:
  • Undo as much of Labour's endlessly crass legislation as possible
  • Tackle the BBC's distorting and stultifying influence on crucial new and old media markets in the UK
  • Depart Afghanistan with as much dignity as possible (we may need the soldiers back here to control the food riots)
  • Deal with the the electoral shambles 
The electoral commission quango has been exposed as amateur, and is presently on the back foot and thoroughly discredited, so now is a good time to steam in and reform the entire process. In case there is another election forced early, immediately sort out the insanity of boundaries that favour the outrageous Labour hegemony in its various "client zones" and reduce the number Scottish MPs to around 20 to reflect the fact that Scotland and Wales have their own governments - and England does not! Better still, call the tiresome Alex Salmond's bluff and give Scotland its full independence whether it wants it or not, and tell it to get on with developing its economy based on tidal energy, not English taxes.

Reform the House of Lords that has become a pantomime of a farce thanks to Labour's numerous crass appointments, with a senate-like elected body, using a simple form of PR that would be fine for a revising body which is appropriately intended for vacillation and woolly thinking; but with a similar guillotine process that presently exists in extremis when the government feels that it can justify riding roughshod when it is the only option in the interest of strong government.  It would be lovely to imagine that such a body could be non-partisan in the way that the old House of Lords didn't have to toe any lines other than their own honestly held beliefs and consciences. TMP likes the idea that 50% of such an assembly should be elected from candidates selected by real people - not politicians or the establishment's ideas of Great and the Good.

And how about a qualification that is based on proof that anyone voting for this new "senior" house should have voted in at least 5 local and national elections? This should keep out transient celebrity campaigning, and might encourage all those who proudly boast that they cannot be bothered to vote, to think again.
  • Hold a referendum on the options (and require a 75% turnout to make it stick, using the LibDems own internal policies)
But above all else, deal with Brown's catastrophic fiscal shambles before it runs out of control and petrol rises to £10 a gallon as the jittery markets (who are required to be onside to fund Brown's deficit, remember?) melt down.

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