Thursday, May 13, 2010

Now Down to Work Please

David Cameron, being at the head of the party that won the largest amount of seats in the election, has been allowed to form a government. Having made a deal between his Conservative Party and Nick Clegg's Lib Dems, the pressure is now on.

I believe that the focus of this pressure should not be, as the media would have you think it, upon the stability of the coalition, but should be on getting the country moving in the right direction following the troubles of the past couple of years.

I have high hopes for the new government. I am not expecting to find more money in my pocket, a house fit for a king at a low price, or a great reduction in the price of everyday living, but I do sincerely hope that they will work hard towards making life for the average Briton more livable.

In an ideal world, Cameron and Clegg would stop by my blog and have a look at what I really wanted from this election; a discussion about the Robin Hood Tax would be a good place to start gentlemen.

I will give them a chance, but I am fully prepared to turn future votes against them if and when Labour bring a more attractive offer back to the table - whether this is in May 2015 or before hand at local or European elections.

Down to work gentlemen. I am watching you like a hawk, in spite of my severe political news fatigue.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brown Resigns

There is something quite sad about the events that have just unfolded. Gordon Brown, having realised surely that any hopes of a Rainbow Coalition have failed, announced his intention to tender his resignation with a quite distinct lump in his throat.

The manner in which his departure had happened, after Nick Clegg's 'whoring' of himself over the last few days, is made especially difficult by the fact that he had quite clearly put every last effort into forming a Labour-Lib Dem government.

Gordon Brown was undoubtedly a great Chancellor. He took the helm of the already sinking New Labour ship as it headed straight for the icebergs of the 10p tax rule, the credit crunch, the expenses scandal and 'Duffygate'. He tried, has mild success, he left.

'Rainbow Coalition' Simply Makes No Sense

On paper a Rainbow Coalition of almost every party that isn't Conservative may seem like a great one. It means that you have a wider scope for consensus politics to come to the fore and for partisan politics to be reserved for the would-be Tory opposition. Furthermore, the idea of the Greens and the SDLP being in government would be refreshing in its own right.

The biggest argument in favour of the Rainbow Coalition seems to be that if you add together the Labour, Liberal, Green, SDLP, Alliance and Independents (perhaps the Plaid Cymru and SNP votes too) that it commands the higher proportion of the public's mandate, estimated at 55% by a colleague, compared to the Tories 36% share of the vote. 

The problem with this argument is that 55% of the voting public did not vote for a coalition of all the parties that aren't Tories - they voted 29% for Labour, 23% for the Lib Dems and 1% for Greens.

It is worth noting that it is indeed very pragmatic of the Labour Party to try and get themselves into government by any means, I would probably try and do the same myself in their shoes, but don't try to con the public into thinking that it is fair, just and what the public actually asked for.

As a final comment, one a Burnley Fan maybe could appreciate, imagine that, in one final attempt to avoid relegation that Burnley and Portsmouth joined into a team - Burnmouth. They would have ended the year on 49 points condemning, West Ham and Wigan to relegation in the process, in spite of losing 48 games between them!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Underground, Overground.

A picture taken whilst I was fooling around with a camera loaned from my workplace's Art Department. I was playing with the zoom on my way home from work on Friday. The picture was taken out of the window of a moving Underground train en route to Wimbledon. The reason that I have seen fit to post it is because I liked the colours and the contrasts between nature, old buildings and ugly more modern buildings.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Unlocking Some Passion

It was refreshing to today see demonstrations in London. The subject of the protest was electoral reform and it was believed to consist of around 1,000 demonstrators at its peak.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this was that of late it has become a real rarity to see a fully peaceful demonstration in London about anything at all. Over the years since the poll tax riots, it has seemed that the British have become apathetic to things that they feel are directly out of their control - it is, after all, easier to moan and be cynical than to actually act.

I always feel that the British just don't care enough when a particular issue riles them. In countries like Niger, when something really gets their goat, people get off their backsides and do something about it. In the case of Niger, the President had outstayed his mandate and the army, representing the interests of the constitution, took decisive action. I have been warned by my boss though that under military rule, following a coup d'état, teachers are always the first to get it. 

I'm not suggesting that every time someone disagrees with the government we should have a coup but some more passion would be nice.

So, getting back to my point, today's demonstration, whereby Unlock Democracy arrived outside the Lib Dem meeting, has been a breath of fresh air. It was well organised, peaceful, they arrived with a copy of their demands and a petition and successfully got Nick Clegg to leave the meeting and address the crowd.

Friday, May 07, 2010

A Peculiar Hush

It seems that, BBC News and Sky News excepted, there is a peculiar hush that has descended upon London. It is as if the public mood is somehow reflecting the political staticity that currently afflicts us as a result of the hung parliament situation.

The staffroom at work, the station platform, the tube train home; they all seemed as confused as perhaps Lord Mandelson was when Jeremy Paxman accused him of twittering whilst live on air.

Now that we are all aware of the situation, I can't help but think that the result of the election was the best result for the United Kingdom. I don't think that any of the parties deserve to govern outright. I also believe, in spite of my own personal political beliefs, that the Conservatives should not be given the free reign that an outright majority in parliament would afford them.

Granted, the lack of a majority in parliament means that things will take longer to happen, and granted, the markets supposedly don't like any form of political motionlessness, but what is the rush? The rolling news channels seem to be forcing the issue of who will join with who and when, but, again, why should such a thing be rushed.

We should allow the parties to agree terms and to take their time doing so because this will ultimately allow for a greater degree of stability in the long-term and surely the markets would like that.

Labour Holding Ground

So having just woken up and looked at what's happening on BBC's Election 2010 programme, it appears that Labour have done a good job of holding their ground against not just the Conservatives, but the Lib Dems too. It has been confirmed that then that Andy Slaughter has won the Hammersmith seat - Hammersmith being where I work - and that Siobhan McDonagh has held her seat in Mitcham and Morden - where I live.

In reality, this doesn't surprise me too much. In spite of his hard campaigning Shaun Bailey, in Hammersmith, just couldn't deliver the result that the Conservatives wanted. The more I have spoken to people about him, the more cynicism I hear levied against him.

People, it would appear, seem skeptical of him not just because the ethnic minority-political party paradox, but also because of his demeanour being somewhat arrogant - although this arrogance did not make an appearance in our conversation. I still think that, given a safer seat to contest, he could still find himself further up the Conservative Party's food chain in a couple of year.

Regardless, the general pattern sees us moving towards confirmation of a hung parliament.

Just Hanging Around

An interesting night so far. I am about ready to put the MacBook down for the night so that I can rest and, maybe, get some sleep. I will try and stay awake for as long as physically possible, but I am more than likely to be asleep within an hour.

So, themes of the evening/night/early hours seem to be:

  • Issues involving ill-equipped polling stations, not least in Nick Clegg's constituency.
  • DUP leader loses 'very safe' seat to the Alliance Party.
  • Cameron unlikely to get an overall majority.
  • Conservatives yet to win a seat, but the swing is favourable.
  • Lib Dems maybe not as potent as we all thought or perhaps hoped.
  • The best party in town involves a boat, a camera, booze and Joan Collins.

I think that, having listened to all of this talk of uniformed swingers and Jeremy Vine wandering through a CGI wilderness, my dreams are going to very warped.

It'll be interesting to see what happens by the time I wake up - whatever time that may be.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Exit Polls

The exit polls have come up with an interesting situation for us all. They are currently predicting the following:
  • Conservatives 307 seats
  • Labour 255
  • Lib Dems 59
  • Others 29
This comes across as a little crazy. I find it hard to fathom that following the first of the election debates, where Nick Clegg came out as the peoples' favourite, that taking into account 'uniform national swing', the Lib Dems actually would see a loss of seats.

It seems that either the Clegg-factor was the most short lived of politcal fads, or that the exit polls are wildly inaccurate. Still, it provides election-watchers with something interesting to keep an eye on and seems to be squarely pointing to a hung parliament.

Meeting Shaun Bailey

I was walking home from work today, accompanied by three workmates, and we were discussion today's poll. The focus of our conversation was quite obviously based on the reports of the Conservative Party's decision to make some major cuts in the public sector; does this mean redundancies?

It was just our luck that stood outside of Baron's Court underground station was Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party candidate for the new Hammersmith constituency. As my work mates moved ahead a few paces I decided to hang back and challenge Bailey with the rumours and to see whether teachers were for the chop.

His response seemed positive. So it is that with three of my colleagues as witnesses, he said the following which I will personally hold to account for should he be elected:

  • Conservatives will not be making teachers redundant as they are in high demand and are not considered as being part of the financial 'problem'.
  • Town Hall staff and 'some nursing staff' may find themselves at the mercy of efficiency measures.
  • Those in managerial positions in public sector roles may find themselves at the mercy of cuts.

Curiously, he also mentioned that it is likely that the Fox-Hunting ban would be repealed.

Regardless, Shaun Bailey, in spite of some of the criticism levied at him by my not so Tory-friendly workmates, he managed to come across as a very personable human being. I think that many may see his selection for the Conservatives as being a bit of a gimmick, a black man placed as a candidate in an area with a high percentage of ethnic minority groups, but I feel that, should he be elected, he could have a very long a fruitful political career ahead of him.

I do hope, for his sake, that he was not only right about teachers' jobs being protected, but that he stays true to his roots regardless of his selection for a very 'un-black' political party.
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