how have we got this government?

NB: This is a political questioning post that some of you may wish to avoid as I question how we have arrived at the government that we currently seem to have.

I also want to state here, as it says in my profile, that the views I express here are my own and in no way reflect the cathedral, the diocese or even Christianity – these are my personal views and questions

It intrigues me that Mr Clegg said before the election that the party that came third in the election had no mandate to govern the country. He said this amidst reports, and Labour Party fears, that Labour would come third in the popular vote. At the end of the day, Labour came second in the popular vote and second in the number of seats in the commons. It was, in fact, the Liberal Democrats who came third in both the popular vote and the number of seats in the commons.

Is it just me or is there a certain irony here? The party that came third, the party therefore whose policies were firmly rejected by the country is now able to have MP’s at all levels of government. In addition Liberal Democrat policies, which were also firmly rejected by the voting public, are being brought to the table and will be passed through this government using the alliance majority.

It seems to me that the desperation for power from Cameron has resulted in the adoption of policies that clearly no one voted for. That strikes me as a very poor position to be in – surely, if anything, Cameron should have bitten the bullet, established a minority government and then returned to the polls later to get what would have surely been a majority.

There are already many things about this coalition that concern me – not as a biased Labour supporter but as a member of the voting British public. There are strong talks of saving cuts and democracy and a new breed of politics, but already early signs suggest control and wastage. Two such actions are:

1. The changing of the name of the Department for Schools Children and Families to the Department for Education. The dropping of the link between family life and education is a worry in itself – but at a time when cuts are looming did we really need this added expense of a name change with its associated costs of a new website, new letterheads, business cards etc etc.

2. The attempt to move from a 50% +1 MP to a 55% of MP’s to carry out a vote of no confidence and dissolve parliament. This clearly takes away the constitutional and democratic right of the house to have control under a false guise of stability. This is a clear attempt to override the wishes of MP’s and make it harder to challenge the government – and not just this government … all future governments as well. Cameron justifies this by saying he has made a ‘big surrender’ in giving up his right as PM to call a general election when we all know this was not really a big surrender, more a concession to those Liberal Democrats who no one voted to ahve the authority they re exercising in our political structure.

3. This new politics look to be a massive retrograde step if we look at the cabinet – mainly white, mainly male, very Etonian and Oxbridge. it seems to me that we have merely replaced the deal done in a restaurant with deals done at school and uni.

Not sure if that was a rant … but it’s over! But I would be interested in other’s comments – for example, does anyone else see the irony of the 3rd party having so much influence over our politics?

5 thoughts on “how have we got this government?

  1. Thanks for a very thought provoking and basically helpfully provocative political post!I think what is more crazy/frustrating is that people are not giving this new thing a chance. Yes it is a bit crazy that the party that came '3rd' have some power but its for me more crazy that they got 23% of the vote but only 8% of the seats, seats equal power which is wrong. Ok Labour came 2nd but the system meant they could not legitmately share power with lib dems. you could argue that none of us voted for the government we have or alternatively you could argue (which I do) that because the vote result was like this a coalition was the only likely outcome as another election would create real potential political fatigue but also be unfair in terms of budgets available. Your post is brilliant but I think we should give this govt a chance

  2. thanks Matt – yes I agree a chance should be given … and I also believe, as I hope my post shows, that it should also be held to account.just for the record – even as a card carrying member of Labour I did not want us to go into a coalition with the Lib Dems …. the 2nd and 3rd places parties governing the country would have been very wrong!

  3. Hi Rob, good to be interacting again, I think I may end up re entering the blogosphere!Def agree that it should also be held to account and your article was clear in stating that.As a card carrying (former labour voter) lib dem I'm also thankful and hopeful that labour will regroup and prove to be a really great party in opposition and do a great job of challenging the coalition and keeping them on their toes

  4. Hi Rob,Nice post. However I think you could argue that the coalition was voted for by the 36.1% that voted Tory and the 23% that voted Lib Dem. For the first time over half of the electorate voted for the party in power. I also think the coalition is an excellent thing as it gave the two parties an opportunity to drop their more embarrassing policies they picked up over the years without losing face. (eg the Tory inheritance tax, the liberal anti-trident stance)I agree with you about the 55% thing. It is specifically designed to stop the Tories being thrown out as they have just over 45% of the seats. The trouble is that we are spending more than we can afford, and need to make those cuts. I just hope that they make them is the right place. If I were in charge I would ask the people at the grass roots where the money is being wasted. I can tell you where it is being wasted in defense… Sarah can probably tell you where it is being wasted in education. The skill is getting the savings in the right place

  5. Hi Rob, its a good point that we ended up with a situation no-one could have confidently predicted. But as a lifelong LibDem voter I would say that a lot of people wouldn't vote for a party they thought wouldn't be able to implement their policies, even if they agreed with them. So I'm hopeful that policies I agreed with and voted for (and many others agreed with but didn't vote for because they are used to 2-party politics) will inject some fairness and lightness to our politics. I'm unconvinced by some aspects of the coalition but I'm pretty sure that the Tories will be less able to get away with pro-rich, regressive policies with their need of the Lib Dems.The 55% thing stinks, I agree. Stability, for whom exactly? The Tories. I think they call that gerrymandering. Nevermind, they won't say that in the Sun or on Fox, sorry Sky News. They probably can't spell it.I hate the fact that white, public school men run the government in such a blatant disregard for the positive benefits of good gender-balance for a team, let alone setting a good example and providing positive role-models. Bah!So definitely a mixed bag.

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