Interesting times

By , 7 May 2010 6:49 pm

It is difficult to avoid talking about the election at the moment so I may as well go with the flow. As it stands, as I write this on Friday, 7th May the Conservatives have by far and away the largest percentage of the vote but do not have not enough seats to give them an absolute majority. The result is that they are currently seeking the collaboration of the Liberal Democrats in ensuring a working majority in the House of Commons.

Let me make several observations which may or may be new to you.

  1. This really isn’t a stunning victory for David Cameron. After the monumental financial disasters and bunglings of the Labour government you would have thought that the Conservatives should have been able to utterly dominate an election and have something like a 100-seat overall majority. But Cameron comes over as aloof and privileged and has surrounded himself with some ‘advisers’ of dubious merit and morality. Actually, it’s hard to find even a Conservative who doesn’t end up apologising for him. Assuming Cameron does take power, he’s either going to have to shape up very quickly or they will have to find a replacement.
  2. Although you can read the voting various ways it does seem as though it was largely negative and the votes were cast more against than for. A lot of people voted for any candidate that could block Brown’s Labour. Many others voted for Labour simply to avoid the triumph of Cameron’s Conservatives. And most people who voted for the Liberal Democrats voted for them because they were neither Conservative nor Labour. Curiously enough all this doesn’t bother me. Why not? I am becoming very distrustful of political messiahs; it seems to be an inescapable law that the greater you are voted in with enthusiasm, the more rapidly you will be viewed with disillusion. So for any new Prime Minister to start at the bottom is probably not a bad thing.
  3. Although the terms of any political deal between parties would normally be something that was thrashed out over many days the current financial crisis is speeding things up. I suspect no politician wants to risk being held to blame by the public for a slide in the already weak pound. My guess is that by the end of this weekend we will probably have some sort of agreement. It’s an ill wind …
  4. Finally, let’s hear a small round of applause and praise for the Queen whose status as monarch acts as some degree of solidity at this time of fluidity. Since her accession to the throne in 1953 she seen some 12 Prime Ministers and Americans can tell me how many presidents she has outlasted. I was fascinated to read how she played a major role in a particular political crisis when ‘in the absence of a formal mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a leader it fell to the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government’. Which she duly did. When was this? 1956! I am not a strong monarchist but in a democracy a sane and sensible king or queen has a use. Especially in ‘interesting times’.

Have a good week.

5 Responses to “Interesting times”

  1. John Weaver says:

    Was Stroud elected? She sounded a little Pentecostal-scary to me, at least if the media reports about her are true.


  2. ChrisW says:

    She lost
    Paul Burstow Liberal Democrat 22,156
    Philippa Stroud Conservative 20,548

    But I think the witchhunt against her was equally as scary.

  3. Kathy-E says:

    Answer to your Point 4: The Queen has seen 11 American presidents. [Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush-41, Clinton, Bush-43, Obama]

  4. K says:

    Yea, knowing how the British press, aside from perhaps Channel 4, loves to stereotype evangelicals, I was wondering whether the Stroud thing was a little bit much.

  5. Catherine Brislee says:

    The Queen is more powerful than many people realise. In 1975 a stalemate in the Australian government led to a financial crisis. The Governor-general, acting on behalf of the Queen, fired the Australian Prime Minister and ordered the leader of the opposition to form a new government!

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