The day everyone lost

So what happens if you have an election and everyone loses?

First of all, don’t listen to yappers like me or the political editor of the Sun. The people who have to decide what happens need to think carefully about the future of the country over months and years, not about what happens over the next two days.

Second, we have to find out exactly what the precise balance of seats is. The mathematics matters. What would it take for a stable government to be achieved? Would the most obvious combinations be compatible with the interests of the parties involved? Personally, I think Nick Clegg would have to be suicidally insane to support a Tory minority Government with no offer on Electoral reform, but hey, what do I know?

Third, If there is to be a Labour-Liberal alliance, it should be one based on a strictly agreed programme, not some sort of vague mush. Economic commitments, Electoral reform. It should be a clear policy programme, so if the Commons votes it down, the issues in the subsequent election are clear.

Fourth, no one should run to Northern Ireland. However much I want a Labour government, selling out the peace process is too dangerous.

Finally, If the Lib Dems feel they need another Labour PM, the Cabinet should choose Alistair Darling or Alan Johnson as their PM-Candidate. We need stability and anything else would feel like to much like an internal party coup. Personally, given the economic situation and pressure that we are likely to face, I would prefer Alistair Darling, by a short head. That way, Vince Cable can be Chancellor.

11 Responses to “The day everyone lost”

  1. James Bloodworth

    Here here. Electoral reform would be something really positive that could come out of a coalition with the Lib Dems; and while the tories will cry that it is they who should be in power due to the voting patterns, let’s not forget that they so far only have a single MP in Scotland and very few in Wales; not to mention that there is a clear anti-tory majority in the country as a whole.

    I would say it seems clear that Brown has to go, but then, he has at least stood for election in the country now; if we get rid of him then surely we will just face the same accusations that have dogged Brown over the last two years with our new leader (Although Brown will probably still get that considering he lost the popular vote to the tories).

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  2. liammurray71

    Agree short-medium term economic situation is the key driver and I have always supported electoral reform.

    There has to be some nod to the ‘direction of travel’ last night though. Neither party won the argument but public support for Labour’s policy platform diminished considerably and that for the Tory one grew considerably. An outcome that doesn’t reflect that – however constitutionally possible – won’t be sustainable in even the medium term. That presages another election, probably after a referendum and I can’t see how that squares with national interest.

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    • hopisen

      Up to a point. It’s pretty easy to argue that _any_ partnership govt has more “legitimacy” than any post war government.

      But you have a point, so I think any such alliance would have to be pretty clear about the limitations and extent of their mandate. A “sort out the political/economic messs” time limited mission

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  3. Newmania

    Some lost more than others Hopi .You don`t think your clear programme might at least have been hinted at before the election ? Do Labour voters support the end of the Labour Parrty as a governing Party , have you asked Hopi , is that what they voted for then ?
    Are Liberal voters actually just New Labour voters kept in the dark ….I was not under that impression hereabouts .
    If the Liberals simply prop up Brown which they said they would not ,then the issues are already clear

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  4. CS Clark

    At this moment I wouldn’t rule anything out regarding Nick Clegg and his state of mind. Perhaps Marr should ask him.

    I must say, however, that I am looking forward to this new electoral system where the parties get a critical multiplier moral bonus depending on how great a change there is in the numbers of seats/votes from the previous parliament, and how long it has been since a similar sort of result was achieved.

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    • Tony

      Nah… The beeb to need to get John Simpson outside Cowley St and have him speculate about how he would feel if he was Clegg. Much better.

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    • Newmania

      On the other hand the alchemy of adding loser to liar to make constitutional gold escapes me slightly ?

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  5. Dirty Euro

    The tories cannot form a strong and stable government on over 20 seats short of a majority. It has to be a coalation.

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  6. Tony

    Kudos to GB. Epic, epic fail by the Guardian (who are still pretending to be relevant this morning).

    Think (and hope) v. premature to talk about leadership.

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  7. bert

    Whatever happens in the coming hours and days, I just hope the public are never again seduced by the media driven obsession with a hung/balanced parliament.

    What a friggin’ mess this has turned out to be – for all three parties.

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  8. Huw Clayton

    The problem with your analysis is I cannot see any permutation which would allow Gordon Brown to command a majority in the House of Commons unless he brings at least three other parties in, probably four. That’s not a recipe for stability.

    On the other hand, given the insularity of the Tories, is it really possible they might form a coalition of any sort at all? I would doubt it.

    We’re left in limbo. Oh great. Just what we wanted. As Ruth Kelly said, be careful what you wish for.

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