So Dave is within a hair’s breadth of getting the keys to Number 10. He stands on the brink of being the first Conservative Prime Minister of the 21st Century, Labour’s share of the vote has declined and Cleggstacy has failed to materialise. The boy’s done well – or has he? Far be it from me to be churlish or partisan but I can't help but wonder if his achievement is that great. Last year, I was huddled in various darkened rooms (ok pubs) with people from both Labour and Conservative who are paid to know about this sort of thing speculating about how many seats above 100 the Tories would get and how many terms (two or three) Labour would be out. My Labour chums were practically suicidal (though they wouldn't admit it now) and the Tories were trying desperately hard not to seem smug. Dave was the golden boy, Gordon Brown was a disaster and Clegg was a no mark. There was no way he could lose. And now? Ok he hasn't really lost but he hasn't really won either. So, you have to ask, has Dave thrown it away? I wouldn't like to say, but if I were a Tory donor I might be forgiven for wondering if I had got value for my money.
Friday, 7 May 2010
So after what seems like an aeon of campaigning (it was really only three weeks) the people have spoken. The only problem is no-one can quite work out what they have said. With almost all the results in, the only thing that is clear is that no party has an overall majority. So now we have a hung parliament and the leaders of the three parties have spent the morning resisting the temptation to play party politics and instead have put the national interest first. They have had varying degrees of success.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, was to the first to set out his stall. A disappointed Clegg, who far from taking second place actually saw his party lose seats, reiterated his view that the Conservative Party had the right to form a government having won the most seats and the largest share of the popular vote while at the same time reminding Mr Cameron that constitutional reform (for which read proportional representation) was the price he would need to pay for Lib Dem support.
An hour or so later Gordon Brown read a statement in front of Number 10 which sought to reassure the country, especially the markets, that in spite of appearances the country is not in chaos. He is still the prime minister and key decisions will still be taken, so Alistair Darling will represent the
Finally, we heard from David Cameron. He too began with a very prime ministerial air. He held the hand of friendship and compromise out to Clegg reminding him of their shared views on a whole range of issues including the National Insurance rise, climate change and pupil premiums. But inevitably there was a ‘but’, on the subject of constitutional reform he was less open handed offering only "all party committee of inquiry on political and electoral reform".
This leaves Clegg with a real problem – does he go with Cameron and effectively sacrifice a core belief of his party or does he prop up Brown? I think the technical term is snookered.
Nick and Dave are speaking to each other this evening. No doubt there will be conversations throughout the weekend. If we are lucky we will know who won yesterday’s election on Monday. Sounds ridiculous? Think about the poor people of