7 May 2010

What next after last night's election results?

Anyone who was denied the opportunity to vote last night may be in line for a pay out of £750. Lord Pannick QC – writing in yesterday’s Times suggested that any prisoner denied the right to vote (Following the 2005 European Court ruling that they must be given the vote) would be eligible for a pay out ‘in the region of £750 each’.

The leading barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC told me last night that those who were ‘present to vote’ at the time the polling stations closed, but denied the opportunity to cast their ballots would be, if they sued, likely to win pay outs ‘of the same amount – £750’.

That’s the easy bit – now for the rest. Labour has lost the 2010 General Election. A pure Labour administration is dead.

The Conservatives have won the largest shift and share of votes and seats, but potentially not enough to give them the undisputed absolute power that our system accords the outright winner.

That leaves the Lib Dems, the third party, with no particular moral or legal case beyond the age old fact that their votes are understated by the number of seats they have won.

Morally, factually the outcome does not represent a wholesale call for the proportional representation system of voting that the Lib Dems demand. It is a system the Conservatives will not brook. It is a system that Labour will almost certainly allow to be included in a choice on electoral reform that they would agree to put before the British people.

But does the matter of the voting system anyway only represent a bit part player in the list of challenges that immediately face the British people? Would a Lib/Lab coalition built around electoral reform represent the basis for the ‘strong government’ that the economic crisis facing Britain demands?

If such a ‘coalition’ does not fly, where else can the ‘moral’ if not complete victors turn for support? Not Scotland – there is but one Scots Tory MP. The Scot Nats are demanding fiscal independence from Westminster – the power to raise taxes. The Conservative and UNIONIST party will not brook so grave a threat to the Union of the United Kingdom. Three Plaid Cymru MPs is not enough to make the difference.

Look then to Northern Ireland. Many Conservatives and others argued that the judgement by the Tories to join forces with the Ulster Unionists in this election was a poor one. The UUs got no MPs. The fact of their deal with the UU’s alienated the rival DUP. There are 8 DUP Mps. They represent the Conservatives best hope – 90 per cent of the votes they cast in the last House of Commons were aligned with the Tories. But the price will be high. The DUP will ask the Tories to reverse their intention to shrink the size of the Northern Ireland block grant.

My hunch is that the Lib/Lab tie up will have grave difficulty flying. The Tories may yet secure just enough seats (3 more than predicted to take them to 310 – enough to face down a combine LD/Lab vote in the Commons). But as I blog, the most likely outcome is a minority Tory Government.

Are the economic problems too grave for any minority Government to overcome? Can the deficit survive the almost certain prospect of yet another general election within perhaps a year or eighteen months time?

Far from being the election of ‘none of the above’ – was this is indeed the election of ‘all of the above’ – in other words is the message of the electorate that the political classes should come together in the interests of the British people at a moment of great crisis and challenge and serve together?

Or is it the will of the people that the ruling party should be on so tight a rein that it is impossible to reign in any other way than in the collective public interest?

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132 reader comments

  1. Margaretbj says:

    The public has spoken. We are collectively saying that we don’t like extremes when it comes to our survival. We are prepared to put up with compromise. We are prepared to stall to see how things pan our economically.

    What we are not prepared to do is go under and replicate Greece.

    Now politicians do it for us.

    1. Feed the Moon says:

      I trust Channel 4 News won’t be following the already done-to-death routine of depicting Cameron and Clegg as love-sick teenagers; and I hope you will resisit the understandable but unimaginative urge to layer the song Je t’aime over images of them together in that bloody rose garden!

  2. Tobt says:

    “Or is it the will of the people that the ruling party should be on so tight a rein that it is impossible to reign in any other way than in the collective public interest?”
    I hope so. William of Orange only agreed to be king after ensuring that the citizens would be protected from their rulers. That’s been forgotten for a while… let’s approach voting as though we’re employing servants, because we are.

  3. Marverde says:

    Sueing? Compensation? Typical lawyer thinking! What the people denied their right to vote want is TO VOTE. And they should be able to do it EVEN NOW, and their votes added to those already counted.

    1. Colum Keenan says:

      I agree. Let us be sensible. If we start handing out money to everyone who cannot vote before “closing time”, many will turn up very shortly before the polling stations close and we will see a “first” in Britain – people fighting to be at the back of the queue! Let us instead keep the polling stations open until everyone who has been queuing before a set time has voted. Coupled with this, we should ban exit polls. The suggestion of such compensation shows that it is not just unequally-weighted votes, self-serving politicians and out-of-control bankers that we ought to bring into line in the best interests of society, but also lawyers and even judges.

    2. Colum Keenan says:

      Rather than ban exit polls, I should have suggested prohibiting their publication until after all votes have been cast.

  4. Saltaire Sam says:

    I feel that everyone has lost.

    While there are all kinds of points to be made in detail – for instance the tories giving cash promises to Ulster Unionists after Cameron said N Ireland was one area where cuts should be made.

    But my instincts tell me that in the current crisis, Clegg should talk to Cameron and agree an economic way forward for at least a year with no conditions on electoral reform or other less important matters.

    He should try to persuade the tories to compromise some of their more extreme economic policies, and should try to ensure as much fairness as possible, and Cameron should be big enough to listen and make some adjustments.

    That would give Cameron the chance to govern – the fairest outcome of the election – and Clegg the chance to show that hung parliaments are not a recipe for disaster, his best hope of getting electoral reform.

    Labour should lick their wounds, find a new leader and show that they are willing to talk sensibly and act in the national interest.

    Given that Darling is not Brown, it might be a good gesture by Cameron to include him in discussions

    1. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

      Spot on Sam. Logical and sound thinking. Alistair Darling is the honest man of the Labour party and right now they need more like him.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Here we go Saltaire. I sort of agree with you , but consider the following .Gordon Brown has lost any moral authotity to lead the country.He maybe able to stitch a cynical deal together with the Liberals , but if that os so Clegg will turn out to be a chancer and a liar , for he stated that if a party lost and had the fewest votes it would not be right to keep them in power.
      It would also mean that the English parliament was ruled by a combined 50 plus Scottish MP;s rotallyb against the wishes of the English electrate .I think Clegg needs to be very aware of that.
      There is no apparent desire for proportional representation .
      It will be very important to see if a deal is cobbled together , theresult of the election in a couple of weeks time

    3. Tom Wright says:

      I think there’s a good chance of a Tory/LD alliance.

      It gives the LDs a chance to drop some of their more voter unfriendly policies – Immigration and the Euro – and gives the Tories and the nation the basis for a strong right of centre majority government.

      Its tactically the right move for Clegg to reject Labour. The LibDems will gain huge credibility and influence by siding with the Tories even without a formal pact. They cannot grow in Labour’s shadow: if the electorate are to consider them as a real opposition in future elections then they must challenge Labour. They cannot do this in bed. With PR not looking like a reality, Clegg must win the left of centre vote of the future – and he is in a uniquely strong position to do so because Labour is likely to collapse in bitter infighting over the leadership.

    4. Margaretbj says:

      I think if you look at the protesters over weekend you will retract you PR thesis.

      Gordon has not lost Moral Authority, in fact it is the opposite.. he could slink away quietly, but no, he is standing his ground to legally follow constitutional rules.
      I want them to show the way and demonstrate how a collaborative should work. If they can’t get their act together on a few fundamental points,how can the electorate be expected to follow any single party. Our Country reflects a wide political spectrum and we have to live together. Don’t talk about it’ Show it’

  5. Paul Begley says:

    A remarkable night. Every player is confronted by a reality with makes their “spin” untenable. Labour rejected, Conservatives not vindicated, the Liberal dreams evaporated. Facebook and Twitter shown to reflect a self-selected and unrepresentative cross-section, so useless as a guide to opinion. And, deliciously, thirty-odd years of public sector “reforms” and “efficiency savings” reflected in a system which could not even allow all those who wanted to vote to do so.

  6. Saltaire Sam says:

    Just had a call from Robert Mugabe asking if we want him to come and supervise our election next time :-)

    We, a country with a finger on the bomb, can’t even make sure there are enough ballot papers.

    I’m embarrassed

    1. Sadie says:

      You are so right Sam,
      And to think that in Afghanistan last year our Servicemen lost their lives and horrendous injuries suffered to ensure that that population could vote. Our Electoral officials in this country have let down the dead as well as the living by their mismangement and denying the vote in a peaceful and …. til now .. democratic country. Another is – how with thousands, as it would seem, votes intended but unable to be cast can it be assessed as which party has gained or lost in the final showing because with proof on film before us we know the final result is not as might have been. And to think we sat smug in this country at the USAs inabilities at the Kerry vote!

  7. adz says:

    So, the tories got the most votes but not enough to completely kick labour off their bicycle. I await with anticipation!
    As long as the U.S. is strong and there is a mutual yet always slightly suspicious friendship, this country will NOT go under financially.
    I watched Food inc. yesterday and one of the stories brought tears to my eyes, not to mention the disgust in seeing what we eat and how the animals and workers are treated. A must see for all!
    Sorry if I went off subject a little but to be honest, I just can’t be bothered to write about what is to come now because very sadly, little if any change is on our beautiful british horrizon.
    adzmundo The Venus Project & CND

  8. Margaretbj says:

    Now is the time to write out some performance indicators with a view to an election within 12 months.

    Can we make the markets dance for us for a change?

  9. Sadie says:

    The fact that the People waiting to vote but denied entry supersedes any titillation this morning on whom will sit which side of the Commons Chamber. They were sober, sound people film shows wanting to vote – our Election problems of late being that less than half of voters vote, what on earth will this travesty re. voting do to this problem of disinterest in our State. I am disgusted that people waiting at Polling Stations were denied casting their vote. The Official that stood on TV and said ‘legal advice taken’ should name that ‘legal’ and, with others be interviewed as to the legal interpretation of in an election ‘casting one’s vote’. I think the overwhelming moral, ‘gut right’ would be they should have been allowed. Could be argued – co-ordination of Stations and counting etc – politics boast in UK and USA this took us in to Iraq and Afghan has been taking Democracy to the uninitiated to improve their lives – last night by shutting people out we just demonstrated own populace has not that one single democratic right – to vote. Fact that polling team in 1# World could not cope is Admin failure and does not give them the right to deny a Brit their franchise.

  10. Paul Begley says:

    Where do we go from here? I’d suggest listening to Richard Feynman (Nobel prize-winner), who said this in 1964:

    “The English, who have developed their government in this direction, call it “muddling through”, and although a rather silly, stupid sounding thing, it is the most scientific way of progressing.”

    It does, however, require us to address all the evidence, not just the bits that suit our positions.

  11. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

    “…was this is indeed the election of ‘all of the above’”

    I’m not sure that I share your faith in the collective intelligence of the British electorate Jon. After all, the people of Salford thought it was a good idea to re-elect Hazel Blears. Either they have a very good sense of humor up there, or their tribal loyalty knows no bounds. For me that was probably the most dispiriting result of the night.

    The Conservatives are in pole position. They can claim to be pushed out on a “stitch up and a technicality”, or they can claim to form a “battling” minority government with no outside help.

    Either way they’re right, and they win.

  12. Janben says:

    Would you explain, (in words of one syllable please) the relationship between the Polls percentages and the number os seats won. There seems to be a huge disparity between the Labour and Liberal holdings and their Poll ratings.

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      Quite right Janben. By my reckoning the tories got about twice as many votes as the lib dems but six times as many seats. The only other place you get a wild differential like that is in bankers’ pay.

      Can you imagine the outcry if the electoral system was being drawn up on a fresh sheet of paper and someone suggested such a system? There’s still time to change the rules before the World Cup so every time England score, it counts as six goals.

      Mr Cameron has the right to try and form a government but he should be big enough to acknowledge that he doesn’t have carte blanche forhis manifesto and the least he should do is offer a referendum on the voting system.

    2. Namche says:

      Some quick maths based on percentage of the vote shows that if seats were dished out proportionately the following would result:
      Con – 235 (currently 299)
      Lab – 189 (currently 254)
      LibDem – 149 (currently 54!!!)

      (Results not all in yet) As you can see the system greatly benefits the Tories and Labour, and greatly hinders the Lib Dems. Travesty doesn’t begin to describe it…

    3. adrian clarke says:

      it is like being in a race Ist gets more points than second , who in turn gets more points than third, so what would be more interesting is how many times Lib Dems came second.The biggest disparity is the size of the electrate in each constituency,Were they nearly equal in every constituency you would get a fairer result and hopefully stronger government

  13. Dave says:

    I am somewhat concerned that both Wales and Scotland have their own assemblies and therefore some governance over their own countires.

    This has produced a situation whereby students in England and/or English students in Scotland run up huge debts to further their education, while Scottish students are debt free.

    Now we have a situtation where we have a hung parliament which most educated people recognise as a poor place to be.
    However with just an English vote the tories would have a majority of 100(+).

    Surely our voting system must now be changed – so as to avoid the country being run by the minority

    1. Mel says:

      I am sorrry but I have to disagree here. Being Welsh I understand how long and hard the Welsh and the Scottish fought for this and why. Speaking from a Welsh perspective where all my ancestry derive I can remember as a young girl how much Wales was forgotten by London and how much was taken away from them and lives ruined because when cuts were made Wales was often opted to suffer them first. It is only since the two of them have had their assemblies that they have economically and socially got back on their feet. The fact that Scottish students are debt free is very enviable to English students understandably but don’t blame Scotland for governing their area of the country by putting their people first.
      Thse two countries need to have some governance over their areas – they cannot again whether what they have been put through in the past and had they not have been put through it in the first place to the extent to which they were they would not have fought so adamently for it.

    2. Tom Wright says:

      Mel, I beg to differ. Justice for Scotland and Wales cannot be achieved at the expense of England; ‘two wrongs do not make a right’.

    3. Mel says:

      Tom I do agree with you and I would not advocate justice for Scotland and Wales at the expense of England but I do advocate equal justice for Scotland and Wales and before the assemblies there was very little. The proportion of expenditure on Wales compared to the rest of the country was non-existent and as a young girl I can remember seeing Wales being destroyed and forgotten – towns in the valleys being boarded up -with no help forthcoming. It was because of this damaging uneveness in expenditure and social policy that the push for an assembly came about.
      I realise what I say is not exactly high political science but it does come from what i saw as a girl – the destruction of lives, families and communities and the feeling of hoplesness from proud, hard-working people who felt that they had been forgotten.

  14. Saltaire Sam says:

    Are you advocating breaking up the union or setting up yet another layer of government in the form of an English Parliament?

    I think there is a case for restricting who can vote on matters that only concern England but that is as far as I would want to go.

    It could equally be argued that when Mr Cameron becomes PM, Scotland will ruled in many key policy areas by a government that has only one Scottish representative.

    We could also see Northern Ireland being handed favours to form an alliance with the tories.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      ALL three areas Scotland, Wales and NI already have a parliament , so in effect have two .Having an English parliament does not entail another level of democracy at all.
      I object to a Party that has clearly lost in England being kept in office by a party seeking political advantage for themselves rather than ruling in the countries interest, and also by politicians from the other three areas against the wishes of the English

    2. Tom Wright says:

      Here, here! To paraphrase Orwell, it seems ‘we are all democratic, but some of us are more democratic than others’.

      The regional assemblies have negated the need for the over-representation of Scotland and Wales in the westminster parliament. Its time they were restructured.

  15. James Derounian says:

    Truth is funnier than fiction: how apt that there should be a ‘Lord Pannick’ commenting on voter disenfranchisement!

    How can the Conservatives – with 36% of the popular vote, on (just) a 65% turnout -claim to represent a majority citizens?

    I look forward to PR as a ‘price’ for LibDem asistance to whoever, to govern.
    Finally let us see democracy in the UK…

    1. Jim Flavin says:

      You will never see any meaningful PR in UK as it would spell the end of either Labour or Tories ever forming a government by themselves . Ok its has in fact happened this time – but hung prliaments are rare eneough – unfortunately . As for Democracy in UK or any country ie Rule FOR the People —- NEVER.

    2. Steve Willis says:

      Lord Pannick is a good guy. Long ago a group of us we fighting secondary school reorganisation plans proposed by Avon LEA. We sought legal advice from him when he was plain David Pannick QC. We got very good advice & genuine sympathy.

      After 18 months of campaigning & a presentation to an Education Minister we won.

    3. Mudplugger says:

      Under a proper PR system, wewould have ended this election with 30 BNP members – is that what you want ?

    4. anniexf says:

      Mudplugger, it isn’t a question of what we, here, want as individuals. As far as the BNP are concerned, IF your calculation is correct, then as genuine democrats we would have to accept it. There’s no place for cherry-picking in a truly fair PR system. It throws up all sorts of potential problems but it’s surely the only one that can honestly reflect, as nearly as possible, the true wishes of the electorate.

    5. Saltaire Sam says:

      Mudplugger – that is the price of democracy. I detest everything the BNP stand for but as long as the country says it is legal, they have the right to stand and the people who vote for them have the right to be represented.

    6. Claire Nahmad says:

      I was concerned to note how many people voted for the BNP. This sort of situation makes the idea of PR quite scary. Nevertheless, I think that we do have to address the question of our unsatisfactory voting system. If our current ‘first past the post’ arrangement is unfair (which clearly it is), and PR is likely to give anti-democratic parties a worrying degree of influence, isn’t there a third option? Or do these two systems exhaust all viable possibilities?

    7. Claire Nahmad says:

      Also thought it was quite funny, James, that Nick Griffith thought he might win in Barking. Of course he didn’t, so of course they’re not (barking in Barking).

    8. Marverde says:

      Mudplugger : What I’d rather see is people NOT VOTING for the BNP. The seats only represent (or should represent) the voting pattern. PR is only a mirror. Don’t blame it for the ugly faces it may show sometimes.

    9. adrian clarke says:

      James with the vote the Tories have which is 24% of the voting population , 2% higher than Labour last time where they had a 80 seat majority .It shows how the voting is rigged against the Tories too.
      One thought: if what we are going through now is indicative of the difficulties of getting a coalition , how much harder would it be under PR?

    10. Saltaire Sam says:

      Adrian, the reason the tories oppose a change in the electoral system is on purely selfish grounds. They know few others agree with their ‘toffs and bankers first in the lifeboat’ policies and so they will always find it hard to form a coalition

      The current impasse would not necessarily be repeated in future – parties would know it was coming and opt for less extreme policies.

      One thing is clear from this election none of the parties has the right to implement all its manifesto. The rest of us are used to not getting all our own way – now it’s the politicians’ turn to learn that simple lesson

  16. Frank Green says:

    Just now ( midday) Clegg said that the Tories have the right to try to form a government. He is obvioulsy wrong. The law clearly states that in the event of a hung parliament the incumbent is given first choice at forming a government. So Labour should approach the Lib Dems and see if they can do a deal. If they can, they should try to govern. For those who say that such a deal would be untenable, bear in mind that 52% of the voting public voted for Labour and the Lib Dems whilst only 32% voted for the Tories. A lib/lab pact would therefore be wholly democratic. What this whole situation illustrates is the nonsense of the first-past-the-post system .

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Frank it is a nonsence the way you put your argument .Even if your percentages are slightly out , Labour clearly lost the election with 28% of the vote.Liberals clearly lost too with 23%.Adding them together makes 51% of voters , but none of those voters voted for a deal between those two parties , or for proportional representation. The Tories got 37% of the vote , a number that gave Labour an 80 seat majority.I never heard anyone complaining that was wrong.I find it amazing that you can suggest that two losing parties should represent the people of the UK .and that the winning party should be in opposition

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Frank .The incumbent was a clear loser .He was never elected prime minister and has now been rejected on a vote to rule .Now anyone who asserts that PR is the way forward , is infact endorsing the paralysing situation we have now of parties trying to come to a compromise .That is not what i voted for and i suspect very few did .It would under PR happen on every occasion

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Frank how to twist statistics .First Brown clearly lost , as for that matter did the Lib Dems , but two losers do not make a winner!!!As for 52%voting for a Lib Lab coalition , i think if you want to quote that way 59% voted for a Con Lib coalition.

  17. Marverde says:

    Dimblebly is really getting on my nerves. Every time he’s mentioned a possible Lib/Lab coalition he’s question its “legitimacy”. I’ve counted 10 million votes for the Cons and 15 million for that possible coalition. And 6.5 million votes for just 52 seats. How has it taken soooooooooo long for this country to wake up to how undemocratic it is?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      i onderstand the point about so many people trying to vote late , but everyonr should know voting offices close at ten .It has been the case since i have voted, nearly 50 years .I have no sympathy.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Of course its undemocratic for a party to clearly be rejected and lose the election , then be kept in power by a bunch of chancers seeking political advantage

    3. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

      Marverde, I guess it depends on how you view your vote. Are you voting for something ? Or against something ?

      I looked for the “I don’t support Gordon Brown Party”, and “none of the above” boxes on my ballot paper but was disappointed to find none.

      I read somewhere that after countless academic studies on voting systems, the overwhelming conclusion was that the first-past-the-post systems was by far the fairest, and the most stable.

      I guess the conclusion is, vote with your heart, vote for something, winner takes all.

    4. Marverde says:

      “I read somewhere that after countless academic studies on voting systems, the overwhelming conclusion was that the first-past-the-post systems was by far the fairest, and the most stable.”

      Is that why so many democratic countries have chosen something different??
      Richard of “winner takes all”:
      I want my vote to have the same weight regardless of where I happen to live and of whether my views are a minority or majority view among my neighbours.

  18. Haze says:

    Why can’t they form a coalition government and get this country sorted once and for all I am sure there are many out there who are fed up of the political squabbles and back biting, so come on get together, work together and solve our dire problems.

    1. Moonbeach says:

      I’m afraid that coalitions of traditionally confrontational groups and getting things sorted out are mutually opposing concepts!

    2. Margaretbj says:

      Haze you are the most sensible person I know.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      that is why i disagree withPR.The loser can be in control,if thats democracy pigs really do fly

  19. Tim Baty says:

    “Or is it the will of the people that the ruling party should be on so tight a rein that it is impossible to reign in any other way than in the collective public interest?”

    Precisely so. And it’s also the reason why absolute majorities (of any colour) are so dangerous – they allow the biggest party to _rule_ solely on the basis of party dogma. Consensus and collective public interest just don’t get a look-in.

    However I’m extremely gloomy about the capability of either Labour or the Tories to operate in a consensus-based model – they’re so bogged down under their various paymasters & lobbyists that they’ll never find a way to work with anyone outside their own parties. And that’s an extremely dangerous backdrop, given the severity of our economic problems.

    1. Paul Begley says:

      The big majorities of recent years were built on sand, as far as I can see, because the majority party always consisted of warring internal factions with different agendas. New vs Old Labour, Major vs Eurosceptics. What you thought you voted for wasn’t what you got, for long.

  20. Mel says:

    Adrian as far as I can gather from the reports hundreds of people were there before ten – being there in the que before ten gave them their constitutional right to vote.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Mel that is not right , being in the room behind closed doors would , but being outside able to listen to opinions on exit results wouldnt.

    2. anniexf says:

      As I understand it, you had to be in the room WITH A BALLOT PAPER IN YOUR HAND in order to qualify at 10pm.

  21. anniexf says:

    Let’s see if Cameron’s “Big Society” has legs – will he extend his ideas on inclusiveness far enough to allow consensus government in the interests of society as a whole?

  22. adrian clarke says:

    I have not long awoken , hence the bad typing ,plus have to go out , but i see a lot of blogging to come on behalf of the victorious English.

  23. Yasir Dharsi says:

    I know I am reposting this, but I think this issue is so important. My friends and I were so outraged about people not being able to vote we set up a site:

    Democracy means you should be able to cast your vote – so if you couldn’t http://WWW.ICOULDNTVOTE.COM #countmyvote

  24. Brian Philpotts says:

    After 13 years in the wide open space to the left of New Labour, one indecisive election and Nick Clegg remembers his political education, ditches his policies and snuggles up to the most likely source of power. Yet another politician you can really trust?

    1. Mel says:

      Brian I think your jumping the gun here. Clegg has not spoken yet and we don’t yet know if he is going to snuggle up with the easy or the hard option. If it hadn’t of been partly for Clegg we would not be witnessing this badly needed shake up. He was wise enough to help cause it and in my opinion he has been wise and calm throughout this whole election – let’s just see if he can carry this wiseness through because if he can’t the liberals will never be given another shot and nor will parliamentary reform.

  25. Jim Flavin says:

    Now the horse trading begins – and i a way – thats not a bad thing – as it may put a brake on extreme policies .. Cameron would make an excellnt Prime Minister IMO – as he would do exactly as USA asks – even more so that Brown – if that is possible . IMO Rainbow coalitions are a good thing – for reason stated above . ” Strong ” !! Govt . has not given good Goverment .

  26. adrian clarke says:

    There you had the cynisism of Gordon Brown , in his Statement .No admittance that he has lost ,no suggestion of standing down , just a promise to change the voting system , by agreement with the Liberals in their mutual interest, who have also lost and no mandate, for such a change .This is not about a priority of goverment but an attempt to stay in power .Something i have been warning about for the past 4 weeks .A prime minister who was never elected , rejected by the British people and certainly the English voters , doing/saying anything to stay in power.

    1. Claire Nahmad says:

      Adrian, I have to agree with you on that one – I predict that Gordon Brown is going to have to be mechanically prised out of No. 10!!!

    2. koomkwat says:

      Adrian I do not believe that Gordon Brown is seeking power for self interest alone. He is a very clever man an undoubtedly knows that he will be disliked by his actions. It makes me very concerned to see the action he has taken, it tells me that he is very fearful of what the tory plans. I beleive that Gordon Brown continues to protect the vulnerable regardles of the abuse he will take for it. A selfless act!

      There is a problem here because David Cameron cannot just ram tory policy down Scotlands throat. The arrogance of people who claim a tory win must reconsider the position. I think it is very sad that Scotland and England cannot put their differences aside for the benefit of the national interest.

    3. Paul Begley says:

      As we have to have a government, Brown cannot resign until the new deal is in place.

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Koom quat Brown is just a control freak who thinks anyone who disagrees with him is a bigot .It is all self interest .If it was for the good of the people he would respect their vote and go.

    5. Mel says:

      I agree with Paul. You remind me of certain papers this morning making comments like Brown being a squatter etc. The fact is due to our political system nobody won this election and until a working gov is formed the existing Government have to remain as caretakers to the country as the business of running the country must still go on. This is propoganda by Con newspapers – the Cons yet again taking the people for fools. As for doing/saying anything to stay in power both are playing at that – of course they are. A Con party leader bowing down on certain staunch Con issues and beliefs – it’s not been known in my life time so if that isn’t desperation for power I don’t know what is!!!

    6. koomkwat says:

      It strikes me as odd how people could come to conclusions so far from my own and vice versa. It all seems so obvious to me, plain as the eye can see. You can almost feel the sway of power floating between the two sides. Its most certainly not a one sided dance, the blatant power being whisked up to humiliate Gordon into submission is vile. Gordon remains strong regarless of this.

      Clegg must be made aware that the electorate are watching. The broken political system he so bravely challenged is in his hands alone. How obvious the seduction!! A liberal mind, its debatable?! As all you stand for and all you fought for is now under the microscope and the choices you make will be felt forever more.

  27. John Smith says:

    So, is the isssue really a moral one? Surely the issue is what is best for the country. Therefore, GB having given the Tories and LDs his blessing to try and sort out a deal, it’s really up to the LDs to put the interests of the country first and clearly the “interests” are initially the economy. Thereafter other issues can be up for grabs. But let’s see what happens.

  28. Paul Begley says:

    I’ve seen allegations that at some Polling Stations, students were put in a slow queue, and locals put in a quick queue. Anyone know if this is verified?

    1. anniexf says:

      C4 news is describing right now 2 queues at one polling station – students, and others. No explanation given.

    2. Paul Begley says:

      If true, it does sound as if some people’s right to vote was protected at the expense of others. Unlikely that’s legal.

  29. Marverde says:

    Cameron’s “olive branch” sweety pie invitation to the Libs was excrutiating to listen to: “We have some common points, let’s collaborate on those! But we also disagree on other points and on those we stand firm!” They call that negotiating??

    1. Paul Begley says:

      Come on, give him a break! It’s like a dog walking on its hind legs – amazing it can do it at all, so don’t expect it to be done well.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      I believe he was the winner Marverde and has every right to put his supporters views as a priority

  30. Margaretbj says:

    Despite the denial of those deliberately and patronisingly tunnel visioned in a refusal to accept truth , a lot of open minded and creative people still make up society.

    Gone out of our belief is the despot criminal, who rhetorts that we are wildly imaginitive when we know we are being conned left right and centre.

    Facts and truths have now to be addressed head on without past insinuation that we have got our sums wrong when we can’t get jobs, or we are not being overun by immigrants or we have never had it so good as we slave away forgoing holidays and past luxuries.

    Come on see clearer Egan and Goneril we have not had a good time , you may have , but you lack imagination to see outside your own small world.

    1. Margaretbj says:

      Stephen Fry said he was a complete arse for quoting Shakespeare, never mind we all need to make a point even with Egan instead of Regan.

      We must not give any more of the UK away, talent or otherwise.

  31. C Johnson says:

    Labour, but tempered..
    Think the electorate were trying to retain Labour with a brake on its excesses. As someone who grew up in Ireland and to whom PR is natural, the election of Labour of Liberal Democrat politicians in sufficient number, when combined, to give a majority indicates that a coalition of the two is the self-evident option. Perhaps this whole coalition experience is so new that people are getting sidetracked. Remember the Conservatives did not get the necessary majority; and, that significant numbers of voters voted for Liberal Democrats with the aim of keeping the Conservatives out.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Sounds to me the argument put in schools to stop children being competitive .It might hurt the little souls feelings if they lose.The world doesnt work like that .It is competitive .The voters clearly rejected Labour .They didn’t vote to keep them in office through a pact with the other losers!!!!!

  32. adrian clarke says:

    If Clegg is interested in democracy or the interest of the people and , he has no option but to make some sort of deal with the Tories ,
    Should he decline he could try and form a minority government or after losing get into bed with the other losers and face the wrath of the voters.

    1. Mel says:

      Since when were Conservatives interested in democracy or the interest of the people? I must have missed it. Greater democracy cannot be obtained in this country without political reform and the Conservatives, for their own interests, have always been the biggest blockers of it. I am confident that Clegg in his negotiations will want a gaurantee of something much more substantial than a REVIEW if there is a deal to be done with the Cons. We all know that a so called review was a cop out term indicating that nothing will ever be allowed to happen. It is also interesting that people keep on about the Cons being the big winners here by the voters – lets remember that they were not big winners at all – in effect what they obtained was not a very large percentage of the vote – certainly not as big in reality as it has been made out to be. I do not believe for one minute that Labour was point blank rejected and the Conservatives endorsed. What has gone on here has been more complex and clever tactical voting by the people to make all parties remember that they serve us – not the other way around.

  33. Mel says:

    The people are looking on Clegg as the 1 who can upset the apple cart. my feelings are that if Clegg chooses to play with Cons the Libs will be out of the running for ever as a serious party not in it as has been suggested because the people have put their faith in him to insticate the change they are desperate for.They have been brave enough to give him the chance to do what Libs say they have been fighting for for decades on behalf of the people. throw it back in our faces now by going with the Cons because they think politically they will gain more oomph and the country will never give them another chance. Not only would he blow it for the credibility of the Liberal party but he also blows it for the people. I watched the two speeches, of course desperate, but 1 thing came out loud and clear – the Cons will not budge, will not accept anything less than full power and have no intention of reform. So is Clegg genuine? not if he tucks up with Cons. The country have deliberately, bravely thrown him the ball. If he doesn’t run with it libs will never be forgiven.

    1. Claire Nahmad says:

      Mel, I agree with part of what you have said. I heard Michael Heseltine speaking on this subject today, and his gist was definitely that the Cons were open to coalition with the LDs if Nick Clegg understood that where the two parties already had common ground, that was fine – but in any other area he’d have to give way! In other words, if the LDs become Cons, then the Cons can form a coalition with them! I think that if Clegg stands firm and insists that the Cons must honour the wishes of the people for a proper coalition, then his supporters will endorse him in the future and he’ll gain more of them.

    2. Mel says:

      It seems to be Claire there are going to be 2 massive sticking points for Cameron. One is reform – now if he has been forced by the public to re-think the political system and is now prepared to accept reform and become a modern politician then I will take my hat off to him. The second is getting the accepatance of his people. People keep on about the sticking point being reform but I believe this is where the real sticking point is. The new fresh faces that were elected in who are part of a modern world are no problem – they are up for it but your old blue staunch Cons – never. But I take solice in thinking that if they did agree to it in the name of having power they will not last long within it and slowly but surely, one by one, they will walk and if they do not choose to do so pressure will put on them within the Ivory Tower to do so! It is unconceivable that after the people have spoken in this way they still will not listen and are prepared to plundge away for their own party interests and not the peoples.

    3. Claire Nahmad says:

      Interesting, Mel. I think you are right – it’s easy to see that the old guard are digging themselves in! If Cameron can come out of their shadow it will be with the inspiration of Clegg. I do sense something new stirring, as if a transformed vision is waiting to descend on British politics. The old faithful among the Cons will resist it wildly, of course. But if a true coalition results and Cameron can get over the two sticking points you mention, things are going to be very intriguing. I really think it could happen. I’m backing a positive vision for the future!

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Claire where do you get the electrate voted for a coalition .That might be the result of the vote , but how can you say that was the intention??/If you carefully analyse the vote It was a clear rejection of both Labour and Liberal policies.Were it not Labour would not have lost 100 seats and the Liberals would have increased their seats.Had there not been a UKIP vote the Tories would have had a clear majority , which points to the electrate being Eurosceptic

  34. Brenda Wright says:

    I have a dream……Cameron and Clegg with fair uncle Vince as chancellor ,for the price of a referendum on P R. Gordon gone.Labour out of power.Cameron and Milleband drag their parties into the 21st century.Lids come off cans of worms and beans are spilt.We can then have an informed, fair,positive vote.I demand that my vote counts.

  35. Saltaire Sam says:

    But some had been queuing fo an hour and a half. There clearly weren’t enought people at the poling stations to process the demand. It was third world.

    1. Jim Flavin says:

      In the Philipines when they had a similar problem yestrday – the Electoral commission extended the Voting time by one hour .

  36. Saltaire Sam says:

    Or perhaps doing the morally correct thing in trying to do a deal in hte nation’s interest with the party that got most seats and most votes even though they arenot natural allies? Perhaps he’s just trying to do what he can to fulfil the electoral mandate.

  37. adrian clarke says:

    Marverde it appears to me you want your vote to count even if you back a losing party .Well it does in share of the vote , but coalition forms a weak government .I

  38. adrian clarke says:

    Mel Labour lost nearly 100 seats .Gordon Brown was an unelected prime minister and once put to the vote has been soundly rejected.Clegg is even further behind .As for votes Cameron has as big a percentage as Labour had last time and they obtained a majority of 80 seats , yet with the same percentage, Cameron has a minority of 10 .So the system is unfair and favours Labour.That is only because the constituencies are unequal in voters .Sort that out and 1st past the post is best.

  39. KenMay says:

    The disenfranshised voters were mainly in LibDem controlled council areas.

    Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bristol and Hull.

    If they can’t run an election, how can they expect to run a country.

  40. Olivia says:

    If Clegg really has the national interest at heart he should be prepared to work with the man who has the expertise and experience to sort out the econpmic crisis. If he can’t then it’s Clegg who should resign not Brown. A team of Brown, Darling and Cable is what the country needs now

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Olivia,so you think Clegg should do a deal with the person who has got us in the finacial mess we are in and has clearly been rejected by the electrate.I will start a new bokkies just for you ,called” losers are winners”

    2. Mel says:

      Another lovely piece of Con propoganda Adrian! Brown did not get us into this mess at all – it was a global crisis that no matter what party had been in was never not going to reach our doors.
      Which is more than I can say for the recession in the Thatcher years – which I hasten to add was actually worse than this for our country – and which was brought about by Con policy.

  41. DU 48 says:

    This election result shows that the politics of greed and selfishness is at the root of the problem. Financial excessses have been FREELY rewarded and politicians must now reckon with a public that no longer trusts any single party with a majority.
    There is an outside chance that minority government will produce constructive change everybody wants: broad consensus -no extreme policies based on destructive power lobbying but fairness and justice, based on solidarity.

  42. Paul says:

    Very well put Mel! I will refer to them as the ‘Cons’ from now on too… Perhaps a show of N.I. solidarity can sway a lab/lib arrangement. That’s what they are saying at ‘Slugger o Toole’. In my opinion that would certainly be welcomed to prevent spending cuts proposed by the Cons. Devilish tactics from the cons have seen them bargain for pay outs with the unionists. However I think this is more of a carrot than stick in terms of over all spending in Northern Ireland. Hopefully they’ll all recognise the tactics before its too late…

    1. Mel says:

      Glad somebody caught on to it – Cons they are from now on then!!!!

    2. Mel says:

      Looking at it this morning Paul it seems the Lab/Lib which I believe is what the country intended on their tactical voting is becoming more and more unlikely. There was a massive push towards the end of the campaign to persuade people that a Lib vote was a wasted one -I feel it had an effect. I’m also very concerned by the fact that the disenfranchised voters were mainly in LIbDem controlled council areas. Blip on administration? Quite frankly I smell a rat! People think it can’t happen because this is Great Britain – think again. However if it is getting as far as a coalition gov as they are predicting we must take our hat off to Cleg and his negotiaters and if Cameron can get it through his people to him too. It may not be the coalition we dreamt of but it is a coalition which will change politics in this country for ever. Policy makers of two differing parties having to compromise and agree with each other can only result in a better future for this country.
      If it is a coalition gov with Cons I think it is very reassuring that he has got it as far as a coalition – it was more than I expected and I think is an indication that Clegg is not following any carrots on sticks.

  43. Colum Keenan says:

    I believe that, in a true democracy, each vote should carry equal weight. Furthermore, it should be a human right that one’s vote carry equal weight to that of any other. It would be prudent to seek a Human Rights legal ruling on this before we consider a referendum.

    1. Margaretbj says:

      High minded colum.. there are too many criminals out there ready to excercise their rights. Can you imagine a school of thought who are hell bent on irradicating humanity because they feel as though life is in the hereafter and they are growing by the year .Those would all be entitled to an individual vote which will count.

    2. Claire Nahmad says:

      Margaret, such a movement already exists! The End-Dayists in America believe that the prophecies of doom in Revelations should be brought about as quickly as possible in order to fulfil the word of Jehovah, and one of their clan, a Texan billionaire, is busy in Israel paying to extend their nuclear arsenal in the hope that they’ll use it soon and to greater effect! A small bonkers group? Not at all – their numbers are 63 million, and counting! Such examples make this whole question of PR a weighty one indeed. I could not be a purist and say to myself as the world ended – “Well, at least democracy was served”. I’d be thinking, “Hello – democracy’s signally failed!” Is democracy simply that the majority vote holds sway? Is that absolutely all it is, pure and clear cut, or does it also involve ideals of justice, humanity and aspiration to the greater good? If it’s the latter, then we must be able to come up with some method of PR that doesn’t involve expecting democracy to survive without an immune system. I’ve looked at all the various options of applying PR, but nothing seems ideal.

    3. Marverde says:

      Ay, ay, ay. Let’s not muddle things, pls! Margaret&Claire: You cannot restrict “the individual right to vote”. (You cannot tell by looking at someone if they are criminals, at least not usually, despite the despicable growth in “profiling”). What society does is use the legal system to restrict “who you can vote for” and it does so by banning groups with criminal ideas from the electoral choice. Some come very close to the mark, like the BNP, but it is up to you and me to counter their votes with ours.

    4. Colum Keenan says:

      I think I understand your concerns, Claire, but I would point out that the share of the national vote garnered by extremists was negligible. I hope you are not trying to patronise me by seeking to reassure me that you will use your vote, which, if it is a vote for Conservatives or Labour – carries many times the weight of mine, to protect me.

    5. Claire Nahmad says:

      Marverde, I think overall you are right, because if, as stated in an earlier comment, 30 seats went to the BNP and they proceeded to show their true colours (incitement to racial hatred) they could actually be dealt with by law, thus hanging themselves with their own rope. It makes me easier about PR (which seems the fairest voting system), but I think I would still worry about loopholes.

    6. Claire Nahmad says:

      I hope not too,Colum – I voted Liberal!!

  44. Lindy says:

    Why must the talks simply be between lib-dems and tories or lib-dems and labour? The fact is that the labour party got more votes and seats than the l-d’s, so why are their no talks between it and the tories? @Paul Begley (10:07 am on May 7) has summed it up (and quoting Feynman is always wise) and it seems to me that the heart of what the voters have said is that they want a bit of all three parties (plus of course the MPs of the smaller parties). Leaving the labour party out of the equation simply shows that l-ds and tories are NOT acting in the true public interest, but are playing games.

    1. Mel says:

      I don’t quite agree with you Lindy. All three working together is a wonderful ideal but then this wouldn’t be a true representation of fair gov for the people either would it because you do not mention the Scottish, Welsh, Northern Ireland? This may be old hat to Europe but it is new to our Parliament and quite frankly has knocked them for six. I don’t think that they truely believed that on the day people would shake their Ivory Tower. If two of whatever parties form a coalition it is a fantastic and extremely big step and one that I will be proud to have been part of. To ask for all three parties to work together at this time would just lead to stalemate. Let them get used to this for 100 years first!!!!

  45. Paul Begley says:

    Just suppose that a Lib-Con coalition is constructed, holds together for three years, sorts out the finance and avoids the public disorder we see in Greece. We would then have the clearest possible demonstration that effective government doesn’t mean pretending a minority had a strong mandate (this is what “first past the post” does). Could anyone then argue against full PR?

    1. Mel says:

      Absolutely. I think our country has spoken and said it wants to see a new modern form of government where parties are not driven by single interest single power but work together agreeing and compromising on behalf of the people in the form of coalition governments. Your mention of “three years together” I think is very interesting. If this is going to change our face of politics for good it needs to work and I think Glegg should be given all the time he needs. All this about the markets getting jittery I think is deliberate hyped up pressure to force his hand. The markets expected it and unless it drags on I don’t think they are going to be that perturbed by it. So near yet so far – I don’t want to see Glegg sell out. It needs to be nothing less than a coalition government of at least three yrs to show stability and prove it works if our political landscape is to change for ever.

  46. Colum Keenan says:

    I’ll take “high-minded” as a compliment. Margaret, I am surprised that you want to eradicate anyone’s right to a vote of equal weighting. I must add, however, that I do feel strongly that human rights as they apply to criminals require different and less privileged treatment than criminals enjoy at present.

    1. Margaretbj says:

      Have you ever been in a situation where you acted ethically impeccably , using standpoint analysis, ensuring everyone had their rights and no one was harmed.

      Have you had a position where you were democratic enough to consider yourself as an equal to everyone and neither superior or inferior to anyone and unfortuntely that was not reciprocated due to numbers of persons blind to morality .
      That is the potential situation you are advocating. The present electoral system has safeguards to protect the many.

    2. Colum Keenan says:

      One of our greatest problems at this time is that there are too many politicians who are “blind to morality” – and the voting system, as you would have it, grants more weight to the vote of any one of their supporters than my vote carries. This leaves me relatively powerless to call them to account through the electoral system.

  47. Marverde says:

    Let’s check how far this country is still from real PR… Has anybody counted the number of women involved in the present negotiations for our future government? Not one. Women are the majority gender and not a single one.

  48. Arthur Complainer says:

    Cameron should ignore the Liberal Democrats.

    Having won the most seats the Conservatives should take control, and prove they have the guts to implement their manifesto. If the other parties vote their policies down, they can always call another General Election – the result will be far more decisive than 6th May.

    Does Cameron have the guts to do this? He does have a track record of breaking promises e.g. referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Perhaps, he flips and changes his mind as much as Clegg & Brown?

    P.S. I’d like a peerage, so I can serve in a Government as well – I’m better than the current party leaders because I’m so ordinary :-))

  49. Lindy says:

    @Mel (3:07 pm on May 9) in reply to my 11:08 am on May 9
    I should have spelled it out but please see my bracketed comment about the smaller parties.

    I realise I am asking the impossible in implying that there should be a proper coalition but it does increasingly look as if we are going to get something just as unrepresentative as ever.

    1. Mel says:

      Keep faith Lindy. I don’t believe the Lib/dems are going to sell out. It may be that to get a coalition government agreed in these negotiations they may have to take a step back from PR but I do believe that they will want something very substantial in a cast iron gaurantee. If they get that, get ministers in and make the coalition government work then without a doubt PR will follow.

  50. Saltaire Sam says:

    Has anyone heard the rumour that Cameron has a dastardly plan to return to £sd on the basis that few of us will be able to divide by 12 and that even fewer will understand a guinea, so just by switching tax from pounds to guineas he can get a 10% rise without us realising :-)

    1. Mel says:

      Have you ever thought of becoming Chancellor?! You have great potential!!!

  51. Marverde says:

    I think Clegg will lose all credibility if he goes in goes into coalition with the Cons. I’m no party tribalist (my ambitions for a better world are only partially addressed here and there in the manifestos of Libs and Labs). It’s simply that the manifestos of those two parties are like oil and water, they just don’t mix… Can you see the Libs internationalists accepting Hague’s insular, practically xenophobic voice on Europe? Dropping their demand for electoral or Parliamentary reforms? With Hague in charge of “relations with the world” and the economy in Osbourne’s oh-so-competent hands, we’re going to lose our friends and our shirts.

    In times of crisis, the last thing we need is the Cons. That’s why I don’t think we can afford to give them time to crash on their own, as a minority gov. and why I would support a Libbour coalition, without being particularly fond of those two either.

  52. Colum Keenan says:

    “Morally, factually…” Maybe not a wholesale call, Jon, but many of us are finally waking up to the fact that, with unequally-weighted votes, Britain does not have a true democracy! Morally, this ought to be corrected with all haste. The LDs are the only hope for those who want their vote to have equal weight to those of others. For us, it will be a disaster if Nick Clegg does not make PR an absolute prerequisite of any alliance agreement. Our lives are about to be affected for many years by recent, unprecedented injustices: politicians helping themselves to taxpayers’ money, not just expenses, but over-generous pensions, while pensions of ordinary people have never been in greater danger; banks that continue to make record profits and bonuses even as we are about to be bled dry over many years to pay for their bailout; town hall and NHS “executives”, whom even Labour has allowed to help themselves to salaries, bonuses and pensions greater even than those of the politicians who run the entire country! We want to have a chance to stand up for ourselves against these vain, self-serving parasites, and so it is no longer tolerable that our votes do not carry equal weight!

  53. Paul says:

    Well hopefully in the future the powers that we can address that issue. The power-sharing /hung parliament that awaits will certainly draw parallels with Stormont in some ways. Most of the things that have happened since it’s inception have been progressive. Perhaps this may happen again but on a much grander scale. Of at least having two parties to debate the impending spending cuts will soften the blow for the (wo)man on the street…

  54. Colum Keenan says:

    Appreciated, Claire.

  55. Claire Nahmad says:

    Adrian, you are right, of course, that there was no ‘coalition’ box to mark on the ballot paper. However, I was really talking about the wishes of the electorate, and it may be that in this election, the outcome is not wholly unrelated to voters’ intention. I myself voted tactically (I’m really more of a Labourite than a Liberal), not to keep any party out, but to make a coalition more likely. I’ve heard the same from others, and I agree with Mel’s comment on this above. The mood of the country on the whole does seem to suggest that it favours coalition. If there had been any real passion for a Conservative government, they would have romped home with a majority, but they did’t, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this argument! I know you are disappointed not to have a Tory government in place, Adrian, but I believe some very positive things will arise from this possible coalition, and that we won’t have reason to regret what eventually transpires from this election. As for Britain being sceptical about Europe, well, I would substitute ‘wary’. (I’m on a deadline just now, but if you want to come back at me about anything, I’ll reply tonight.)

  56. Lindy says:

    @Mel 8:02 pm on May 9

    O thou of much faith! Wish I could share your trust in Clegg. I think the tories will walk all over the L-Ds then call an election in which we will be firmly back to 2-party slanging matches – just what it seems the country doesn’t want.

    1. Claire Nahmad says:

      I have to declare myself as definitely another ‘much-faither’, Lindy! I only hope our faith saves us!!

  57. Ron says:

    Liberals are acting like a bunch of clowns, don’t they realize that the country is on its knees.

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