Thoughts on a New Government


(Brown writes his letter wishing David Cameron well – from a great set of photos on his last hours here)

The waiting is over. We have a new government, what some are calling the ‘ConDems’. My feelings are mixed. They range from huge disappointment and concern at the return of a Conservative administration, to relief that the ‘boil has been lanced’ and that the Labour movement can begin to regenerate.

I think it will be very interesting to see how this coalition evolves and copes. Personally, I think Clegg and the Lib Dems have taken the wrong decision, but have been forced into that decision by a baying media. The vast majority of the press have been vitriolically anti-Brown, and this has spilled over into some unwise comment on what the ‘right’ thing to do is.

In particular, I think the guff that has been spouted about the prospect of an ‘unelected Prime Minister’ is ridiculous, and good minds like William Hague should have done better than sink to that. No one ever votes for a Prime Minister. This is not a presidential system. End of.

Secondly, I think too much has been made of the supposed moral right the Conservatives had to form a government, and I think Clegg has been unwise to give in to this. In terms of votes cast, Labour + LibDem represented more people in the country that Conservative, so would have been a valid coalition. Indeed, with huge gains in local council representation, Labour did have a perfectly valid mandate to seek to form a coalition. But Sky didn’t want that. Nick Robinson didn’t want that. And so it was briefed against from the beginning.

However… binding themselves to each other I actually think will only do both the Tories and the Lib Dems harm. And a period in opposition will allow Labour to regenerate. Like all organisms and organizations, a period of ‘jubilee’, of rest, of deconstruction and reconstruction is healthy. And once that has happened, and – as Mervyn King of the Bank of England predicts – this administration is booted out because of the economy, we will see a return to more social, communitarian values in a Labour government soon. My bet? By 2012.

I think the media should be ashamed of themselves, but won’t be. We’ve lost a statesman in Brown. He wasn’t perfect, but he was far from the demon they made him out to be. Murdoch will be happy today. The BBC, nervous. The public sector too – as well expressed by one grim scribe on the Underground last night:


Time will tell. And time will heal.


3 responses to “Thoughts on a New Government”

  1. Ironically, I think the Lib Dems found themselves in the position they have wanted for years, and then realised it was almost a no-win situation. From that perspective they’ve played the game and in my opinion got a remarkable number of concessions. I also think they didn’t make the decision, PLP did, deciding it better to take time out and get a new leader & vision, and come back when the next election is called better and stronger.

  2. You may well be right – the PLP decided that renewal was needed, and almost brought about their own removal from power.

    Unconsciously, that may well have also occured on a national level, with the corporate psyche of the British people knowing that time had come for a change of personnel.

    Either way, I simply don’t think that Cameron can fully believe in his own mind that he has a good mandate to govern, and this is bound to bring some insecurity.

  3. Labour + LibDem represented more people in the country that Conservative, so would have been a valid coalition

    Conservative + Lib Dems represented even more.The Conservatives got a higher percentage of the vote than Labour got at the previous election, so it could be said that it has a higher mandate to govern than Labour did at the previous election.

    And in terms of percentage of seats Labour/Lib Dems only got 1.5% more than the Conservatives got alone. Cameron has more of a mandate to govern than does Brown – and his coalition partner has seats way disproportionate to the vote cast. Under MMP the lib Dems would have three times the number of seats.