Well, I don’t know if my predictions for Lost are going to be as spot-on as my predictions for the election result, but if Nick Clegg gets his way with PR, let me hereby predict not just the outcome of this election, but the outcome of the next 100 years worth of elections: The Liberals will win.
They won’t necessary win a majority, but the wonderful thing (for them!) is that they won’t need to – in fact, it would be better if they didn’t. They will always win because the a Tory/Labour pact is about as likely as the pope doing a breakdance on the bonnet of Hugh Hefner’s pink Cadillac. So once we set up a system that by it’s very nature will hardly ever foster a 51% majority for any given party, the Libs will have that all-important power of veto… and they will hold it indefinitely.
And we all know how wonderful the disproportionate power of veto is, don’t we? Look at the domestically impotent Congress of the USA – sorry chumps, but that bloke what lives in the White House can veto ANYTHING you monkeys want to do. Don’t like it? Come back to me with a 2/3rds majority. Oh, yeah, sorry – never going to happen is it? Great. I mean I could point out the conveyor-belt political changes of somewhere like Italy or Belgium, but I’ve got a better idea – check out the UN.
The five members of the security council can individually Vito Corleone ANYTHING the rest of the UN would like to do. And so what gets done? Nothing. Nothing at all. We have an organization that sits there picking it’s nose whilst MILLIONS of Africans are slaughtered in what can only be described as genocide (except by the UN, of course, which prefers the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ – means they don’t have to do anything!) and you think any international law strengthening the hand of democracy is going to be approved by China…?
To make matters worse, the Liberal Party, NOT YOU, will always chose the Prime Minister. Via a televised debate in the House of Commons? No, don’t be silly – in secret meetings, behind closed doors. You’ve had a taste of what it will be like over the last five days. Enjoying it? Thought not. I don’t like or trust politicians. If I had my way everything they did, said or agreed to in their role as an MP would be recorded Nixon-style. I would like the PM to be the leader of the party with the largest majority (I was led to believe that’s how it should work) but to give the power to decide to ONE MAN – a career politician who leads a party with just over 50 of the 650 seats in Parliament is utterly wrong wrong and wrong again. How anyone who believes in (or claims to understand) democracy can defend this nonsense astounds me.
My advice? Cleggy, take the deal with the Tories – fair’s fair. Give Labour a break for the next 5 years (they seem to need it) and be on hand to temper any of the more nutty ambitions of them posh kids in blue. In turn, give up going on about electoral reform. Proportional representation is an even bigger big fat boring waste of time and money than ID Cards (which you proclaim to despise as a waste of time and money) and it will, in time, prove to be more self-serving than Jabba The Hutt at a free buffet of gold-bikini-clad slave girls. If you’re desperate to do something, anything, get through a bill that makes all constituencies the same size. Then go after some more pressing social concern (ie. addressing the fact that we have comprehensively LOST the War on Drugs would be nice) because 10,000,000 Brits are on anti-depressants and I’ll tell you now IT’S NOT BECAUSE OF THE FIRST-PAST-THE-POST SYSTEM.
The British system is imperfect I know, but only because there is no perfect system of democracy, there never has been and there never will be. Our system seems to work, we’re immensely rich and we’re immensely powerful (seriously and scarily). We have a free health care system, a welfare state, free schooling – all of which were introduced using the first-past-the-post system of elections. Bereft of a political model that we can all agree on which is ‘the best’, I’m plumming for the devil I know – one that gives one lot a few years in power followed by the other lot with a nice well hung parliament every thirty years thrown in for good measure. I’m sure we’re going to see this sentiment written in opt-ed pieces for the next five years, but: if it ain’t broke, don’t waste our time and money trying to fix it.