Well, I wasn't going to blog about the election but it's been so interesting, and I've been thinking about it far too much for my own good. Plus my Facebook status updates were getting longer and longer... so here it is.
Interesting times - first hung parliament since I was a teen. Good. Labour did not deserve to win again after their record in power. Iraq mainly, but also so many things to chose from... mainly, for me, from turning themselves into Tory-lite, cozying up to the markets, the "faith" pressure groups and worshipping power and empire at its most naked in the GWBush adventures.
Unmitigated Toryness would be a disaster to all but the super-rich and the financial markets -as usual. The fact that they've got a smooth and emollient PR man at the head doesn't mean they have changed, expecially when you get... well, I was going to say "get below the surface", but Chris Grayling, the man who believes it's OK to discriminate against people, is shadow Home Secretary, which is hardly subterranean. Home Sec. is the third most important government minister.
The Lib Dems deserve some recognition of the fact that so many people in the country actually support them and their policies. It will be interesting to see how it pans out and will require negotiation and compromise - rather alien to the British tradition which is usually more adversarial and either/or.
Electoral reform may be on the cards now, at last, though that will be a tough one for the Tories, as they had specifically ruled it out. Right out. Right up until the morning after the election when they realised they'd have to offer some kind of sweetener to the Lib Dems to let them take power. So they've promised an all-party committee to bury it, I mean look into it. Classic political delaying tactic, given that there is likely to be a second election within a year. I hope Clegg has more sense than to accept.
Lib Dems also want to end Trident, a hugely expensive piece of junk which enables us to destroy Moscow if we really want to. Why we should want to, and why we should carry on with this vanity project left over from the Cold War is something nobody seems able to explain, but both Labour and the Conservatives have said we MUST keep it, because... er... we must.
Historically, Labour was against Trident, and only swung over to pointless militarism as part of the NuLabour project, which has done us so well in the last 13 years. It did get Labour into power, though and cast off the spectre of the mid 80s when they campaigned on a disarmament ticket, were slated as tools of Moscow and thrashed at the polls (though a majority of the voters voted against the party that won - more arguments for electoral reform, of course). But the Conservatives are generally the more military party.
And the Lib Dems want closer ties with Europe, which is a deep rift among the Conservatives still.
Tricky then for the Cons to work with Lib Dems, though as Cameron really really really wants to be PM and as his leadership style is extremely "kitchen cabinet" and centralised, he may manage to force his backwoodsmen and women to accept a deal, at least for the moment. He has a following wind in terms of media support, for now, and could possibly manage by offering deals and then blaming the Lib Dems if they fall through.
Tricky also for the Lib Dems to work with Labour, though they are in many ways more naturally allied. Labour promised electoral reform in 1997 (though forgot about it when they won a landslide under the winner-takes-all system), for instance. But Labour is very grubby and shopsoiled now, and Brown is no asset. Lib Dems might well lose popularity if they seem to be shoring up a government that the country thinks is well past its sell-by date.
So, yes, very interesting. A goodish result, I think, (and the first Green MP elected, hurrah!) but the exciting thing is what comes next.
Standby for a power struggle within Labour coming shortly, and before that, look out for what Clegg does next...