The Not Knowing

by Steve

So, parliament is hung, the three major parties are negotiating (or not, as the case may be), and we’re really none the wiser on what is going to happen in terms of the next government and next Prime Minister (of course, this post could be out-of-date any second!).

While I’m extremely nervous at the possibility of a Conservative government, I am also fascinated by developments. My degree saw me cover a fair bit of constitutional history. Indeed, one of my tutors, Peter Hennessy, was one of the BBC’s pundits, explaining the conventions in this sort of situation.

It is pretty exciting to see political parties actually talking about working together, as opposed to falling back on their old adversarial ways.

These next few days could turn out to be crucial for British democracy. There is a growing groundswell in favour of electoral reform and the Liberal Democrats, as kingmakers in a hung parliament, are in a strong position to push for proportional representation. There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Britain more democratic.

However, I’m not convinced we will see progress. There is still a lot that could happen. We may see a working coalition pushing genuine reform. But, we may also see a government fail, and a further election called to try to get a working majority, as happened in 1974. In the end, we could well end up with a Conservative majority after a second election, and a return to the political status quo.

Have we, perhaps, been struck with the curse of ‘May you live in interesting times’?

In the meantime, here’s the Tindersticks. Y’know, to cheer us all up.

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