|Vince Cable looking cunning and ruthless|
The BBC is oddly obsessed by the Coalition. Mostly they are trying to drive wedges into it. The press is no better. I sometimes wonder what the British electorate really wants. Probably jam for breakfast, jam for every meal of the day. But given on a plate, of course. There is this crazed idea that people got a result they did not vote for. Yesterday a woman in Birmingham had a microphone thrust in her face. When told Labour made gains but would still be in opposition to the Conservative/LibDem Coalition in the Council House, she muttered that that was not what she voted for. She even included others in her sentiments. All she did was vote Labour. She does not get to add a whole string of conditions to that vote, with a horrid ultimatum added for good measure. But listen to the media and you'd think that voters were being conned.
In any system it is not the voters who decide who governs but the elected representatives. The electorate may choose a majority for a party, but the party gets to choose who will be ministers. David Cameron was perfectly clear last year. He failed to get a majority and he did a deal with the Liberal Democrats to govern in coalition for five years. Each side had to give and take. Now it could be said that the LibDems miscalculated and got a few things wrong and that led to yesterday's poll drubbing. But to say that you didn't vote for them to be in government seems utterly bizarre and crazy. Why would anyone vote for a candidate unless he or she was hellbent on a pure protest. You vote for that person to win. If enough win they form a government. Now if the LibDems had formed a majority government, the tuition fees issue would be completely different. But they didn't. So they had to compromise.
From now on the LibDems in parliament are going into the next phase of their government role. No longer a perpetual opposition party. The LibDems will probably learn to be more calculating and a bit more tribal, and possibly ruthless. But what of the electorate? Will many still think that a vote on a ballot paper is a ticket to a cozy life without stresses, strains and problems? "I voted LibDem and got everything I ever wanted!". Do we really want that thought process in the electoral system?
Bernard Jenkin also came on the Today programme and suggested some LibDems could peel away and become like the National Liberals. Sounds good only in theory. The modern Liberal Democrat Party is nothing like the National Liberals. Vince Cable is no stranger to changing parties, but he would find it strange to change political philosophies. He started in the Liberal Party, then joined the Labour Party, then left in 1982 for the Social Democratic Party as it started up, and then agreed to merge with his original party and is now a Liberal Democrat. Hardly a Tory. But an effective minister, if he does what he says, in the Coalition.
The Coalition is there for the main purpose of forming a stable government to tackle the deficit and the general economic mess the country is in. If they fail, that voter in Birmingham will be ready with her big X at the polling booth, all bristling with rage. If they succeed, she will probably still vote Labour but won't be moaning the next day!