Well it’s a pretty bad place outside this door –
I could go out there but I don’t see what for.
And I’m happy living here in the dark
On the edge of my mind,
And it’s nobody else’s business.
Now it’s just me myself and the secrets that
Live within the walls
Of the mansions of Los Feliz
The sky is falling!
Like many people in this country I spent much of yesterday evening watching the television trying to work out exactly what the United Kingdom has let itself in for. And, while doing so, becoming increasingly puzzled at the reactions of both pundits and the general public at the news that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats had agreed to form a coalition to govern the country.
The election on Thursday had just one concrete result last week – no one party had won the confidence of a wide-enough ranging cross section of the country. While the Conservatives could have formed a minority government, the huge risk was that any bill that was in the least bit controversial (as almost all important new laws tend to be) would fail to pass – a lame-duck administration.
What are we left with then? It was clear from the off that a Labour – Lib Dem coalition could never achieve enough of a majority to get anything passed. They’d have to water down anything or make huge concessions to the smaller parties, causing problems in the long term. There’s probably an element of truth in the complaints from both sides that the other wasn’t taking things seriously enough. There was just too fragility.
So, we’re left with what we’ve got, which has seemed inevitable since the results came in. Grass roots Lib Dems and Tories alike have recoiled at the news. It seems all too easy to dismiss the Liberals as having sold out or the Conservatives of being desperate. And while the parties disagree with each other on a great many things, then at least the things they can agree on will stand a good chance of getting done.
I do wonder if for some Liberal Democrat supporters the news of the coalition has been taken so badly because for so long they have been able to know that their MPs are in opposition and can therefore disagree with anything done by the party in power. A sort of underdog syndrome, if you will. Things from the ruling side will be very different and change will be feared. However, that being said, a fixed-term parliament will help this – grass roots activists have five years to be convinced.
For me? I’m going to wait and see. A track record in government will make or break the minority party. Whichever it is, it’s going to be an interesting few years in politics.