On Election Day I did a radio interview with Peter Cochrane at Talk Radio Europe from Downing Street. I said I believed that the Conservatives would be the largest party with Labour and the Liberals vying for second place – with a hung parliament in the offing.
On Friday I talked with Peter again and like most people was totally stunned by the outcome. Sure enough the Tories had won the majority of seats and votes compared with the other two but insufficient to form a government on their own. The big surprise was the collapse of the Liberal support. When the BBC issued its exit poll showing the Liberals actually losing seats both Conservative and Labour politicians said they didn’t believe it – but that is exactly what happened.
This election was a puzzle in many ways. It was the first televised debate campaign in which Clegg was the media star but in the end couldn’t make the breakthrough with votes and seats. There was a local election because the British voter elects his MP on a constituency basis so parochial issues also came in to play. Curiously the MPs expenses row didn’t seem to have a major impact although many culprits had opted not to stand and former Home Secretary Jackie Smith was given more time by her electors to watch blue movies with her husband – but this time at their own expense.
I firmly believe that had Labour MPs the guts to dump Gordon Brown in one of the many failed coups then we could be seeing another term for that party with probably David Milliband at the helm. Their own cowardice will see them on the opposition benches for at least this parliament.
Even on Monday it seems that Brown along with the Lords Mandelson and Adonis was trying to bounce the Lib Dems in to a coalition by offering them untold offerings of election reform. They seemed to have learned nothing and it was the Labour MPs who had to haul them back to reality by pointing out that what they were offering – they would not accept.
It would appear that a Conservative – Lib Dem government is in the offing with events moving faster than I can type. Given the events of the last five days it is difficult to remember that this was exactly the outcome the opinion polls predicted on the eve of the election. Is this what Britons voted for? Probably not because given the wide spread of the nation different areas such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had their votes elsewhere. Yet a new era of politics is upon the nation – its crazy polling system has guaranteed it.