For the first time since February 1974, a General Election has given us a hung Parliament. Put another way, we as electors were not prepared to confer a majority on any single political party. None could make its case with sufficient persuasive power to be positioned to governBritainalone. Even the first-past-the-post electoral system can sometimes produce a Parliament where there is “no overall control”.
In Britain, we largely have a tradition of electing governments with a working Commons majority. There is amongst senior politicians a quite widespread fear of coalitions, of working together that closely. This fear is shared by the stock markets as well with consequences for our economy if confidence falls too low.
There should be a second fear – that of ignoring the wishes of the electorate. The steer from electors is quite explicit in its message and backed by millions of people. If you want a majority government, some of you will have to work together. Why? It is partly because we have lost some trust in the political class overall and do not wish to vest all power in one political party.
David Cameron is to be commended for his open and direct approach to the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrats have responded positively and we appear to have a working agreement for a coalition government with perhaps five members of the smaller party taking Cabinet posts. I hope that the arrangement might stand some test of time in the interests of national stability and tackling our considerable economic and social problems. The coalition has been mischievously and wittily called “ConDemNation” but we must try and prove the doubters wrong.
Inevitably, the coalition will involve some give-and-take to make it work. The Liberal Democrats are reportedly abandoning their plans to charge a “mansion tax” on properties costing more than £2 million while the Conservatives appear ready to abandon their plans to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. In the grand scheme of things, these are actually small changes in terms of revenue lost or raised but they are symbolic of a commitment to cooperation in the national interest.
As a Conservative, I would naturally like to see a great deal of my political party’s programme carried out but I am also mindful of the need to serve the common good. To tackle our economic woes, we do require strong and stable government. It is to their immense credit that two political parties have over the last few days made the effort to putBritainon the right track for future prosperity.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, Leader of Crawley Borough Council
12th May 2010