Saturday 8 May 2010

Voting for what you want.

OK, I don't want to go on about the bloody election, but really, what the hell? I'm seeing all this grass-roots campaigning now from anxious Libdem voters who don't want their party to form a coalition with the Tories. The idea of a Tory-led government, they say, is repulsive to them. It's not, they say, what they voted for.

Look, if you want a Labour-led government, vote Labour. That's how it works. No-one thought in their wildest dreams that the Libdems could get an outright majority or even a minority government, so everyone who voted Libdem was voting for, best-case scenario, a coalition. And everyone who voted Libdem was also voting for a change in the electoral system to some form of PR, because they think that it is unfair that a party's proportion of seats in Parliament doesn't reflect their proportion of the votes nationwide. Only now they suddenly object to their party's leadership choosing to honour that very principle by trying first to do a deal with the party that got the most support rather than propping up the party that the voters unequivocally rejected.

If I could write the British Constitution, one of the clauses in there would state that parties have to declare their coalitions before elections and are not allowed to enter into new ones after they see the results. That's a basic democratic principle: people have a right to know what they're voting for.

But, nice though that would be, it's really not something that was needed this time. All Nick Clegg is doing now is absolutely sticking to his declared principles. Going to Labour first would have involved throwing his principles out, tearing them up, spitting on them, feeding them to livestock, burning the manure, and throwing the ashes into the sea.

Libdems, this is what you voted for. Didn't you know?

Friday 7 May 2010

When parenthood and telecomms collide.

I get my bank statements by text message, and hadn't got any since Monday this week — and I always get two on Monday, one for the credit card and one for the current account. Still none by this yesterday, so I was going to call First Direct to ask if there was a problem with the sending device when I realised that I hadn't got any text messages from anyone. And I tried to identify a record using Shazam and they didn't send me a message either, so I knew something was up.

I rebooted my phone, which had no effect. Then I sent myself a test message to see if it would come through. Not only did it arrive, but it also somehow cleared the blockage and all my outstanding messages came through over the next few minutes. Including this one that Vic sent to me when I was at work on Tuesday:

You should buy a new toothbrush ... found it on the floor with the handwash, dettol, and loo roll. Not quite sure what Daisy was up to but I wouldn't risk it.

Two days ago.

A bit of a mess.

Been very little blogging of late due to my dividing my time between work and sleep and sleeping at work and trying not to sleep while driving to work. Such is life. But, if I had been blogging, I'd've mentioned at some point that I was only ever getting more convinced that my almost-prediction from way back in December '08 —

I've seen all this before, in 1992. No-one in their right minds seriously thought that Major might win that election.

I'm not saying the Tories can't do it. They might well. But I think it's easy to overestimate their popularity when that's being reported through the prism of the media. David Cameron is very media-friendly. There's some evidence that he's less popular with the Tory base than with BBC staff. And he's trying to appeal to the electorate by making the Tories as much like Labour as possible. That's a tricky game, that, and likely to create misleading poll data.

If Cameron persuades a lot of traditional Tories to stay at home, and if a bunch of Labour supporters who've been telling the pollsters that they'll vote Tory go and discover at the last minute that they just can't bring themselves to do it, then the Tories will lose. And are either of those things unlikely? I certainly don't think so.

Like I said, they might do it. But I just wanted to go on record, so that, if they lose, I can say I nearly told you so.

— was going to turn out right. My prediction a year-and-a-half ago was certainly a lot better than David Bloody Cameron's just a few hours ago:

Although there are still many more results to come out, it looks as if the Conservative party is on target to win more seats than we have done at any election for perhaps as long as 80 years.

I'm sure he'll try and spin what he really meant by that, but it's difficult to read it as anything other than a prediction of a bigger landslide than Thatcher. Such a wildly clueless reading of the signs shows the man is not suited to the job.

Reading back over my post now, I see that I even explained — long before knowing such an explanation would be needed — the Libdems' huge pre-election popularity and pathetic actual results. It's not about policies. It's about tribalism. If people don't think of themselves as Liberal Democrats, they won't vote for Liberal Democrats. Sure, a few will, but never enough.

So now I get to say it: I nearly told you so.

As things stand right now, the Tories may still get enough seats to form a minority government without allying with anyone. But, no matter how they spin it, it's a terrible result for them.

But a pretty good result for us, I think.

It does look like Cameron's going to be the PM now, but a weak one. Tory backbenchers are going to be looking at this result in disgust and seriously rethinking whether Cameronism's such a great idea. Its selling point was always "Swallow your principles in return for electoral victory" and that victory's not looking so impressive. We might well have the best of both worlds here: Labour out, but the Tories deciding to become properly right-wing again before the next election, so we can go back to having an actual choice in British politics. That may be today's most important result.

Meanwhile, fantastic results in Northern Ireland. Peter Robinson and Reg Empey both out — amazing and wonderful. Robinson believed that he didn't need to resign when he'd been shown to be — giving him the benefit of all possible doubt here — married to a woman who corruptly abused his position for financial gain, because he had a safe seat. His message to the voters, let's face it, was "Yeah? What you going to do about it?" Well, that seat's not looking so bloody safe now, is it, Pete? Ha.

And it's wonderful to see Reg Empey kicked out after the way his grubby little party treated my MP, Sylvia Hermon — who has just been re-elected as an independent with a majority God must be envious of. Ha.

And now I'm going to go back to working and falling asleep.

Enjoy your new government, whoever it turns out to be. Or, you know, don't get apoplectic over them every single day. That's the best you can really hope for, with governments.