Written on 08/05/10
302, 258, and 57. It was these figures that put the whole country into a state of excitement and uncertainty yesterday. What is certain however that is the electorate has spoken and a hung parliament is here to stay. Britain now faces the opportunity of a new kind of politics but now it is our political leaders who appear hesitant, Nick Clegg in particular. Faced with the opportunity to create a coalition government with David Cameron, Clegg appears to be in quandary in what is the best opportunity of power the Liberal Democrats have received in over 80 years.
Gordon Brown has only helped to exacerbate Clegg's doubtful state by offering him, the big red juicy apple of an immediate parliamentary referendum- something the Liberal Democrats have been fighting for desperately. Clegg however would be stupid to entertain his offer. The reality of an immediate referendum being offered is highly unlikely, given that many Labour MP's would not agree to back a new political system that would jeopardise the future of their party. If Clegg were to prop up Brown there is no doubt that the electorate would never forgive him. He would be helping an unpopular, unelected Prime Minister remain in power of a government unsupported by the Constitution. Brown has clearly shown that unlike Cameron he is unable to act in the nation's interests, but rather that of his own, desperately clamouring on to power.
One thing that has been highlighted through the electoral results and televised debates is that a new form of politics is emerging. We the electorate, like never before are tired of politicians promises and are prepared to go against our voting traditions to see change, but will the actions of our politicians, mirror that of our own? Will tradition and routine be put aside to welcome change? Clearly the events of the past few days have forced Clegg and Cameron to view things differently and it is becoming increasingly apparent that Brown's archaic view of politics has not been progressive. Cameron has offered Mr Clegg "a big, open, and comprehensive offer" and it is time for Clegg to accept. Despite the ideological differences of both parties the two leaders appear to be mindful of new politics and its demands.
More importantly the markets will not hold out where uncertainty looms, indeed as the FTSE 100 demonstrated on Friday falling by 2.6 per cent against the dollar. Although the comments of one hedge fund manager that prolonged political uncertainty could lead the banks to insolvency should be ignored, it is in times like these where John Major appears to be attuned to current situation. The former Prime Minister encouraged Cameron to offer
some cabinet seats to the Liberal Democrats, "If that's the price to ensure we have economic stability, then that's the way I think we should go." Indeed the markets will not wait for up to a week.
What seems certain however that is the electorate and politicians alike must put pessimism and ideological differences aside for the time being and remember that the country is facing the biggest deficit since World War Two. Clegg must accept Cameron's offer for Britain to move ahead and be legitimately governed. We are entering a new phase in politics and our politicians must rise to the challenge.