Saturday, 8 May 2010

Taking Time and Getting It Right…

The Daily Mail was a curious mix of frustration and anticipation this morning. The grudging admission that the Conservatives had NOT won the election (and a number of columns saying the Tories would have won if they’d followed the advice of the Mail) was mixed with a curious combination of Lib-Dem bashing and half-hearted admiration for Nick Clegg.

As I write, negotiations between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are ongoing. My view has not changed since last evening. I’m wary of the party joining a formal coalition with the Conservatives and would prefer a less formal arrangement.

I’m suspicious of Cameron’s motives but do accept that the country needs a period of stable Government in order to move forward with the painful medicine of spending cuts and tax rises for which a large minority voted last Thursday.

On PR, it’s never been a deal-breaker for me and clearly many Conservatives fear it and oppose it but we cannot go on like this though I can see why Conservatives prefer the status quo. Mealy-mouthed commitments to commissions and inquiries don’t cut it, however. What’s needed is an unequivocal commitment to a referendum on a change of voting system and we will all have to learn to live with the outcome.

The right-wing media are already using Greece as a reason for besmirching PR but that’s a ridiculous and spurious notion. However, as we’ve seen, the right-wing media are perhaps the biggest obstacle to reform in this country – perhaps Nick Clegg should have a word with David Cameron about the media company he keeps.

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