Friday, 7 May 2010

UK - The Negotiations to begin?

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After a long night with many well known faces leaving parliament and the worn out faces of Cameron, Brown and Clegg dominating the newsreels, what has the electorate delivered?
It seems to be a hung parliament with neither Labour nor the Conservatives having enough seats to form a majority Government. the Conservatives are close with a perhaps around 305 seats, Labour struggling to make 255 seats, Lib Dems on perhaps 60 seats and then the all important smaller parties from Northern Ireland, Scotland, wales and a Green MP coming in with some 30 seats!

The Lib Dems will be bitterly disappointed after Clegg did so well in the first TV debate but after all the attacks they failed to make the break through that seemed to be predicted by the polls.

There will have to be a lot of negotiations for a non-Conservative Government to be formed. It is possible but I cannot see Gordon Brown remaining as Prime Minister now. Losing 100 Labour seats is not a mandate to continue with any credibility. History will judge that he called the big decisions correctly during the worst recession for thirty years and the worst banking crisis for seventy years. However, his unfriendly style on TV never played well with voters and came from another era when politicians may be great intellects but not not have to know how to 'perform' in the media. In 2010, that is an essential asset for any politician.

What of the Conservatives? Cameron has gone on the attack (understandably) to say Labour and Brown have lost the mandate to rule. He may be right and Cameron is close to forming a Government; but not quite. The Conservatives have defied all the polls throughout the election and are within touching distance of gaining power for the first time in 13 years but David Cameron will quietly rue the day that he didn't win an outright majority given the appalling mess the Labour Government found itself in just six months ago. At that time the polls were predicting a huge majority of 90+ in the Commons for the Conservatives.

Back to those negotiations. Can Brown or more likely a new Labour leader stitch together a Coalition? Can Cameron defy the Commons and form a minority Government or can he charm enough of the smaller parties and crawl over the 326 line?

The media will be in a feeding frenzy for the next few days trying to work out the intentions of those smaller parties. If there is a Centre-Left Coalition can it really last four or five years as a Government? It is hard to believe that it will not tear itself apart given the economic situation and the two or more years of public sector cuts. If it can be formed then Cameron will bide his time and wait and I have a feeling he will enter Number Ten sooner or later.

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