The UK decides: none of the above

If anyone had any doubts about whether or not constitutional and electoral reform was necessary in the UK, I offer last night as evidence that it is. This morning we wake up with Gordon Brown as prime minister, despite David Cameron winning more votes and more seats. Both he and David Cameron claim to have a legitimate claim to form a government. Bit of a mess really.

The biggest negative for me is that the entire Lib Dem surge evaporated when it came to actually voting. That’s disappointing, not because I’m a Lib Dem, but because I was hoping for an end to a two party system. And you’ve got to wonder at how fickle we turned out to be as voters. I was also hoping for at least one or two independents.

On the positive side, the overall message from the electorate can be taken as ‘none of the above’, or ‘a plague on both your houses’. No single party can claim the country’s blessing, and we have a hung parliament. Labour has lost dozens of seats, but after 13 years in opposition, the Conservatives couldn’t wrestle a majority out of the voters. The party leaders now have to work out a compromise, and this is healthy. It’s messy, but it means reform is unavoidable. Interestingly, a hung parliament is what the majority of people wanted, so in that sense the system has delivered.

It’s also good to see the Green party get its first MP into parliament, and to see the British National Party thwarted.

Here in Luton, a wide open field meant that we had more candidates than any other constituency in the country. With 12 to choose from, including five independents, the situation had become somewhat farcical. There were always going to be a lot of losers in a field like that, but fortunately the BNP and the two celebrity candidates were among them. Which is to Luton’s credit, no doubt about it. The town remains an island of red in a ocean of middle England blue, and having met Gavin Shuker on a number of occasions, I’m sure we’ve got the best possible outcome for Luton.

Who knows what will happen in the next few hours. We’ve had an election, and we could still end up with either a Conservative or a Labour prime minister. A lot of things could happen today, but I’m hopeful.


  1. In his classic essay, ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’, Oscar Wilde argued that all forms of government are failures. His precise words are worth quoting, just as the essay itself is well worth reading:

    ‘All modes of government are failures. Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things. Oligarchies are unjust to the many, and ochlocracies are unjust to the few. High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. It has been found out. I must say that it was high time, for all authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect, by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and Individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising. People, in that case, are less conscious
    of the horrible pressure that is being put on them, and so go through their lives in a sort of coarse comfort, like petted animals, without ever realising that they are probably thinking other people’s thoughts, living by other people’s standards, wearing practically what one may call other people’s second-hand clothes, and never being themselves for a single moment. ‘He who would be free,’ says a fine thinker, ‘must not conform.’ And authority, by bribing people to conform, produces a very gross kind of over-fed barbarism amongst us.’

    Source: http://emotionalliteracyeducation.com/classic_books_online/slman10.htm

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