What Happens Next?

I’d like to thank the electors of Carmarthen East and Dinefwr for showing your faith in me. We are slightly disappointed that the majority that Adam Price built has been eroded somewhat, however my majority is around the similar size as Adam’s following his first victory in 2001. I’m determined to work as hard as Adam did and build a similar coalition of support in the constituency which transcends the political divide.

With regards the post election situation, there are two scenarios emerging. Some sort of deal between the Tories and the Lib Dems. Or a deal between the Labour party and the Liberals involving agreement with Plaid and the SNP and the other small parties. We fought the election on an honest platform saying that in a balanced Parliament we would demand concessions on fair funding for Wales and protection for the vulnerable in the face of the major public investment cuts we now face. The lies Labour told locally in their last minute leaflet that we would do a deal with the Tories is as far removed from reality as is possible to imagine. Personally I would never get involved in such political skulduggery, unfortunately Labour are willing to use any sort of underhand tactics to frighten people into voting for them.

We are dealing with the Lib Dems here, so who knows what will happen. You would think as the Third party that they would have a balanced Parliament playbook to dust off. As we know from our experience here in Wales, when it comes to political horse trading they are all over the place with their position dictated to not by policy but their own internal politics.

With that in mind, on a policy front I can’t see how there will be a deal between the Tories and Liberals based on a political platform. The Lib Dems must demand electoral reform as a key part of any programme of Government as braking the Tory – Labour duopoly is key to addressing many of the social and economic challenges that we face. The problem with the current first past the post system is that it basically means that the UK election is decided by a hundred or so affluent swing seats in the South East of England – meaning that the policy programmes of the Tories and Labour are created with winning those seats in mind. It has lead to a right wing consensus at UK level and hence regional and individual wealth polarisation at an unimaginable scale within the UK.

I can’t see the Tories giving any major ground on electoral reform as it would end any hope of them ever forming a majority Government. A commitment to a referendum is insufficient unless the Tories are prepared to campaign for it otherwise it’s a recipe for disaster. Also, even though the dividing lines between the three London parties on the economy and the cuts agenda is quite small – in political positioning terms if there is a deal between the Liberals and the Tories one of the partners will have to give way on whether to cut now or next year.

If the Tories form the Government either in coalition or on a supply and confidence arrangement, I have little doubt from the soundings I am reading from commentators, they will call another election in the Autumn. Quite how they think they will do better next time after failing to wipe out a deeply discredited Labour party following a deep economic recession led by a very unpopular leader I don’t quite know. The last thing we need is another election. I have little doubt that another election will still result in a balanced Parliament. The electorate have dealt their hand, politicians now have a duty to get on with the job of governing not running to the country until they get the result they want.

On both those major issued in the post election environment, there are far more similarities between Labour and the Lib Dems. The stumbling block it seems is that Clegg wouldn’t want to prop up Gordon Brown. At the moment it seems that the Liberals have boxed themselves in somewhat with Clegg’s pre election pledge to negotiate with the Leader with the clearest mandate. My hunch however is that if it’s made clear to the Liberals that Brown will go for the sake of his party then the momentum of the negotiations will quickly change. With this scenario in mind the Lib Dems need to insist on a long term arrangement – a four year programme of Government with the commitment to fixed term Parliaments as a part of political reform.

The ironic consequence of course is that the new Prime Minister will be someone who didn’t take part in the so called PM debates that skewed the election so badly. We have a Parliamentary system of Government in the UK and clearly Presidential forms of broadcast coverage are completely ungrounded in political reality. Perhaps next time broadcasters will concentrate on reporting the Westminster election in an unbiased manner rather than chasing ratings.

5 Responses to “What Happens Next?” [latest first]

  1. What are the chances of a Lab/Lib/SNP/PC/Alliance/SDLP pact giving us a referendum on PR in the autumn followed by another election in the spring of 2011 using the new system?

  2. Clearly of the two options that seem likely at the moment I would prefer that sort of scenario. Obviously a Lib-Lab formal coalition with then supply and confidence from the small parties. I would prefer a longer arrangement than a further election in 2011. I think if the arrangement proves stable there is no reason why it can’t continue for a longer cycle. Clegg has got a major strategic decision to make.

  3. Congratulations on your election. I am sure you will prove to be a worthy successor to Adam Price in this historically iconic Welsh seat.
    From a business perspective, what happens next is critical. The perception might be that all business people vote Tory but whilst that might have some truth to it what business really wants is (any kind) of stable government that can allow some kind of planning for the immediate future and which won’t hammer them with tax and rates. Whether this is a coalition, or minority government of whatever political flavour business has and can probably cope with.
    What business cannot cope with is the depredations inflicted by an unregulated and rampant banking sector. What should be an absolute priority is not political reform but banking and financial reform. How government is voted for can wait but the economy and business cannot. I am hoping that you will please give some attention to how we can implement better systems for business finance in Wales. After all if the economy can grow and tax revenues increase then there will be less need to cut public sector jobs or services.

  4. [...] to Parliament for the first time on Thursday) has been quick off the mark, as ever, and posted his views online. He has a pop at the Lib Dems (“when it comes to political horse trading they are all over [...]

  5. Chris, i agree. that’s why if we get involved in discussions help for small businesses will be a red line point (as we announced during the election). I do believe however as I note in my blog that political reform is the key to wider economic and social change as it wouold mean that three London parties have to compose their policy porgrammes with the needs of the whole of the UK in mind not just the South East of England. many thanks for the congratulations. i look forward to working with you during my time as MP.

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