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Be careful what you wish for

Nick Robinson | 18:08 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

To think that elections used to be boring. Predictable.

Nick Clegg

 

Just like the general election held exactly a year ago - today produced results no-one predicted with consequences which are totally unpredictable.

Many may have foreseen the drubbing Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats would receive but few foresaw its scale - losing not just to Labour in the Northern cities, not just to the SNP in Scotland but - irony of ironies - to their coalition partners the Conservatives in parts of the South.

And who would have dared predict that David Cameron would be out tonight celebrating councils and councillors gained - if, that is, he hadn't decreed that his party must not be seen to gloat.

And all this before the final results of a referendum which looks certain to bring suppressed grins to Tory faces and further gloom to Liberal Democrats.

So what now for the coalition? The talk is of a more business-like, less chummy relationship; of some disagreements publicly aired rather than always privately resolved; of Liberal Democrats fighting - their chosen word - to avoid what Nick Clegg called this morning "a return to Thatcherism".

How will that work? No-one can possibly know. Just as no-one can know how the new Scottish government will manage with a parliamentary majority committed to delivering independence whilst public opinion shows no appetite for it.

David Cameron and Alex Salmond are the two clear winners of today but they may soon be pondering that old Chinese proverb - be careful what you wish for.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I notice that there is one house in this area with a "Yes" sign up and lots of "Yes" balloons around the door - what is the correct etiquette now that the AV Yes vote is being comprehensively thrashed and severely defeated, even as I write?

    Does one simply let the tatty little balloons deflate over the next few days as a symbol of their whole "miserable little compromise"?

    Or does one burst them all now to put the "progressive" Lefty residents out of their misery and sheer and utter humiliation?

    Thoughts please?

    Middle England

  • Comment number 2.

    "whilst public opinion shows no appetite for it ".

    35% at the moment despite relentless scaremongering. Another successful period in government will show the rest what Scotland can do and the 35% can and will only increase.

  • Comment number 3.

    You can guarantee the Lib/Dems will toe the line when Cameron cracks the whip, they are now fully aware that this little sniff of power is all they've got left and anything that rocks their boat will possibly see them disappear of the map for a very long time. Cameron should now show some courage and call an election with a promise of a referendum on membership of the EU. It would almost certainly result in a clear majority though Labour would probably promise the same referendum then forget about it.

  • Comment number 4.

    not boring in the slightest, it is the death if the Limdebs - This proves that they are nothing but..well a nothing party. Cant win anything significant at a GE, fail with everything locally and their silly referendum on AV was pointless and shown to be a complete farce and complete waste of time and effort. You could point at their Coalition with the greatest of parties - but seeing as the Tories have actually gained.....

    It's about time the Limdebs abandoned all hope and left, go and join the plastic Socialist party and let the Conservative party lean further right and do what they do best.

  • Comment number 5.

    What is to stop David Cameron ditching the losers and going to the country. It seems the country loves him!

  • Comment number 6.

    Pyrrhic victory for Cameron. There's no getting round the fact the Conservatives implicitly approved a Nick Clegg hate campaign to get the result they wanted (especially deriding him for breaking manifesto pledges the Tories told him to break in the first place). And the fact remains they still need the support of the Lib Dems, no matter how unpopular they may be, in order to function as a Government. If they think the Lib Dems will now be confined to meekly rubber-stamping Tory policy and taking all the flack for them, they are going to be in for a disappointment.

    The daft thing is that, had they kept their mouths shut about AV, it would probably have worked in their favour at the next election, as one would have expected most Tory and LD votes to transfer to each other. Short of a stunning turnaround in the economy (and the recent performance doesn't seem to be going that way), the price of victory may well be a lame duck government right up to the next election.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    These politicians should realise that people are more worried about all the current financial situations rather than change in voting system for the election with hugh expenses. The time is not right for these things. Don't change too much in NHS under the name of another "modernisation" either.

  • Comment number 9.

    Am i the only English person who is wondering why it is only the Scots who apparently will allowed a referendum on the Union, maybe the English are just as keen to get out of this 'marriage'

  • Comment number 10.

    Maybe middle England above should ask his temporary bedmates. Or if that fails take the balloons to what remains of his foxhunt

  • Comment number 11.

    Here is some advice to party activists. Lib Dems - you have to say good bye to Clegg.
    Labour - admit you were wrong and start looking for a new leader before the next election. Conservatives - don't believe that Cameron will lead to victory in the next election. He has little grasp of economic, politics, and the way people in this country think. He is ultimately a loser who failed to give Brown a resounding defeat and will not survive a tough election campaign

  • Comment number 12.

    And of course the ancient curse: 'May you live in interesting times.' As for Salmond, he knows on which side his bread is buttered, the south of the border side. I think we will find the independence referendum towards the latter part of his term. Just so he can keep his show on the road as long as possible. In Wales, things just got murky with some form of coalition mooted, even though Labour are in a position to govern alone and, in fact, have done so in the past with this number of seats (30).

  • Comment number 13.

    "Many may have foreseen the drubbing Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats would receive but few foresaw its scale"

    Perhaps not those in the Westminster village, but outside in the real world, it was obvious to anyone with half-a-brain cell interested in politics that the LibDems were going to their backsides well and truly kicked. The LibDems are paying the price for Clegg appearing to be too willing to be more Tory than the Tories and by appearing to be the side making all the compromises that affect the public on a day-to-day basis. Add to that the pre-general election stance on tuition fees which caused thousands of people to come out and vote for the first time ever and swiftly find that they had been lied to... and, as it turned out, Clegg had no intention of adhering to that promise. The Tories haven't received a kicking as the Tory core vote is pretty much happy with the way Cameron is being more Thatcherite than Thatcher, whereas the LibDems are being punished for compromising too much too willingly.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well looks like the unwashed masses bought it 'TREBLES ALL ROUND' now lets fleece the rest of em...

    In the words of that great philosopher Pete Townsend

    " there'l be fighting in the streets, with our children at our feet "

    and

    " Meet the NEW Boss SAME as the OLD Boss !!, We wont get fooled again No NO"

    Thanks for leaving us in the DARK ages NO VOTERS..

  • Comment number 15.

    Surely the most depressing thing for anyone is to realise that the Lib-Dem voters voted at a GE for a party that left everyone in no doubt about their intention to 'hold the balance of power' then they all get upset when the wheeler dealing didn't stop everything that the Tories promised - and I used to think that the Lib-Dem voters were educated - actually maybe they were, maybe they are just educated and dumb.

  • Comment number 16.

    Looks like the liberals have not only collapsed in the local elections but are about to be resoundingly rejected on the AV vote - a form gerrymandering which was their last hope of remaining a parliamentary party at the next general elections.

    Clegg pays the price for doing a deal with the devil for a few shabby years of power.

    Targetting the liberals remains the best bet for fighting coalition of evil.

  • Comment number 17.

    5. At 18:45pm 6th May 2011, martino wrote:
    What is to stop David Cameron ditching the losers and going to the country. It seems the country loves him!
    =======================================

    At this moment, tories are +71 seats

    labour are +771

    .... and you think this proves the voters love lord snooty????

    Is this a special kind of maths known only to tories?

  • Comment number 18.

    5. At 18:45pm 6th May 2011, martino wrote:

    What is to stop David Cameron ditching the losers and going to the country. It seems the country loves him!

    -----------------------------------

    I assume your being ironical?

    If not David Scameron and his cronies have NO CHANCE NOW or in 4 years of being re elected the only way (after economically destroying the country) they could get into power would be to declare a state of emergency (as in Saudi Arabia).

    Mind you given the viciousness of the cuts (and particularly who is being targetted) the civil unrest that is SURE to come may just give him the excuse.





  • Comment number 19.

    One can only hope that the rejection of AV is because most people understand that the major problems with our democracy are not the result of the vote-counting system. There are plenty of bigger issues to fix first, like low turnouts, the overbearing influence of party patronage, the unfair access to policy makers enjoyed by rich individuals and big business, and a general misunderstanding of how the current voting system works, embodied in the fallacy that a vote for a losing candidate or party is "wasted". This latter idea, which the media either fosters or does nothing to counter, is a major cause of both low turnout and negative tactical voting which distorts results. Fix these things first, before bringing in a counting system in which everyone's second choice can be the winner.

  • Comment number 20.

    Why don't 'we', the electorate, remove the uncertainty of any 'gloating' by demanding compulsory voting? It might take the edge from the victors of a poor or average turnout or at least provide monies from absent voters to alleviate the deficit ;-)

  • Comment number 21.

    When will Nick Clegg (commonly known as Mr Pledge) admit that his drubbing at the polls is not that his party introduced swinging cuts, the Tories did that, but that he breaks pledges immediately he makes them, is engaged on costly and irrelveant activities and far from introducing a new politics is engaged on the worst example of the cynical politician sacrificing any of his principles to gain power?

  • Comment number 22.

    Good evening all especially to middleengland. Can you imagine how I feel as a Lib Dem leaflet dropper who voted 'Yes' and lives in as near as Scotland can get to suburbia! People used to vote for horses with red rosettes for whatever elections now if there is a Saltire then put the cross. It would seem anything that smacks of middle England is out. I would like to migrate south but in my advancing years free personal healthcare is comforting.
    Finally it would be good for the nation (UK) if even the Lib Dems realised that it was
    "events dear boy events" (i.e. global economic events) that caused our debt problems not Labour.

  • Comment number 23.

    As one of those who voted for the Lib Dems in 2010 can I please reiterate to Nick Clegg what so many others are trying to tell him: "You are not taking a bashing because people blame the Lib Dems for the Cuts. You are taking a bashing because you have betrayed your supporters in every way possible. People blame the Tories for the cuts but they blame you for allowing them by cosying up with the Tories in the first place, a party, for whom the vast majority of your supporters would have cut their writing hand off before voting for. Additionally, they blame you for not bothering to even pretend to put up a fight in defence of the most important policy that your supporters put a cross against your party for............the tuition fees. As a struggling middle class public sector worker and single parent to a child previously destined for entry into Cambridge in 2012 but now talking about not applying for fear of the ensuing debt you could not possibly have betryed my vote anymore than you have. There is nothing that you could do now to ever win my vote again and I suspect that many of those who tactically voted against you yesterday feel the same."

  • Comment number 24.

    @ #2 Correct - 35% in favour of independence and it will only climb if the SNP make a success of government (and are able to campaign with the resources of government).

    @#3 kaybraes. I think you missed the important point in the coalition agreement that the full term is to run until 2015. For anyone to renege on that commitment for opportunistic gain would be political suicide of the long-term variety and for the Lib Dems to pull out simply because they don't like the way the polls read... would be the same. Political suicide.

    The reason the Lib Dems are suffering is because people used to see them as a "midle ground" party but the 2010 General Election showed that they are socialists in sheeps' clothing to the conservative-leaning Lib Dems and to the socialist variant of Lib Dem they were seen as somehow being "traitors" to the great red banner for getting into bed with the great blue menace.

    And with all parties scrabbling to occupy the middle ground, they are effectively squeezed into oblivion.

  • Comment number 25.

    In the 1975 referendum the majority voted 'Yes' and that was the wrong answer.
    In the 2011 referendum the majority (appears to have) voted 'No' and got the wrong answer again.
    The only conclusion is that the majority of voters haven't got what it takes to be involved in the quasi post-democratic process and we would be better off as subjects under a benign monarchy.

    Back to voting against the party you don't like instead of voting for the person you do want!

  • Comment number 26.

    The Lib Dems have had it. However the coalition does, they're dead.

    For years, the Lib Dems faced both ways. For disgruntled Conservative voters in the south and west of England, they were the One Nation Tories and not socialists. For disgruntled Labour voters in the North of England, Wales and Scotland, they were social democrats not Tories. For the true Lib Dem believers and students, they represented a pro-European view, fairer 'proportional representation and a 'new kind of politics'.

    This Janusesque approach to politics and policy now lies in tatters due to the choices which power enforces. Worse still for the Lib Dems, it is not only the disaffected who are alienated - the true believers feel let down by the loss PR, the appetite for power at the expense of principles shown by their politicians and the collapse of the euro, which isn't finished yet. And, of course, tuition fees.

    The disintegration is starting already. Left and right of the Lib Dems are already starting to fight for the soul of the party (neither side can win as they need to face both ways to be a UK-wide party), and they have been comprehensively rejected by the smaller countries of the Union as too Westminster-centric, doing deals with the Tories in Whitehall rooms.

    But most serious of all for Lib Dems, their replacement is here now and growing: the Greens, with their Malthusian certainty of the planet's imminent destruction a worthy replacement to the old Lib Dem faith in PR and the EU. For disgruntled Tories, the Greens represent trips to the recycling centre in the estate car, hessian bags in the boot of the car at the supermarket and Green Balloon Club on CBeebies. For disgruntled, bohemian Labour voters, they represent neo-Marxist economics and radical redistribution. For the true believers, they represernt windmills and green tech projects, a huge fleet of gravy trains, funded by the EU from the tax on Mercedes car plants, BASF petrochemical plants and Shell and BP exploration and retailing.

    Look at Brighton and Norwich and you will see the killer of the Lib Dems, alive, well and growing today. Welcome to political Day of the Triffids.

  • Comment number 27.

    Vince Cable got it right (on TV earlier) when he acknowledged that the LibDems were the junior partner, having less MPs. They now have even less moral authority than before, having had a drubbing at the polls.

    So any idea of handing out the sweeties to help them feel better should be put aside. "A more business like, less chummy relationship" is to be welcomed.

    Perhaps now the Government can stop thinking about new ways to tinker with the constitution and focus on the economy instead.

  • Comment number 28.

    You wanna know why the LibDems are doing so badly...
    It's cause everyone expects and knows the Tories will rob from the poor and give to the rich, there's no suprise with what they're doing.
    The Libdems have let everyone who voted for them down, extremely disappointing! And as far as AV goes how can the LibDems in particular say that AV will lead to less wasted votes when the people who voted them into this coalition have seen them backtrack on election promises left right and centre!!!
    There's no vote more wasted than one spent on a politician who doesn't keep his/her promise!
    The only thing that has stopped me completely disregarding the LibDems is Vince Cable and he's been sidetracked for speaking his mind thanks to those idiot reporters!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Nick, why do your refer to Cameron unable "to believe his LUCK at maintaining his vote in the Council elections ?

    Why is a cross against a tory candidate less worthy than a vote for another party?

    Hope the media will monitor the labour councils and THEIR performance against promises as closely as applied to Lib Dems especially by BBC

  • Comment number 30.

    This farce of an election reinforces the lack a trust and belief in our politicians
    engendered over time. Cameron Clegg and co have deceived and broken promises made to the British
    electorate who have reflected their despair by not turning out in great numbers to vote in what they see and a meaningless time wasting exercise. Electoral reform will have to come
    eventually but not AV ..it needs to be far more meaningful to the voter. We are still
    in the bad old days of disenfranchisement. Such a shame.

  • Comment number 31.

    this just proves the voters CAN take the truth. They may not love Cameron, but they will not let Clegg lie to them again

  • Comment number 32.

    I notice the mods are still bloody slow over 30mins and more just to read a few lines.

    I could do that remember mods that there will be thousands of well educated public sector workers looking to do your job for half the extortionate wage your receiving!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Well, Nick Robinson, a lot of people voted for LibDems, in the 2010 General Election, to get rid of Labour and keep out the nasty party Tories.

    So, what were we left with in the Cabinet, which Nick Robinson, you really should focus on more?

    The LibDems in the Cabinet and in The House of Commons appear not to communicate with the public at all. They are doing good stuff they don't bother to publish - yet roll over like puppies when the Tories say beg - and that is published?

    Do the LibDems need spin doctors? Probably. Do we need Deputy Prime Minister Question time in The House - Yes.

    Have I heard Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister speak in The House - NO. Is the Deputy Prime Minister a cardboard cut out - or some kind of projected hologram sitting on the front bench? Who knows?

    No expression, no sense, no feeling - impossible to tell the difference? If Clegg thinks he is looking 'statesman like' - well - he is failing!

  • Comment number 34.

    Mr Clegg is damned what ever he does now. His mistake - to enter a formal coalition rather than agreeing a much looser arrangement that would have seen the Tories installed as a minority govt. Such an arrangement would have allowed the LibDems to modify their position to suit the prevailing political weather, and demonstrate their individuality and achieve greater influence. But hey, what are principles compared to a ministerial car?

    Do I feel sorry for the LibDems - hell no. By trading their collective ideals for a few seats around the cabinet table they have made a deal with the devil - and we all know how that ends. The Tories vote has held up or improved, as has Labour's and there is only one way for LIbDem support to go. Tory supporters continue to get the policies they want courtesy of the LibDems. This will only serve to preserve, and may be even stregthen, Tory support.

    The only way out for the LibDems and total electoral annihilation is to stay in the coalition for about another year, and then find a way to rock the boat that will allow them to leave without precipitating a General Election. They will then need to ensure the govt survives for a further 6+ months whilst re-establishing a distinctive voice - preferably by attacking the Tories and making them look weak and out of touch - followed by a vote of no confidence. This would have the added benefit, from the LibDems point of view, of shortening the time Labour has to re-establish itself as electable.

    May our politicians live in interesting times!

  • Comment number 35.

    So over 50% did not vote for FPP or AV. Presumably these non-voters want PR and hence had no option but to register a non-vote.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think Scotland saw Labour getting the sort of hiding it took in the General Election last year. Less a great SNP surge than a 'get lost Labour' kick in the nuts. The politics in Scotland will now be fascinating, although many will shudder. Perhaps the Scots will do to Alex Salmond what the UK did to Nick Clegg, though?

    What happened in England suggests that a lot of the surge in Libdem support at the GE may have been again an anti-labour vote rather than a positive commitment to the Libdems. Or naive students. There will be a deeper, harder analysis going on at Libdem HQ as to what their core vote actually looks like after this.......but all in all, you are seeing the typical Libdem drop off after a GE, which they always have to build up again over 5 years. Time will tell......

    A lot of the Tory seats were in their traditional Southern England heartlands. And because the Tory Vote stayed solid from the GE, they did fine. 36% is pretty much a core Tory vote. To get much worse than that you need a right donkey at the top and so far Cameron's not been that. So I'm not that surprised........

    The next 4 years will go a long way to detemrining whether the Green Party is a coming force or not. I remain to be convinced as all parties now have green agendas. If what they actually are though is more honest, more responsible and more collegial in their politics, perhaps that is what people will go for? I'm not sure that far-left socialism will get more than 15% though.......

  • Comment number 37.

    The Lib-Dems got exactly what they deserved, even what they volunteered to happen. Nick Clegg declared his party had no future being a left wing alternative to Labour. In doing so he became one of the few party leaders in modern history to tell many of his previous voters not to vote for him in the future. This is nothing to do with presentation, and everything to do with a conscious choice. If they carry on making the choice they will be destroyed at the next general election.

  • Comment number 38.

    Clegg should go now he should never have compromised on AV, he should have held out for P/R in the first place and told the Tories to take a hike, the Tories could not get a working majority even with the mess the country was in thanks to their pay masters the bankers, the lib-dems should step down now and force an election the people have seen the Tories for the liars they are and will show Cameron up for the shyster he is and then watch the Tories stick the knives in Camerons back nothing changes with this shower they still think principles is a shop in the high street.

  • Comment number 39.

    One of the bigger stories of the day has to be why the Lib Dems were on the receiving end of the electorate's ire and not the Tories? I am not particularly surprised psephologically. The tory vote has held at its consistent core level - at least indicating that natural tory voters aren't particularly disappointed with the Government a year in. The LD however, when at their higher points of popularity, have supporters from quite a wide range of the political spectrum. Being a safe haven for disaffected voters had been their greatest strength, notably in byelections, offering a somewhat fuzzy "not tory, not labour" message. So, as their strength came from picking up a lot of transient or "floating" voters, it masked the fact that the core LD vote is actually very small. Hence why so many of these have deserted this Thursday. I sense that many of these former voters feel betrayed in some way. It's almost as if these voters are saying "I'm not entirely sure what I voted FOR when I voted LD, but whatever it was, it's not this." A purely personal opinion is that the perceived LD "sit on the fence" image (whether fair or not), has finally come back to kick them now they have been forced to associate themselves with a set of policies, albeit not of their own choosing. The tragedy for them is it might take a generation before the electorate might trust who they are and what they actually stand for, and the level of conviction they actually have in their ideals. Just being "not the other two" will never work again.

  • Comment number 40.

    I blame shoddy, lazy, personality-based gossiping like this in the media for our continuing on with an inferior electoral system. People like Nick Robinson have been desperate for a story to emerge that would imperil the relationship between Clegg and Cameron, and imperil the coalition - this can be the start of their new Brown vs Blair style narrative. The reporting on both options in the referendum was inadequate at best, and frankly, I am ashamed to be British tonight.

  • Comment number 41.

    So, it's "Yes" to "No"....

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13297573

    Glad that's sorted.

    Move along now, nothing to see here....

  • Comment number 42.

    # 40 TomG83

    No point blaming Nick Robinson for the result!

    Personally I blame Tony Robinson and other 'celebs'.

    Even in this 'Hello/OK' age, voters don't like being patronised.

  • Comment number 43.

    Buxb 23

    'People blame the Tories for the cuts'

    I'm sure there are no shortage of people stupid enough to do just that. But perhaps you'd like to explain why, if the Tories are to blame for the cuts, the Labour party were committed to cutting £7 for every £8 being cut by the coalition.

  • Comment number 44.

    The AV system always seemed like a hotchpotch of an idea.

    The Welsh and Scottish voting systems however seem to have produced excellent results. The first past the post element - used for 2/3 of the seats avoids the problem of getting lots of small parties unable to come together to form a government - big parties get a push as they approach 50%; the list element used for the other 1/3 of MPs prevents parties that get a decent percentage getting no seats; lastly having several small lists rather than one big list (so Scotland has 7 lists of 8 rather than 1 of 56) avoids the problem of getting parties with a few votes everywhere getting 1 seat.

    The system seems to be well thought out, is accepted by all parties in Wales and Scotland, seems to work and doesn't need any electronic counting machines. So why wasn't it offered to the England?

    And if 'senior people likely to become ministers' were elected from the list then then their constituents would still have a 'local' MP. No disrepect to David, Nick and Ed but the time they have for their local constituents must be limited.

    And those results? Well there are probably some rounding errors but:

    Wales:
    Conservatives, 25%, 14 seats - 1 less than 25%
    LibDems, 11%, 5 seats - 1 less
    PC, 19%, 11 seats - exactly in line
    Labour, 42%, 30 seats, 4 or 5 more
    Others 3%, 0 seats - exactly in line.

    Scotland:
    Conservatives, 14%, 15 seats, 3 less
    Labour, 32%, 37 seats, 4 less
    LibDems, 8%, 5 seats, 5 less
    Others, 1%, 3 seats, 2 more
    SNP, 45%, 69 seats, about 10 more

    Solid governments, no extremes, no timy minorities. Well done to those who spent many an hour coming up with the system.

  • Comment number 45.

    It seems most people agree that the AV system is too complicated for them to understand - its not looking good for the knowledge economy.

  • Comment number 46.

    Whilst the AV may have been decisively voted out, at least the British system has allowed anyone who cared to vote, the chance to have his/her say. Why blame it all on the libdems? They did their best for the people who wanted their chance to speak up on the matter. Now to the next item on the agenda ........ helping the coalition get on with the business of running the country, hopefully to the eventual advantage of Labour, Conservative, Libdems and Uncle Tom Cobbly and All.

  • Comment number 47.

    dereko1955 #9

    No,you are not alone as an English person wondering why only the Scots appear to
    have a choice via a referendum on independance.Count me in!

    We are told that 35% of Scots want to end the union and would vote for independance.Obviously 65% disagree and I am curious as to their reasons.

    Are they really so fond of us south of the border? Or do they realise which side their
    bread is buttered?

  • Comment number 48.

    Mr.Robinson wrote:-

    "David Cameron and Alex Salmond are the two clear winners of today but they may soon be pondering that old Chinese proverb - be careful what you wish for."

    The odd couple of British politics.He`s winging south tonight for more powers to the Scottish Assembly in a win-win situation.If Mr.Cameron concedes he returns in triumph,if he refuses it`s amunition for independence. As PG Wodehouse wrote,"it`s never difficult to distinguish between a scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine."

    Mr.Cameron`s dexterity in preserving his southern English base is remarkable,but like all victories has traces of ash.The prospect of Scottish ndependence would be a crisis for his party,causing internal division,public clamour and conflict with the palace.He will need all his skills to steer a course.

    This is where policy and contingency coincide.On the economy he is subject both to his chancellor`s judgement and the world economy.If he succeeds and brings prosperity and jobs to the north,the union will probably survive.If not,there will be repercussions in Scotland, reviving memories of the 80s.Mr.Clegg has belatedly announced his party will now resist "Thatcherism" in a pethetic attempt to recover some credentials on the economy.

    Mr.Salmond will watch and wait.He`s in no hurry nor needs to be.They have to vindicate their economic policy not just for the South but for Scotland.Meanwhile Mr.Cameron faces the threat of a scandinavian style social democracy on his doorstep where people will say if them,why not us?



  • Comment number 49.

    I voted "No" because I want P.R. (proportional representation), not this silly, hard-to-explain A.V. thing!

  • Comment number 50.

    I think this is a disastrous result for the conservatives. In country's used to coalition governments the prime minister will put himself a little bit outside his party and become defender of all coalition members. In any case he will do everything to avoid that one coalition party gets hit to hard.

    Now the LD have only a few choices. Require strong changes in government policy, and if they do not get them force elections when they are low in the polls or see themselves becoming slowly more and more irrelevant.
    That is why.

  • Comment number 51.

    Cleggs cancellation of the £80 million Government loan to Sheffield Forgemasters has come back to haunt him. Sheffield Hallam has had enough of Clegg.

    Bottom line on AV is that there was never a public appetite for "change" and that sums up the failure of the Lib Dems overall - change for changes sake is not what the public want.

  • Comment number 52.

    What exactly have the Liberals done to influence this Tory led coalition. Clegg you have failed in your attempt to modernise the line of Tory thinking. Time to set them free and then we will see the real truth and no facade. Time to move on.....
    AV
    A Grip on Bankers
    Murdoch
    Tuitution Fees
    All a disaster

  • Comment number 53.

    53 comments? Good heavens that's ten more than the last topic before it was closed...

  • Comment number 54.

    At 19:26pm 6th May 2011, Anne Semple wrote:

    ...Finally it would be good for the nation (UK) if even the Lib Dems realised that it was
    "events dear boy events" (i.e. global economic events) that caused our debt problems not Labour.

    --

    Sadly not true. Labour were excessively borrowing long before the financial crisis. Essentially we were in an unsustainable boom and they still continued to spend more than they had when really they should have saved for a rainy day. The financial crisis merely exposed their economic mismanagement.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick, are you trying to deflect from the fact that Ed Miliband did not have a great day ? Well beaten in Scotland, thrashed on AV and just modest gains in the Council elections. It is worth mentioning.

  • Comment number 56.

    Buxb post number 23.

    I think this post should be engraved on something nice and sent to the man himself, to remind him in the years to come!

  • Comment number 57.

    • 40. TomG83 wrote:
    I blame shoddy, lazy, personality-based gossiping like this in the media for our continuing on with an inferior electoral system.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I’d blame the LibDems for not pursuing the PR option instead & giving people a real choice.
    Don’t blame the media; the LibDems have let us down & the public have opted to keep the devil they know rather than the devil that was being pushed by Clegg & Co.
    Apart from that, the Tories had a very good – if not dirty at times – No campaign.

    It’s not that people love FPTP & don’t want change; it’s just that they don’t trust the LibDems when they say they want to change things for the better of the country when they really want to change things for the sake of the LibDem’s.
    Heck, just look at the poor turn out; hardly inspiring was it?

    Trebles all round for Team Cameron & a Blankety Blank cheque book, pen & taxi fare for Mr Clegg.

  • Comment number 58.

    Well done Alex. Independence for England soon, I hope. It's not just Scots who wish you success.

  • Comment number 59.

    22. At 19:26pm 6th May 2011, Anne Semple wrote:
    Good evening all especially to middleengland. Can you imagine how I feel as a Lib Dem leaflet dropper who voted 'Yes' and lives in as near as Scotland can get to suburbia! People used to vote for horses with red rosettes for whatever elections now if there is a Saltire then put the cross. It would seem anything that smacks of middle England is out. I would like to migrate south but in my advancing years free personal healthcare is comforting.
    Finally it would be good for the nation (UK) if even the Lib Dems realised that it was
    "events dear boy events" (i.e. global economic events) that caused our debt problems not Labour.

    Too complex for many voters including some on here.Global crisis apart,the political establishment are terrified of a scandinavian social democracy on their doorstep because it would disturb the natives.I would stick with the free healthcare and nostalgia for middle England.It`s probably all they`ve have left soon.

    George Orwell wrote that England is like a family with the wrong people in charge.You clearly feel something like that as your leaflets dropped through unresponsive letter boxes.I go further,we are now so unequal,so divided,so hierarchic it is as if we have been colonized by a foreign power and lost control of our own future.Uncomfortable I know,it`s what brought my parents into politics.



  • Comment number 60.

    Before the General Election, there was a belief that whoever won the elction would have to make such enormous cuts that they would become unelectable for a very long time. The Tories realised this and were perhaps rather glad to be in coalition with a bunch of naive polticians lead by even more naive Nick Clegg. I pointed out on this blog six months ago that while the Tories have made unpopular decisons, they often left it to LibDems to become the public face of the argument and the justification. At the moment it doesn't matter whether they were the right decisions, all that counts at the moment is that the LibDems are getting more of the blame. If the policies work out well, then the Tories just remind the public that it was their idea and their policy. If they go wrong the LibDems will find it hard to pin all the blame back on the Tories. The Tory desire to win another term seems more on the cards. Incidently, if the results had been slightly different and the LibDems had been in coalition with Labour the same tactic would have worked against the LibDems.

    As for the things that the LibDems claim they have gained, well they have got lost as LibDem policies. The changes in the Income Tax allowances happened so easily that they hardly seem to be something they gained for the General Public. Claims about slowing NHS reform can hardly be something they can claim given the oppostion of many nurses and doctors. The only way that the LibDems can restore their standing is to have a few rebellions in Parliament and be seen to change Tory policy.

    Labour have a problem in Scotland. In other countries with strong regional governments it quite often happens that the regional and national voting patterns are completely different. I think a major reason they did so badly was because many saw, probably quite correctly, that Alec Salmond was like a President who would fight their corner more effectively than any Labour MSP. Labour need to find someone who has Scottish, but not Westminster ambitions. They must be a heavy weight and be credible and they must be Scottish. If they don't do that soon then the SNP and not Labour will be the largest Scottish Westminster party for a generation. Although some may think that would be a good thing as it would mean the Labour may never be able to form a government, my response would be that they could if they went into coalition with a regional party. Not good!

    If recovery seemed more certain then David Cameron might decide to go for an election. But there are too many doubts that things will look better in the near f

  • Comment number 61.

    Equally for Mr 'We are on our way back' Ed Miliband!.... At this difficult time If Labour are serious are about winning power again they need to do more than just maximise their power in their traditional heartlands (Scotland,Wales and Northern England) but also they critically need to win votes in the rest of England. They failed !.. Today Labour only won a 'handful' of seats in these areas and at the same time have lost real political power in Scotland to the SNP. In England outside of the industrial north huge swathes of the country, town & country remain very blue . Miliband's speech claiming they have made progress north,south,east & west was laughable!. God forbid if Scotland went for independence (i hope not) then Labour would be diminished forever. I'm no fan of Peter Mandelsohn but regarding his own party he was right. Labour need to understand that they have made a huge tactical mistake going back to their leftwing and union friendly roots. In the last 30 years they have only ever been successful when they had Tony Blair who personally was pro-business and right of centre. Miliband needs to realise this. He won't and I doubt Labour ever will.

  • Comment number 62.

    Hurrah, so SNP gains power in Scotland. Now lets hope they get on with putting a referendum in place for Scottish Independance which all UK citizens can vote on - we can then get rid of the moaning Scots asap.

  • Comment number 63.

    I am glad that Milliband didn't fool anybody with his baloney about "AV having the advantage that it is a better system". Once upon a time every schoolboy would have instantly dismissed this as mere begging the question.

  • Comment number 64.

    [2. At 18:39pm 6th May 2011, EasternBuddie wrote:
    "whilst public opinion shows no appetite for it ".

    35% at the moment despite relentless scaremongering. Another successful period in government will show the rest what Scotland can do and the 35% can and will only increase.]

    I doubt it - the SNP and their ilk have been peddling this 'freedom' thing for a very long time - and are getting nowhere with it. Considering that just about every country that Salmond has named as an example for an 'independant Scotland' to follow has gone down the tubes so one degree or another over the past year, I'm grateful that the majority of my countrymen seem to have more sense than that 35%!

  • Comment number 65.

    jobsagoodin @ 43

    "I'm sure there are no shortage of people stupid enough to do just that. But perhaps you'd like to explain why, if the Tories are to blame for the cuts, the Labour party were committed to cutting £7 for every £8 being cut by the coalition."

    Thank-you for clarifying the fact that Labour were in fact committed to cuts, a fact that many Tories actually fail to recognise when insisting that all Labour did was to spend, spend, spend. Labour was just as committed to reducing the deficit as Cameron is but they planned to do it over a timeframe that would allow more efficient, cost effective and therefore better value services to be created instead of this vicious slashing of front line services in the short term with no credible alternatives in their place. Our local council was dealing with cuts long before the Tory party reared its ugly head but they were delivered to us in a way that made it possible to manage the budget reductions without the need to put vulnerable people at risk. The cuts now are so fast and deep that getting rid of almost 1 in 3 staff has hardly touched the sides and the cutting of vital front line services together with massive hikes in fees for services such as homecare, meals on wheels and day centres are necessary but still not enough to balance the budget. Councils across the country are having to revise their assessment criteria so that eventually you will not be able to get a social care service unless your need is assessed as being critical. This of course doesn't bother most true blues as they can afford to pay for private care but for those who can't...............you aint seen nothing yet!

  • Comment number 66.

    48. At 20:13pm 6th May 2011, bryhers wrote:

    Mr.Cameron`s dexterity in preserving his southern English base is remarkable,but like all victories has traces of ash.The prospect of Scottish ndependence would be a crisis for his party,causing internal division,public clamour and conflict with the palace.He will need all his skills to steer a course.

    -> Bryhers hope you're well . Good point but the prospect of scottish independence is surely a very scary one for all the unionist parties including Labour too . Scotland was one of Labours strongest powerbases in the UK. Also I'm not sure if Cameron/Westminster holds any big card to play regarding Scottish Independence. The SNP holds the cards after destroying nearly all the other political parties in Scotland and becoming the dominant party. If they want a referendum that is now their choice and as a unionist i can only wish they want to stay in the UK. However my theory is that many scots who voted SNP aren't really that keen on independence, possibly including Salmond himself who maybe just loves the political prestige of being seen as standing up for Scotland. Time will tell

    Also the Tories held onto many council seats outside of their 'southern english base' ! In many parts of the West, East, Midlands, North and Wales the Tory vote stayed relatively firm.

  • Comment number 67.

    217. At 17:39pm 6th May 2011, lefty11 wrote:
    57. Its_an_Outrage

    "Got absolutely hammered lol.
    The good bits.
    Even though i was basically a paper candidate and helping another ward, I did manage to get one leaflet round my ward and managed to treble the labour vote in my ward compared to last time.

    The bad bit.
    Despite this, the tories still got twice as many votes lol"

    Always be a winner in my books Lefty. Well done to you

    :-)


  • Comment number 68.

    You won't find me on any shopping lists, guest lists or lists of the realm as the overall message to me from the sidelines was that did that coalition bring a fresh sprig of mint to the political dinner table in a resounding effort to change the pallet of the electorate from better to worse. The shame of it all and the loss of our cultural identity is just too much to bear as I feel that this country just cannot go on in its current state so that’s another 10cc of sodium pentothal nurse stat.

  • Comment number 69.

    Some of our learned English cousins seem to be missing the point a little with the Scottish result. SNP won having fought a hugely positive campaign, showing that its more than possible to take on the Tories and Labour and win. Independence is a separate thing and will be decided in a referendum when the time is right (ie when people have sufficient info and understanding of the enormously complex issues).

    The talk of English independence in intriguing as it either suggests a unilateral ditching of Wales and Northern Ireland or worse, conveniently forgetting about them. Given England has consistently voted for Unionist parties and there does not exist a credible English independence political presence, where is this outcome coming from?

    Lets hope that this phenomenal Scottish outcome can lead to sensible debate, negotiation, education on potential independence and yes ultimately a vote sometime in the next 5 years. Lets hope it doesnt lead to unnecessary name-calling, uneducated slurs and factless assertions that will gain us all absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 70.


    David M wrote:-

    "Sadly not true. Labour were excessively borrowing long before the financial crisis. Essentially we were in an unsustainable boom and they still continued to spend more than they had when really they should have saved for a rainy day. The financial crisis merely exposed their economic mismanagement."

    You never learn do you. According to the IFS,before the crisis Labour had a deficit equivalent to the one inherited in 1997,and lower debt.The money went to pay for underfunded public services to bring them close to European levels.

    The myth that the present scale of debt-derficit is down to the last government is simpky untrue.It continues to be propagated because it serves the political purposes of the coalition to make deep cuts and shrink public services.

    What happened in 2007-08 was a collapse of private capital across the world.Government debt is largely a result of that.You have reversed cause and effect.

    Deficitis is a disease of the terminally stupid,or cynical.

  • Comment number 71.

    [60. At 20:34pm 6th May 2011, Boilerbill wrote

    ...I think a major reason they did so badly was because many saw, probably quite correctly, that Alec Salmond was like a President who would fight their corner more effectively than any Labour MSP. Labour need to find someone who has Scottish, but not Westminster ambitions. They must be a heavy weight and be credible and they must be Scottish. ]

    I think you've got a point there. My parents aren't interested in independence for Scotland, but they felt that Salmond was the only party leader who was going to fight Scotland's corner in Westminster. They would, however, have voted for him even if he was not Scottish - just as long as he was fighting for Scotland.

  • Comment number 72.

    One vital element which no one in the media has mentioned is the fact that Labour didn't manage to come out of the England or Scottish campaigns smelling of roses. They got white washed in Scotland and in England Conservatives still have the most councils overall and the most councillors. Really this shows that people just don't have short memories and if the Governments program of policies is so bad why wasn't Ed Miliband able to reach out and give the Tories what for? This proves that The Prime Minister's program is working and that no one wants Labour to be a big part of their lives for a very long time, except in Wales.

  • Comment number 73.

    69. At 21:19pm 6th May 2011, TheGingerF wrote:

    Some of our learned English cousins seem to be missing the point a little with the Scottish result. SNP won having fought a hugely positive campaign, showing that its more than possible to take on the Tories and Labour and win. Independence is a separate thing and will be decided in a referendum when the time is right (ie when people have sufficient info and understanding of the enormously complex issues).

    -> Ginger . Hope Scotland has better luck understanding the complex issues compared to the UK wide AV referendum ! IMHO pretty dismal on both sides

  • Comment number 74.

    Democracy is wonderful isn't it.
    Won't it be a wonderful day when the UK finally gets one?

  • Comment number 75.

    Same enormous subsidies for Wales' and Scotlands' gravy train governments? Ah well, business as usual for the tax-payer.

  • Comment number 76.

    I have tried to read all comments so far -found it very boring for the most part, and am a little perturbed that I am joining in.
    However I just wanted to make the maybe radical, but to me obvious, suggestion that all arguments could be negated by doing two things:

    1: Mandatory voting (including the right to 'spoil' the paper-or something similar)
    2: Dispense with party politics and ipso facto political parties, and vote for a person who will not be hamstrung by 'toeing the line'.

    I realise there will be complications and many mind sets to be changed - but is not worth a little discussion at least?

  • Comment number 77.

    Just a joke, but wouldn't it be amusing if England had a referendum about kicking Scotland out of the UK?

  • Comment number 78.

    Richard H2 (66)

    "-> Bryhers hope you're well . Good point but the prospect of scottish independence is surely a very scary one for all the unionist parties including Labour too . Scotland was one of Labours strongest powerbases in the UK. Also I'm not sure if Cameron/Westminster holds any big card to play regarding Scottish Independence. The SNP holds the cards after destroying nearly all the other political parties in Scotland and becoming the dominant party. If they want a referendum that is now their choice and as a unionist i can only wish they want to stay in the UK. However my theory is that many scots who voted SNP aren't really that keen on independence, possibly including Salmond himself who maybe just loves the political prestige of being seen as standing up for Scotland. Time will tell "

    Labour would struggle to be a party of government in the event of independence for Scotland.It would also be a crisis for the Tories ,profoundly demoralizing because their opponents would quickly point out that with a conservative government at Westminster,the Scots lose their national representation, are subject to the will of an unsympathetic southern government and encourages their movement to independence.

    It woud also expose the extent to which the conservatives have become a party of Southern England as their bases in the regions have shrunk because of their policies on industry and public services.They would be exposed as a regional party vulnerable to whoever could claim to speak for England.

    Whether there is a will for independence in Scotland in my view will depend on whether the economic policy of the southern government works for them.Any hint of a repeat of the 1980s,presaged by Mr.Clegg`s recent critical comments, support for independence would leap.Mr.Cameron can only hope his trust in the economic judgement of his highly political chancellor is not misplaced.

  • Comment number 79.

    richard_h2@73

    Agree on the AV vote richard. It was a dismal option (based on a dismal coalition agreement), eclipsed only by the dismal campaign.

    Voting education all over this country needs to happen far more than it does at present.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think it's important to point out that this vote is 'no' to the AV system. It does not mean that the people of the UK are against political reform or changing the voting system for the commons.

    Had the question been about PR the result may have been different.

  • Comment number 81.

    Who wants to keep the current system? - The 2 major parties.
    Why am I against it? I have lived in a safe constituency for over 40 years.
    Irrespective of whether I support or oppose the party that always wins this seat, can anyone explain why I have not wasted all that time conscientiously going to vote.
    Do any of the politicians think its worth their time and effort to bother about people in the same constituency as me? Of course not. Who would?

  • Comment number 82.

    #70 Bryhers wrote [not to me]:
    "What happened in 2007-08 was a collapse of private capital across the world.Government debt is largely a result of that.You have reversed cause and effect.

    Deficitis is a disease of the terminally stupid,or cynical."

    This is a complex subject that deserves better than your last line. Reputable economists do not agree as to the cause of the North Atlantic credit crunch.

    But in any case non-economists can understand that we rarely have a 'clean' cause and effect (i.e. where we start with one event that does not itself have a relevant cause, but is the root cause of other events that we are attempting to understand).

    To understand the credit crunch we have to understand, amongst other things, the credit bubble that preceded it, and in particular the policy of excessive monetary liquidity pursued by central banks with the agreement of their political masters. The Fed, of course, was the primary agent.

  • Comment number 83.

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that neither the Labour or Liberal Democrats in England have woken up to the fact that the change in the voting parterns in the Labour heartlands in west central Scotland could condemn the UK to a permanent Tory government. When that dawns on them we may see the immediate colapse of the coalition forcing a general election while there is still a chance of defeating the Tories.

    If the current government continues for any length of time with its policies to penalise the poor and reward the rich the chances of a yes vote in a Scottish referrendum on independence will grow as Scottish voters will see it as the only way to protect them from Cameron and his Thatcherite policies. The implications of an independent Scotland have not yet fully dawned on English voters. Many have been persuaded that they are getting rid of a drain on the exchequer but do not realise that they will loose much of the oil revenues from the North Sea and see a further deterioration in the balance of payments as any oil that they get from the Scottish sector will be deamed as imports. david Cameron and his cronies are not desperate to hold onto Scotland out of a love for the Union but of a fear what a UK without Scotland will mean.

  • Comment number 84.

    Congrats Alex ...what a result. We wish you a long and happy independence. Missing you already!

  • Comment number 85.

    nortonwoodseatslive@76:

    Respectfully and completely agree. A good thing, given that we are hearing more and more about 'good governance'. Partisan politics that breeds tribal loyalties and pits egos one against the other can hardly be good for good governance. A hierarchical, local-based, grass-roots system that 'picks the best suited' has actually been shown to produce better decision making, together with consultation that considers ideas and principles without people and egos interfering. And yes, a mindset change is required. Which I see happening more and more ...

    Imagine, I just registered to post this comment and agree with you :)

  • Comment number 86.

    There appears to be a number of English voters who are under a mis-aprehension that we in Scotland are subsidised by their taxes! In evrey year of the 300 years of the Unioun, Scotland has been a net contributor to the UK treasury. Finally we have woken up to this and will, by the grace of God, be rid of the whinging Poms.

  • Comment number 87.

    I would like to raise the issue that I didn't receive my polling card to vote at yesterday's election. I always use a postal vote so I would have received a pack, rather than just the card, so I would not have missed it amongst other post.

    I would have definitely used my vote to cast in favour of AV. If there are other people in the same situation as me, the current results should be discarded and a re-election should take place.

  • Comment number 88.

    Hang on Mr Robinson... 'David Cameron... clear winner...' How do you work that out? Labour gained 800 councillors against a gain of 26 councils against the Conservatives' 3. This early in a parliament, how is that a win for David Cameron?!! Lol.
    I think you'll find as a previous poster noted (11. At 19:08pm 6th May 2011, ProfPhoenix), David Cameron failed to secure a clear mandate for the Conservatives even under First Past the Post; even against a very unpopular Gordon Brown; and is unlikely to make it through the next General Election successfully.

  • Comment number 89.

    All the commentators & Lib Dems seem to be blaming their losses on the Coalition, cuts and everything else. The fact that the Conservatives actually gained seats rather than losing them, indicates that the Lib Dem's additional support (that they gained last time round) were actually disaffected Labourites (not true Lib Dems) who were fed up with the Blair/Brown/Mandelson combination and have now just fled back to Mummy (Labour) like blubbing little kids when the going got tough. Therefore the Labour vote has been proven to be transferrable as it always is. On the other hand the Conservative support stayed strong, committed and true blue unlike the yellowy pinky reds.

    Those complaining about the AV campaign & result (Huhne, Ashdown, Steel & the like) are acting like spoilt brats who have had their lollipops taken away. But then the lefty Libs tend to be like that - nobody must ever lose at anything otherwise they might cry (against their 'uman Rights). Cameron had as much right to campaign for his beliefs as Clegg, Millipeed (sorry Milliband) and anyone else.

  • Comment number 90.

    Nick Robinson=choob! Why do so many of you English people and Unionists not actually believe the figures that prove that Scotlands wealth has been propping up successive corrupt London Governments for decades? Wake up and smell the coffee! You'll miss us when you can't bleed us dry any more and use our young as cannon fodder in illegal wars and use us to keep your WMDs an etc. etc. etc. SAOR ALBA!

  • Comment number 91.

    #88 how can you call the Conservatives the clear winner? Perhaps because they returned twice as many councillors as Labour, and won (at the moment) 156 councils to 57, all while running a government that is enforcing massive cuts. I certainly didn't vote for them, but I can certainly see that they've won.

  • Comment number 92.

    Thanks Millie, We'll miss you too....NOT!

  • Comment number 93.

    Read Animal Farm @ 75

    Please provide some backing independent evidence for your factless assertion.

  • Comment number 94.

    #89 : No doubt this is the same strong support that required a LibDem support to allow the Tories to limp into office despite circumstances that warranted a landslide?
    Ironic that a party incapable of securing a clear majority is campaigning so vigorously in favour of fptp.




  • Comment number 95.

    v4169sgr at 85:
    You will never know how rare it is for any one to agree with my thoughts on politics and political animals!
    I fear we share our thoughts alone though. Maybe there is a dread that removing the 'party' out of politics will lead to a non confrontational society, with no excuse for mindless ranting. A dog without a bone?

  • Comment number 96.

    The no campaign has won the referendum and it is a sad day for democracy and the prospect for constitutional reform http://bit.ly/iKS6NY Yet today will be remembered more for the way the Tories have triumphed than the way the Lib Dems fell apart. cameron is truly an excellent political strategist . . or he is very lucky http://bit.ly/kD1ISJ

  • Comment number 97.

    "Why don't 'we', the electorate, remove the uncertainty of any 'gloating' by demanding compulsory voting?"
    ========================================================

    Can someone explain to me whats the point of compulsory voting under a party system? Surely this only makes sense if candidates were truly independant of "party" and wholly reliant on the electorate.

    Give me a candidate and a democratic system worthy of my vote and I'll vote.

  • Comment number 98.

    So labour councils up and down the country are cutting front line services while continuing to maintain huge reserves, pay their chief executives massive salaries and wasting money on diversity, equality and five a day officers and STILL people vote them in just to give the lib dems a kicking. I despair of the british electorate, I really do.

  • Comment number 99.


    On a lighter note and after reading all the upsets caused by the Av REFERENDUM.

    I have an Idea for real change to the voting system.

    Hold 1st past the post elections for the heads of the main Government depts eg Home Office,Chancellor,Foriegn secretary and the deputy & prime minister posts etc.


    Then using a machine like ERNIE select 1200 over 25 year olds at random from within the populace using thier NI number or some other unique ID.

    Train them for a year (on full pay) and let the best 600 of them run parliment for the following 5yrs at which time they retire for good on half pay.

    There would need to be stringent personality checks no one who has actively chased public office would be accepted (my reasoning is look at the current lot of power seekers), no major criminal record for instance etc.

    The benefits could be huge they could listen to the policy arguments from the elected leaders and then a free vote would decide if they went ahead or they could send them back for a rethink.

    I'm probably living in cloud cukoo land but it could work.

    Mind you the media mogols and financial barons would have hissy fit..

  • Comment number 100.

    If Scotland get their independence does that mean they have to raise their own taxes and this unfair Barnett formula is abandoned?

 

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