Today - May 7th 2015 - is General Election day here in the UK. We’ve had 5 years of a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition - the first coalition government since the Second World War - and I think the experience is not necessarily one that many want to repeat any time soon! The problem is, if the opinion polls are to be believed, then this time around we will again have no single party with an outright majority, so the prospect looms large of horse-trading and secret dealing between one of the main parties and one or more of the minority parties leading if not to a formal coalition then at least to some form of agreement over mutual support on specific issues. Or there could just be a minority government, with whoever gets the most votes braving it alone and pushing to get their policies through one vote at a time, although that sounds rather risky to me!
What are my predictions? Well, I think that whatever happens, in reality not a great deal will change for the man or woman on the street, at least not for some time. The leaders will continue to argue with each other and blame each other for the UK’s difficulties. Some will no doubt accuse others of dirty tricks and fighting an unfair, negative campaign, but from where I’m sitting that’s something that almost all candidates are guilty of doing. After all, why bother spending time actually explaining your own policies when it’s so much easier to sling mud at everyone else and engage in a bit of scaremongering?!
The area I live in is so solidly Conservative that whoever I vote for, it’s the Conservative candidate who will become my next MP. But rather than complaining or becoming cynical about the whole democratic process, as some seem to be, I will make every effort to discuss issues with my MP, making my views clear and challenging him where I think he’s got it wrong, in the hope that he will take seriously his responsibility to represent me fairly in Parliament. I’ve been challenged on this by a book I’ve been reading that points out the inconsistency of ‘responsible citizens’ who take their right and duty to vote very seriously, even to the point of castigating any friends and colleagues who hint that they may not bother with voting at all, but who then disengage with the whole political process until the next election. Voting is just one small part of what it means to be involved in a democracy.
If Hi is still here in 5 years time, perhaps I’ll write another post then to answer my opening question!