So, it looks like not only did the UK Liberal Democrats not get the electoral reform for which they traded their votes to the Tories – or even the half-arsed inadequate AV compromise proposal: seriously, pissweak negotiation skills, Mr Clegg – but they’ve been given a right-royal bollocking for all the excesses of those Tories since the last election.
Because they bought the stupid lie that MPs have to form a majority government. That someone has to be “Prime Minister”, the Leader Of The Government (the “government” being distinct from the Parliament), and that there has to be some combination of MPs who agree to vote together on everything.
Which is rubbish. Voters (the tiny proportion of them who turn out in the UK) vote (sort of, since the first past the post system enables candidates to win even if a majority of their electorate can’t stand them) for a parliament, not a leader. A group of people, to represent the country, not a hierarchy of rulers. So why is the first act of each such Parliament to abrogate its powers to some “Prime Minister” and his party? Even when his party doesn’t have majority support (which, in reality, none of them do, even if they have a majority of seats, such is their ridiculous electoral system, but that’s a post for another day – and, ultimately, another century, since it looks like this generation of Britons is stuck in the 19th).
Why couldn’t the Lib Dems have simply said – nup. We’re not going to form a coalition with either Labour or the Tories. We’re a different party, and we believe in different things, and sometimes we agree with Labour, and sometimes we agree with the Tories, and this is what we’re going to do in Parliament: support legislation that moves us closer to what we promised our voters we believed, and oppose legislation that moves us further from it. We don’t care who calls him or herself “Prime Minister”, because without the ability to pass legislation the post is ultimately meaningless. We’ll vote on candidates for various Ministries, and we’ll vote on someone to sit in Downing St and take command if we’re at war, subject to the review by parliament as soon as practicable, but otherwise – this is it. This is the parliament that represents (inasmuch as our pathetic electoral system allows it) the people of the UK. Let’s get some legislation out there and see where the votes fall.
Judge us on how we vote, people of the UK, not on this ultimately meaningless personality politics. There are plenty of issues that need to be decided. It’s time to get on with it.
Why couldn’t they have said (and done) that? I’d bet they’d be in a much stronger position today if they had.