On May 6, there were parliamentary elections for the British Parliament’s House of Commons, which sits 650 members also known as MPs (Members of the Parliament). According to latest results, the Tories – the Conservative Party – won most of the constituencies contested: 306, or 20 shy of a simple majority needed to form a government. Their victory was relatively expected, especially after the Labour Party’s major losses in both the local elections and the European elections last year. This victory, while another slap to the Labour Party – which lost 91 seats and is now expected to hold 258 – brings the challenge to David Cameron and his party. The Conservative leadership is now looking for a coalition partner in order to form a new government. The country’s political future for at least the next year or two is technically in the hands of one party: the Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg. According to the latest election results, they have won 57 constituencies.
A possible coalition between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats would then make it possible to form a government. Key issues that the two parties can find agreement on, according to David Cameron, are:
- the need for education reform (the Liberal Democrats advocate a pupil premium program which would allocate more money to children from the poorest backgrounds costing the budget £2.5 billion)
- building a low-carbon economy (David Cameron said his party absolutely supports it)
- reform the tax system (David Cameron said that the two parties agree that the Labour’s jobs tax is “a damaging tax on jobs,” which tax, as far as I am concerned, is in the form of raising national insurance. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats cannot be more right in this case, judging by what effects taxes have on the private sector)
- reforming the political and electoral system (the Liberal Democrats want four-year fixed-term Parliaments, voters’ right to sack an MP through a power of recall, more transparency in parliamentary expenses, a reduction of MPs by 150, an elected second chamber, etc.)
- decentralizing power (the Liberal Democrats support more political decision making power to Scotland and Wales)
- protecting civil liberties
- scrapping old ID cards (for security purposes, as the debate presented here and here shows it)
Here are the key issues where the two parties, according to the Conservative leader, don’t agree:
- European Union (the Conservatives don’t want to give the European Union more power; in fact, they never have)
- immigration (as far as I see in the two parties’ manifestos, there isn’t a lot of disagreement on this issue, except for the Conservatives’ annual limit of non-EU economic migrants which is a policy that the Liberal Democrats have not criticized in their manifesto, and the two parties agree on the part with the Border Police Force, while the rest of the issue are subissues that are presented by one of the two parties but not by both such as integration)
A compromise between the two parties looks absolutely possible, not to mention that 62% of the British people, according to a YouGov poll, want Mr. Brown to leave Downing Street immediately. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Brown has shown enough arrogance as to invite the Liberal Democrats for possible talks to form a government thus trying to leave the Tories in opposition again. Not only is it arrogant based on the people’s will, it is also arrogant based on the results. 258 + 57 = 315 which is less than 326. A Labour – Lib Dem coalition would mean having to invite some of the smaller parties that won seats in the House of Commons for talks to at least vote in confidence of such a government – so there will be two inconveniences: possible disagreements between the two parties and possible disagreements between the two parties and the small ones that voted for their cabinet. And last but not least, Mr. Brown, look above and remind yourself about the British people’s voting during the local and European elections last year, and keep quiet at least for a while or your party may get it sooner or later.