Sunday, 8 May 2011

Politics and anniversaries

It's a year today since our lives changed overnight and that experience is no doubt being felt all over the country as several hundred local councillors (mostly LibDems it has to be said) lose their seats. For some of them it will not be too much of a wrench since outside of the metropolitan areas, few people choose to devote themselves to it full time (perhaps wisely some might say).

However there are many who have devoted themselves to full-time local politics, delivering the services that matter most to people's everyday lives ie clean streets, planning and urban regeneration, policing and education.    Most of them will not receive any redundancy package and this weekend won't be much fun as they try to work out what to do next.     I'm not sure that our experience would bring them much comfort (in that it has taken a year for life to start to look a bit brighter) but there is no denying for BM at least, the upside of losing that election which I would list as follows:-

- freedom, as in no longer feeling responsible for everything that goes wrong;
- more family time - invaluable despite the tricky 'getting to know you again' phase
- the sense that once again, we are in charge of our own destinies and are no longer at the mercy of the electorate and/or media
- rediscovering friends and being able to spend weekends as we please
- for BM personally pressing restart on a dormant career.

So many ironies over the past week that I have lost track.  Not least that the electorate, in what must be a mass example of cutting off their nose to spite their face, have almost certainly gifted the next century in power to the Conservative party.   

In terms of dishonest and hateful politics, surely the worst must be those diehard Labourites who went in with the Tory led No to AV campaign, and for what?  In the foolish, utopian belief that they will ever have a majority again (without Scotland) under FPTP and more poisonously, to destroy the LibDems and wipe their noses in it?    They may appear to get their wish insofar as the Libdems are concerned but at what cost - almost certainly the SNP will go ahead with a referendum on independence and not many would bet against Alex Salmond succeeding on current form.   England has not turned red over the past week and is unlikely to in the future either.   

And even if the LibDems tough out this Parliament in Coalition and reap some reward in 2015 for doing so, have the past few weeks so poisoned the relationship between LibDems and Labour that the prospect of any future Lib-Lab Coalition is out of the question?   If so, the left is split and the Tories romp home to a (probably handsome) majority. 

Interesting times but it seems to me now, from a safe distance, that the levels of dishonesty are worse than ever.  It may be a while but there will be another MPs scandal and at the root of it will be the complacency of rock-solid safe seats, earned by a FPTP system which the electorate voted to retain.  Why?  Because it was another way of poking Nick Clegg in the eye.  And yet, the Politics Show last weekend (1 May) commissioned research from academics which showed that so far in Coalition, the LibDems have delivered 75% of their manifesto promises...wonder how that ranks alongside Labour majority administrations 1 year in...

Also curious that that research got no replay.  Like I say, there's a lot of dishonesty about, not least in the media which is either red or blue, so no obvious champion out there for the LibDems.  Still, despair is not really an option and like any news story, this one will change when the media tires of it and the shine (almost visible, don't you think?) wears off Mr Cameron.    I wonder how long that will take?