Gordon Brown’s Speech to Citizens UK


Hypothetical outcomes of the General Election.

We’re three days away from the General Election and I’ve been analysing the possible outcomes at the ballot box.

The majority outcome:

The Conservative Party win a majority and form government. Labour form the official opposition. The polls show that this is an unlikely prospect, but what truly matters is what happens at the ballot box. So, say the Conservatives win and hold a huge champagne party in Whitehall – and set about forming a government the next day. Britain now lives under them for the first time in 13 years. They set to work on their vision of Big Society and sweeping away Big Government. David Cameron paces around Downing Street jubilant that he’s finally Prime Minister and George Osborne sets to work tackling the deficit – which could problematic as he wishes to enact radical cuts. Cameron knows that this would be political suicide. Labour return to opposition and deliberate about where to go from here – there may be some disruption by the party fringes. I’ve heard the phrase “civil war” mentioned several times but I don’t know if it’ll amount to anything.
The Labour Party remain in Government with a sizeable majority. The Conservatives. Labour celebrates in Whitehall and at party HQ and set out the new agenda for the new government. The Conservatives are left trying to figure out what went wrong and a swift removal of Cameron may occur (going by their history of dealing with failed leaders). Labour are well aware that there was a lot of anti-Labour feeling in this election but the country has given them another mandate. Labour promoted economic recovery in their manifesto so this will be their main focus. It’s a heady promise so they have to deliver.
The Liberal Democrats win an outright majority and form government. A few months ago, this would have seemed laughable. But if the surge in Lib Dem support continues, then hypothetically a Lib Dem government is plausible. So for the sake of argument – let’s say it happens. They are aware that they have hyped themselves to be the true “change” in British politics – now they’ve got to prove it. There are a lot of radical commitments in their manifesto (including taxation, policy on Europe and green issues) but that doesn’t mean to say they can’t be enacted. Question is, in an environment where recovery is vital and reducing the deficit is something that unites all parties, how can the Lib Dems pursue their more radical plans?
Further to the above scenario, either Labour or the Conservatives form opposition. Say it’s the former. Labour may be in opposition, but they have a lot of common ground with the Lib Dems on many issues (namely electoral reform, abolishing the hereditary principle in the House of Lords and votes at 16). Therefore, wide-scale reforms are guaranteed. There may be disagreements over the finer details of policy, but any strong opposition from the Tories will be sidelined. If it’s the latter, then I can see a consensus from the Tories on the “decentralising” element of the Lib Dems plans – but strong opposition to constitutional reform.
Or, say none of the three main parties wins an outright majority. We’re left with a hung parliament situation and consensus is inevitable:

If both Labour and Conservative fail to get an overall majority, the Lib Dems have to decide who they’ll form a coalition government with. The situation will be pretty similar to what I described above (if the Lib Dems won a majority) but there’d be more emphasis on coalition. This isn’t a bad thing, incidentally. If we are really going to see a change to the “old politics” then we have to rid ourselves of the adversarial style of government. Adversarial politics just descends into cheap point-scoring on both sides of the house. With a change to the model of large majority governments and ineffective opposition, we can actually see a breakdown of a politics based on angry argument and put sensible coalition in it’s place.
Of course, this all entirely speculative and I can’t claim to know what any of the three parties will do if they win. I daresay they don’t know either. Truth is, it’s impossible to predict anything in politics because it’s dictated by events. Politics is a reaction to situations and events, it doesn’t dictate how they happen.

In just under three weeks time it’s polling day and the excitement of Election Night to follow. I’ll be watching with a bottle of champagne and a pasta bake, as well as a lot of caffiene in order to stay awake.

So, where are you casting your X?