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?

The BBC have confirmed that David Cameron will not be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman for the Panorama session next Monday.

Running scared are we?

This is very unlike Cameron to miss an opportunity to engage with the public. But there’s always the leaders debates…oh wait, he’s been complaining about those too…

Video: The Road Ahead (Election Broadcast)

For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet:

Labour peer Lord Paul waives non domicile status.

As the Cashcroft question rumbles on, the Tories keep on wobbling. The Independent reports that MPs are to investigate the terms and creation of Lord Ashcrofts’ tax deal and today, the latest Times-Populus poll has Labour and the Tories neck and neck in marginal seats.

To make matters worse for the Tories, their usual line of defence is that Labour receives donations from another non-domicile peer, Lord Paul. However, Lord Paul announced this morning that he is ending his non-domicile status and become a full UK taxpayer. I see no such intention from Lord Ashcroft, just bleated defence from the Tory ranks.”Well, Labour have a non-dom donor too!” Er, we don’t actually. Attack is not the best form of defence Tories.

The wheels are well and truely coming off the Tory bicycle.

Let’s see them crawl out of this one.

Say-anything Tories – advance to the right, do not collect £200.

The Conservatives have announced they’re abandoning Labour’s pledge to pump investment into deprived areas as a way of solving Britain’s social problems, the Independent reports.

In addition, the Sunday Times/YouGov poll out today has the Tories down to a 2% lead over Labour. Although this figure has been quickly dismissed by leading Tories as “wedding jitters”, the trend in the polls has been downwards for the Tories. So is that why Cameron’s making so much of his no-notes speech today?

CCHQ and “vetting” Tory PPCs submissions on social networks/blogging.

There’s been a great deal of talk over the past few days about a certain Tory “bloggers meeting”. Left Foot Forward and Liberal Conspiracy were reporting that memos were to be sent out to Tory bloggers stating the party’s policy line, amoungst other pointers. Obviously, the Tory’s bloggerati were out in force to defend the meeting. I’m not a Tory blogger, so I have absolutely no idea what went on in that meeting and neither do I particularly care. We can speculate all we want.

However, today it has been revealed that the Tory leader himself has been issuing strict instructions to Tory PPCs to submit their online submissions (blogposts, Twitter updates and Facebook activities) for approval.

Well, that sure is interesting. So, in order to cut the number of potential gaffes Tory PPCs could make, David Cameron wants to make sure they parrot the party line. This is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve seen the Tory leader do in a very long time. On all sides of the political spectrum, I want to see party candidates who, despite being party loyal, do have their own viewpoints as potential Parliamentarians. Yes, they may be wrong and I could despise their views. But better that for actual debate than some partisan parrot who quotes the book (before anyone asks, I would say the same thing if Labour tried to do anything similar).

Why is the Tory leader so afraid of what his candidates might say? Of course, the Tories jumped on the offensive, stating that they only want to ensure factual accuracy. However, that still means that PPCs opinion could be severely limited. We saw the same thing happen under New Labour, and I disagree with these kinds of moves by party leaders/executives. We need debate, we need opinions and we need viewpoints, otherwise we have no pluralism or diversity in political viewpoint. The blogosphere needs to be an open platform for PPCs to publish and inspire debate with the electorate, other candidates and anyone with a general political interest. They shouldn’t be reduced to parrots by force.

New Labour were famously control freaks. So is the Tory executive planning the same?