Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa. That’s me laughing at the cocksure Conservatives who have given the UK another hung parliament. Which is actually fantastic news.
Aside from the term Budget Deficit, no two words strike more fear into a government than Hung Parliament. A no-party overall majority in our ridiculous faux democracy is a clear message that neither has a clue what to do. The country is either strongly polarised or largely confused about what each stand for. And we should capitalise on this rather than cry about it.
On the left, we have lunatic Labour claiming that the way to make the country great is to:
- eradicate competition by nationalising every public service;
- pump magic beans into our health service instead of looking at the fundamental reason why it’s unsustainable;
- ban zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships so the bottom drops out of the service industry and voluntary sectors;
- devalue higher education by making university free for anyone who wants to waste a few years of their adulthood;
- use bank loans to pay for it all, and charge us interest (more tax) to pay it back.
On the right, we have crackpot Conservatives claiming that the way to make the country great is to:
- privatise the tits out of the health service, driving it deeper into ruin, instead of analysing the fundamental reason it’s unsustainable;
- plunder the environment and our well-being in the endless pursuit of corporate greed;
- pump money into the bottomless pit of defence, policing, and security to further erode civil liberties on the path to an even more oppressive society;
- engender corruption and grease the wheels for the rich, squeezing out the middle classes;
- use bank loans and spending cuts to pay for it all, with (stealth) taxation to pay the interest.
Both parties intend to boost the minimum wage, which drives labour out of the hands of the people it claims to represent. The increased labour costs encourage companies (especially small businesses) to slow or stop hiring entry-level positions and either seek higher-skilled people, or low-rate freelancers offshore.
Both parties intend to build over a million new homes we don’t need, locating them in some mystical part of the country that isn’t green. The building trade is a colossal polluter already: the energy usage that goes into creating or disposing of cement, gypsum, brick, wood, cabling, tiles, plaster, paint, etc is phenomenal. Plus all the soil, water and ecology damage in the process.
Both parties claim to want the best deal out of our exit from the EU, but neither seem willing to listen to the people it really affects: us.
The smaller parties and independent candidates are equally muddled, making bold claims and grand ideas about one such thing or another, with nothing but a smile and a tube of KY to back it all up.
If that’s all we have as choices, no wonder we have a hung parliament. So how or why on Earth do I think it’s the best outcome?
Co-operate or fail
With no clear majority, the party with the most seats is going to have a rough time getting any motions passed. Even if they form an official government by cosying up with others. Anything controversial and the smaller parties will gang up with the opposition to block them or swing the balance. This gives the smaller players in the political game untold power; probably more than they’ve had for a while. A coalition is a death sentence, but a coordinated and strategic partnership on key issues will benefit us all.
If they are willing to take it.
It’ll take some pride swallowing. Labour, instead of taking the usual “opposition” stance and shooting everything down in flames for the sake of it (until they attain power, whereby they conveniently forget everything they said) can use the combination of their might and the traditionally under-represented parties to negotiate either a watered-down deal, or find some middle ground. The Conservatives will have little option but to take it if they want to have a shot at winning the next election. To paraphrase Frank Turner, nobody wants to be remembered for the things they didn’t do.
Somewhere between the two extremes of left and right (and I’m not just talking about the limp Liberals, who are not exactly central in their views either) there might just be a solution that benefits us, the people, instead of them, the politicians.
The question is: will they take it or continue to serve their own interests, as normal?
What can we do about it?
The answer to that question rests on your shoulders. Mine too. The only way our views can get to the decision makers is by telling them what we think. They live in this media bubble where the spotlight is permanently on. They’re the figureheads. The first responders. Level one customer support. The civil servants do the actual work based on what they (or the party) think is the best course of action. But if anything goes wrong, the figurehead is the scapegoat.
Well that figurehead is your conduit. Instead of just being a one-way puppet, they can actually take the fight to the table if — and only if — we are firm yet polite with our views, and enough of us make our points heard. Forget the Daily Mail “campaigning” on your behalf. Do it yourself, regardless of how you voted.
With the division of the country in many “safe” constituencies on a knife-edge for the first time in decades, our MPs are going to be forced to actually work for their position instead of just toeing the party line or coasting from election to election. This might (just) wake them up enough to actually take the views of the people they represent — those they work for — seriously enough.
Your Members of Parliament, irrespective of political persuasion, actually now have a voice and a vested interest to use it, because a) they have a chance to prove that the stuff they’ve been bleating about in their campaign leaflets is doable, and b) their job and future delusions of grandeur depend on it. I suggest you take advantage of those facts.
Get involved in politics beyond what the TV want you to hear. Join a free pressure group like 38 Degrees so you can more easily make your voice heard. Email, call or visit your MP. Get a few like-minded friends together. Deliver some sane, well-balanced reasons for what you want and make sure your views are represented in whatever future the dickheads in Whitehall conjure.
It’s our country. It’s our world. Make it a good one.