Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Gallis Poll

Following recent startling revelations that the UK Prime Minister is a donkey and the leader of the Opposition a silly ass, the election polls are in great turmoil. There is even talk of the Liberal Democrats' coming first in the popular vote, and therefore a less distant third than usual in the allocation of seats! At any rate, a hung Parliament with no overall party majority looms ever larger on the May horizon.

A hanged Parliament would probably be in better keeping with the popular temper. Unfortunately, I look forward even less to the rule of any potential hangman, than I do to that of our actual felonry. Therefore my first inclination is to accept a merely hung legislature as one of our happy British compromises. My inevitable second thought is - How good an option would it be, really?

PRO:

It will be much harder for one party to colonize the whole apparatus of public and private State with its creatures. Win!

It will be ineffectual and unable to pass badly needed legislation. As far as I’m concerned, the pols and lobbyists can carry right on needing it! There are needier folk than they in this fair land.

The resulting atmosphere of instability will make it hard for the government to borrow money it has not got. YES!!!

The resulting horse-trading will drag down the reputation of politics even further. - Yes, by dragging the usual methods out into the open where they’re harder to ignore. A decline in ignorance is not a decline in virtue.

Unpopular and difficult decisions won’t get made. So no diversionary expeditionary force to Iceland, then. I can live with even that.

ANTI:

There will be a strong temptation to divide up the apparatus of State into de facto party fiefdoms. This will make destroying even the most expendable Ministry of Administration unwholesomely difficult.

In a disorganized Parliament whose members are snuffling every which way on their own private truffle-trails, special interest lobbyists might get even more of their own way than they do at present.

Some might think the danger of our currency's having to be reprinted on perforated rolls bearing the legend NOW WASH YOUR HANDS is already as high as it needs to be.

One likely horse-trade is a rejigging of the constitution and electoral system, in particular towards proportional representation. If this yields one of those systems of managed democracy in which it is difficult or illegal to vote for any individual candidate at all, that won't be what I call progress.

Unpopular and difficult decisions won't get made. So there will be no spending cuts that might offend any concentrated interest, i.e. no spending cuts at all except friction-raising 'efficiency' drives that fall upon the poor, the voiceless, and those actually trying to do their jobs rather than game the funding. Meanwhile, the permanent bureaucracies will hum along, expanding their empires as usual.




I reckon that Hung Parliament wins out, in spite of all the serious objections. What we fans of civil society chiefly need at the moment is a breathing space from all the recent security-socialist and crony-capitalist power-grabs. In terms of what ends up flowing down through the terraces of Westminster, there are no lovely choices, but I'm thinking that a deadlocked and rickety government is our only man. If we can't turn that brief respite to some account, we'll have nobody to blame but ourselves

Or, at least, nobody who gives a toss about it.

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