Westminster Squared by Derek Wyatt
The General Election game is beginning to take shape.
The Tories might have the most seats but these will almost all be in England.
Labour might just be second with seats in England, Wales and Scotland though
no-one can read the tea leaves after the Referendum there. The SNP will become
the third largest party.
Whither the the Lib Dems? Might they become the old Liberal Party pre 1992 with
rural seats in Cornwall, Somerset, possibly Norfolk and Scotland and then the
new Lib Dem seats on in the cities of London, Manchester and Sheffield. The
former might side with Labour but Labour might not side with the latter.
The Greens and UKIP might up their votes but can they win more than two seats
each? I doubt it. I am not even sure Nigel Farage can win in South Thanet.
This leaves the DUP, Ulster Unionists, Sinn Fein and the SDLP in Northern
Ireland. I doubt the DUP could do a deal with the Tories but they might go on an
issue by issue basis unless Cameron gives them Government positions in Northern
Ireland which would be a folly. The other three parties will struggle though the
SDLP would certainly back Labour.
In Wales, Plaid Cymru has struggled to build on the nationalist vote. They have
been in collation with Labour before in Wales and they will certainly be courted
My sense is Cameron would not give up without a fight but he could not hold on
if Labour had a deal with the SNP, some Liberals (even on a vote by vote) and
the SDLP. Should this happen then he is likely to resign (to the relief of his
immediate family). This would then pitch George Osborne, Theresa May, MIchael
Gove and Boris Johnson into an almighty scrap for the leadership of the Tories.
I would expect Osborne to outwit and outbid Johnson.
As for UKIP, they will have gathered possibly as much as 15% of the national
vote but have little to show for it. Farage loathes Cameron so he would not
apparently agree to work with him. This then would be the end of a referendum on
Europe. And should he fail to win South Thanet he may fall on his sword.
Of course the real issue is that we have the most dysfunctional constitution
anywhere in the Western world. We have by default three sub parliaments for
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but nothing for England. We have London
acting as a city state wanting more and more power. We still have an unelected
upper house or senate. Its worse, our first past the post system will have seen
a party take power in May with around 33% of the popular vote on a turnout of
little more than 68%.
We do need a Royal Commission sitting for nine months to come forward with
radical change. We need to move to a distributive voting system so that any MP
elected would need to have gathered 50% plus 1 vote to be elected. We need a
parliament for England and a Senate to replace the House of Lords. We need a
major reconstruct of our failing county councils and end borough councils by
moving to a unitary system for the whole of the UK not just some parts.
This will not happen. Turkeys never vote for Christmas. I truly hope that is not
the case. The Westminster political class needs to substantially up its game if
it is to survive. Voter reform, more power to Parliamentarians, fixed terms for
MPs, four lower chambers and a senate are the bare minimum for a 21st century