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The Soap Sud Election

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It was the soap suds election.

The Tories promised to wash their policies in blue rinse Persil whilst Labour preferred razzle-dazzle iDaz. One day Cameron conjured up an extra £8 billion for the NHS with a sleight of the hand whilst, on another, Miliband gave us a giant size tablet so big you could not close the washing machine. Poor Clegg was left to peg out the washing. And UKIP? Their one man band failed to stop the Tide coming in. They should be renamed the Canute party. Only the SNP gave us a good soaking.

And so ended the worst election campaign in living memory. Cameron would not debate. Other leaders, save maybe Nicola Sturgeon and occasionally Ed Miliband, failed to set us alight. There were plenty of meetings with the public but these were, well, the ‘public’ of the parties. There were no punches pulled not even a Prescott special. The whole election was so painfully choreographed it showed again and again how distant the political class is from the voter.

Now the big guns Balls, Clegg and Farage are gone, but well done the Tories for shoring up their vote, to Caroline Lucas who increased her lead and a gentle genuflection to Nicola Sturgeon for winning so many seats and for breaking up the Union. As for the Tories, they are essentially (as is Labour) a party of England and occasionally of Wales. This is brand new political territory.

The loser was the democratic process. No leader of any party offered a constitutional settlement. What we have now is a group of politicians who depend on daily polls before they take a decision, salami slice a policy or go to the toilet. They are not leaders as we understand the term as it applies to a business CEO or a director of an international charity. They are suits who depend on other suits.

So before that referendum on Europe, surely Cameron will bring it forward to July, could we have a second referendum on the Constitution? Here’s the offer (Yes or No): Sunday election days; online voting to be allowed, four equal lower Parliaments for four nations with a Senate over the top (so good bye the House of Laughs aka Lords), no fixed term Parliaments; compulsory voting; an end to first past the post elections; a move to unitary authorities so farewell to fourth rate borough councils and county councils; you get the drift.

Why should we not have a chance in this internet age to vote on it? Parliament is risk averse. Very soon, we will have no veto at the United Nations, we might not be a member of the EU and we will be a lesser voice in NATO. We are sleepwalking to being a third world country.

David Cameron deserves congratulations on his win but if he wants his place in history he needs to provide in his second term a touch of Machiavelli, a smidgen of Bismarck, an ounce of Churchill and a vision for our nation.


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