Someone at church yesterday morning asked for my opinion on the General Election. “I’m not referring to it as a General Election,” I said. “I’m calling it a Non-specific Election!”
I remember the enormous excitement of Labour coming to power in 1997, having brought the Conservative Party’s 18 years of government to an end. I was living in London at the time, and I remember walking to work the following morning, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and it felt like a brave new world. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
Last Friday, on the morning after this most recent election, I also felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Except this time someone had removed the labels from all of the presents and nobody knew what they were getting!
It’s an exciting time in British politics. I’m not surprised that parliament in hung, although to be honest following the recent MPs’ expenses scandal I’m a little surprised that it didn’t end up as a hanged parliament!
That no party has an overall majority seems to me to be in keeping with a fragility in our confidence in politicians at the moment. What was it, 65% of the British population turned out to vote? Presumably the other 35% were still queuing in the rain at 22:00 when the polls closed. Or perhaps they’d just given up hope in politics altogether.
But to my mind what doesn’t seem fair is that while Labour received 29% of the vote and won 258 seats, the Liberal Democrats received 23% of the vote and won only 57 seats. It would appear that that extra 6% of the vote somehow translates to 201 seats. How does that work, then? Maybe we do need political reform after all.