With just one seat left to declare the Tories have 306 seats (and are likely to win the last one too); Labour has 258; the Lib Dems 57 with other parties holding the remaining 28 seats. Discussions have been on going between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems – between them they would have an overall majority of 70+ seats over the other parties. So far so good, eh? Mathematically at least there’s a workable (comfortable) majority in the House of Commons – of course Sinn Fein offer no opposition in the House of Commons as they don’t sit so it’s even better than that.
HOWEVER, there are some fundamental policy differences between the Tories and the Lib Dems. Not least the issue of electoral reform. The Lib Dems have long been wedded to the idea of electoral reform – why wouldn’t they be, they’re a party which is capable of winning around a quarter of the vote which translates into less than 10% of the seats. Mmm, go figure. In the constituency that I live in the Tories won the seat with just over half of votes, with the Lid Dems in second with around 20% of the vote. 20% represents around eleven thousand voters who plumped for the Lib Dems yet effectively they have no voice. The Conservatives on the other hand are dead against electoral reform and to be fair, it is a little like turkeys voting for Christmas. For them it would represent electoral suicide – it’s extremely unlikely that there’d ever be another Tory administration. Even Margaret Thatcher in the 1983 election when the Tories gained a whopping 61.6% of the seats, they only had 42.3% of the popular vote. That time, Labour in combination with the SDP/Liberal Alliance took over half of the popular vote, yet ended up with just 35.7% of the seats.
There are other issues of course, the budget deficit (aka National Debt), education, defence, Europe, the NHS, transport and so on and so forth. For my two penn’orth I reckon that electoral reform could be the biggest issue and a potential deal breaker, but then I’m just one voter out of 30 million and no expert to boot – so what do I know?