4 May 2005
Tomorrow's Vote II - hang parliament! Tomorrow’s UK general election will have some world significance because voters (and abstainers) will take out their judgement on the main ally of the United States in Iraq. Without British forces by their side, use of the term ‘coalition’, for the US invasion, already stretched beyond spin, would become farce. Michael Howard leads what is currently the main opposition party (although, if the polls are right – a big-if - it may not be so after tomorrow). Rather than oppose the war he declared that he is even more for the war than Blair. He is for ‘regime change plus’, going in without a care about legality or weapons of mass destruction. We will see what the voters think of that in the privacy of their voting booths. Many of those who I know want a hung parliament. This would mean no single party holding an outright majority. It would force Labour as the largest party into a coalition with the Liberal-Democrats. For Blair this would be a popular defeat and he would have to resign. Then, under Gordon Brown, this genuine coalition would have to agree to introduce more democratic, proportional voting as the condition of Lib-Dem support. In other words, it would be a vote to change the system. An inviting prospect. Can it work? To deliver such an outcome involves taking tactical decisions about who to vote for in each constituency. These may not then add up to a national change. Instead, it could lead to a fix designed to benefit the parties involved, once that will then be more than likely to give another kiss-of-life to modernisation of the old regime.