So that’s the General Election 2010 over and done, with more twists and turns after the polls closed than before. Today we were expecting more negotiations, before the first sign’s of rebellion from the newly re-elected New Labour MP’s signalled their displeasure at the deal being cooked up. Chef of the “Rainbow Alliance” critics was my own MP wee Doogie. Not long afterwards word began to leek out that the Labour/Lib Dem deal was over. Coincidence?
With no prospect of forming the next Government, Brown has put in motion the dance of the constitution, which sees the defeated incumbent resign and the victor called for by the palace. Curiously Brown has activated this dance before an agreement had been formally agreed.
As we have now come to the end of a era, it is a very different country to the one we lived in when John Major was ousted from government in the early hours of May 2nd 1997. We have a Scottish Parliament with some tax raising powers, and a minimum wage. And Have I Got News For You was still funny. We are now signed up to the court of Human Rights, which is a good thing. Unfortunately its an even better thing for ambulance chasers and lawyers. The gap between rich and poor has also grown as Mandleson described himself as “seriously relaxed” about people getting rich, while estates like the one I'm sitting in at the moment have just fallen off the clifface, riddled with drink and drug problems as ill-educated young adults maraud the place. The main legacy of New Labour has been it’s adoption of Thatcherite economic policy, which has left this country up to it’s eyes in debt while those responsible claim their bonuses.
These are the issues facing the new Cameron administration. So far he has struck an OK note, a strange mixture of Churchill’s “All I have to offer is blood, toil, tears and sweat” and Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. We have a huge challenge ahead, and hopefully the coalition agreement means targeted cuts rather than the scorched earth policy of George Osborne, Michael Heseltine is making these conciliatory noises. The £10,000 Income tax threshold appears to have survived. For many people, the third quote that sticks in the mind is one from Benny Barrett, Malcolm MacDowell’s character in “Our Friends In The North” - “Hard times ahead for the little people”