What I remember of the political scene before the election was an all-pervading atmosphere of negativity. We had all the scandals associated with expense-fiddling, all the sniping, all the destructive criticism of any attempt by any politician to do anything positive. We used to get many personal and vindictive attacks on politicians just because they were of a different political hue. We appeared to have forgotten what democracy was all about. We appeared to have stopped respecting democratic principles.
Then we had the election. Times changed (thank Heaven!) and we found ourselves being governed by a coalition. It started to emerge that there could indeed be respect for opposing viewpoints, a respect of the right of people to disagree.
There have been a few dissenters – voters saying, ‘I voted LibDem to keep the Tories out, and now look what we’ve got!’
But those people missed the point. If everyone voted for what they wanted instead of against what they didn’t want, we would have a clearer picture of what the majority view is. I’m afraid I take the view that anyone who voted tactically deserved whatever they got!
If you wanted a Labour government, you should have voted Labour. And if you voted Labour and didn’t get a Labour government, it’s because Labour DIDN’T GET ENOUGH VOTES!
It is a bare fact that with the voting numbers stacked as they were, this coalition was the only form of government that was going to function in a stable way, and although I am not a supporter of either of the two governing parties, and although I believe that the policies of the Green Party are the ones which would work the best, I acknowledge that WE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH VOTES! We are, as yet, in a tiny minority.
So...yes...I support this coalition and wish it well.
Of course, we Greens believe that cuts to front-line services are unnecessary. But that only works if all the other Green policies are put in place. In isolation, to say that this government should not be making the proposed cuts is complete nonsense – they have to! In order to remain true to their election campaigns and their coalition agreement, they have to go down this road. Not our choice, but hey! You can’t win them all! For our Government to remain stable and get us out of the mess we are in, and to avoid further recession, and to maintain our current credit rating while the Euro teeters on the brink of going down the pan; and within the constraints that the majority of the country voted for by voting as they did, they have no option but to act in the way that they are.
In these circumstances, I really hope that the Labour opposition do as they promised, and provide a constructive opposition, and that all parties find a way of avoiding the old snarling, sniping, character-assassinating ways of the past, which drive the general voting public to distraction.
And this brings me on to David Laws.
It is unfortunate that probably the most competent manager of our finances in the government, more competent by far than either Osborne or Cable, has had to resign under the circumstances that he did.
I have never met David Laws. On TV he appeared pleasant, modest, self effacing, and highly competent. Colleagues on all sides of the house have paid him the compliment of confirming the view that he is a man of high integrity. His constituency is standing by him and want him to stay. The business of his rent, which has forced him to resign, has yet to be investigated and pronounced upon.
From the point of view of the National Good (and what other view should we be taking?) I would say that his departure is to be mourned.
From my own personal point of view, I feel some sympathy – after all, I confess that I have not always been a perfect human being!
What I do seriously criticise is the impulse from people who only read tabloid headlines, to point accusatory fingers, to rub hands in glee at another’s misfortune, to judge without knowing all the facts, to laugh cynically, without a thought being given to the damage it may do to the progress that the coalition has started to make along a path (not my chosen path) to economic recovery.
To those people, I say, ‘It’s time for you to grow up!’