Not Saussure

September 14, 2006

Clare Short and a hung parliament

Filed under: Clare Short, Panic, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 10:02 pm

Clare Short is in trouble again, this time for saying that she’s standing down at the next election, at least as a Labour candidate; furthermore, reports the Beeb ,

She said she would campaign for a hung Parliament, where no party had overall control.

Labour should hold a third of the seats, the Tories a third and the rest should be made up of Greens and other parties, the 60-year-old claimed.

Understandably, since this means, in effect, she saying she wants some 150-odd of her present colleagues on the Labour benches to lose their seats in the next election, this has apparently raised a few eyebrows in the PLP.


I’m going to be fascinated how she goes about campaigning for a hung parliament; I live in one of the most marginal Labour seats in the country, so clearly she wants me to vote Tory — I’ll write to her and ask her to confirm this, just to be on the safe side — but is she going to get up a list of some seats where she wants people to vote Labour, some Tory, some Green and so forth? This should be fascinating to watch.

Moreover, I’m not at all sure that a hung parliament is what she wants. If past experience is anything to go by, the party that forms a minority government will go for another election as soon as it stands a chance of winning, and we’ll probably be stuck with one with a wafer-thin majority for a while.

In the best of all possible worlds, this wouldn’t be too bad a thing, since it would stop them passing so many laws to justify their existence.


What, however, the experience of both Harold Wilson’s government in the 1970s and the last years of the Major government show is that they’ll press on regardless, doing deals with all manner of back-bench oddballs to get their way. With the best will in the world, it cannot be said that the situation we had under John Major, when people like Teresa Gorman were suddenly major players because Mr Major depended on their votes, was a healthy state of affairs.

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