I was a total waste of space yesterday. Having stayed up through the night until 6am I was woken at 9 by the postman and never managed to get back into it again. Three hours was all I managed, and once I had accepted the fact I was up, it took several coffees and a long session under a defibrillator to get myself into any kind of state to approach the day.
The first thing I did was switch on the television, which was still tuned into the BBC. Counts were still being declared but a hung parliament had become the unavoidable outcome of the general election. Eventually all the counts were in and the final seating plan for the House of Commons in Westminster looks like this:
- Conservative 306 seats (+97)
- Labour 258 seats (-91)
- Liberal Democrats 57 seats (-5)
- Scottish National Party 6 seats (no change)
- Plaid Cymru 3 seats (+1)
- Others 19 seats (-2)
This is based on % share of the total votes cast:
- Conservative 36.1%
- Labour 29%
- Liberal Democrats 23%
- Others 11.9%
The Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, was first out the stalls and admitted it had been a disappointing night and that it was up to the Tories to make the first move to form a government. When Cameron announced a 2.30pm press briefing, Brown jumped in an hour ahead from Downing Street to remind everyone he was still in charge and would be ready to talk once the other two realised their differences. Then it was Cameron’s turn, exuding the look of a man already triumphant (reminded me of Salmond after the Scottish elections, actually) and talking up the possibility of a coalition.
I was against a hung parliament before the general election, but the circumstances in which this one has developed may just turn out to be a good thing after all. The SNP had a poor night and return with the same 6 seats as before, therefore a coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems will serve up a majority of 363, ergo, Salmond and his mob won’t be able to have that much of a negative effect on Westminster.
Why don’t I want this? Because we in Scotland live under a devolved government and many of the things this type of government can’t touch or are affected by, remain under Westminster control. I’m talking things like defence, immigration and the economy, and quite frankly I don’t trust the SNP with our fisheries industry so I really would hate to see how they would leave our national defences.
With that said, however, it will only be a productive coalition if the Tory concessions and Lib Dem promotions are specifically targeted, and in my opinion, manage to avoid the key issues I didn’t vote for the Lib Dems in the first place, such as immigration and their position on Europe. We shall have to wait and see.
Before I realised it I had been back in front of the television for several hours and had done nothing else. It couldn’t go on and I needed some air so I spent some time in the back garden cutting the grass and tidying up. Then the second dip came and after dinner I could barely hold my eyes open. I went to bed early with a book, a DVD and a bottle of Irn-Bru.
One note of congratulations to Mike Crockart, the winner of the Edinburgh West seat, who finally made it to the House of Commons after many years of standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate. As he’s now a Member of Parliament, I guess we’ll not be seeing much more of him around the office. Congratulations Mike!
Shortly, I’m leaving the east coast to head through to Paisley to see St Mirren play Aberdeen in the final match of the season. We’re all but safe, but a win to wrap things up wouldn’t only make sure of it but be a nice wee end to what’s been a traumatic season. Later, a 40th birthday party in an Edinburgh bowling club.
Enjoy your day. Peace and out!