I am sure that like me, a lot of you stayed up all night to watch the election results come in and by nine the next morning you were none the wiser as to who are new Prime Minister was. The country residing in the grip of a hung parliament the week that followed proved to be quite interesting to say the least.
Allegations of Gordon Brown squatting in Number 10, Conservative and Liberal democrat negotiations, Gordon Brown stepping down as leader of the Labour party one day, then Prime Minister the next , only to have David Cameron waiting in the wings to get his hands on the keys to that famous Black door. I doubt that anyone could of truly predicted the events of the 2010 election but as the Lib-Con marriage sets off on its honeymoon period what does this new alliance mean and what really did happen in that whirlwind week?
May 6th was described as a shambles as hundreds of voters were turned away at the polling stations. Since the law states that a polling station must close at 2200 BST, anyone who does not have their ballot paper cannot vote and this lead to a surge of late voters who were refused their right to vote. Such incidents were reported throughout the country, 300 people were turned away in Lewisham, South London and would-be voters in Hackney staged a sit in when the polls closed.
Voters were left waiting in Liverpool as they ran out of Ballot papers, Nick Clegg went to apologise to voters in his constituency of Sheffield Hallam as they were left waiting for over three hours and 200 prospective voters were turned away in Manchester. Extensive queues were blamed on record turn outs and staff shortages, it was also alleged that high numbers of people without polling cards, or attending the wrong polling station added to the situation.
An interesting tactic was also adopted in Yarmouth as both Labour and Conservative MP’s drew on 1,034 votes, in the local election. A returning officer produced a pack of cards and as election rules allow, the Labour candidate gained the seat after drawing the highest number.
But what about our former PM, the rejected partner in the coalition deal? This year’s General election seems to have provided him with more than enough stress. The BBC described him as ‘Long serving chancellor and short lived Prime Minister’ and as the Election results came in Brown could begin to see Labour’s grip on power slowly slipping away, their only hope was the liberal Democrats, but they too turned their back on Labour.
It was 4 days after the Election that Gordon Brown announced his resignation from the role of Labour party leader, in a bid to open talks with the Lib Dems concerning the formation of government. The talks with the Lib Dems fell through leaving only one possibility, resignation as PM. In an emotional speech, Gordon described how it was a privilege to serve and he wished the next Prime Minister well.
It came as a surprise to many that the man who once described Nick Clegg as his ‘Favourite joke’ would be so quick to beg for his support to ensure his place as Prime Minister. Never the less Nick jumped into bed with the Conservatives and the Coalition was made but what does this really all mean? Ministers from both parties are bound to follow cabinet decisions concerning any topic, but it has been agreed that the Lib Dems can abstain to vote on any issue where they disagree with the Conservatives.
This is because a vote against the Conservatives on the Lib Dems’ behalf would lead to the breakdown of the coalition, which they aim to make work for the next five years. The parties have issued a document containing the policies they agree on, but with ideologies so far apart it is likely they will disagree. Furthermore with backbench MP’s so used to battling it out it is hard to see how the new government will be able to survive.
Only time will tell whether or not the coalition will prove to be a wise decision on the leaders’ behalf. As David Cameron warms his feet in front of the fire of Number 10 there are many important decisions he and his party must face, can he ‘save’ Britain’s economy? Only the Budget of the 22nd of June will tell. Will the two parties honour each other’s policies? This is something no one can predict as the last coalition government was 70 years ago and the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have never before agreed to power sharing on a national level. As for Gordon Brown, his path remains unclear, but one thing is for sure, it seems he doesn’t agree with Nick after all.