May 12th, 2010

It could be worse

I feel the need to write something about the election, partly because all the cool kids are doing it (and, I suspect, have become heartily sick of reading them), and partly because given my rate of LJ-postiness I might not otherwise manage one during the lifetime of this government...

Anyway, I'm not exactly thrilled by the Lib-Con coalition government we'd ended up (my guess when I went to bed at 4:30am on election night was that that's what we'd end up, though I guessed it'd be more of an informal agreement than the fairly official pact we seem to have ended up with) but I'm not too let down either.

A big part of that is that I was already pretty disillusioned with the Lib Dems. I voted for them in the last election and was a big supporter at the time, but after their leadership fight and their repeated unwillingness to actually commit themselves to a left-wing agenda rather than scrabbling for the popular centre I gave up on them. I'm actually a member of the Green party now, not because I've become a rabid environmentalist (I don't oppose animal testing of medicines or the building of nuclear power plants, which puts me on the right wing of the party) but because they actually have a strong social-liberal agenda that's actually relatively practical. Not that it'll ever be put into practice, but if I'm going to vote for a non-viable candidate it might as well be one with policies I mostly agree with.

The one thing I really wanted out of this election was electoral reform, and thank goodness that the Lib Dems have retained some sanity and held to their guns on that one. To be honest, they weren't put in a particularly enviable position by the election results - for all their kingmaker power it was hard to see that the 'progressive pact' various people touted could possibly hold together for more than a matter of months; the need to placate the regional parties in the coalition by protecting their region from the worst of the economic cuts that are coming would have torn it apart even without the difficulty of trying to get 300+ MPs from five parties to line up and vote the same way. So that left a pact with the Conservatives, or getting absolutely destroyed in a new general election: between the backlash of disappointment over their failure to do well in the last election and the fact that people would be voting either Conservative or Labour in the hope of ending up with one of the two main parties with an absolute majority I'd have thought they'd be lucky to hold 45 seats.

And so we're in for a Conservative government restrained from some of the crazier/nastier right-wing stuff by their need to keep the Lib Dems from bolting. After 13 years in power Labour desperately needs some time in the wilderness to pick a new leadership, find their energy again and decide what they actually believe in. And with two of the three main parties and most of the country backing electoral reform I think we might actually manage it despite the inevitable screams of the Murdoch press - Alternate Vote is the likely outcome, which isn't PR by any means but does mean we preserve the link between constituency and MP, and the people retain the ability to vote out particular MPs (in fact, if Recall passes then that'll be possible even between elections). I was hoping they'd swap out George Osborne for Vince Cable as chancellor, but given the economic crisis and emphasis on the economy I didn't think it too likely.

Otherwise in the annual State of the Rob:
* Rob is good
* Rob now works for Cisco (they bought Tandberg last month, who bought the company I work for a couple of years back). As such I've gone from working for a 25 person start-up to a 65,000 person multinational, all without moving desk. Still having a lot of fun, though.
* Rob is off to California next week to meet the Cisco people in San Jose (and take the opportunity for a week's holiday in Yosemite and San Francisco beforehand).
* Rob will stop talking about himself in the third person now.