So after all the wild promises coming out the mouths of the candidates these last 4 weeks, we finally have come to the decision time, or should I say indecision time.
The only thing that is clear about the election results is that the people of the UK - as a whole - really didn't know which party they wanted to win the most, according to the first past the post rules of parliamentary politics at least. So we are faced for the first time since 1974 with a hung parliament where no party has a clear majority. If the winning party was decided by the majority of seats alone then the Conservative party would be the clear winners of the day, but as things stand (thankfully, being a left wing voter who really doesn't care much for the Conservatives) no one has really won anything. In the meantime we were left with the party leaders trying to cling onto the political hot potato, then flinging it into the air with scalded hands, whilst another eager leader tries to catch it with his red stinging fingers.
One thing that is clear, for all the - sincere or not - talk of change from the party leaders, the UK electorate have rather got that. We have had about 2 decades of majority governments, often with rather lamentable results whether it be destroying the rural communities; ransacking British owned services and industry; overloading public services with unnecessary bureaucracy, overseeing the rise of PC culture and the removal of responsibility from the individual, or just building up an unsustainable economy based on unfettered spending. Labour and Tory governments of the last 20 years have made a right mess of it, and perhaps one party being free to run amok almost unchecked with it's own agenda, should be consigned to the dustbin of history.
This also marks a fairer system for people in minority parties, who wish to get their constituancies' wishes across, and now have a better platform to do so as the big parties scrabble around for partners to form a coalition government. It's telling that the big parties were decrying a hung parliament outcome as a disaster; of course it is for them as they would no longer be able to wield the same level of power - quite a turn off in the world of politics - and their disgruntlement speaks volumes about their self interested agenda, whilst however for the little guy it's a great window of opportunity. Personally that strikes me as a real change in our system as it gets some fresher ideas across at least.
It was an interesting election night in general as hope, turned to agitation, to disappointment, to gloom, to head in the oven, well for many Labour supporters at least as the Conservative gains began to roll in with depressing frequency - or if like me you were hoping for the Lib Dems to make significant gains. It was as unconventional election as we have had in a long time, with a candidate getting injured in a plane crash, another getting in a punch up, voters, turning up in record numbers, being turned away from some polling stations which were unable to cope with the massive turnout and several big names in parliament losing their seats. It's been messy, it's been controversial, it's been different.
It's still impossible to say who will lead the country for the next five years. Gordon Brown has literally just come out to make some stalling comments, vaguely alluding to electoral reform, probably the first stage of Labour's political power play to get the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government with them. One thing is for sure this is probably going to continue for an uncertain number of hours, or even days and we're probably going to be left in the dark until they decide. Got to love democracy eh? But at least there's a slim hope for change in the future, and sometimes in politics that's the best you can hope for. Still there is a lot more to come yet.
So far we've seen Brown stalling, Clegg biding, and Cameron trying to snatch power while he holds the advantage, whilst making an inspired speech about how the Torys stand for hope, not fear; which got me wondering who does vote for that, and why we don't see a Fear or Terror (perhaps fronted by Adam Sutler from V for Vendetta, or Big Brother from Nineteen Eighty Four) party running for government. There are many deals yet to be struck, but I am tempted to see the effect the ongoing saga has on the TV presenters covering the story, as they decend into exhaustion from lack of sleep. I can imagine the polite persona, of a tired David Dimbleby with heavy bags under his eyes, snapping loudly and losing his temper at an interviewee who refuses to give him a straight answer, or a sleep deprived Jeremy Vine finally believes he is living in one of his matrix-style election visual metaphors.