Tuesday, May 11, 2010

David Cameron Becomes British Prime Minister.

Hopefully, by tomorrow all of this will make more sense.

As I drove into town this morning, knowing that only last night Clegg had asked Brown if he could formally open negotiations with the Labour party, on the radio certain Blairite MP's were loudly stating that Labour should not do a deal with the Lib Dems.

By the time I was driving home, having been deprived of news sources because of meetings all day, the deal with Labour was in tatters and Cameron we were told was getting ready to head off to Buckingham Palace. Mandelson insists that Labour wanted the deal:

However Labour's Lord Mandelson told the BBC they had been "up for" a deal with the Lib Dems, but they had "created so many barriers and obstacles that perhaps they thought their interests lay on the Tory side, on the Conservative side, rather than the progressive side".

After it became clear the talks had failed, Mr Brown tendered his resignation and said he wished the next prime minister well.

In an emotional resignation statement outside Number Ten, Mr Brown thanked his staff, his wife Sarah and their children, who joined the couple as they left for Buckingham Palace.

None of us know what has gone on here or what has happened. The BBC have just reported that the deal between the two sides will have to be approved by both of their parties respectively, but shouldn't that approval have been given before Cameron and Brown both headed off to the palace?

What has happened to proportional representation? Has Clegg been given this by the Conservatives? They are saying Labour wouldn't do a deal, but the deal for a referendum on proportional representation was already on Labour's table, so the messages coming out at this point are simply confusing.

And what deal the Tories have come to with the Lib Dems appeared to be unknown even to Simon Hughes if what he has just been saying on the BBC News is to be believed. He is saying that he has no idea what the deal consists of.

The facts as we know them are as follows.

Brown left office with great dignity, and Cameron entered speaking fluently without notes.

Although, at times like this, I always remember that Margaret Thatcher quoted a prayer from Saint Francis of Assisi when she entered office:
‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’.
No leader of the British Isles ever brought more discord and despair than Thatcher did, so I take the words stated on the steps of Number Ten when a new leader enters office with a huge pinch of salt.

Hopefully, over the next few days we will find out just what exactly has occurred here. But both Mandelson and Ed Balls gave off the feeling that they were slightly relieved when they appeared on the BBC News tonight, although it's possible that I am reading too much into that.

As to whether or not Clegg baulked when the moment came to deliver PR for his party, there is simply too little known at this moment to comment.

What I do know is that Cameron is now PM and that, hopefully, Clegg will be able to hold back the worst of his excesses.

The story of what occurred behind the scenes is so far completely unknown.

But I feel sure that, over the next few days, we will all be talking about very little else as the story of these manoeuvrings finally creeps out.

So far, even their own MP's are apparently still unaware of the deal, so what chance do the rest of us have?

But I, as a Labour supporter, feel no disappointment tonight. I would have thought Clegg would find Labour a more natural ally than the Tories, but he has now aligned himself with the other side.

It's far too early to comment on whether he should or shouldn't have done what he has done, as we don't yet know all the details. But Clegg has, for better or for worse, aligned his future with David Cameron's.

If he can hold back the worst of the economic savagery which Cameron's government has discreetly promised, I will applaud him.

But the problem I have with all of this is that I simply know of no-one who voted Liberal Democrat hoping to get David Cameron. Over the next few days we should begin to find out why Clegg has gone against the political DNA of his own party. I will try, at this point, to remain fair; he may yet have his reasons...

But they better be good.

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