Despite all of this, many people still went into last week's elections thinking that the country would support a change in the way we vote and would slap the Tories down as hard as they were going to the Libdems. Talk before the election was that the Tory party would lose 1000 seats, the Libdems 500 and Labour would be the big winners. None of that, quite amazingly, happened. The Tories actually gained seats and control of councils; Labour were shunned in a Scotland that is growing further and further away from mainstream politics, won in Wales and made headway in the North and some unexpected areas, but overall, the only victor was the Conservative party - no escaping the fact, regardless of how bitter it makes me feel.
My take on this chain of events is for a while the AV referendum was a definite Yes vote; but there were obviously more people, like me, intending to use the vote as a political weapon rather than as a way forward. 67.9% of the people who voted were unanimous in their wish to say No.
The Human Shield analogy has been raised a lot and probably is correct. The Tories exploited Clegg's unpopularity; the lack of cohesion within the Labour party, that essentially saw safe Labour MPs vote Yes and those in marginals opt for No. This isn't an exact science, but if you look at the figures you will see a definite trend. I think what happened was bizarrely the core of Libdem voters are not actually liberals; there's a huge percentage of them that are either disillusioned Labour or Conservative voters, unhappy with the way the party they support is operating at that moment. Socially conscious Conservatives and right leaning Socialists vote Libdem, but went back to their spiritual homes for these elections. The Liberal Democrats aren't finished, but they're not going to be in the game if they survive the coalition's 5 year plan. Nick Clegg better hope for a knighthood or a peerage because he's not going to keep his seat at the next election. His kids are going to be asking why Papa is at home all day every day, growing his hair, not shaving and becoming fixated with Jeremy Kyle.
Political commentators are saying that the Tories are almost hoping to be able to call a snap General Election, because the feeling at Millbank is they would win it with a healthy majority; but the NHS is a key debate at the moment and no one, even Tories, trust their party with the health of the populace; the NHS could mean they end up not winning outright again and the prospect of a Labour, Scottish National Party, LibDem pact becomes all too apparent.
What the No vote might have done to English politics is turn it back into a two party nation, at least for the next generation. With Scotland and Wales having more appointed politicians than most corporations have directors - MPs, members of the Welsh Assembly, MSPs, mayors, councillors, parish and district councillors - that country is becoming more synonymous with politicians than leeks and sheep!
What a No vote did was keep fringe politics where it was and in the case of the BNP that is a good thing, but what about the Green Party? In an ideal world, every council in Britain should have two or three Green councillors. But, you see, we have to accept that the BNP have representation in these lands. We might find it and the people who follow the politics abhorrent, but this is, the last time I looked, a free country and we're tolerant even if the target of our ire isn't. Perhaps the question on May 5th should have been to decide whether or not council elections should be decided by PR - Proportional Representation. Then a four term study over 16 years could decide if it works and whether or not there was the ability to introduce it as an alternative vote. The councils run the country on a daily basis, surely that would have been the logical place to start with a voting and electoral reform idea? 20 years sounds like a long time, but I remember 1991 like it was yesterday...
The Lib Dems are going to hold onto what they've got and will make a good, if not vainglorious, attempt at looking like they are tempering Tory excesses; they'll get concessions on bills, but you can bet your life the concessions will already have been decided by the Tory policy makers before the Liberals make them. I expect politics to take a turn in the calm waters of wait and see; I don't expect much to happen for the next few months; the Treasury will sit back and watch to see if their radical plans are working and there'll be the occasional dog fight, probably to do with lack of services or a new Lansley idea to be torn to shreds by the left. The first year of this coalition is over and it's still alive; it's probably best for all nothing much happens for a while.
When Sean Connery returned to the Bond film franchise, the film he made reflected what he'd said in the late Sixties when he quit the role - Never Say Never Again. Throughout my life I've fallen victim to these four words on numerous occasions.
My intention is to take a break from this blog. I'm feeling a mixture of disillusionment about politics and struggling to come to terms with my own impending redundancy, because of the cuts. The politics thing is because I think it's all a bit pointless at the moment. I know that's a cop out and we should have challenging voices all the time, but factor in my personal position and you can understand why, hopefully.
I'm not closing it down and I will probably still post links and will be incensed by something enough to get my soapbox out. This has never been a regular thing, any how, but it's likely to get more irregular. My other two blogs are different beasts; one is already finished and just gets automatically posted and my personal blog isn't going anywhere.
Let's all hope it doesn't get worse, eh?