Some of the advocates of a hung Parliament see it as a way of avoiding hard choices. Some indeed are starry eyed about a new kind of politicis that would result, with all the parties and politicians “having to get on with each other” and with the parties choosing the best policies from each for a coalition governent. Dream on.
In practise a hung Parliament could bring out the worst in many politicians. There would be a scramble for jobs, horse trading on policies to try to find a way of securing the most jobs for a given party, and an ultimate package that failed to tackle the deficit crisis because the easy way out for many politicians would appear to be spending more money they do not have.
We know Mr Brown wants to cling on to power. We learn today that Mr Clegg wants half the Cabinet posts in any hung Parliament for Lib Dems, so the bargaining has already begun in an unseemly way before the electorate have spoken. Of course it would be nice to have the Lib Dem tax cut without the large and partly unspecified Lib Dem tax rises, to have some extra front line spending on better schools or healthcare without cuts to pay for it, but that is simply unrealistic.
If we do not elect a government that is serious about controlling the deficit, the deficit will come to control us. The Greeks today are protesting and complaining about the IMF, saying the IMF wants them to cut too much. They should have thought of that before needing an IMF loan. They have lost control of their country and its policies because they overspent. There is a danger the UK could do the same thing, a danger intensified if we do elect a hung Parliament with too many new MPs who think they can borrow and spend other people’s money with a view to promoting themselves into the Ministerial limo.
It is a bit rich that the Greeks blame the money lenders who are coming to their aid at a price – they should be grateful that the IMF and the EU are prepared to lend them more at a lower interest rate than the markets demand. If they were wise they would get on with sorting out their finances, so they do not need the begging bowl.
Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU