Frankly I am a bit sick of everyone involved in this election.
Clegg and the Orange Book liberals are stitching up their activists who despise the thought of a coalition with the Tory party.
Brown has led Labour to their worst result since 1983.
Cameron appears to be immovable on electoral reform in a country crying out for it.
Our Press have probably taken the biscuit with their over-inflated sense of importance and utter removal from the material facts of the situation.
Twitter is a source of constant information which made election night all the more exciting but it also has a spectacularly high noise to signal ration.
The Civil Service however, have come out of this pretty well but of course at the expense of everyone else.
Here’s Sir Gus O’Donnell in February this year:
O’Donnell said he had decided to publish his guidance now to ensure there was clarity before the election. But he said he doubted that financial markets would be destabilised by a hung parliament.
So that is a no to financial market panic. In fact, it is a fairly polite nod to the efficient market hypothesis.
But are they right?
Dig beneath the figures and in the battle between one sensible man and the legion of dreadful journalists ensconced in the Mail and Telegraph offices has only one winner. Chris Dillow calls it
From any adult perspective, then, yesterday’s moves – as measured at the end of the day which is what matters now – were not especially frightening.
So that this one called for the Civil Service.
I’ve lined them up again. This time it is the Sun now taking on Sir Gus O’Donnell and the conventions set down and agreed upon three months ago.
The Sun have a strong opening gambit with this Front Page.
This leads Tom Freeman to this somewhat exasperated refutation.
There are two constitutional conventions that are being (perhaps deliberately) confused at the moment, most prominently by the Sun’s ‘Squatter holed up in No 10’ headline:
- If there’s a hung parliament, the sitting PM gets the first chance to see if he can assemble a majority.
- If there’s a hung parliament, the sitting PM remains in post while some sort of arrangement is being made, whether or not that involves him and his party.
Gordon Brown has, very sensibly, waived the first of these. But not the second. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both said that they want to talk to each other and to others in their parties about what sort of deal they might do, so for Brown to have stepped down already would have undermined all this. It would have either forced Clegg to back Cameron immediately and uncritically, or created an unprecedented vacuum in Number 10.
Of course what Tom has not done is divine this from the entrails of animals. Psephology can be mystical at times but it is all quite happily explained by that nice Sir Gus:
Gordon Brown would be barred from making major policy announcements if he remained as prime minister in a hung parliament, the cabinet secretary announced today.
In a sign of the degree of Whitehall preparations for an inconclusive election result, with no one party winning an overall majority, Sir Gus O’Donnell said that special rules limiting government action would apply until a stable administration was formed.
O’Donnell made the announcement to the Commons justice select committee as he published special guidelines for senior civil servants in the event of a hung parliament.
The recent narrowing of the Tory lead in opinion polls indicates that the election could lead to the first hung parliament since the inconclusive election of February 1974.
In a draft chapter of a new cabinet manual, O’Donnell said that the sitting prime minister would have to observe discretion about taking significant decisions. This would mean that the “purdah” rules, which restrict government announcements during an election campaign, would apply while negotiations took place to form a new administration.
So there’s no squatting there. In fact, Gordon Brown has no more power now than he did during the election.
So it appears we must abandon the Press as well as our Political Parties.
Of course the New Media will have got this right.
Oh, never mind.