By Denis Campbell
It was pundit heaven! Its audacious timing sent global media outlets into a state of LIVE apoplexy. Looking statesman-like, Gordon Brown stood before his rolling music stand outside Number 10 Downing Street and continued the Conservatives post-election nightmare. By announcing he would step down in September, he gave the LiDem leader Nick Clegg a lifeline back to left-leaning safety which immediately began a round of negotiations to form a progressive government.
Tory Leader David Cameron, who fell a tantalisingly close 21-seats short of an outright majority, gritted his teeth and played nice with LibDem leader Nick Clegg for five days. He’d come ever so close to the door of Number 10 and now may fall short because Clegg’s back-benchers won’t let this mixed marriage go forward. Someone finally woke up and asked, “did anyone remember the nameplate principles on our door?” This would be like a group of US Southern Republicans forming a coalition with New England, liberal Democrats. Talk about your shotgun weddings!
But Clegg could not marry Labour with Gordon Brown in control. So now he has to face the prospect of a new, young Labour Party leader. So in a master stroke the street-fighter Mr. Brown flipped the process on its head to the highest bidder.
It was amusing to watch right leaning pundits insist Clegg must marry the Tories because the LibDems could not afford to go against the will of the people and become aligned with a 2nd unelected Prime Minister (Gordon Brown’s unelected replacement in September would become PM).
Left leaning pundits insisted the “coalition of the losers” would be a broad based progressive coalition bent on saving essential services. Wales and Scotland’s price of admission would be stopping huge budget cuts.
There was one pundit this am who called this a “change” election. It was anything but. Everybody lost because folks were afraid of Cameron change, did not embrace Clegg change and did not significantly defeat Brown change.
In response, the Tories scrambled and counter-offered a referendum on voting reform. Too little, too late?
To quote the television producer Aaron Sorkin (whose season ending episodes almost always are titled this), Oh what a day this has been. Or will it be? It should be quite fun to watch again today as silly season is remains in full swing.
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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