Martin Wolf has written an article in the FT suggesting that the best outcome of the general election will be a hung parliament.
His reasoning is pretty simple. He dislikes English nationalists. And he dislikes socialists. He would wish neither in power. The consequence is his desire to have the ‘middle’ hold sway over either. He ignores that this middle includes, come what may, a hefty chunk of SNP seats, and I suspect he is little more enthusiastic there either. He might as will have said ‘Bring back Nick Clegg’.
But although I disagree with his logic I have some sympathy with his goal. I, like him, have little love for English nationalists and have no desire to see them in power.
I do not share his dislike of socialists, and see little to fear in anything Labour has to say, even if I (inevitably) do not agree with it all.
My wish is more pragmatic. Given where the polls start from (and I do know all the issues with polls, so there’s little point discussing that) a hung parliament that prevents a Tory government looks like a good outcome for the Left this time round.
Now I admit I am being generous to include the LibDems in any definition of the Left. Again, I know all the issues in doing that. But they are Remain. And they are not English nationalists. And beggars can’t be choosers when in many parts of the country (mine included) they represent the only way of preventing a Tory win, and I wish other parties would recognise that is a better outcome than the Tory incumbent. We have to live with FPTP.
And that is precisely why I think a hung parliament that might deliver electoral reform could be a good outcome.
Plus one that might deliver a second referendum.
And a Scottish referendum too.
And reform of the House of Lords.
And change in the role of the monarchy.
In between creating pragmatically close, if not wholly aligned, deals with the EU.
And delivering greater social justice.
No party is going to say this is their plan. That said, I really do wish that some might, amongst the tribalism, consider the greater good within the range of possible outcomes.
Most people in this country are not party aligned. Depending on where I lived in the UK I can imagine voting for at least six parties in this election. I have included Northern Ireland. And that does not make me fickle. Or a swing voter. It means I seek an outcome and would vote for the party most likely to help deliver it in a place. I am not alone. And a hung parliament might well deliver on my wishes.
I agree with Martin Wolf, but not his reasoning.