Now it’s official: there is going to be a Hung Parliament. Young Dave and his jolly good chaps are 36 short of a Commons majority, with 35 seats still to declare, so he’s going to come up short. Actually, with Sinn Féin winning four seats, and customarily refusing to take them up, the winning post isn’t 326 but 323 (the Speaker is bound to cast his vote in favour of the Government on a tie), but the Tories aren’t going to score all of the outstanding seats.
So what gives, now that the dust is finally settling? Who will form the Government? What deals might be done? Endless hours of fun will no doubt be had mulling over the possibilities, but the most straightforward would be for Pa Broon to bow to the inevitable, visit Brenda, offer his resignation, and suggest she sends for distant relative Dave.
Cameron would then have the opportunity to govern without doing any formal deals, as leader of the largest party. If he ends up with around 305 seats, there will be opportunities for him to lose votes, but if he bats sensibly and refrains from trying anything obviously divisive, he could manage for two or three years, enough time to show either that he’s up to the job, or that it wasn’t such a good idea to give him a try.
There would be enough votes within the opposition parties to stop him trying to neuter the Beeb and otherwise favour Murdoch The Interfering Foreigner, to nudge him towards some measure of electoral reform – even though his party would have to be dragged kicking and screaming in that direction – and temper any lurch into Europhobia.We might actually get a period of level and sensible Government out of what is being talked up as uncertainty.