Nick Clegg, in an interview with the Independent that went out yesterday, said that a Tory minority government would be “chaos”. Strong words; I thought I’d try and think about this objectively and see just how chaotic a Tory minority government would actually be – if at all.
Looking at the first bit of what Nick said, regarding being held hostage by UKIP and the far right of the Conservative Party, he has at least half a point here. I’ve said many times before I expect UKIP to end up with the grand total of one seat in the House of Commons after May 7th, so I don’t think they’ll be a factor. But without question, if UKIP did manage to get anywhere north of 10 seats, and the Tories could just scrape by with them and perhaps the DUP on occasion, that really would be chaos. There would be a quick EU referendum that could go any which way; the right of the Conservatives would undoubtedly team up with UKIP to try and foil anything sensible. So yes, it would probably be a nightmare.
See here’s the thing: most of the Tories the public will have heard of you and I may agree or disagree with on may things, but they are for the most part fairly presentable. I even agree with some of them on several things. However, there are about 50 Tory MPs, and if anything I’m being kind to them with that figure, who I would characterise as on the verge of psychiatrically unwell. They aren’t even that fiscally conservative, a lot of them – they crave exit from the EU at any cost, mostly because they don’t like the idea of foreigners getting to come and work here. Anything vaguely socially progressive usually gets tarred with the brush “political correctness” amongst this set – these guys (and gals, but they are mostly male) have “nasty party” emblazoned on their hearts.
Which is why a slender Tory majority scares me more than a Tory minority propped up by other right-wingers. Because such a majority would be so fragile – and the loons would be fully aware of how much power they possess. Then you’d see real chaos. Cameron needs to get something vital done on housing? The loons will let him have it if he brings the death penalty back. Cameron needs to get a budget passed that doesn’t have as many cuts as they’d like? Another £20 billion out of welfare or an immediate cessation of anyone non-British being allowed into the country for any reason, including tourism. Take your pick, Dave. Some will say I’m being melodramatic, exaggerating the Tory Right’s horridness to effect, but I’m not – they really are that weird.
In the interests of fairness, Miliband would have similar problems with the left of his party if he had a slender majority. That scares me too. But not as much as the right of the Conservative Party calling the shots. A small amount of fiscal stupidity the country can survive – a wholesale attempt to return the country to the 1950s would, on the other hand, be horrific in the extreme. In conclusion: I’d welcome a Tory-DUP deal (welcome isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean) over a slim Tory majority, definitely. At least the DUP would simply act in self-interest most of the time, so there’d be some logic involved.