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Monday, May 10, 2010

Is this the election nobody wanted to win?

Halfway through the football season it became a pundit's commonplace to remark that this was the Premiership title that nobody wanted to win. If they wanted it, the argument ran, the main contenders wouldn't be losing so many games.

I feel the same about the election. The three main parties would probably prefer it if this weekend's negotiations could go on and on: Brown because that's his only hope of avoiding oblivion, Clegg because he suddenly has to decide what his party stands for (which will come as unpleasant surprise for at least half the people who voted for them) and Cameron because he knows that Mervyn King wasn't joking when he predicted that whoever forms the next government is doomed to stay out of office for a generation.

Although "the public", whoever they are, make noises about wanting the politicians to come to some agreement in the name of the national interest, they may also wish this cup to pass from them for as long as possible because they appear united in saying what they don't want (Andrew Rawnsley wrote an excellent piece pointing out that "there is both an anti-Conservative majority and an anti-Labour majority in Britain") and rather less willing to face an immediate future which is going to be tougher than anyone reading this blog has ever known.

We've already seen what Greece thinks of it all. This morning on the radio someone was saying that Spain's government is spending double what it takes in on tax revenue. And one poll before the election said that 75% of the British public thought our nearly two hundred billion deficit could be made up on efficiency savings. I wouldn't want to be the person who had to tell them just how wrong they are. Don't be surprised if the politicians keep talking.