Labour’s Regular (as opposed to XXL) majority is a good thing. Almost everyone agrees (except the Labour leadership and their whips, I suppose) that a Supersized majority of over 150 seats weakens Parliament and produces nasty democratic anomalies – bad laws like the hunting ban, control orders and ID cards, for instance.
Almost everyone also agrees that a third-term Blair operating within the limits set for him by a normal-sized majority and a badly dented political reputation will probably also be a good thing. He (and his team) will have to concentrate properly when drafting new legislation and work harder to convince his various constituencies of its usefulness. I’m looking forward to an interesting and bracing few years of revitalised and combative democracy.
What’s puzzling, though, is the generally bitter and twisted attitude of almost the whole political and media mainstream to the election’s outcome. Seriously, what were our alternatives? Try to be objective for a minute: would you – a person of good will, with an interest in the health and well-being of British democracy – have preferred the chaotic busted flush of the Conservatives or the half-baked political funhouse of the Liberals? Would you have preferred another Labour landslide? Or a hung Parliament?
Put your hand on your heart and tell me May 5th 2005 wasn’t as near to the ideal result as we could have hoped for. Democracy survived, showed its teeth in fact. The electorate, disengaged or otherwise, conspicuously failed to provide the prescribed ‘bloody nose’ for Tony Blair and British political life is healthier than it was a month ago. Now, for my sanity’s sake, can we stop whinging and get on with our lives?