diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 06, 2010

Vote2010: The pendulum effect

Post-war British politics has traditionally swung, like a pendulum, between the two main political parties. One of them gets in, everybody likes them, they do stuff in Parliament, people like them less, they get tired, they mess up, they get hated, the electorate demands a change, the other lot get in instead, and repeat. Like this.

The last 65 years of political power

Since the end of World War Two, the pendulum has swung only seven times. Churchill out, Churchill in. Wilson in, out, in. Maggie in. Blair in. And that's it. Bar a Lib/Lab wobble at the end of the 70s, the major theme has been long periods of political stability. One blue stretch of 13 years, a big blue chunk of 18, and the current red wedge of 13. We don't switch sides readily, or often.

Which begs the question: Have you spent more of your life under a Conservative Government or a Labour Government?
Let me tell you...

Born after April 1984 - Mostly Labour
Born in April 1984 - half and half
Born between May 1974 and April 1984 - Mostly Conservative
Born in May 1974 - half and half
Born in the first four months of 1974 - Mostly Labour
Born in December 1973 - half and half
Born between December 1966 and December 1974 - Mostly Conservative
Born in December 1966 - half and half
Born between August 1962 and December 1966 - Mostly Labour
Born in August 1962 - half and half
Born before August 1962 - Mostly Conservative

Thirty years are mostly red, and all the rest are mostly blue. Assuming Gordon exits Downing Street in the morning, today marks the reddest this list ever gets.

But tomorrow morning remains an undecided mystery. The pendulum might swing back, decisively, from red to blue. Or the pendulum might stall, somewhere in the middle, in unfamiliar hung parliament territory. And should the price of coalition government be electoral reform, that pendulum might stop, short, never to go again.

Do vote carefully. The long-term consequences could be far more wide-reaching than most are yet willing to imagine.

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