Who lost the elections? Conservative ideology comprehensively lost. Only just over a third (36%) of the British electorate voted Tory, a handful voted for Ulster Unionists and the BNP were routed.
By our arithmetic that means that around 60 per cent of the electorate voted for anyone but the Tories: Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, and Sinn Fein or the SDLP. This is not the story you would pick up from today’s headlines as the British press line up behind the Times front page statement that Cameron:
“has earned the moral right to govern”.
What gives him this moral right? Certainly many people were angry with Labour, angry with Gordon Brown, and angry that he had led us into the heart of a financial crisis. Brown’s popularity was at a very low ebb but, when faced with the choice of just how to get rid of him, remarkably few people decided that the Conservatives were the way to go. The raw figures demonstrate that the Tories were nearly four million votes short of their position the last time they governed the country in 1992.
The Conservatives are unlikely to give the Lib Dems what they want: a referendum on electoral reform. If they did so, then we could look forward to a time when everyone voted for the party they actually wanted to see run the country.
From there coalitions would be built as they are in most other European countries. The reason that the Conservatives hesitate to go down this road is quite simple. British electoral figures demonstrate that most people would favour a progressive coalition– not a conservative one.