And now for something completely different

General ElectionAnd now for something completely different – to borrow a phrase from Monty Python.

For a change this week I will write about politics, not in the narrow dental sense, as I do most weeks, but how things may pan out after 7 May, a subject that has been in the national media for some weeks now.

Most political commentators are agreed that it will be a close result, indeed too close to call, although that doesn’t stop them (or me) from guessing.

The current state of play, in case you have avoided any contact with the media, is that the two main parties are stuck at one third of the voters.

One poll will see Labour edge a percentage point or two ahead, next poll it will be the Conservatives regaining the lead.

UKIP are on 12-15% and the Lib Dems on 7-8% with the Greens; if you are in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales the picture is different.

The consensus amongst political commentators is that no one party will obtain an overall majority and the party with the most seats will have to form some sort of coalition with one or more smaller parties.

If the experience of 2010 is repeated, this will result in the manifestos on which they fought the election being junked and a new ‘coalition agreement’ will be produced, which has never been put to the electorate.

In 2010, the outgoing Labour government had commissioned the Steele report and was committed to implementing it; the Conservatives had their own ideas for a new dental contract, but the Lib Dems did not mention dentistry at all.

The 2010 agreement promised a ‘new dentistry contract’ focussing on prevention and the care of children; all we had were some pilots based on the Steele report, which is what Labour had promised.

We are also promised the dirtiest campaign ever between now and May, which will be followed by them sitting down together to bash out a compromise to which two or more can agree.

I just wonder whether the adversarial system we have where just over half of the MPs have total control and the smaller half are reduced to doing nothing useful but simply oppose, is a reasonable way of being governed.

In most of Europe they are used to coalitions.

From 1966-69 Germany was ruled by a government of the two largest parties, as it is now under Angela Merkel.

Can you imagine Cameron and Milliband sitting round the same cabinet table?

Neither can I, but that would surely be more constructive than hurling insults at each other in prime minister’s questions.

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