Scotland had an higher than average turnout in the General Election, 71.1% against the UK turnout of 66.1%. Good, but down from the 84.6% turnout for the Scottish independence referendum. With the Scottish National Party scooping up 56 out of the 59 constituencies in Scotland they claim to speak with authority on behalf of the nation. It could have been a clean-sweep. In the Orkney and Shetland Islands they were 817 (3.6%) behind the LibDems. In Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale they were only 798 (1.5%) behind the Conservatives. In Edinburgh South they were 2,637 (5.3%) behind Labour. Disregarding spoilt ballot papers the SNP had a 50% share of the vote, but this only represents 35.5% of the electorate. When Alec Salmond MP, in an outpouring of exuberance, declared “The lion has roared” he was carried away with the 56 : 59 result.
David Cameron is extremely lucky to find himself retaining the position of Prime Minister following his clear, if unexpected, win in a marathon general election race. Buoyed up by that win he has sprinted at top speed into a hurdle race that is set to become a steeplechase. Clearing the Queen’s Speech and State Opening of Parliament with ease he now strides on to the vote on the Queen’s Speech and his Programme for Government. This is overly ambitious and the proposed twenty-one Bills are a series of hurdles that will turn what should be a short or middle distance event into a long distance race with the finishing line receding out of sight. In an athletic event the hurdles are either short-distance/high-hurdle or medium-distance/low-hurdle. Dave has made his task harder by mixing them up and risks losing rhythm and having to stutter-step as he crashes through some of the hurdles.
David Cameron wasted no time following his surprise victory in the General Election. No sooner had the starter’s gun been fired, than he was off to visit the Queen so she could formally ask him to form the next government. Within a week he had appointed the members of his Cabinet and they were meeting for the first time at Number 10 Downing Street; twenty-nine of them squeezed into the Cabinet Room and squashed around the table, elbow to elbow, for a photo shoot. In addition to the chosen 29 he has also appointed (London Mayor) Boris Johnson MP and (Conservative Party Chairman) Lord Feldman to the ‘political cabinet’ – whatever that is? This is where he has stumbled because he promised to reduce the size of government and he has not done so. He has not reduced the number of government departments, he has not reduced the size of the Cabinet, and he has not reduced the number of junior ministers and government whips.