Only a relative few will even remember the events of 43 years ago, including me, though I was alive (!) but, in terms of ‘general elections’, the buzz phrase of the moment, it was pretty shambolic.
The election that year took place on 28th February but turned out to be the first of two in that year. The election , like last Thursday’s did not produce an overall majority for the winning party in the House of Commons. There was, therefore, a ‘hung’ parliament.
The Tories, under the leadership of Edward ‘Ted’ Heath ( pictured above) were expected to win ( sound familiar?). However, Labour ( led by Harold Wilson) actually won the greatest number of seats ( unlike in 2017). The election saw Northern Ireland deviating considerably from the UK in stark contrast to the present day when they appear, at least on the face of it, to hold many of the cards which may shape the immediacy of how our country will be governed.
(Harold Wilson who won the greatest number of seats in 1974)
An examination of some other statistics from ’74 shows some familiarities with the present day. The SNP achieved considerable success – the Nats were not the force then, by any means that they are now and I suspect, with Scotland then being a Labour fortress it would have been utterly inconceivable in the early-mid 1970s to consider that they ( the Scot Nats ) would become the dominant force in Scottish politics with Labour a measly third, wait for it, behind the ‘enfant terrible’ of Scottish political life, the Conservatives. Yes, it was not a ‘good night’ for the SNP as Sturgeon herself freely admitted but they are still in power in Scotland, considerably ahead of all others.
Indeed, in a quite extraordinary development last week, the resurgence of the Tories in Scotland, led by Ruth Davidson ( surely now destined for greater things within the UK-wide Conservatives), has resulted in Theresa May having any mandate at all to even consider entering a coalition. Who’d have thought it remotely possible that the erstwhile despised Tories in Scotland would receive a major pat on the back from Westminster along with a hearty ‘Cheers wee Ruth’ from Theresa herself.
So what of this attempted coalition with the DUP from Northern Ireland?
It surely cannot work – when one considers all that the Northern Ireland party stands and which is at odds with almost every party over in the UK, including the Tories.
With the incumbent, unelected PM hanging on by her fingernails, it seems likely that she will soon be the ‘former Prime Minister’ and, wait for it, Britain may find itself going to the polls again later in 2017. Of course the Tories won’t want to see that happen as many believe Jezza Corbyn would be ensconced in No. 10 in time for his turkey dinner on 25th December. But, a coalition with a party that has a :-
- pro-Brexit stance ( contrary to how the people of Northern Ireland voted)
- staunch anti-gay marriage views
It seems unpalatable to many but another vote – for Scots the 8th time in 4 years – may be the only effective resolution.
Interesting and very testing times lie ahead.
Who’d be a politician!!!
Thanks for stopping by.