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Kenny Dalglish for Prime Minister?

Posted on April 28, 2010 by

One of the most striking things about the current election is the BBC's total abandonment of even a pretence at impartiality with regard to the nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales (and other smaller parties like UKIP too), which is most obviously visible in the Corporation's determined exclusion of them from the defining theatre of the campaign – the leaders' debates.

In the light of protests pointing out that excluding what Ofcom defines as "main parties" in Scotland and Wales during an election is against broadcasting regulations, the BBC (and ITV and Sky, although the latter subsequently broke ranks – see above) hastily rebranded the programmes as "Prime Ministerial debates", and insisted that they were only for the politicians contesting the keys to 10 Downing Street.

The gigantic irony, of course, is that it looks increasingly as if NONE of the participants in the debates will actually be the next Prime Minister.

Indeed, only one of them even has a vaguely realistic chance. Nick Clegg won't be the next PM, because our crooked electoral system ensures that the Lib Dems will have by far the smallest number of seats. Gordon Brown has no chance of achieving a majority, and Clegg has already explicitly ruled out supporting Brown as a minority PM.

So right away, of the three debaters, we're down to David Cameron. His chances of achieving a majority also look slim, but are still just about within the realms of possibility, especially with the support of the Ulster Unionists. But time is running out for the Tories to build the sort of margin they need to secure a majority against the Labour bias built in to the constituency system.

If the polls stay roughly where they are, the most likely next Prime Minister of the UK is a Labour MP who isn't Gordon Brown. The exact identity of this hypothetical person is currently unknown. Alan Johnson has considerable support within the party, and has recently made fairly unambiguous overtures towards the Lib Dems about PR – something he also has a previous record of favouring and seems to be genuine about.

But other candidates including David Miliband and Ed Balls might also challenge for the leadership in the event of Clegg demanding Brown's head as the price of his support. The one thing that seems certain about this least certain of elections is that one way or another, Brown is going to require the services of a removal firm come May 7th.

An interesting thing about the governance of the UK is that the Prime Minister, like other ministers, doesn't have to be an MP at all. (Which negates another of the BBC's attempted defences, namely that Alex Salmond isn't standing for a Westminster constituency this time round.) If a ruling party – or coalition – wants a particular person in its Cabinet and they haven't been elected, all that's required is a swift ennobling so that they're a member of the House Of Lords, and they can serve in government.

In such a way was the Sith Lord Baron Mandelson elevated to a position of administrative power, and so could anyone else be. Were Labour to find itself with the fewest votes but the most seats, and with Clegg blackballing Brown, they could anoint anyone they liked as their leader. They could go for national treasure Dale Winton as a unity candidate if they wanted, and with Lib Dem approval Lord Winton of Sweepshire would find himself discussing the next Queen's Speech with Her Majesty.

Alternatively, they could go for a sporting hero loved in many parts of the UK. Kenny Dalglish would have support in Scotland, in the North-East (Blackburn, Newcastle), the North-West (Liverpool) and more, and he certainly has top-level managerial experience.

He's a born winner, but also statesmanlike in a crisis. The SNP would back him if their votes were also needed in the new coalition. (He's a national hero, and imagine how much it would upset all those Union-loving Rangers fans.) And he'd be at least as honest and straightforward in debates and interviews as the candidates we have now.

"Prime Minister, are you going to renew Trident?"

"Mibbes aye, mibbes naw."

We can but dream our dreams.

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6 to “Kenny Dalglish for Prime Minister?”

  1. Dean

    I think it'd be hugely un-satsifying for me (and much of the UK) if they included the SNP, etc. For the simple reason that: even if we wanted to, we can't vote for them.

    So the SNP are on, they win the debate, they're clearly the best party… oh.
    If they stood people in every constituency I imagine they'd have a claim that couldn't be challenged.

  2. Grant

    I'm beginning to worry about what's going to happen.
    Take a look at this page, written by an Nate Silver, an American statistics nerd(who correctly forecast 49 out of 50 of the state results in Obama/McCain and whose prediction came within 0.1% of the popular vote): 
    Look at the second table in particular. Based on some very realistic assumptions, he has the Tories really close to victory with Ulster support. This, or anything worse (just 10 more seats for the Tories) and we have the nightmare scenario of a Tory win, and the end of the electoral reform debate. Because you can be sure the news narrative will be that the people have spoken, we wanted the Tories, and in the end we didn't want a hung parliament. Your average joe will go back to being totally disillusioned, and probably voting Labour again in 5 years time for more of the same.
    It's probably too difficult to finesse this now, but I believe that if you're in a Labour/Tory marginal, no matter how much you want to up the Lib Dem vote to make a statement, you have to vote Labour to keep the Tory seat total down and bring about the Lib Dem/Labour coalition we want. I
    For what it's worth, this guy makes the same argument:

  3. RevStu

    "I think it'd be hugely un-satsifying for me (and much of the UK) if they included the SNP, etc. For the simple reason that: even if we wanted to, we can't vote for them."

    The sensible solution is to have a half-hour show after the debate, shown only on BBC Scotland, in which Alex Salmond is asked the same questions the other leaders were asked.

  4. Dean

    That sounds perfectly reasonable. I'd also have been in favour of a fourth debate with the three of them plus the Scottish and Welsh ministers.

    On the other hand, it's amusing that the Tories were part of the Scottish debate – do they even bother standing candidates there anymore?!

  5. RevStu

    Mm, indeed. The SNP's proportion of Westminster seats is only about 1% below the Tories' proportion of Scottish seats, despite the Tories standing in 100% of Scottish seats and the SNP only standing in about 8% of Westminster seats. So it's hard to see by what criteria the Tories were allowed in the Scotland-only debates, if the SNP weren't allowed in the "British" (actually English) ones…

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