There was a time when you won a small majority you were thankful that you were successful and then set out to widen your appeal. You wanted to broaden your support so that it would be easier to be elected next time and to build a consensus so that you could get others to support what you believed was right.
But this seems to have changed. Whereas messrs Major and Blair and several before them sought to capture the middle ground now it seems good enough to focus on the narrow interest of the left or right and then to rely on our electoral system to deliver a majority.
That’s how it is with Mrs May. Despite having a wafer thin majority in government she seems focussed on simply responding to the right wing of her party. No matter the over-whelming and public evidence of support to a Brexit approach that protects the living standards of our country. Where’s the listening, where’s the reaching out?
It’s the same locally. At the County Council we now have a small Tory majority. It’s small but, because of strength of the Tory whip, it’s big enough for the Tories to do what they want. No less. No attempt to explore the best way forward. Just a blind belief that their way is the right way.
That’s why you get abuse of the committee system with all chairs and vice-chairs being Tories, no joint briefings and block Tory votes. This is going to result in bad policy like the proposed changes to children’s centres going through without formal public scrutiny. It’s going to result in unnecessary decisions being taken about libraries. And it’s going to result in a blinkered approach being taken when it comes to deciding what to do about repairing the guided bus route.
It’s also why you get abuse of power like the arbitrary decision for the Tories to implement massive increases to their allowances. They’re saying we’ll take what we want despite millions being denied any sort of meaningful wage increase.
Of course working with and not against your opponents is more difficult. But really you should do it otherwise you’ve only got the support of a minority of your electorate. That’s what’s happened over the last two years at Shire Hall and really the Tories should have wised up to the fact that it was working and should be allowed to continue.
Problem is though it’s not macho to share power with your opponents but you really should try it. After all sometimes they might be right.