Wednesday 12 May 2010

Hung Parliament and Floating Voter

Events of recent days have reminded me of a couple of crime novels (‘entertainments’, he dubbed them) written by Julian Critchley and featuring a lawyer and M.P. called Joshua Morris. The first was called Hung Parliament – a very topical title! I haven’t read it, but Marcel Berlins, no less, gave it a good review. The second was Floating Voter, and I have a copy dating from 1992. It’s set at the Conservative Party conference at Brighton, and features the kidnapping of Jeffrey Archer…

Critchley was a backbench Conservative M.P. and a witty commentator on the political scene who wrote a number of books, but no other detective novels. He had no time for Margaret Thatcher, and the feeling was apparently mutual. He suffered from a great deal of ill-health in his later years and died in 2000. By that time, he had been knighted and then expelled from his party because of his strongly pro-European views.

As for the events which have resulted in a Conservative- Liberal coalition, to run the country for the next five years (although it would be a very brave person of any political persuasion to bet on it actually lasting anything like as long), I felt they could easily have been scripted by a thriller writer.

We have had everything, really – mysterious negotiations, audacious plots, alleged treachery, a Prime Minister who resigned twice in successive days, careers made and destroyed, and countless twists and turns. I’ve found it exhausting just watching from afar – those involved must be utterly shattered. What will happen in the future? None of us know, given the new government’s dire inheritance, and the fact that its members seem unlikely bedfellows. One has to conclude that truth really is stranger than fiction.


Morgenländer said...

We have a Conservative-Liberal government in Germany since last autumn which is not working too well. But then, Mrs Merkel is closer to the Socialdemocrats than to Mr Cameron, and Mr Westerwelles party is rightwing compared to your Liberaldemocrats.

Be that as it may, I hope that your new government will find a way to cope with the financial and economical crisis. And I hope, too, that the new administration will take human and civil right issues more serious than the labour government did.

Minnie said...

Julian Critchley was an elegantly witty and urbane a writer as he was a speaker: thoroughly civilised, and far from a philistine (at least one of the reasons why he disliked the Iron Lady, in all probability). I'd completely forgotten about it, but I read 'Hung Parliament' ages ago and would definitely and enthusiastically second Marcel Berlins' recommendation.
Yes, ouf what a roller-coaster of a ride this general election has proved ... even from where I sit. Somehow seems far more complex (doubtless because more media-intensive/more tightly spun) than its predecessor in 1974 (when I promptly did the decent thing and decamped to Paris for the duration, good patriot that I am!).

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

And what a fascinating book it would make!

Hannah Stoneham said...

Thank you for posting this amusing piece - a good way to distract me from acres of political comment!