Back to the Seventies
I asked an idle question on Twitter this morning: “Are we moving from long periods of one party in government to one-term governments as in the 1960s and 1970s?”
As is often the case, the responses were unexpected and diverting. First I had the usual pedants complaining that there were no one-term governments in the 1960s, which led to a discussion of whether the double elections of 1964-66 and 1974 could be regarded as single stuttered elections.
Which led in turn to the question of whether David Cameron in 2010 should have followed the example of Harold Wilson in 1974, and run a minority government before calling a second election in, say, October 2010. Would he now be governing with a small majority, or would David Miliband be doing so?
This was discussed at the time, most pertinently by Sunder Katwala. He concluded that the most likely outcome was another hung parliament, with the risk for Cameron that David Miliband and Nick Clegg would be able to do a deal.
So you can see why Cameron made the full, open and comprehensive offer. At best, if he had gone for the Wilson option, as Matt Hoffman pointed out, “he would have resigned in June 2012, worn down by stress”.Tagged in: contemporary history, Harold Wilson
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