Where Were You When Gordon Brown Resigned?

IMG_2534Well, two of the major parties that went into this General Election were promising change, and they have delivered on that promise, but not in a way many of us expected. 

Gordon Brown has stepped down, and New Labour slips from power 13 years after it swept to a landslide victory. When New Labour came to power, I was sat at home, celebrating. When Gordon Brown resigned, I was, rather prosaically, in my car, driving home from work and listening to Radio 4. While I feel no sadness in the political passing of Brown, I’m not exactly celebrating the arrival of Cameron in No. 10 either.

As I tweeted once I was home: 

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Appear to have left work under Labour and arrived home under the Tories…less than a minute ago via Tweetie

The truth is, no-one really knows what this coalition government will bring. We’re in unexplored territory, and that’s intriguing.

I have, despite myself, really enjoyed the days since the election. The possibility of something different has opened up in British politics – and, while that potential may turn out to be illusory, we are very much just at the end of the first act. We have plenty of drama ahead – the revelation of the full cabinet, the deals that have been done of policy to pull this coalition together, the fight for the soul of the Labour party in the leadership election – and thus have a long way to go until we know what the new status quo is.

If your heart and soul is in the Labour Party, you have reason to be despondent tonight. For the rest of us, well, we’re living in interesting times. Somehow, a party with a large, working majority never seemed very interesting to follow. This curious alliance of the centre left and the (claimed) centre right? This should be very interesting indeed.

My (Personal) First Reactions to the General Election

I've become something of an internal hung parliament myself.

The journalist in me is delighted.  Think of all the stories that will emerge from this situation – the political deals that will be done, the knife-edge votes, the constant possibility of a fallen government. Oh, and a second election within the year – two at the outside. Brilliant

Another part of me – the part that wants to buy a house and start a family – is a little nervous that we don't have a majority government, that the massive deficit will not be addressed properly, and that the markets will panic, harming the economy. A related, but far from identical, part of me is gutted that the LibDems didn't make more progress in the polls.

And a last, but vocal, part of me is glad that whatever emerges from this mess will be a government that will have to govern by consensus and debate, rather than just pushing their own, narrow agenda through with their majority.

As soon as a few of these parts of myself manage to form a coalition, I'll let you know. ;-) 

Holborn’s Burning (Briefly)

OK, I admit it. the title's a bit of an exaggeration. But we had the excitement of a small fire here at EG towers this afternoon. As best I can tell, a pile of bags of shredded paper somehow caught fire just outside our Holborn office, leading to smoke, fire extinguishing and the arrival of the fire brigade:

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The building security guard actually tried to stop me taking the last photo. Apparently photos of burnt paper in the foyer are a security risk…  

A Comparison

I am annoyed.

On Saturday night, some lackwit managed to clip my (parked) car, scraping and cracking my front wing. The damage isn't significant, and experience has taught me that even if it was, reporting it to the police is utterly pointless. So the culprit will get away scot free.
On Sunday evening, I made a mistake driving through an unfamiliar area, and ended up in a bus lane by accident. There's a bus lane camera right there, so I'll probably end up £60 poorer for an honest mistake. 
And the contrast between the two is exactly why so many people in the UK are feeling a rather significant lack of justice right now. Damage to someone's property: no punishment. Mistake with no impact on anyone else: £60. Britain in 2009.