The doctrine of the electoral mandate is a Constitutional convention of practical as well as theoretical significance. It is expected of serious national political parties that they set out their programmes for a full Parliamentary term in detail so that the electorate knows what it is voting for. Of course, no reasonable person expects the programme to be carried out exactly as described: circumstances may change and governments may have second and better thoughts. But nevertheless, in general, it is expected that parties should be as good as their promises. No one voted for the Coalition programme. It was cobbled together in a backroom after the event. The Coalition is in its honeymoon period. So what, it might be thought, if promises cannot be met, surely the Coalition must do the best it can?
Well, yes, but the public should be warned. The government is is in the hands of a group of people, mostly public schoolboys from wealthy backgrounds, who are unrepresentative of the electorate as a whole. It is revolutionary in intent. It actually believes that society should be changed in its own image. Under the cover of the need to sort out the public finances the Coalition is intent on dismantling the enabling state.
Among this group of people is Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education. Mr Gove is uniquely unqualified for this position in the government and indeed , I would maintain, any position. He is more than intellignt and generally sympathetic: he is an intellectual and a romantic. By this I mean that his actions are primarily governed by ideas and thus his grip on reality uncertain. Mr Gove, on behalf of the Conservative Party, made certain promises in the election campaign to maintain expenditure in state schools in which over ninety percent of all children are educated. He has no mandate to end the school building programme or to cut schools expenditure by fifteen to twenty percent over the Parliament. And he should not be dishonest. He has no mandate to finance so-called Free Schools out of the budgets of state schools and often against their best interests.
Mr Gove should resign if he cannot defend state education from the Treasury. And a warning to the Coalition. The electorate did not vote for revolutionary changes to their way of life, thank you for the thought. They voted for jobs, decent education for their children, for the welfare state and an NHS they could rely on. And they will vote again. On that you can be certain.