Monday, May 10, 2010

They think it's all over, it isn't now

With a stroke of political genius, Gordon has struck a final blow for progressive government. Just as the Liberal/Tory coalition deal runs into some sand - not finished, but certainly delayed, he throws a giant Scottish spanner into the works.

With an existing promise of electoral reform - quite different from the lukewarm political reform being talked of by Liberal spokesmen - already on the table, Gordon has now removed a roadblock to a deal with the Liberals. Himself.

This has given the Liberals a stark choice - either leap into bed with a party that is, by nature and name not progressive, or ally with Labour for the good of the country and the political system.

If Clegg continues on the path of striking a deal with the Tories - which seemed a certainty this morning, but which has drifted over the course of the day - he will be making a choice about the future of the LibDems and there are some, perhaps many, Liberals who would find that outcome unpalatable. If the deal is done, the Liberals face a pincer movement at the polls, as their Labour tactical voters switch back or just stay at home. I guarantee that Lorely Burt would lose Solihull in an election fought under those conditions. Tory voters might also feel more inclined to follow their natural allegiance, so putting John Hemming at risk as his parliamentary vote is unquestionably blue Liberal.

And what of Dave? He is cornered. Either he has to offer quick concessions to secure Liberal support or face the ignominy of not securing the top job. If he fails, his party will replace him brutally for spending vast sums of money, exhausting media support and squandering perhaps the last chance for a solely Conservative government. If he does give in on electoral reform, will his party follow him?

And those who doubt whether a minority Liberal/Labour government could survive need to remember that the Tories would still need to assemble a coalition to defeat then. Not impossible, but it would require the SNP and Plaid to vote beside their enemies or for the various flavour of Unionists to come to the Tory party.

But what of Labour? Perhaps a period out of office readying ourselves for the next election - surely not that far off - might be healthy? Will the country thank us if we are able to throw together a new coalition and roll out a new PM?

Questions are all around us, but answers few amongst us. Truly, we live in interesting times.

1 comment:

soopemrouse said...

This isn't over.
I feel sorry for Gordon. he's a good guy. He did good. But he is not a politician