Who wants a coalition of the losers?
Alastair Campbell probably does
I’ve refrained for a couple of days from expressing any opinion on the current round of horse trading ostensibly between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats but the stage of thinking in terms of the “national interest” has now passed. Events of the past few minutes confirm that the “interest” is purely political, and when Bad Al Campbell comes out spinning for Brown we all know it’s political.
If this is the level of sensible discussion which ensues during periods when no political party has an overall majority then I’m afraid the Liberal Democrats can go and swing, and take their arguments for proportional representation with them. I’m not sure that Nick Clegg is really big enough to be involved in the mechanics of government after the revelation earlier to day that he and his negotiators had had a secretive meeting with Gordon Brown, nothing wrong with meeting him and keeping him up to date, but one would have thought that with such heavy issues at stake that he would have had the decency to inform David Cameron and the Conservative team in advance. How does he expect to build any coalition of trust, with any party, if he manoeuvres around behind the players backs?
If Clegg and the Lib-Dems decide now to back out of any agreement with the Conservatives to join a coalition of losers, they must surely realise that there will be severe consequences from the electorate at the next general election which will not be far away. With Brown deliberately throwing a spanner in the works by announcing his intention to resign as Labour leader (in September) he is offering the Liberal Democrats a path to join Labour in government. It is quite clear that we would then be governed for a while longer with Gordon Brown remaining as Prime Minister after an election in which he led his party to the worst results in decades losing vote share down to the level of the Michael Foot years, and losing almost a hundred Labour seats. It is inconceivable that the voters will accept him remaining in office propped up by Nick Clegg only to be replaced by yet another Labour leader who didn’t face the judgement of the electorate. The situation would be obscene.
Let’s hope that Nick Clegg sees the obscenity in this scenario, and lets hope that he understands that if events move in that direction his loss of six seats last week will pale into insignificance compared to the losses his party will suffer at the next election!
The whole drawn out affair of traded deals done in the back rooms of Admiralty House or the Cabinet Office are proving to be a great advert for why we DON’T need proportional representation, the stable government that we need would not be delivered as policy after policy would have to be traded away by one side or another. Just what would be the point of writing a manifesto and presenting it to the voters at an election if half of it was to be scrapped in Monopoly style horse trading a couple of weeks later. This would NOT be the way to improve the level of trust between politicians and the public.
I understand that the Conservatives have now offered a referendum on sort of PR system to the Lib Dems, I hope they draw a line and say no more, no further – they are starting to make themselves look desperate.
I would rather The Queen invites David Cameron to form a minority government than carry on trying to find the “national interest” with players like Brown and Clegg who seem to be proving themselves to be the losers they were last week.