Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clegg Seeks to Spike Tory "Change" Guns

For yet another day, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats dominate the newspaper headlines. Perhaps the most important of these is Clegg's clear hint in the Telegraph that he would find it difficult to work with Gordon Brown. Wouldn't we all. The clear expectation is that Clegg would demand Brown's head as a price of entering a Lib/Lab coalition. On the face of it, that rather spikes the Conservative argument that only a Tory vote is a vote for change and that if you vote yellow you get Brown.

However, if that indeed happened and Clegg supported a Labour coalition headed by, say, David Miliband, it would be the second time in a row that Britain got a Prime Minister it had never had a chance to vote for.

So much for the new politics, eh?

The Sun carries "revelations" about a memo from LibDem Comms supremo John Sharkey supposedly about Clegg's debate strategy. Sadly it was nothing of the sort - just hastily scribbled notes on his performance in the first debate, but with no real revelations. Pity.

24 comments:

John Coles said...

The only person spiking Tory guns is the utterly inept Mr Cameron.
He has rejected the right of his party (and that must be worth around 5 percentage points in the Polls) and appointed retreads (Ken Clarke) and the gloriously inept (Gideon Osborne et alia) to the higher reaches of his "administration".
The sooner this horror of a General Election is over, the sooner the birth of a real Conservative party can begin.

Colin said...

Iain... is there not another possibility, namely that Clegg would demand the Premiership as his price? That would nullify any complaints that "nobody voted for him" as Prime Minister.

And please, don't keep bigging up that idiot Miliband. He's got no hope of ever leading the party or the country. He has consistently proven to lack any credibility and has the vertebral solidity of a jellyfish.

Dr Parsley said...

Here's a prediction - if the Lib Dems get the highest percentage share of the vote, then Clegg will be able to insist on being PM in return for key cabinet posts for Tories.

trevorsden said...

It would take weeks and weeks to elect a new labour leader.

And the question would be asked in the election process what would be the attitude to the presumed coalition. And just what would the libdems be doing whilst all that was going on. Would the libdems be happy to work with Ed Balls as leader?

Just how would this suit the Labour party? ie having the lib dems pushing a veto over who they elect as leader?

Has anybody, I mean anybody, really sat down and worked out just what all this hung parliament mguffin is really all about??

HampsteadOwl said...

Hold on a sec though, I'm not so sure Clegg's cunning plan would work.

As the incumbent PM, Brown would get first crack at forming a government if there were any kind of hung parliament, no matter how exactly it were made up.

But if Brown were forced to resign, I don't believe that the Queen would be obliged to call on the next Labour leader on the list - and in any case how would we know who that was - or even on golden boy Clegg. This is the British constitution we're talking about, not Britain's Got Talent.

No, in those circumstances, I believe that she would go to the leader of the party with the most seats in the new Parliament, and if that were Cameron then it would be his turn to try to form a government.

Of course, if Labour had the most seats (quite possible, even with the fewest votes) and no leader, then who would Her Majesty turn to. God help us, it could be Harriet Harman.

I hope those guys in the plumed hats over at Buckingham Palace are working overtime on this.

R Louis said...

This blog is becoming increasingly despondent and is starting to lose its sense of reason, accuracy and logic.

it wold (sic) be the second time in a row that Britain got a Prime Minister it had never had a chance to vote for

When has Britain ever voted for a Prime Minister? We elect parliaments and following this election, perhaps for once, we might actually have a government that the majority of the good British public has had a hand in electing.

Stephen said...

The question that the whole media seemms to be avoiding........

If Clegg were to get the most votes then surely he has a serious moral claim to be the PM.

Then isn't it a question of which people, Labour or Conservative, who would serve in his cabinet?

That would see the end of Gordon Brown. I think I'd be tempted just to say "deal" to get that.

Roland Deschain said...

"it would be the second time in a row that Britain got a Prime Minister it had never had a chance to vote for"

But we don't vote for Prime Ministers in this country. We vote for MPs, whom we then entrust to appoint a PM. I think everyone voting knows now that Gordon Brown would not be allowed by any coalition partner to remain as PM. Particularly if Labour came third in the popular vote.

I confess I thought that by now Nick Clegg's bubble would have burst. I still think it will, but whether that's before or after the election remains to be seen.

Grand_Inquisitor said...

Off Topic:

In the air, normality is being resumed, and on the ground as well with RyanAir being accused of trying to renage on its legal obligations to its stranded passengers. So no change there... rather like post-election politics will be?

norman said...

It will not be Miliband. It will be Harriet Harman as Labour lurches further to the left. Harman with her husband is a closet CND.

LibCync said...

Cheer up Iain. At least you got to meet Bucks Fizz!

britologywatch said...

Gosh, you're getting desperate, Iain! For a start, Clegg's 'hint' could just as well imply that he would find it easier to work with Cameron than Brown. But that doesn't fit with the Tories' current 'buy Liberal get Labour free' scare tactics.

And even if Brown's resignation was the price for a Lib-Lab coalition, we don't elect our prime ministers, we elect MPs, meaning the prime minister is the leader of the largest party. There are plenty of precedents of PMs resigning mid-term, with their successors not being elected: by definition, they can't be.

Anyway, don't shout too loudly about this or it might encourage people to vote Lib Dem or even Labour, on the basis they'd get a centre-left coalition without Brown! Definitely two for the price of one!

britologywatch said...

Gosh, you're getting desperate, Iain! For a start, Clegg's 'hint' could just as well imply that he would find it easier to work with Cameron than Brown. But that doesn't fit with the Tories' current 'buy Liberal get Labour free' scare tactics.

And even if Brown's resignation was the price for a Lib-Lab coalition, we don't elect our prime ministers, we elect MPs, meaning the prime minister is the leader of the largest party. There are plenty of precedents of PMs resigning mid-term, with their successors not being elected: by definition, they can't be.

Anyway, don't shout too loudly about this or it might encourage people to vote Lib Dem or even Labour, on the basis they'd get a centre-left coalition without Brown! Definitely two for the price of one!

norman said...

Libdems in this thread are hyperventilating. Clegg cannot demand Brown to go. If Labour becomes the largest party, Brown can be PM of a minority govt and if Libdems do not like it, tough. Libdems if they get 100+MPs know that that will be their maximum for a life time and if Brown govt falls, back to Libdems 60+MPs in the ensuing election. Clegg et al. want power which in crude terms means official cars, perks etc.. They will settle for Brown. Please remember, Libdems talk onething and do another.

neil craig said...

If the LibDems get more votes, even with less seats, they will be both ethically & practically in a position to have an LD PM. After all they are in a position to have a coalition with either party & Labour or Conservatives presumably aren't.

Actually, looking at the fact that "savage cuts" Clegg is considerably more free marketish than his party (& Cameron more windmillish & europhile than his) how much downside would there be for the Conservatives in Clegg as Con/Lib coalition PM?

How can anybody still claim that we can continue with the corrupt FPTP system?

norman said...

Clegg as PM is as much a delusion as me succeeding Sir Alex as Manager of Man United. The largest party in terms of MPs, not votes as the FPTP is still operating, will be either Labour or Tory. The largest party can operate as a minority govt. Voting it down by Libdems will see them back to where they were a few years go after the ensuing GE. Clegg will shut up and join the largest party with his mates to enjoy power. That was what their buddies did in Scotland.

Blackacre said...

We don't vote for PMs but MPs, so there is always a likelihood in this system that we will end up with a PM we have not "voted for".

LD Increase Taxes said...

As i have long suspected with this leaked report, Lord Rennard may well be no longer chief executive of the Lib Dems in name but he is still there despite his expense sleaze.

The Lib Dems are really a shocking party, they are the most duplicitous, sleazy, downright nasty party in politics - even worse than Labour. They Lie, cheat, accept stolen money and deception is written large over the label on the bottle. Add to that greedy, self interested, partisan neo-socialists who tailor make the message to every voter. In some respects the Lib Dems are the ultimate party of change as they change what they say between nextdoor neighbours, council wards and parliamentry seats.

The type of change the LDs advocate means the only thing in your pockets will be small change as they spend money on Big Government.

Straggly Dan said...

To me, Nick Clegg will be forever Private Pike from Dad's army. The looks, mannerisms and character are uncanny.

canvas said...

I think there is every chance that Nick Clegg could become PM under the circumstances that you describe, Iain.

Don't pooh-pooh this comment immediately - have a good long think about it..... you know it makes sense.

Simon Gardner said...

@ HampsteadOwl said...
I believe that she would go to the leader of the party with the most seats in the new Parliament.

Except that’s not how it works, really.

It’s whoever can command a majority in the House - which may or may not be “the leader of the party with the most seats in the new Parliament”.

Truly the British constitution and electoral system are a complete ****-up.

neil craig said...

Best of luck running Man Unitwed Norman. Your assumption that the LDs would have to support any minority government, however few its votes depends on assuming they would get wiped out in any subsequent election.

Suppose they came out of the election with the largest vote from the British people & after say 6 months both of the other parties were united in saying "it doesn't matter, we have an electoral system that gives power to us & we don't give a toss who the people voted for so shut up & do as you are told". The electorate would be angry & then some. I don't think I would want to be a Lab/Con MP trying to hold onto his seat then. Another 10% swing would give the LDs a 150 seat majority & the other 2 crying that the voting system was unfair.

This poll is a game changer - things will never go back & the official parties had best learn to go with the flow. This particularly includes the Tories who have had their heads particularly deep in the sand.

The only good thing from their point of view is that the LDs are a particularly loony party unlikely to be able to sustain themselves in power.

Eoghan said...

Norman - Brown could easily be forced out. If Brown's head was the price to pay for a Lib-Lab coalition, then the Labour party would bite Clegg's arm off to grab it. Everyone would be a winner: the Labour party (achieve coalition, get votes through, have convenient excuse to get rid of unpopular leader); the Lib Dems (actualy part of coalition which gives them power; Clegg avoids having to work with Brown; better chance of coalition working without collapse); the voters (get to vote for their favourite party, get Clegg in, still get strongish government, at least relative to a minority government).

The only losers would be brown himself, who Labour would drop at a pinch if it was the price for 5 years of possibly relatively stable power...and of course the Tories.

norman said...

@neil craig. I di not say LD should support the largest party. I do not accept the surmise that LD will get absolute majority. What I said was the LD will join the party in power, they prefer Labour always, for power. I know this from Scottish expereince. If Brown goes, then some one will be the PM who never lead the party and faced the electorate, like Brown. I guess Harriet Harman will see her chances as the best.