Monday, May 10, 2010

Just When You Thought....

I hardly know where to start. When I sat down in Richard Bacon's studio at around 3pm, John Pienaar was reporting the news that Nick Clegg hadn't told David Cameron of his meetings with the Labour Party. Pienaar was pretty critical of Clegg and more or less said he needed to grow up. I thought at the time it was probably cockup rather than conspiracy. These things normally are. I know now I was wrong.

In this game you can't ride two horses at once. Conservatives who have taken the LibDems at their word will rightly feel let down by what has happened here. If they were going to talk to Labour - which they are quite entitled to do - surely manners and decorum should mean that it is done when and if talks with the Tories have irrevocably broken down? That point is far from being reached I understand - although with what has happened in the last two hours you could forgive Cameron from picking up the phone and telling Clegg to suck on it. But that would hardly be in the national interest, would it?

I think it is far from certain that the LibDems would be able to strike an accord with Labour. And even if the do, it only takes them to 315 seats. Could a traffic light coalition involving Unionists or the Welsh and Scot Nats really hold together for more than the few months it would take to carry suitcases full of English taxpayers money west and north of the border? I doubt it very much.

And will the British people really stomach a second unelected Prime Minister in succession, courtesy of the Labour Party? What was the point of the Prime Ministerial debates on TV? We were supposed to judge our future PM candidates.

Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell probably think they have pulled of a masterstroke by donning the mantles of men in grey suits and telling Gordon the game was up. But I suspect there are a few twists and turns to come yet.

A Coalition of Losers cannot provide the stable government this country needs. That much ought to be clear to even the thickest Liberal Democrat. How can you possibly go into coalition with a party whose leader you don't even know the identity of? What if a new Labour leader reneged on the terms of a coalition and called an immediate election on taking office? Have you thought about that? Well have you?

I am just hearing that the Conservatives have offered the LibDems a referendum on AV. This is exactly what Brown has already offered. The LibDems must surely realise that that's as much as they are going to get, especially as there is not a majority in the Commons for anything more. Listen to Tom Harris on this. He talks sense.

There are two good things which could emerge from a Lib-Lab coalition. One would be almost guaranteed Tory landslide at the next election, which would surely not be long in coming. And a second would be the virtual decimation of the Liberal Democrats as an electoral force.

Time to make your minds up my LibDem friends.

UPDATE: Still, we can be grateful for one thing. The LibDems have succeeded where a succession of Labour plotters failed!

78 comments:

Simon Gardner said...

I wouldn’t listen to Tom Harris on anything. He’s always been fiercely anti a democratic electoral system and was one of the people who scuppered Labour’s previous commitment in the 1997 election.

"We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons" - Labour manifesto ’97.

Anna said...

So much for Nick Clegg "honouring" his campaign commitment to recognise the right of the party with the most votes and seats had the right to seek to form a government. Apparently he intended only to honour that commitment provided a better offer didn't come along, and is chasing it before negotiations with the Conservative have even reached a conclusion.

I'm disgusted at Nick Clegg, and angry because because for a short time I was taken in by his "honour". What a breath of fresh air he turns out to be!

ollie said...

I think Clegg has let this whole affair go to his head, like the first debate. I think he is a fool - and today, his toying with the wishes of the elctorate is suicidal.

If he props up Brown - even for a short term - he will regret it for the rest of his life.

Jimmy said...

You seem to be under the impression that your party won a landslide last week.

If your view is shared generally then it explains a great deal.

robonly said...

The currency markets didn't like what they heard either, £/$ went from 1.499 to 1.484 in just over an hour. They don't think a Lib/Lab partnership would deliver the stability they wish for...

ollie said...

I think Clegg has let this whole affair go to his head, like the first debate. I think he is a fool - and today, his toying with the wishes of the elctorate is suicidal.

If he props up Brown - even for a short term - he will regret it for the rest of his life.

Lime_Smoothie said...

Well, its put up or shut up from Clegg now. The best he can get out of any party is AV. Its either the Tories or the cobbled together 'progressives'. If he declines either, then his party really do value their own interests over that of the nation.

FonyBlair said...

Hague sounded pretty annoyed in his statement.

I think Cameron should say make your mind up tonight or all deals are off.

That would leave the Lib/Lab pact to make the cuts they will be forced to make (against everything Labour have been scaremongering about) and leave the way open for a huge Tory landslide in 2-3 years.

Never trust a Lib Dem.

Liek you say....lonb the plus side at least we've finally got rid of the worst Prime Minister we've ever had!

Squiffy said...

Nick Clegg is playing with fire and I think he has made the biggest tactical mistake of his life.

If they can't form a coalition, we have an early election and the Lib Dems get punished. If they do, it will fall to pieces quickly during the quickly downgraded rating of Britain's credit rating. It will lead to a Tory landslide as you say. Greece here we come.

He is in the process of throwing away the chance of a lifetime.

john in cheshire said...

Birds of a feather...

Antisthenes said...

Best result really let Labour and Lib-Dems get on with it and we can all celebrate their demise in a few months when they are decimated at the polls.

However I think there will not be deal between Labour and the Lib-Dems it is mealy to maneuver the Tories into forming a minority government.

Hopefully the Conservatives will have the common sense not to try to go it alone as Labour and the Lib-Dems will pull the plug on them as soon as the painful cuts start to bite.

Magical_Mist said...

If they're going to do it then they should just go ahead and do it now, and good luck to them.

Paddy Paws said...

Iain, let us know when you hear about the march on Downing Street. It will make the Countryside Alliance demos look like a WI tea party.

Toque said...

The "Coalition of Losers" will also be regarded as a coalition of the anti-English because they'll be using the votes of MPs elected outside England to overturn a Tory majority in England.

It's for this very reason that Alex Salmond has indicated that he will break the SNP's self-denying ordinance on England-only legislation, Salmond knows full well that he can build up English resentment and create a crescendo of English grievance at anti-democratic interference by MPs elected outside its borders.

CathElliott said...

"We were supposed to judge our future PM candidates"

No we weren't, we were supposed to judge their respective parties' policies.

We don't have a presidential system of government in this country,so the PM is whoever is the leader of the governing party. No Prime Minister has ever been directly elected by the people, so I really don't get why the media keep harping on about this.

DespairingLiberal said...

We don't know all that has gone on, or is going on. This may all just have been a bargaining ploy by the LibDems - if so, it's a shrewd one. I suspect the talk of the Tories "not knowing" is just silliness - how could they not have thought there would be at least some contact? That's just Tory tabloid fodder.

A deeper concern though is that on policy, the gap between the LibDem voters and what they want, compared to Tory voters and what they wanted, is farther than you have said Iain. That's a key concern for both camps.

Martin said...

Great punch up between that vile piece of human waste Alistair Campbell and Adam Boulton.

Am I the only one who has noticed the large number of unelected Liebour types?

Mandelson
Campbell
Scotland
Adonis
Kinnock(s)
Bliar

And I see Billy Bragg has shown his ugly talentless face again in his purple shirt, shouldn't that rabble be in brown shirts?

Enough of the Tory mess Iain, call it a day and let Liebour do their evil work.

Dianne Abbott on Radio 5 just said the Lib Lab deal is a load of nonsense and won't work.

I suspect there are a lot of Labour MP's who feel that after the stench of the expenses fiasco that the last thing we now need is backroom deals to buy off MP's for votes.

Abbott wondered what her vote would be worth.

Rita said...

I have believed since Friday that the Westminster boy would not want to be a fag to the Eton boy and his mates.

When I heard a MP talk on TV this evening about Nick having "first dibs", I knew that talks are taking place in the playground.

Roger Thornhill said...

What did you expect? LibDems LIVE for such deals and consensus-building. A hung parliament was a Kleenex moment for them.

It makes them look like power hungry untrustworthy reprobates. A flicker of transparency, at least.

Oh, hold on, Shirley Williams has just come on the box - must get my sick bag.

Phil said...

Sheesh!!! Now is the time for cameron to just let Clegg swing in Brown's wind. Let's face it, the beneficiaries of this parliament will be the ones who don't take part. It's going to be a bumpy ride and cameron needs to bring his party through unscathed.

This is not a time for the juveniles in CCHQ to make policy; it is time for the grown-ups to start making progress.

Vijay said...

It would have been dumb for the Lib-dems NOT to have been talking to Labour at the same time as the Tories; by playing one off against the other, it strengthens their hand. The whole thing is a ploy to get the Conservatives to conseed more ground.

IMO they have no real desire to join with a Labour dominated "rainbow coalition" unless they offer Clegg himself the job of PM and Vince Cable as Chancellor.

terence said...

It is now clear that the United Kingdom is well past its sell by date; we now have a morally bankrupt Prime Minister with no mandate clinging on to power through casuistry of the law. England has different ideas of governance to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is time for an English Parliament to be formed within a loose federation to take care of areas of mutual interest such as defence; the English are likely to take this option when they finally realise that they alone out of the four nations are marked down for extinction. The circumstances in which our four countries joined together have now irreparably changed. Let us define the current status:

Great Britain refers to the result of the union of the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707. The United Kingdom was formed by the inclusion of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Act of Union 1800; then in 1922 with the creation of the Irish Free State, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Whatever form of words we use; it upsets somebody and lands us in the soup.

This conjunction came about as a response to a historical military threat from Europe and because of the mutual self-interest generated from a process of Empire grabbing, of which Scotland, Wales and Ireland played not an inconsiderable part. Both of these phases in our mutual history have passed away and we are now in a process of what may be termed "regression to the mean." We are reverting to type.

This egotistical power mad man holds all of us in contempt.

Mulligan said...

Iain

I'd be very careful about this - saying he'll stay on until September is no guarantee that he's actually gone. If the Lib Dem view of stable government is a coalition of 5 parties, each with their own agenda (cuts in Wales or Scotland I don't think so), rather than a two party coalition with a large working majority, then good luck to them. At least it exposes this absolute nonsense about "country's best interest"......

Robin Horsley said...

Shocking. Shocking Shocking.

Lets take to the streets. Anyone else feel the same?

Intentionally Blank said...

Nick Clegg could have come out of this looking like a serious player but instead he acts like a promiscuous sales rep, caught in a back alley with his trousers round his ankles.

But I suppose that's what you expect from someone's whose wisest council is Sarah Teather.

peterreynolds said...

http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/tories-need-electoral-reform-too/

We must not miss this opportunity. It is an Obama level of change!

Terry said...

I can't help thinking there's something wrong with our constitution that allows the leader of a 2nd placed party to remain in power.
Cameron should be in number 10 regardless of the alliances of the other two. And it should be his choice whether or not he wants to call another election or carry on as prime minister without one.
It's unbelievable, after the Westminster scandals of last year, that politics is still in the gutter. But, maybe that's where it belongs....

Neil said...

Iain, if there is voting reform, will tories get a landslide in the next election?

Englishman said...

Re: You seem to be under the impression that your party won a landslide last week.

If your view is shared generally then it explains a great deal.
--------------------
Errrrr in England they DID, which is basically the only place the so called "UK" Government only has any say over.

The Conservatives should declare a minority government, and not pander to the non-English Regions, who have their OWN government and OWN assemblies, if another general election needs to be called in a matter of months and if its a similar voter pattern the Conservaetives will get a so called "UK" majority and McLabour and the Lib Dums will get annihilated again.

J said...

This both ODD and absurd. Brown LOST.

There's a meeting on in No.10 right now that is demanding the IMMEDIATE resignation of Gordon Brown.

How can he head up negotiations when he's hated by Clegg?

Torontory said...

A Labour / LibDem coalition will mean that the Conservative 'vote LibDem, get Labour' will resonate for a generation. The LibDems would be obliterated at a subsequent election.

Michael said...

Would this mean that we could end up with an own g.o.a.l. (Government Of All the Losers)?

RJF said...

This is superb. Let them get on with it. Walk away.

So, the guy who came last in the general election with 23% of the vote is doing a deal that will allow the party which came second to appoint another unelected PM?

And meanwhile the third party puts party interest way above national interest in a time of national economic catastrophe?

Let them get on with Iain. Clegg has demonstrated fully that he is not a guy you want by your side when it gets tough.

Shame on you LibDems. I would have supported you to the end of the Earth to see you replace Labour as the official opposition and eventual party of government. But you've blown it. Back to the Davies and Grimond days of national obscurity and total irrelevance.

waymore said...

Lib Dems/Integrity: Oxymoron. Labour/Duplicity: A given
Message to Dave: Walk away!

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

This is just fascinating. Either Clegg is going nuts with power or he is playing a blinder. It might have been pointed out to him that his activists are far more left than he. If he had done a deal with the Tories, his party would implode.

Richard said...

We do not elect prime ministers in this country ... nor do we elect ministers. For goodness sake, get at least this basic fact right!

Simon Gardner said...

Boulton loses it.

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

This should be a great news day for the Conservatives, for Right-thinking people in general and Britain in the long term. Gordon Brown, the second worst Prime Minister in living memory (after Edward Heath) has finally announce he will resign.... eventually. This is a clear case of the LibDems dictating Government policy, and Gordon Brown falling (or being pushed by Mandelson) onto his rusty sword. If the Liberal Democrats agree to prop up this failed Labour Government, it would allow the Millibands or Balls to become the second unelected Prime Minister in a row.
If the Tories do not now form a coalition, it would leave them to free to keep to the moral high ground in opposition, keeping their powder dry for a future election in six to twelve months. It will also mean they would not need to keep begging for help from the discredited LibDems allies. The Tories can then adopt a truly patriotic, Conservative manifesto, whilst the internal party forces of true conservatism can then steer the Cameron Shadow Cabinet to a position of clear blue water. This Lib-Lab-Nationalist Coalition of Losers will be like herding cats, and will be rightly critiqued by the markets. The Nationalists will demand more funds with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – raising English anger into a new fury. The Losers Coalition will also have to deal with the tax rises, spending cuts and growing number of strikes (Labour’s own Unite Union bringing misery to thousands of British holidaymakers for a start). The Tories can return in six months, and if under a hastily installed PR system , can do so with tacit support of new UKIP MPs!!
The other bit of good news was the Eurozone bail-out, but not for the reasons you may think. I am opposed to the Euro and the EU project tooth and nail! I want it to collapse, and not threaten our freedom and democracy ever again, and I think the Eurozone has put all its chips on black, and it’s come up red! The $1 trillion dollar bail out is truly staggering. The Euro-ministers have thrown in the proverbial kitchen sink (and I don’t understand they can afford that) yet this will still not be enough to cover an Italian default, but only Greece, Portugal, Spain and maybe Ireland. After that, they have nothing left in the tank, and the bail-out may still fail. The agreement also has to be approved by all Eurozone Governments, and this may even prove to be difficult to do so in the paymaster German parliament, now that Angela Merkel has lost her majority today. The Germans are spitting feathers over this, and are demanding draconian measures on the Club Med defaulters. Harsh fiscal measures will bring the Greeks, Portuguese and Spanish people out on the streets, with revolution a potential. The alternative is to let the profligate Club Med governments to continue frittering away billions to go bankrupt or be expelled from the eurozone. Either way, a big EuroCrunch is coming! Today’s market bounce will also hinder German exports, as the euro is starting to climb in value again. We cannot trust the EU’s fiscal management either, as the ECB is breaking its own rules, and will now buy Greek government bonds. How can we trust them when they don’t even stick to their own rules. Thanks to our surrender-monkey government, even though we are thankfully not in the eurozone, we are still being stung for £8 billion of bail-out. How many cancer drugs would that pay for here?
Finally, if Nick Clegg and the LibDems are so keen on a fair proportional representation electoral system, why are they also so enthusiastic to happily hand over our legislative process to majority voting in the EU Parliament, removing any control the British people have over their own destiny!

Norfolk Blogger said...

You usually understand the Lib Dems, but you fail to see that a coalition with the Tories also spells electoral suicide for the Lib Dems and many MANY councillors and activists would leave the Lib Dems.

Could I be in the party when Lib Dems in the same cabinet as Tories with no AV electoral system in place ? I doubt it.

trevorsden said...

Clegg is busy ruining his reputation. Not least by keeping secret his negotiations. He shows himself to be untrustworthy.

How can you transform politics by FORCING a change on the voting system onto the British public?

Of course both Brown and Clegg have form in avoiding referendums. Throughout all this we have to remember that there is not a LibLab majority.

What is the notional majority of whoever is the existing candidate in Thirsk and Malton and is McIntosh a good candidate??

Are there any Labour MPs who might look at all this in disgust and cross the floor?

Grand_Inquisitor said...

We were told in the leadership debates that one of the contenders would be our future Prime Minister.

If Labour and the Lib Dems wish to form a coalition, they have 2 legitimate alternatives:

i) Call another election as soon as the new Labour leader is elected.

ii) Nick Clegg could be the Prime Minister of the coalition government.

I suggest that neither of these alternatives would be popular with the electorate.

Lord Lavendon said...

Iain, people often disparage the likes of UKIP for being 'one issue' parties. It seems that the lib dems are also a one issue party, but we didn't know it until today.

RE: "you could forgive Cameron from picking up the phone and telling Clegg to suck on it"

Well said. But how is introducing PR and not dealing with the debt in the 'national interest'. It seems to me that the real meaning of this is "what is in the interest of the liberal democrat party".

Lola said...

Power is a drug. Cleggy and the Libdums are just as susceptiable to addiction as anyone else. Once the needle has gone in once you're hooked. They are loving all this attention, now. Strutting about like kingmakers, the very thing that I heard that other Libdum twat Wince Cable say that we, the electorate, were. But sooner or later it'll be Cold Turkey time. The Voter will not find all this at all eddifying, and the arrogance that goes with it will not be tolerated.

Cleggy, really has no choice. The Tories are the only legitimate game in town. The English have given them a massive majority and it will not at all be acceptable to us to try and stitch us up using Scots votes.

The Scots are our neighbours and friends. If the price of this is to offer a devolution refendum, then so be it. In fact thinking about that could well be the best fairest tactic for Cameron. The English are Tpry, the Scots are Socialist. It seems to us fair to offer to Scotland a refendum on the Union. Since the English are being railroaded by Scots MPs this wuld the fairest first step to voting change.

BTW I reckon the Scots would vote to stay in the UK.

Nigel said...

>>This may all just have been a bargaining ploy by the LibDems - if so, it's a shrewd one<<

It truly isn't, Despairing.

I have no problem with the LibDems talking to Labour, but to blindside the Tories like this in the middle of negotiations is plain stupid. If they are genuinely pursuing the possibility of a coalition with Cameron, then it has to be built on a certain amount of trust on both sides. Today's moves might have been designed to destroy any such trust.

I don't pretend to know what their motives are, but today's behaviour was a serious blunder.

Mick Turatian said...

Clegg is behaving like a child pulling the legs off a spider one by one to see if it can still run.

Time for the Tories gently to withdraw the AV referendum offer they never should have made.

The rainbow coalition won't last through the summer.

Ann said...

This is precisely what people hate about back room deals.
The only people coming out of this with any credit are the Tories.
Toque makes a valid point - it is pretty clear that it was the Lib Dems tartan mafia that screwed up the deal with the Conservatives.
I'm a devout Unionist but after tonight I'm afraid my attitude is **** em. I want the union over an English Parliament and the Scots Welsh and Irish can start paying their own damn bills

Daedalus said...

I hope the country can manage for a while with the LibLab mish mash. It only needs to be for a short time anyway; we would have another election before the end of the year and as Iain points out it should be a conservative landslide, definitely worth it in the longer term. As someone has pointed out it only needed 16,000 votes to have a majority so it should be easy, mind you I thought we were going to have a 20 seat majority so what do I know.

Daedalus

golden_balls said...

I've never had such a smile on my face while i watched Boulton and Campbell go at it.

I can recall Nigel Lawson accusing Brian Redhead of bias and how dignified his response was.

Compare this with Boulton and you see how poor the current crop of Journalist's are.

I see Adam is trending on twitter for all the wrong reasons.

Burly now Boulton will Sky ever be taken seriously as independently minded after this election ?

Nick Drew said...

Calm down everyone. It's called shopping the deal and it happens all the time.

Don't misread what Clegg is doing.

javelin said...

I suggest you read my previous posts about why the Tories should form a Celtic Coalition.

The point of forming a coaltion with the Celtic leaders is they are men of principle. Their deeper philosophical views means they can at least be trusted to hold a line. By forming an English Parliament toes will not be be trodden on. We will only have to deal with foreign policy. Which for the Celts will be self sustainability.

Going with the Lib Dems is merely following the same dark desire to seek power. Nick Clegg is a shallow beast embroilied in everything wrong in modern politics - focus groups, sound bytes and seeking power at all costs.

Cameron needs to go deep and stop dealing with shallow, power hungry, left wing fools.

perforatedulster said...

Could a Coalition of Losers government break the Union? I'm not English, I don't live in England and I live under the ghastly mandatory coalition for Northern Ireland which I support reluctantly.

Somehow it's OK for a Labour government to depend on the SDLP, who want to leave the UK altogether, where working with Unionists would be shady. (The Alliance Party's relationship with the Lib Dems is at least more open and honest.)

Will it not stretch the patience of the English to breaking point to have decisions on health and transport in England decided by nationalist MPs, especially if that is bought with sweeteners?

I recently picked up my first free prescription, a prize policy of a foolish Unionist minister. How can we claim we need special treatment when we can afford to do that? It would be sadly ironic if the Union breaks on something as trivial as prescription charges.

I was just about to post this comment when I heard John Reid and Diane Abbott say something similar. Glad to see there are still some Labour people with integrity. (Reid was a good NI Secretary by the way.)

Ken said...

So it seems like Labour are trying everything to keep a hold on power, the Lib Dems are trying everything to change the rules to get into power, and the Conservatives are trying everything to form a government and return power to the people.

Pfft.

AdamNorth said...

What the hell is going on, is this meant to be democracy.

Clegg this evening went from hero to zero in my estimation, he looks like a shallow worm.

So much for giving first priority to the party with the biggest mandate, whilst holding secret talks with the other side.

New Politics my arse,

It's shameless and naked party political profiteering.

No matter how many times he says the words "national interest", I think he has now lost all credibility.

Forgetting seats as they are an unfair representation of the electorate, but take the public vote. The Liberals came third, and here they are prostituting themselves, holding the country to ransom, whilst playing off everyone else.

I am absolutely disgusted.

If they think that the English electorate will quitely sit back whilst they form a rainbow coalition of losers including the nationailsts, when the conservative party won a 59 seat majortiy in England, they can think again.

If Nick Clegg thinks he can steel the election for personal gain, their will be an uprising.

You may not like the tories but they are the only ones who have acted with any integrity and decorrum, the other 2 are shamelessly putting self interest first and they will be very severley punished by the electorate.

THE RAINBOW COALITION HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO MANDATE TO GOVERN ENGLAND. NONE.

And if they try, then they better expect harsh consequences.

Shame on you Nick Clegg, I expect it of Campbell and Mandelson, but you have just proved this evening you are no different.

AdamNorth said...

What the hell is going on, is this meant to be democracy.

Clegg this evening went from hero to zero in my estimation, he looks like a shallow worm.

So much for giving first priority to the party with the biggest mandate, whilst holding secret talks with the other side.

New Politics my arse,

It's shameless and naked party political profiteering.

No matter how many times he says the words "national interest", I think he has now lost all credibility.

Forgetting seats as they are an unfair representation of the electorate, but take the public vote. The Liberals came third, and here they are prostituting themselves, holding the country to ransom, whilst playing off everyone else.

I am absolutely disgusted.

If they think that the English electorate will quitely sit back whilst they form a rainbow coalition of losers including the nationailsts, when the conservative party won a 59 seat majortiy in England, they can think again.

If Nick Clegg thinks he can steel the election for personal gain, their will be an uprising.

You may not like the tories but they are the only ones who have acted with any integrity and decorrum, the other 2 are shamelessly putting self interest first and they will be very severley punished by the electorate.

THE RAINBOW COALITION HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO MANDATE TO GOVERN ENGLAND. NONE.

And if they try, then they better expect harsh consequences.

Shame on you Nick Clegg, I expect it of Campbell and Mandelson, but you have just proved this evening you are no different.

FX Man said...

GB - RIP

http://fxbites.blogspot.com/2010/05/rip.html

engliscdragon said...

Let the Lib/Lab coalition go ahead. When the English get forced fed by Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs and the inevitable General Election ensues it will be the end of the Liberal Democrats and a further demise of Labour for a decade.

If Cameron had any sense and really wants to take the reigns of this poison chalice that will do him no favours, at least do it after consigning Labour to the dustbin.

pol-e-tics said...

John Reid on BBC News has absolutely slayed the type of deal Labour are offering.

Says the two losing parties do not have a mandate for government.

Says changes to the voting system are not what the electorate has just voted for.

Says such a deal with the LibDems will ruin Labour's standing with the electorate. He couldn't have been clearer.

Marie said...

I don't remember ever having been so angry in all my life.

I do hope that the 10 million Conservative supporters are, like me, prepared to put our money where our mouths are if this travesty of democracy goes ahead.

I am not a Conservative activist, I'm just a plain old fashioned voter who, until today, believed in democracy.

More fool me.

thebluemenace said...

Clegg's behaviour is an absolute disgrace.

He was supposed to be negotiating in good faith, not double-dealing and back-stabbing.

The markets won't like this one bit. He is putting deficit reduction at risk because of his obsession with PR.

The Lib Dems need to decide if they are a serious party of government, or if they would rather remain a protest party for students.

If the former, they will drop their obsession with electoral reform and join a coalition to get the deficit down.

Judy said...

So much for "the new politics" and getting beyond the ways of "the old parties". Up till now, the best description I've heard of Nick Clegg is that he's a "vacuum in a suit".

Now, I can see he's that old wide boy of the fifties, the switch vacuum cleaner salesman. The offer that draws you in is an absolute beauty of a bargain. What you get sold once the salesman gets his foot in the door is a grossly overpriced and redundant bit of goods.

I just hope the voters remember once they get the referendum that while FPTP delivered this bunch of refuse once, with any of the electoral "reform"systems on offer at the behest of the LibDems, they'll get it each and every election.

But the apparatchiks of Labour/Unite won't offer an easy election target for the Tories next time round. I can see them offering tax cut bribes to the C2s with some token cuts, punishment gestures towards bankers etc then going for a quick election after which they punish the whole country.

norman said...

@Richard. In this election three candidates who were leaders of the party then subjected themselves to TV scrutiny and debate to put forward themsleves as the PM if elected. It is not as if Brown is dead and replaced by another Labour Party leader. This is pure thuggery. Shame on people who think like you.

Jess The Dog said...

This is the bottom line...

There are only three legitimate options for government with a democratic mandate...

1. Con Lib coalition.
2. Con minority government...they have a greater vote share than Blair did in 2005.

or...

3. Con Lab coalition. Has Brown actually asked Cameron?

A Lab-Lib minority coalition would have no democratic mandate, a 'rainbow coalition' would be unstable with Nationalists whose raison d'etre is secession from the UK Parliament. Both of these would entail an unelected PM followed by another unelected PM. PR or AV won't clear the Lords anyway for years without Tory support.

So, any Lab-Lib coalition would be illegitimate and without a democratic mandate. How could it claim to be 'democratically elected'? I suspect Her Majesty will not countenance it and will say politely to Brown, 'Prime Minister, perhaps you should really be speaking to Mr Cameron....'

And if it does get off the ground, public opposition, disobedience and direct action will overthrow it by the summer. How will anyone accept austerity measures and tax rises from an unelected PM? 10m taxpayers out there didn't vote for this and will be very angry....

Jess The Dog said...

This is the bottom line...

There are only three legitimate options for government with a democratic mandate...

1. Con Lib coalition.
2. Con minority government...they have a greater vote share than Blair did in 2005.

or...

3. Con Lab coalition. Has Brown actually asked Cameron?

A Lab-Lib minority coalition would have no democratic mandate, a 'rainbow coalition' would be unstable with Nationalists whose raison d'etre is secession from the UK Parliament. Both of these would entail an unelected PM followed by another unelected PM. PR or AV won't clear the Lords anyway for years without Tory support.

So, any Lab-Lib coalition would be illegitimate and without a democratic mandate. How could it claim to be 'democratically elected'? I suspect Her Majesty will not countenance it and will say politely to Brown, 'Prime Minister, perhaps you should really be speaking to Mr Cameron....'

And if it does get off the ground, public opposition, disobedience and direct action will overthrow it by the summer. How will anyone accept austerity measures and tax rises from an unelected PM? 10m taxpayers out there didn't vote for this and will be very angry....

Mr Jabberwock said...

Clegg is just playing his hand as best he can and has secured for some valuable concessions. He has squeezed hard - why shouldn't he. However he should remember that what goes around comes around and he will not always be in such a strong position. However it is no surprise that he has taken full advantage.

The BBC are getting very excited at the idea of a "progressive coalition" but it surely won't happen as there would be an election in a year at which the "progressive coalition" would suffer a significant regression!

What chance though that the Sun's frontpage tomorrow isn't a Clegg face super-impossed onto a strawberry flan of some description and the words "You Tart" underneath!

adrian said...

this is hilarious. tory panic everywhere,i'm loving it.

Ian said...

Re Simon Gardner @ .19. I'm not sure how one can blame Tom Harris as being "one of the people who scuppered Labour’s previous commitment in the 1997 election.", he wasn't even a candidate in the 1997 election, never mind being elected. I think at that time he was working for East Ayrshire Council: hardly the hub of political indfluence and decision making in the UK

Socialist he may be but he produced an outstanding comment last night in his defence of FPTP in seeking to elect a Government

Cantstandcant said...

Just a word of warning to those who assume a traffic light coalition definitely doesn't have the votes.

Con 307 (incl Thirsk) + only other conceivable ally - DUP - equals 315. And given their working class Protestant vote and the Tory/UU failed link-up would they really vote with Cameron in a confidence motion, rather than just stay in NI? Cameron would have to make a public spending promise he just cannot do to buy these votes.

Lab 258 = 57 LD + 3 SDLP (take Lab whip) = 318.

Plus:

1 Alliance Party - untested on whip-taking but is Naomi Long really going to want another election where the DUP will put up someone who is not Peter Robinson, and quite possibly win?

1 Green - same considerations for Caroline Lucas. Is she going to want to run the risk of losing her seat so quickly and risk the wrath of green Brighton by voting to bring down a centre/left Govt.

So we're at 320 and you probably can add Sylvia Hermon to that to make 321.

So basically the only way Cameron can outnumber the red/yellow/double green total is by recruiting the DUP and probably both nationalist parties to vote a Lab/LD Govt down.

And do you really think that the SNP and Plaid are going to do that?

And don't assume that by-elections will do the job for you given time. There is bound to be self-interest pressure on the weaker of the two of Lab and LD in any vacant constituency to stand aside to let the anti-Tory vote have one home.

Not saying it will, not saying it should, but the maths is not as problematic as some would like to think.

Alex said...

Cameroin should walk away from negotiations and just tell Clegg and whoever takes over from Brown that he will see them at the next Prime Ministerial debate, probably some time around September.

Alternatively, use the same decapitation strategy: "Will work with the Lib Dems, but not with Clegg as leader"

Chris said...

All this stuff about it being a Parliamentary system not a Presidential system is disingenuous. Because we no longer have any separation between the executive and and the legislature, to all intents and purposes it IS a presidential system. The leader of the party holding a majority in the Commons holds almost unfettered executive power. Unlike the American system there are now very few checks and balances left. In our system we elect individual members of Parliament who may or may not belong to a party. We don't directly elect parties, ministers or prime ministers - therefore they cannot be 'unelected'. This is technically true. However, IN PRACTICE, people cast their votes as a judgement on the candidate; the party and its policies; and the leadership of that party. We all know that the popularity and credibility of party leaders has a massive bearing on the election result. So to deny that changing your leader between elections creates a democratic deficit is just spin pedalled by those who will benefit politically from such a change.

Phil J said...

Liberals strengthen hand by making rainbow coalition look like a more serious prospect. Succeed, get better deal.

Hardly an outrage.

And bear in mind this better deal is simply to give the British people a choice about their election system, if they don't want AV they'll vote no.

John said...

A Lab-Lib coalition? Excellent, we get a government the majority of people (52%) actually voted for. Wear it.

Oh and this afternoon Brown showed why he is head and shoulders above Camerlegg.

Thomas said...

Looking at what 'Englishman' said below, I as a longtime Scottish Nationalist find this whole episode very confusing. How can the Labour or Conservative party form an alliance for the Nationalist parties to support them when the avowed policy of the Nationalists has always been not to vote on purely English matters and legislation!

Lady Finchley said...

It's time we went it alone or let them have their Lib-Lab pact and see the whole s**t show fall apart.

AxelDC said...

One of the biggest flaws in FPP is that it gives the impression that a party "won" the election, even when the vast majority of voters selected someone else.

Barack Obama got 54% of the vote in 2008. McCain was the big loser with 46% of the vote.

David Cameron got 36% of the vote in 2010, only 3% more than the Tories got in 2005 when they finished in opposition. That means nearly 2/3 of voters voted AGAINST a Tory government.

Nick Clegg is talking to Labour, largely to let Cameron know that he won't accept the first deal. I agree that a Lib-Lab deal is not good, but it prevents Cameron from low balling the LDs. Blair stabbed the LDs in the back in 1997 and 2001. At the very least Clegg got Brown to resign.

I think Clegg with support the Tories, most likely in Minority. If Cameron thinks he will be more popular in a year, he should just get a deal from Clegg to keep them in power that long. If Cameron wants to make changes and have a real government, especially if he thinks his popularity will sink in the short run, he'd be wise to give Clegg the best deal possible.

If LDs and Tories can work together, then a more PR system could kill off Labour's chances of ever regaining power, and that's the best news ever. Plus, if Cameron lets a Lib-Lab government keep him out, the Tories may decide that Cameron isn't their guy and decapitate him over the summer.

Robert said...

'A Coalition of Losers cannot provide the stable government this country needs'

You mean the one between the Libdims and the Suppositories?

Dave Cross said...

"a second unelected Prime Minister"

You really need to stop peddling this nonsense, Iain. You know how parliament works. You know there's no such thing as an elected Prime Minister.

neil craig said...

The Conservatives have not offered PR. As I said yesterday AV is not PR though AV+ is & Conservatives had been happy in saying so when Brown first offered PR.

The Conservatives had 4 days with a sole chance to seal a deal, in a period when they were saying we needed a quick deal to stop thmarkets dumping us. If they didn't do it they have no problem if the LDs now look at their other options.

If the Conservatives want power they must match Labour's offer. If not the LibDims are perfectly entitled to take the better offer. It is the Conservatives not the LDs who are walking away.

The "coalition of losers" talk is ridiculous since everybody lost this election & that says much about the voter's demand for change. A coalition government of either side will represent the majority of voters - the first time since WW" - & will have a damn sight more "legitimacy" than any other since. If the Conservatives really believe the people want FPTP they will support a referendum to approve it. If they don't lets not have any bull about who is "putting party before country".

G'Funk said...

I am confused by this notion of an 'unelected Prime Minister' the political commentators keep bringing up. Apart from the people of Sedgefield, how many people 'elected' Tony Blair? The same goes for Margaret Thatcher and Finchley. And, of course, David Cameron and Witney.

We don't have a presidential system in this country. We don't elect Prime Ministers. We elect Members of Parliament and the leader of the party with the most elected members forms a Government, which Cameron rightly did.

Until and if we get a system in this country whereby every voter throughout the UK puts an X next to the person who they want to be Prime Minister, please stop this red herring of 'elected' and 'unelected' Prime Ministers. This is a pretty basic fact about our political system.