Monday, May 10, 2010

Time To Put Up Or Shut Up

Apparently Clegg has had another phone conversation tonight. I wonder how far from his ear Nick Clegg held the phone.

The Conservatives have made the Liberal Democrats an offer they never thought they would get - a referendum on electoral reform. If the Liberal Democrats are serious about wanting a stable government, they should rip William Hague's arm off and accept it.

It's interesting that on the 24 hour news channels, a succcession of Labour people are appearing saying that Labour should have nothing to do with a coalition with the LibDems as they still wouldn't get a majority. So far, Dianne Abbot, John Reid and David Blunkett have all spoken out against it.

And to think, if we had PR, we'd have this charade after every election. What an unedifying prospect.

It;s time for the LibDems to put up or shut up. They should not allow Mandelson and Campbell to organise a pseudo-coup like this. The Conservatives should give them an ultimatum. Accept these terms by 11am tomorrow or the deal is off.

I will leave the final words in this blogpost to one of my readers called Marie...

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.


Squitch said...

Who said democracy had to be dignified? It might offend your sensibilities, Mr Dale, but, if you don't mind, I would quite like to see someone in the HoC representing my views. Clegg should go with whomever is going to do most to get rid of the appallingly undemocratic FPTF system.

golden_balls said...

whether you like Mandelson and Campbell or not they are best at what they do.

I doubt it will make much difference the Con-Lib pact is the only real show in town.

Coulson and Hilton are just boys trying to be men compared to these guys.

WillS said...

I must remember to check and see if the LibDem manifesto includes a commitment to the legalisation of prostitution.

Justin Credible said...

Hi Iain, I think you're right about Nick realising it's "make your mind up time", his behaviour is questionable at best.

Not sure what you mean about the justification of sticking with FPTP, complete self interested nonsense to be honest.

However, I never thought I'd hear John Reid saying what he's just said on BBC News - I take it all back about him - it's the first time I've heard him talk proper sense.

Kingbingo said...

The answer is obvious.

A Tory/SNP/welsh Nationalists collation. They get full independence, England never has to suffer a socialist government again.

Patrick said...

whatever happened to Nick Clegg's "national interest" and "new politics"!

The Talking Clock said...

My blog is normally reasonably quiet... but getting a large number of people this afternoon coming over specifically searching for info on any organised protest over a Lib-Lab alliance; plus people posting saying that they will join any protest. One senses that the public are really getting very angry.

Bizarre though that the Conservatives have now offered a referendum on AV. If only they'd kept to the same on the European Union...

waymore said...

Ever felt used? Bollocks to Brown and his fellow travellers, large Smirnoff awaits. V.A.T. is going down tonight! Tomorrow nore horrors await.

John said...

Iain, how long do you give Cameron if his deal with Cleggy comes to nothing?

BilloTheWisp said...

The Lib-Dems have got to be given an ultimatum soon or they will be posing and flirting for weeks. Getting things fixed in this country does not appear to be high on their agenda.

cynicalHighlander said...

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

More fool me."

Norway fourth best democracy

"The United States and Britain are near the bottom of the full democracy category, but for somewhat different reasons.

I'd rather have Sweden not an undemocratic UK.

Daragh McDowell said...

First off - your reader doesn't seem to know what democracy means. It means 'rule from the people', such as the 53% who voted Labour or Lib Dem, and the nearly 2/3 who voted against the Tories.

Secondly - can you Tories stop claiming that PR will mean this happens 'after every election?' It doesn't. I've lived in countries with PR, and they function smoothly, with better more representative governance than in Great Britain. Just think of how contemptuous the ordinary apparatus of the state (Councils, Civil Service etc.) is towards the people of this country, not to mention the MPs. Its because the trend has been for parties and PMs to gain more power with fewer votes, thus diminishing the need to listen to people.

Finally - Canada. Only other parliamentary system with FPTP in the developed world? Result - four elections since 2000. Three hung parliaments the result due to large, over-represented nationalist bloc. Permanent minority government and frequent use of dubious tactics (prorogation) and backroom deals to avoid confidence motion defeats. Political fragmentation in the country between oil rich and agricultural West which sees itself as unfairly subsidising the peripheries with its taxes.

Starting to sound familiar? The result we've seen today isn't a bug of FPTP, its a feature.

Peter said...

So far it has all been talk. You rely cannot blame all the parties from wanting the best deal for themselves. Politicians are basically selfish b****ds, forget all this rubbish about saving the economy.
To my mind AV+ is a good system and with a few tweaks could even give the right result.
Clegg is a a past master at these sort of negotiations from his days in Europe. He knows he holds all the cards and he will get 101% for his party.

Piers said...

Thing is, Iain, I'd rather like my vote to count and under FPTP it doesn't – an absence of democracy (at the voters' level) which I'd say affects a substantial majority of the electorate.

Short of taking Norman Tebbit's advice (on yer bike to a marginal my son) my options appear limited to either remaining impotent in voting terms or to hope for a referendem.

Y'see, in my simple world, there are two equally important aspects to democracy: my vote; and how a subsequent government acts. The latter is sorted out by you professional types, and rightly so. The former is a complete waste of time for most of us and I think that, um, 'you professional types' forget that.

This election aside (rather ironically given what's happened) it should be no surprise that the electorate feels increasingly disconnected from democracy.

norman said...

@golden balls. These two are imbiciles.

Ed the Shred said...

I completely agree with Marie, this has gone on far enough.

DC should have the balls now to take the high road. The country is in a state of crisis and he should say to Clegg to shape up or ship out. The country has woken up to the pure opportunists that Clegg and his merry band are. If Clegg wants to climb into bed with the failures that Labour are then that is their lookout, they will be punished soon enough. If that means another election in a few weeks/months time than so be it, far better than some sort of muddled meaningless flim flam.

DC has to lead from the front, if necessary march to Buckingham Palace, with or without Clegg. Now is the time for action. Does DC have the leadership qualities that this country needs now?

Torontory said...

And the BBC election website is saying that David Miliband is not part of the Labour negotiating team. So the LibDems are negotiating with a Labour team that does not include its possible next leader!!

Alan said...

Another signal that Cameron is head & shoulders above Clegg & Brown:

He has his entire parliamentary party behind him (even John Redwood!) in his position. And they are staying incredibly disciplined.

Clegg was clearly surprised that his MPs "redirected" his negotiation towards Labour. Wee David Steel is doing his best to publicly undermine any deal with the Tories, whilst Ashdown is doing the same re Labour.

Brown hasn't even bothered reaching out. Labour MPs have gone feral this evening.

Southsea Expat said...

I agree with Marie. I'm a Conservative voter but not an activist. Tomorrow that changes. I'm joining the Conservative Party.

Boucicaut said...

Dear oh dear oh dear - has it come to this!

All the noble post expenses scandal and pre-election sentiments about MP's needing to understand that they serve the people not the other way round and the moment that the scent of power drifts towards their twitching nostrils any concept of honour let alone the demonstrable wishes of ten million voters or put another way most of the English consituencies are cast aside as easily as are the morals of an ambitious young courtesan when looked upon with lascivious interest of the ageing corrupted eminences grises.

John said...

@ Torontory

Is Cameron on the Tory negotiating team?

Steve said...

There seem to be major problems with all the options both on and off the table. As a Labour voter I see no mileage in a Lib-Lab-Nat coalition. If I were a Tory I would feel my party was selling off the family silver for a short-term hold on power.

I can't help but think a time-limited two year National Government(Con/Lib/Lab) with deficit reduction as its primary purpose is in the best interest of all parties. More importantly it would seem to be genuinely in the national interest. Any takers?

Paul C said...

"such as the 53% who voted Labour or Lib Dem, and the nearly 2/3 who voted against the Tories."

What a load of cobblers. People vote for parties, not against them.

By your (poor) logic, if every political party were to join a great coalition, the entire electorate would support that because it would all add up to 100% of the vote.

Do you really think that 100% of the Lib Dem voters would be happy in a coalition with Labour?

What a load of tosh.

javelin said...

Clegg the Westminster Whore.

Thatsnews said...

Iain, as I pointed out on a special post this evening on my blog That's News, Nick Clegg seems to have lost the plot. He acknowledges that the resignation of Gordon Brown 'could be important.'

NO! Really, Nick? D'you think?

Iain, this is starting to get silly. I haven't 'done' politics in 10 to 15 years, since I quit the Green Party. (Too many self-serving former Liberal Party members for my taste!) but... I am tempted now. How much does it cost to become a member of the Conservative Party, per year?

Thatsnews said...

Daragh, just because someone voted -for example- Lib Dem, or Socialist Alliance, or Wessex Regionalist,etx., does not mean they voted against any other party.

Unless you believe that people don't vote for things, but only against, instead? That's a rather hollow point of view, isn't it?

Richard said...

"such as the 53% who voted Labour or Lib Dem, and the nearly 2/3 who voted against the Tories"

I'm fed up with reading this rubbish

Put the Conservative and Lib Dem vote together than you have more... that means more of a country representation. And WELL over 2/3 voted against Labour

Keith Elliott said...

I sniff a definite whiff of panic in the Tory air! Makes me larf!

Torontory said...

@ John

I don't think the Conservative negotiating team can take a position without Camaeron's approval. The point is the Labour negotiating team do not know whose ultimatev approval they need for their position: Balls, Miliband (Ed or David) Darling, Harman, etc. This is but reason that makes the LibDem position so bizarre - there are loads more. They are being 'led' into a lemmings situation.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

There is an essential flaw in your headline post: that the LibDems have been offered PR in any meaningful form. As I understand what's coming out of this evening's 1922 Committee, the bottom line of the Tory offer is little more than a free Commons vote on AV, with no guarantee it would pass, and a licence for any Tory to vote and campaign against it. That's an offer?

LibDems have already rejected AV.

The Labour manifesto (as I distantly recall) did not go the full way to AV+. Wasn't that the recommendation of the (wait for it!) 1918 Speaker's Conference? And it was subsequently in Labour manifestos for election after election (presumably until someone broke up the printer's forme).

The LibDems, not surprisingly, want a full-blown STV system; and would be daft to settle for much less in such a buyer's market.

Rich said...

@Golden_Balls -"whether you like Mandelson and Campbell or not they are the best at what they do"

That's like saying whether you like Fred West and Harold Shipman or not, they are the best at what they do.

Sean Haffey said...


Just FYI ... Canada has just about the best economy in the Western world at the moment.

golden_balls said...


When every Tory including iain were about to Anoint the new Camerlegg Government up pops Brown with the help of mandy and campbell and scuppers it.

I still think its more likely cameron will be PM than anyone else.

The Tory press and supporters wet themselves for a few hours this evening. See Boultons Hissy fit doe proof.

Dave Gould said...

STV is a genius electoral system. Don't like minority governments?

Well I just invented Ideal Majority STV!

Better than STV I think and beats the bejeezus out of the other ones.

jailhouselawyer said...

"Accept these terms by 11am tomorrow or the deal is off".

It's now 12.13pm...