Wednesday, June 20, 2007

LibDems to Prop Up Labour?

The Guardian story this morning about Gordon Brown trying to entice Ming Campbell to join his government, along with Nick Clegg, has all the hallmarks of a bit of Labour spin. I saw Nick Clegg this morning and he had a face like thunder. He hadn't seen the story and was none too impressed. The fact that the story was written by a 'staff reporter' demonstrates its lack of credibility. If one of the Guardian political team really thought it worthy of an exclusive they would presumably have put their names to it, or am I missing something?

If Ming Campbell really wants the LibDems to go down the toilet then he would certainly want to enter into some sort of coalition. As ConservativeHome says this morning, it would allow the Tory jibe of VOTE LIBDEM GET LABOUR to gain some real credibility. Let's hope Ming's thirst to become Foreign Secretary outweighs his political antennae.

PS The story has disappeared from the edition of the Guardian I have with me here. I wonder why that would be.


Laurence Boyce said...

It’s been denied by Ed Davey on Lib Dem Voice.

Anonymous said...

Another example of Mr Brown's new spin-free politics?

Anonymous said...

Laurence Boyce @10:42-Just like CK's 'drink problem' was 'strenuously' denied by the LibbyDems. Anyway, what's so surprising about this? The Libbies were in informal/formal talks with Labour before, during, and after the 1997 election. Yet more evidence that the LibbyDems are scurrilous vermin. They have the mantle of the 'nasty party'- without question.

Hughes Views said...

I'm sure your "vote Liberal get Labour" slogan will be as successful as the "vote Blair get Brown" one was at the last general election...

Chris Paul said...

This was old news even when I covered it three weeks ago, and cracks were appearing with the Lib Dems marching Left-Right-Left-Right.

Ming might even cross the floor to get his Ministerial due. That's a serious prediction.

Clegg meanwhile is a Tory in wolves' clothing.

Tapestry said...

There is total confusion out there in the media at the moment. The Blair control system is gone. The Brown one hasn't got a clue how to play the game. Every time he tries a ploy, it's hopeless.. embarrassing. He lives in a tiny clique hiding away from the real world. No wonder he has no idea how people think and or what will happen as the consequence of his actions.

Brown without Blair is exactly what we thought he'd be - salt without pepper, butter without bread - in fact a tub of lard, hardly any more capable of controlling his passions (political) than Hattersley.

How the h..' did this particular piece of fatuous substance become Prime Minister of our great country?

Laurence Boyce said...

They have the mantle of the “nasty party” – without question.

It’s funny you should say that. I don’t see it that way at all. In my view, the fundamental problem with the Lib Dems is that they are in fact the “nice party.”

Anonymous said...

you are missing something. love from a guardian staffer.

Anonymous said...


The staff reporter thing could well be to protect the source. That actually makes it potentially more credible, not less.

Also the story was not in the first edition of the Guardian (presumably to protect the exclusive) could that be the edition you have?

hatfield girl said...

Keeps the eye off what is going on in the European Union too, doesn't it.

Tapestry said...

good point, hatfield girl.

Unknown said...

Bad in the short term, very good in the long term. Lib Dems would be wiped out at the next election, making it more likely for a Conservative overall majority.

Also I imagine we'd get some defections, I can't imagine the orange bookers being happy with Brown.

Anonymous said...

The Lib-Dems were in coalition with Labour for 8 years in the Scottish Parliament.

For some reason they balked at forming a coalition with the SNP after the last Scottish elections. The rumour mill in Scotland always had it that it was nothing to do with their, "we don't want a referendum on independence", excuse, even Alex Salmond said that was negotiable, it was because Ming was trying to cut a deal with Labour in Westminster.

This is probably why the rainbow Conservative/PC/Lib-Dem coalition also fell at the Lib-Dem hurdle in Wales when there was an attempt to oust Labour from the Welsh Assembly.

Ming wants his official Car.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

This would be great news.

Only PR can now save this country from the media driven need for all parties to fight for the media defined centre ground.

antifrank said...

It would be a great coup for Gordon Brown if his cabinet were to include Lib Dems, and catastrophic for the Lib Dems. If Ming Campbell has been having even preliminary discussions about this, his lack of political judgement is astounding.

Tapestry said...

tone made me do it etc.,

PR will enable a couple of big parties to form a coalition to block out all others. how will that stop the media?

Anonymous said...

I thought the whole point of the Lib Dems was to be neither one thing nor the other; in other words nondescript.

Anonymous said...

If Ming is only interested in getting into office, can someone explain to me why he joined the party the least likely to deliver that.

Anonymous said...


Because it was the only party where he was likely to get anywhere near the top.

Anonymous said...

Ming's greatest hope now is that he will be promoted (by Gordon) to his level of incompetence.

Anonymous said...

The "staff reporter" byline is a big clue. Either it came direct from the editor who ordered his staff to write the plainly untrue drivel or the Lobby were too embarrassed to put their bylines on the story - which has been heavily rubbished today.
Either way, not the Guardian's finest hour.

Anonymous said...

A master stroke from McStalin - The Lib Dems have been a thorn on NuLabs side over Iraq - give Ming the post of Foreign Secretary and let him make a mess of trying to sort it out

I really hope Ming goes for it - it will be disasterous for the Lib Dems in Conservative/Lib Dem marginals

Anonymous said...

It won't happen. It's just a long lead in to the next election, when Brown will depend on the LibDems if he wants to stay in. Of course, if they've got any sense they'll demand that he goes before agreeing to prop Labour up.

Tristan said...

I don't see why Ming would cross the floor now, especially given the offers he's been made by both Labour and the Tories of cabinet seats if he did in the past.

Anonymous said...

Iain check out Ben Brogan on this

Reporter was Alan Rusbriger, source was Ashdown, LibDems angry at Ming, Broon holds LibDems in contempt & sees no need to court them

Anonymous said...

PS: It would be because Ming has said there will be no Lib Dems in Gordinho's first cabinet.


The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

tapestry said...

"PR will enable a couple of big parties to form a coalition to block out all others. how will that stop the media?"

PR would allow parties outside the centre ground to have MPs in the house, unafraid of the main parties' whips and the MSM, to talk about the issues that effect the lives of millions and stimulate genuine debate and ideas, not a stifling "consensus" that brooks no challenge.

The "centre ground" media controls politics in the UK not by what it talks about but by deciding and filtering what is NOT talked about.

Recently, I like many people in this country no longer believe that any of the three mainstream parties represent any of my views. That's why UK turnout is collapsing.

Many people use your argument against PR - that a small centre party will control the government. I believe that this would be a much better state of affairs than the one we have now - an even smaller unelected "centre" consensus controlling all forms of debate and ideas.

Glyn Davies said...

The Lib Dems in Wales are beginning to talk seriously about wanting to prop up Labour in the National Assembly for Wales - now that its beginning to look as if Plaid Cymru and Labour are serious about forming a Coalition Government. The Lib Dems have realised that they are in danger of becoming totally irrelevant.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

... I don't believe that under PR Blair or a Blair like figure would get to become PM.

PR would prevent Government by the media for the media from the sofa ever happening again.

neil craig said...

Loabour don't need propping up prior to the election so this would be in nobody's interest.

If Gordo seriously wants an electoral pact, which would make sense, then some informal cross party talks involving all the LD Parliamentary party would make sense. On the other hand getting their backs up with this silly tale wouldn't.

Tapestry said...

tone made me do it - if PR would open up debate, why is debate so sterile in Germany, Italy etc where the views of the public are easily suppressed by the media. Why would minority MPs expect to get any media for talking in the Commons? They wouldn't. Winning power is what matters.

Small parties in the UK have more influence than in PR countries. That's why we are not in the euro, and the rest of Europe is. They tried to resist in Germany and France but the ruling coalitions did exactly what they wanted, and ignored popular opinion.

PR makes it easier for an elite to negotiate the democratic will of the people out of the frame. Big parties tend to fracture under PR, and the power of the media to influence deals is greater.
Stick with the big tent system, and help the small parties to shift opinion inside the big tent, if they can. It's the only hope. I share your concerns, but our system is the most democratic, and we must fight to keep it.

Tapestry said...

Seems that paddy ashdown might be the source of the story.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Many of the smaller countries in Europe that have seen the rise of anti-immigration parties that have forced their governments to sit up and listen and reduce immigration:

The Netherlands

Their joining of the Euro was a smaller issue - they were already dominated by their larger neighbours' economies and their economies are already run on non Anglo-Saxon lines.

Not sure that debate in Germany and Italy is "sterile" and "suppressed by the media" certainly no evidence that it is more so than here.

I want big parties to fracture the "big tent" is boring and extremely dull, NONE of the views in it are mine. PR represents a way of changing this.
Pym Fontein could never achieved anything if The Netherlands had our FPP system.

Since Chamberlain's, I mean Cameroon's, Grammar statement, I am no longer in his tent pissing out.
Indeed I have brought myself a large step ladder and am well and truly pissing into his tent from a very large height.

The only new politics that come out of your Big Tent will be one's that have been put on the agenda by things like (C4's) Big Brother, Focus group's and conversations in the back of London Taxis between media types on the way home to their gated homes.

You seem like a clever chap - is that really what you want?

Tapestry said...

'Pym Fontein could never achieved anything if The Netherlands had our FPP system.'tony made me...

Pim Forteyn was assasinated and his whole party fell to pieces, penetrated by Dutch secret service.

small parties that could win power are vulnerable to non-democratic tacics such as assassination, which it seems the EU is more than happy to perpetrate in the course of achieveing its ever closer union. It is arguable that IDS was a victim of (media) assassination too.

His party continues at least, unlike Pim Forteyn's, the whole of which haas more or less disintergrated.

Big tent parties are the only hope. There's safety in numbers. Allow the media to disintegrate the Conservative Party and they will be very happy to oblige. Divide and Rule.

Anonymous said...

EU conniving at the political assassination of Pim Fortuyn and others?

Tapestry, that is pretty strong stuff even by your foam-flecked standards.

Anonymous said...

Two unpopular Scots propping each other up to rule the rest of the country?"Dave" would have an open goal.Does make sense of the Cardiff nonsense though.

Anonymous said...

Times online now saying secret offer on Monday by Brown to bring Lib Dem peers in as Ministers:

Anonymous said...


Unsworth said...

Guardian 'News' is whatever they are told to print. It's a NuLab mouthpiece (or is that, 'organ'?). Whatever, it's a load of cock.

Anonymous said...

Ian, you are in the Westminster- Metro-London distorting hothouse, so I'm interested in your dismissal of the Ming Campbell and Brown Cabinet story.

What I do know is that there was here in Scotland after the recent elections, the utterly mystifying (and credibility damaging) decision by the Lib Dems not to enter into an alliance with the SNP that would have reflected the popular mood.
The strong and recurrent rumour among the saloon bar gossips, sorry I mean political commentators, was that Ming Campbell had intervened from ‘Down South’ to scupper any talk of such an alliance as it would damage prospects of him engineering an alliance with Brown in the ‘bigger picture’ – hence the electoral credibility damage to the Lib Dems in Scotland.

All maybe just smoke and mirrors, but with the recent rumours at your end, one does begin to wonder.

Anonymous said...

why all this talk about a seat at cabinet? I wouldnt give him a seat on a bus the irelavant old fart.

Tapestry said...

Assassination conspiracy theories (wikipedia) on murders of senior British politicians.

Kevin Cahill, an Irish investigative journalist, claims (Airey) Neave was on the verge of a massive overhaul of the security services, possibly involving a merger of MI5 and MI6 and arising from his belief in corruption in the security services.

Cahill suggests a link between Neave's murder and Sir Christopher Sykes' murder and the attempted murder of Christopher Tugendhat in December 1980. Cahill claims that Neave would have been head of the combined security services with Sykes and Tugendhat as his deputies, with Sykes responsible for foreign operations and Tugendhat responsible for home operations.

Cahill claims to have had a conversation with a drunken Neave on St. Patrick's Day 1979 in the foyer of the Irish embassy in London. Cahill had left a party and was waiting for a taxi. He saw Neave in the room and introduced himself to him as an admirer. Cahill claims that Neave was inebriated and responded "quite out of the blue" by saying "There are going to be changes here, big changes, soon. There is going to be cleaning of the stables...There has been serious corruption."

Neave then said that there was "no use playing games. We have to win...We will win when the [corruption] is sorted out. Count on that." Cahill found Neave's remarks surprising because he seemed internally preoccupied with the UK, with his Northern Ireland brief "almost a sideline". Cahill also thought that Neave's mention of corruption meant Soviet penetration.

Who was Neave trying to stop? The link between Romano Prodi and the FSB (KGB) shows that Russian intelligence and the EU have worked closely on occasions.

Litvinenko and Scaramella were trying to reveal some of these links recently. Scaramella is being held in Italy by Prodi and threatened with prosecution for revealing secrets. Litvinenko's been eleminated already.

Litvinenko had already revealed that Prodi was the KGB's main agent in Italy, and there is no doubt a lot more we could be told about Prodi's role as head of the EU Commission.

Was the Irish situation used as a proxy by the KGB/EU to demolish Britain's determination to remain independent? Was Maggie's attempted assassination in Brighton also more than just an 'Irish' terrorist situation?

She was determined to avoid signing the Masatricht Treaty, and ensure Britain's survival.

Anonymous said...

The Times seems to be running with something similar, involving an invite to Lib dem peers

David Lindsay said...

Sir Menzies Campbell can protest all he likes: it has nothing to do with him, and he is in any case going to be removed as part of the whole process.

This Eustonite pseudo-Labour Government is determined to bring in, not only Orange Book Lib Dems, but also Jacksonite pseudo-Tories such as now run the Conservative Party. After all, they are all really members of the same party anyway, the party that it is now impossible to vote against.

As for making non-MPs Ministers without giving them peerages, so that they will be members of the Government but not of Parliament, that will be yet another step down the ruinous Liberal road of "the separation of powers", on which see

We need new parties.


David Lindsay said...

Oh, and Tapestry, the IRA was funded by the CIA through NORAID, against the Workers' Party (the Marxist old "Official" IRA, by then purely a political party). NORAID's publicly distributed (in the US) literature from the period makes this perfectly clear.

So much, as much as anything else, for Thatcher's "special relationshop" with Reagan.

Geezer said...

The Yellow Peril are at it again then!

Tapestry said...

The US wanted Britain 's sovereignty merged into the EU'. That is for sure.

It seems that so too did the Soviets.

Any Brit who tried to stand alone copped it.

Thatcher, IDS, Neave etc (political assassination or actual murder).

It is possible that the CIA had a handle in Diana's demise from well written internet analysis.

Every other empire seems to have its assassination squads. Why should the EU be any different?

It's the quickest and cheapest way to solve politcal problems, especially if they can find a way to make it look like somone else did it.

David Cameron would not be unaware of the risks personally to challenging EU power. He will need to tread carefully ifhe is to win Britain's right to rule herself and to survive personally.

Manfarang said...

It was Eckart that did it!

Anonymous said...

I can’t believe so many people have fallen for this bit of NuLab spin; it a less subtle NuLab version of the Love-bomb that Dave has used against the Lib Dems.

Lib Dems helped Labour win in 2001 and 2005, but now they are beginning to take Labour votes and could help Conservatives in Con/Lab marginals. This story will hurt the Lib Dems in Labour areas.

An added bonus is Labour have a by-election, with by-election specialists the Lib Dems as main challengers, so Conservatives saying vote Lib Dem get Labour will suit them just fine; pushing wavering Labour voters back to the party and frightening waving Tories back – result Labour hold – thanks to Gordon.

David Lindsay said...

Tapestry, Thatcher never did "try to stand alone" - she signed the Single European Act, rendering her anti-Maastricht stance in retirement utterly incredible. OF COURSE she would have signed it if she'd still been PM!

As for IDS, he made absolutely no change to the cross-party consensus on the EU, which has been in place ever since a previously rejectionist Labour front bench and a previously (including under Thatcher) ultra-federalist Tory front bench decided, in the mid-80s, to meet in the middle and stay there.

Anyway, you've said the D-word (the name of an earth-shatteringly significant political figure, of course), so it's probably best to ignore you from now on.

Tapestry said...

Thanks David.

IDS declared that the Euro was to be permanently off the Conservative agenda- still Party policy now. He made his speech in Prague setting out his europe of free trading nations. He was the one who initiated the idea of exiting the EPP, and sent his envoy to various countries - Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic inter alia - to arrange a cross national plan to leave the federalist agenda behind.

If you don't find Maggie's euroscepticism credible, go back and lsiten to Geoffrey Howe's speech in 1990 when he knifed her. It's all about her conversion to euroscepticism. That's why they (we) got rid of her.

If you think D...'s death has been explained to your satisfaction, then you are easily pleased. I will not trouble you further.

Anonymous said...

Probably the best reason not to vote LibDem, Iain. They aren't Liberal any more, there's too many ex-Social Democrats in them.

David Lindsay said...

Thank goodness for that!

But I hope that everyone else who tries to make arguments similar to Tapestry's others will in future bear in mind that such is the company that they are keeping by so doing.

Anyway, since I'm here:

"IDS declared that the Euro was to be permanently off the Conservative agenda- still Party policy now."

It was never on anyone's agenda, certainly not while there was breath in Gordon Brown's body.

"He made his speech in Prague setting out his europe of free trading nations."

That's what they all say. And don't we all remember that epoch-making speech so vividly...

"He was the one who initiated the idea of exiting the EPP, and sent his envoy to various countries - Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic inter alia - to arrange a cross national plan to leave the federalist agenda behind."

Of which exit there is absolutely no sign.

IDS had an "envoy"? You're making that up!

"If you don't find Maggie's euroscepticism credible, go back and lsiten to Geoffrey Howe's speech in 1990 when he knifed her. It's all about her conversion to euroscepticism. That's why they (we) got rid of her"

It was because of the Poll Tax, which was going to lose them their seats and reduce the Tories to third place. Saying that it was because of Howe and Europe is like saying that de Gaulle was brought down by the lost referendum on regional devolution and second chamber reform.

Tapestry said...

good rebuttals David.

IDS' envoy -would I make it up? No. I used to speak to him and still do occasionally. The Portuguese were keen to move out at that time, but have since become swallowed up by the EUisation process. I'm sorry I won't reveal any names.

Hague's policy on the £ had been to keep it for one Parliament only. IDS i why it's no longer Conservative policy to get rid of the £ - indefinitely.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

tapestry said...
(before we got onto conspiracy theories - but see mine below)

"Pim Forteyn was assassinated and his whole party fell to pieces, penetrated by Dutch secret service"

- actually Pym Fonteyn's lasting effect was to move The Netherlands sharply away from its liberal attitudes towards large scale immigration of intolerant people.

I will repeat:
PR would prevent Government of the Media by the Media from the Sofa ever happening again.

PS - my own conspiracy theory-

Late at night, when everyone else is in bed, and I've been on the Turps, my mind drifts towards the subject of Pym and I find myself dwelling on whether Tony Blair (NOT the EU) had him bumped off. When he was alive, Tone had a growing intellectual opposite, somehow above the swipes that Blair could have laid on him ...

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay @ 5:06 said:
"We need new parties"


Parties are the problem. Individual MPs may want to perform a public service (not many of them, granted), but the sole aim of all parties is the acquisition and maintenance of power.

Orwell's quote has never been truer:

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power."

Whilst the Party (whichever one an MP is a member of) exists, it's needs will always be more important to the Less Than Honorable Member than those of his or her constituents - it's their career.

Anonymous said...

we are interested solely in power

I thought it was David Cameron who said that! silly me.

David Lindsay said...

Sisyphus, there are parties and parties. Parties like the Whigs and the Tories, perhaps?

lady macleod said...

the plot thickens...

Ted Foan said...

I'm amazed that none of you seem to have picked up on the Anonymous comment at 11.11am yesterday.

"you are missing something. love from a guardian staffer"

The following quote from the Gruaniad article might give you the clue:

"He (Brown) may also make a move on Iraq that could require the help of other parties."

Brown will be looking for a big hit and what better than to announce a very quick withdrawal from Iraq?

The devil is always in the detail.

Anonymous said...

Arrange the following into a well known phrase or saying:

Egg - face - on - boy - Oh - you - have - do - your