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Monday, November 23, 2009

Not another hung Parliament story

I have been involved in politics now for thirty five years and am always amazed at the capacity of the media to get it wrong in their constant predictions of hung Parliaments. Commentators have been suggesting such an outcome is likely in the run-up to every election since October 1974 and on each occasion they have got it wrong. I have no doubt that they will get it wrong this time too, but do not ask me what the outcome will be next year, I have no idea. And nor does anybody else.

The latest fuss about Nick Clegg's assertion that in the event of nobody getting a majority then the party which has got the strongest mandate from the British people will have the first right to seek to govern is just a flash in the pan. Labour MPs and others have been quick to suggest that the Liberal Democrats intend to throw their lot in with the Tories, but putting aside their own defeatism in saying so, such a suggestion is presumptuous.

It is up to the British people to say who will have the strongest mandate, not Nick Clegg or anybody else. It would be completely wrong for any political party to seek to pre-empt that judgement. It would also be wrong for a political leader to seek to ignore the voters' verdict or to try and subvert it by refusing to recognise the right of the strongest party to try and form a government.

In many ways Clegg's comment is a statement of the bleedin' obvious. It should not be taken as sign of intent on the part of the Liberal Democrats to throw our lot in with anybody. Those decisions are for after the election when we can see what people have voted for. In the meantime we have our own distinct policies and a very talented team of MPs who are more than capable of forming a government in their own right.

Our fight in 2010 will be to maximise the Liberal Democrat vote and the number of MPs we can secure, not to prop up one of the other parties.
Roger Roberts made the same point that Nick has made when he was interviewed by John Stevenson on the Politics Show yesterday.
"Our fight in 2010 will be to maximise the Liberal Democrat vote and the number of MPs we can secure, not to prop up one of the other parties."

God what a talking head politico answer. It is the reason that the Lib Dems are only ever a protest vote, not one of conviction.

The Lib Dems campaign on an open and transparent democracy, but cannot guarantee that they will enter a deal with the biggest party.

I am sorry that you think that. What that phrase means is that we ae going to fight the election on our policies and our principles irrespective of what the other parties do. That is conviction politics.

As for your second point how is second-guessing the electorate open and transparent? We will act in the interests of the country and to maximise our voice in any government. That may involve a deal, it may not. Will Labour and the Tories say now who they will deal with if there is a hung Parliament?

No, I thought not.
If it's a flash in the pan then he should have kept his mouth shut, not long ago he was telling the labour left to come to the Lib Dem's now he is telling OK if the Tories come first we will go with them, thank god i waited
Except he is not saying that at all Robert. He is saying that we will judge the situation once the voters have passed their verdict. In the meantime we are going to continue to fight the election on our policies.
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