.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Coalition or bust?

I have no great insight on the talks going on in London at the moment other than what I am seeing on the media and the fairly bland e-mails I am receiving from the Liberal Democrat Party President, Ros Scott. These e-mails basically say 'don't panic, don't comment and don't jump to conclusions'. That is about right.

There is also a huge amount of expectation and quite a few threats on social media sites of resignation and betrayal if electoral reform does not form part of any package. To those people I would say read the advice from Ros Scott. Nothing has yet been agreed, there is no proposal on the table and we have to be patient.

Much as I want to see electoral reform these talks are about bigger issues. On their outcome lies the future of this country. It is incumbent on Liberal Democrats to put the national interest first and to deliver stable government. If we cannot do that then our case for electoral reform will go out of the window.

Gordon Brown is dangling a referendum in front of us but he cannot deliver. The sort of coalition of losers he is promoting would be unstable and would not deliver electoral reform because the outgoing Prime Minister could not deliver his own Parliamentary Party.

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru and the SNP continue to promote their own fantasy of delivering a left-of-centre UK Government when the reality is that nobody wants to talk to them and they remain as irrelevant as ever. That may change of course but I think it is unlikely.

I do not know whether the current talks will produce a coalition government, a confidence and supply agreement or something else. I do not know whether we will get a referendum on electoral reform or not. What I do know is that voters expect us to sort out the economy, secure the future of this country and make necessary changes that will make the system fairer.

That may mean that we get less than electoral reform but will still be able to take a significant step forward. Great political and social change does not often happen overnight. However, if we get it right in these talks we will have prepared the ground for irreversible constitutional change and that must be in the best interests of this country.
Agreed, in spades.
"Meanwhile Plaid Cymru and the SNP continue to promote their own fantasy of delivering a left-of-centre UK Government when the reality is that nobody wants to talk to them and they remain as irrelevant as ever...."

Are you trying to get a bite??

On the subject of Nationalist; I'm I the one to notice that Plaid has lost their deposits in nine out of the forty seats in Wales, they even came behind the BNP in Newport East & West.
a very well reasoned point, well made as ever !
I can understand your pessimism, Peter, but I think there is a way forward. It relies on separating the electoral reform issue from the remaining agenda for a stable government.

I've explained it in this post on Syniadau:


I'd appreciate your comments.
I am a political outsider and what worries me is the future for the LDs. They will annoy people whoever they go into Government with.

I can almost see the leaflets at the next election..why bother voting Liberal if they go into government with Labour/Conservative...There is a feeling that a third radical force which has taken a long time to mature could be sent packing in droves.

Remember the fall out from the Lib Lab Pact....
Oh dear. This has the signs of a sell-out. More important things than electoral reform? You shoudl ask the people who voted Liberal Democrat in the hope of a hung parliament what they think is a priority and what they expect to happen.
More spadefuls from me!
So basically, what you are saying Peter is that the Lib Dems are going to sell out on PR.
"...the reality is that nobody wants to talk to them and they remain as irrelevant as ever." Not a very helpful comment from a "Democrat". At this time, when the issue of fair representation for ALL voters is so important, your characterisation of others as being 'irrelevant' could be seen as being self defeating or perhaps merely one of scale.
I cannot understand why the Lib Dems would not wish to join a "coalition of losers". Or did I misunderstand the final number of seats the party held after 6th May?
"Much as I want to see electoral reform these talks are about bigger issues"

There is no bigger issue than electoral reform. That is what people want, not just Lib Dems but ordinary people. The talk in the pub since Thursday has been of nothing but, and it has not been initiated by me because my boss has banned me from talking about politics post election.

If we don't wring electoral reform from the Tories but go into coalition with them anyway it won't just be a case of losing activists, our VOTERS will never vote for us again.
Thats shocking a Liberal in power with Tories, but PR is not that important, ah the good old days of sell out of the people.
I really can't understand why so much time is being taken over the negotiations unless the Liberal Democrat leadership is trying to avoid another election in the next two years. The simple fact is that with the Parliament elected on Thursday PR is a dead duck. I doubt given the opposition of nearly all the Tories and many Labour MPs whether a referendum bill would even get through on a free vote.Even if it did, the article by Robert Hazell in the Guardian shows that it isn't a simple task to change the electoral system. Given the uncertain economic climate we need a government. Cameron should in my opinion be given a chance and the logic should be that if agreement on 'confidence and supply' cannot be reached in the next few days then the Tories should be allowed to form a minority government. As for PR which I support the best bet is for Labour to fully endorse electoral change in its next manifeso and argue with the Liberal Democrats and others that if elected they will introduce a bill to change the system. Whether some of the dinosaurs in the Labour movement will support this approach of course is another matter. There is in the UK a progressive majority and all the split in that majority did in the 20th century was to allow the Conservatives to dominate British politics. The aim of all Progressives in the next few years should be to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?