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Saturday, March 24, 2012

A funny sort of courtship

This morning's Telegraph says that Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander has suggested that Labour could form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats after the next election:

In an interview with the parliamentary House magazine, Mr Alexander said Labour should offer a tougher approach to state welfare and must not make the mistake of believing that government knows best.

He called on Labour members to “respect” the fact that Lib Dems represent a “distinctive tradition” in British politics.

Asked whether he could see the two parties working in coalition together after the next election, he said: “There’s nothing inherently wrong with a Coalition but there is much wrong with the present Coalition in terms of its impact on the country.”

He said Labour in the Scottish government worked in a coalition with the Lib Dems between 1999 and 2007.

“It seems to me that there is some times a risk of a conceit on the part of Labour members in thinking that Liberal Democrats are just Labour party members who got lost on the way to the committee rooms,” he said.

“We should respect the fact that they represent a distinctive tradition and that they have an instinct for self preservation which is common in all political parties.”

These are fairly perceptive comments, though they will not be fully understood by many Labour Party activists, whose bitterness towards the Liberal Democrats lies precisely in the territory identified by Mr. Alexander, that they perceived us to be pinker members of the Labour club and feel betrayed when we showed that we have our own distinctive and separate philosophy.

More importantly, this sort of overture also belies the portrayal of the Liberal Democrats by Labour as being somehow toxic. Clearly, we are still worth talking too and have something that they want though a courtship based on ritual abuse is a strange way to go about wooing us.
Well, its time someone in the Labour Party woke up to the fact that their vile, toxic comments aimed at the Lib Dems since the start of the 2010 General Election campaign has back fired.

Instead of driving us further away from them, they should actually be more open and approachable in case they do need us after the 2015 General Election.

At the moment, in view of the last 2 years, I wouldn't wish to touch them with a barge pole!
Hi Peter,
I'd like to point you in the direction of Alistair Darling, whose commentary on the budget was a direct challenge to the current Labour leadership

The two Eds seem fixated on an overall majority and it looks like they've built too many barriers in the way for any constructive cooperation or coalition.

If Labour consistently drops below 40% in opinion polls then the two Eds are finished.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Lib Dems couldn't form a coallition with Labour after the General Election, a number of reasons, these include:

Not joining a failed government.

Not having the numbers to form a government without the support of the Nationalist MPs

However, I wouldn't say a coallition with with Labour would be possible, with the current leader of the Labour party being as capable as Michael Foot.
It seems likely that we will have another hung parliament after the next election. So it is sensible for Labour not to burn it's bridges with the Lib Dems, nor does it make sense for the Lib Dems to do the same with Labour.
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