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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Coalition or bust?

The BBC report that Liberal leader Lord Steel has said he doubts Liberal Democrat members will want to be part of a coalition after May's general election.

They add that he believes that "the most" Lib Dems will accept in another hung parliament is a confidence and supply deal - where policies are agreed on a case-by-case basis, rather than a formal coalition.

In the first statement David Steel has hit heights he rarely achieved when leader, understanding the feelings of most grass roots members. However, a confidence and supply arrangement would be the worst of all worlds - all the blame with little influence and no responsibility.

It would be better to go back into opposition than support a government from the backbenches.
A bit harsh on David Steel there, Peter.I presume his comments are based on the experience of the LbLab pact in the late 70s.
I don't know if Nick Clegg is out of touch or simply choses not to publicly acknowledge the negative impact that coalition with the Tory's has had on groups like students and public sector workers, where a good deal of support came from for the Lib Dems at the last election.
As for an arrangement of confidence and supply, I can see the arguments in favour of coalition, although suspect the bulk of the Liberal Democrats would rather not enter into one post 2015. Given the signs point to no overall majority, the electorate at large are not going to view favourably having to go to the polls again without that option being fully explored.
We are in the hands of the electorate, whatever David Steel may presume.

Hi Alex, Clegg has acknowledged publicly the problems caused by the coalition for certain groups and has apologised for the tuition fees fiasco, which was of his making. The confidence and supply arrangement during the 1977-78 period was an unmitigated disaster for the Liberals, securing the implementation of very little of our policy whilst seeing our poll ratings plummet. The issue you need to bear in mind is that we have a fixed term Parliament. It looks likely that even two parties working together will not be able to form a majority and it takes a two thirds majority to force another election. My view is that the only option is coalition, possibly involving three parties but whether we should be part of that is another matter.
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