Archive for the ‘ Conservative ’ Category
It’s not surprising that the leaders of a party so long in the wilderness should be politically naive. However the extent to which the LibDems are bearing the brunt of opposition to Conservative policy, particularly on tuition fees, must amaze even the most hardened Tory strategists.
Vince Cable famously said of Gordon Brown that “the House has noticed the Prime Minister’s remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean”. Cable himself has made an equally remarkable conversion from Father Christmas to Ebenezer Scrooge. The LibDems today fell to just 8% in the polls. Translated into an electoral vote, that would actually mean fewer seats under proportional representation that they have now.
The mistake that the LibDem leaders made was to join the Tories in a full coalition rather that a confidence and supply agreement. In doing so the Tories would have had to agree to enact more of the LibDems’ manifesto and politically the LibDems would have avoided being tainted as a full coalition partner in an unpopular government determined to cut spending . They would certainly have not been dragged into supporting a policy on university fees that they so clearly opposed.
To regain popular support, they must return to the path of principle and it is likely that those who vote with their conscience today will emerge post-crisis at the helm. The alternative is to continue to take the rap for the cuts and to consign Liberal politics to political history.
The 55% rule on dissolution is the stitch up of the century but it strikes me that it is evident that the people who put this together and are now in government are, how should I put this, a bit stupid? The relevant text in Con Lib deal goes as follows:
The parties agree to the establishment of five-year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55%or more of the House votes in favour.
In a well argued piece by Louise Balldock it is clear that they the Tories are trying to make it impossible to oust them from Parliament even if the coalition falls apart, they alone could put up more than 45% of the votes, rejecting dissolution.
But this is the stupid bit. They can’t rig votes on bills, so if the coalition does fall apart and there was a majority in favour of dissolution all they would have to do is vote through an amendment to this crass Act restoring the principle, up until now delivered through convention after the passing of a motion of no confidence, of a simple majority for dissolution. Makes you despair.
Logic dictates that this blog should shuffle off or transform itself into something that covers the wider issues of politics and social media, but we live in interesting times. I think that the chances are extremely high that 2010 will see a second UK general election.
If the LibDems do a deal with the Conservatives the backlash that they will face for ‘dancing with the devil’ with no promise on voter reform will inevitably destabilise the coalition, that’s if it gets off the ground. A Conservative minority government wouldn’t last long and a Labour/LibDem/SNP/Plaid Cymru/DUP/Green coalition would be inherently weak.
It’s hardly a cast iron solution but another plebiscite is looking increasingly likely.
The combined Conservative and Labour share of the vote fell to less that two-thirds of the total ballots cast for the first time since 1918, the election that followed the great war. That’s important because the two main parties have dominated politics for generations but their stranglehold is slipping and has been gradually eroded in successive elections since the middle of the last century. In this election is was around 65.3%. What that means is that even under the first past the post system hung parliaments are increasingly likely.
In order to form a majority administration Labour or Tory parties in the future will have to include the LibDems. Wouldn’t it make sense to get in first and build the foundations of future coalitions.
By now you will have seen the extraordinary front page of The Sun. This image appeared as a twitpic reply within an hour or so. We’ve posted it a little after midnight and it is currently getting more than 1000 views a minute. It is not beyond the bounds of imagination that it could get more views than the Sun’s front page by close of voting. Click the image to register your view.
Jonathan Freedland wrote a fascinating piece in the Guardian today that compared the place we find ourselves today with the early days of the Thatcherite years. The quote from Neil Kinnock was four years into the reign of the Iron Lady but his points were well made.