Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It must be with the Tories or without

The general election result seems a long time ago now and we are still waiting for the result. No doubt everyone has made studious notes of the last few days for their forthcoming memoirs but in the meantime we are still in the dark.

My own view is rather straight forward.

1. Nick Clegg was right to start negotiations with the Conservative party. With 36%, they got more votes and more seats than Labour and together we can form a stable government if we concentrate on common ground.

2. Voting reform MUST be one of the results of any negotiations. The party have fought for that for years – we simply cannot keep up a discredited unrepresentative unfair system.

3. Alternative vote is NOT proportional representation. We will only have one chance to change the system – let’s get it right first time.

4. We must NOT enter a deal with Labour. The election was clearly a rejection of Labour’s record and policies and to put together a Lab-Lib Dem government would be ridiculous, especially with Gordon Brown STILL running things.

5. If we cannot make a deal with the Conservatives then at least we can say we have tried. David Cameron can then run a minority government and our MPs can vote with him on an issue by issue basis, such as abolishing ID cards, education investment and the low carbon economy.

6. We will thus be sticking to our principles and if we are facing the electorate again in a few months, we can say that we tried to provide stable government but it was not possible.

Gordon Brown’s departure is welcome – and I am sure we all wish him well – but he should have gone on Friday morning not in a few months time.


  1. Most of the people who felt that was voted for the Conservatives. A lot of the people who voted for us in this election voted for us because they did not want to see a Conservative government. If we were to enter into an arrangement with them they need to offer us something slightly better than the-nothing-that-is-AV. Do we really want to prop them up while they're destorying the public sector basis of the economy in the North of England and Scotland for nothing?

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  3. Oh... sorry you were misrepresented by the BBC. I agree with what you've written above 100%.

  4. Keith - so nice to hear a voice of reason here. I really hope that the parliamentary party heed such sensible words.
    A coalition with Labour would not be viable, a coalition with the Tories would not be acceptable. Strong and constructive opposition is the only way forward. The Tories think they have the answers - let them show us.

  5. As a conservative voter I agree with you in general. A lib-lab coalition would be good for nobody really, not in terms of functional government.

    Just to be clear, if the Lab/Con seats were reversed I would not support a Con/Lib deal either.

    Minority execution leads to weak government and short term government no matter which way up you look at it?

  6. Absolutely agree with you, Keith.

  7. +1 Keith. Although I think you should compromise a little on the AR /PR issue as you're unlikely to get PR and the Liberal authority will be lost in a Tory minority. Now is your chance as you hold the keys

  8. We should not prop either of them up. Let the Tories form a government. It should not last long.
    Then we can all get back to convincing the electorate to vote for what they want and not to vote in a negative fashion.

  9. Maybe better to hold off from commenting while negotiations are actually taking place. The risk is that the media get hold of things like this, twist them, and that weakens Nick Clegg's hand.

  10. The BBC's page Would AV have changed history
    (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8506306.stm) shows, mostly,
    that AV would have enlarged the winners' majority with Lib Dem gaining
    many seats at the expense of the 2nd place party. Far from going the
    extra mile it serves Tory interests.

  11. "The election was clearly a rejection of Labour’s record"

    I'm a lib dem voter, but the above is just plain wrong. If 29% of people voting for someone is a rejection then 23% is an even bigger rejection.

    I don't care who we jump in bed with, but PR should be our line in the sand.

    Combining our share with either the Tories or Labour gives over 50% of the votes which is a mandate to govern. No matter what the right wing pundits want to tell us.

  12. on this page the majority of
    comments do not want the a LibDem/Con


  13. A coalition no. An agreement yes.

  14. Hmmm this election was not a rejection of Labour it was a rejection of Gordon Brown but for wrong reasons. It was turned into an 'X-Factor' of politics on super model looks rather than policy and track records. I sit on the fence between Labour and Lib Dems and I think the Lib Dems forget the fact they were formed out of Labour politicians so their roots are from Labour which formed a fair amount of their principles. I think the Lib Dems if they get into bed with the Conservatives will lose alot of votes in the next election as so many will be unhappy with them. Many voters who are not happy with Labour vote Lib Dems to give them a kick up the behind as they are very close to Labour and trusted because of that by most voters. To go the other way will be a disaster. Either way Labour will have a new leader and thats good news as well to give the voters the options they really want. I still don't think Gordon Brown was too bad and that he fell on his lack of charisma and appeal together with the blame for global issues which is unfair. I truely dread it if it becomes a LibCon job and will hope Labour sort their leader out quickly a new election called in the next 18 months in which I would suspect many will vote against both Libs because of their choice turning their back on their principles and the Conservatives. To say the Conservatives should have power is completely incorrect. Under all the circumstances in which they should have completely outright won the election they have failed to do so - they failed to convince the country that they are the right choice with their buzz word non substance terms such as 'Change' and 'Big Society'. If the Conservatives couldnt get a majority this time around they really dont stand much chance to govern. Either way this is all extremely interesting but I think the best option will be Labour new leader and Lib Co. That will last the longest before another election giving the country the stability it badly needs now.

  15. If you stay in opposition and argue that you will only govern without any other party then you will never get in power, specially with PR in place. In Germany we call this fundamental opposition. Hower that in turn will cut down on any real votes in the future as you will only atract protest votes. If you have started coalition talks do not even think of backing off (a bit like a runaway bride), as this you have already comitted yourself to power in some form, unless the unthinkable (LAB-CON) happens.

  16. I agree with the top post except that:

    It is clear that if we tried to back David Cameron into a corner of accepting the full voting reform we need, he will likely be facing a revolt from within. This will not be the basis of a strong government which shows the maturity that us LibDems have. We must be prepared to compromise if we want a strong government which carries core LibDem policies for the next 4 years.

    We should therefore enter a coalition with the Conservatives based on a short AV timetable.

    In reply to Duncan, we have to assume that people who have voted for us done so to carry forward distinctive Liberal policies. Not to assume they want anti-Tory or anti-Labour policies. If a coalition gives us a strong Liberal government, that can only be good.

    No doubt, a coalition with either party would be unpalatable for some of our members or activists, but it is the same for any two parties which seek coalition.

  17. Since this election was not an election/referendum on PR - that was just one issue (on which views still vary widely) - I am not impressed by what looks like (so far) the LibDems insistence that a referendum on PR (as opposed to any other form of electoral reform) is a pre-condition - in the national interest, etc., etc., yawn, yawn ... to the future stability of a UK Government.

    Fine to fight and argue for it, but get real and be honest. What matters most to you? Electoral reform and getting your turn - where have we heard that one before? LOL - to be PM and the dispenser of jobs and privilges, etc. (in which case, dish the Tories and continue sitting on the sidelines threatening from time to time to reassess what counts as confidence and supply (or whatever limited support you feel able to give the Government).

    Or show some real sense of compromise - isn't that what hung parliaments, ordained by the electorate, are all about? - and selfless national interest (plus some real signs of courageous leadership as well - why let Cameron get all the praise for his risk-taking flexible leadership?) and start working for a resurgent LibDem future from a position of strength inside Government?

    Surely it's a no brainer? Except, perhaps, for those LibDems who are in danger of failing see how obvious and unimpressive the mismatch is turning out to be between the pre-election Clegg rehetoric for something different from the old parties and the post-election farce of mobile phone announcements and secret meetings behind the backs of those you are supposedly negotiating "constructively" with.

    For any one who was in two minds about the LibDems as a potential Government (if not now, in the future) or about electoral reform designed to give us more of what we have at the moment, recent developments will have been instructive. Not your party's finest hour ...

  18. @Jimbo - If it was about the X-Factor then why was Gordon Brown polling so well in 2007 and so badly in 2009; did he get uglier?

    Don't be so patronising to the British people. Here is a shortlist of why New Labour is a busted flush:
    * the Iraq War
    * Record Deficit spending (which even went on during a growth period)
    * Having spent 13 years doing /nothing/ to regulate the city or deal with the housing bubble
    * The 10p Tax Band
    * The erosion of civil liberties in the name of 'counter terrorism'
    * 'Tough on crime'
    * Massive waste left, right and centre - the Eurofighter, the
    * Spin, spin, spin; lies, lies, lies; sleaze, sleaze, sleaze.
    * Four MPs and one Lord on trial for fraud, cabinet ministers flipping their homes to profit from the sale of taxpayer bought properties, John Prescott, Jim Sheridan's defense of Michael Martin being "I don't think Martin knew anything about anyone's expenses claims".
    * Brown's response to Cameron saying he was going to be tough on the unemployed being 'oh... me too!'
    * Gordon Brown.

    Yeah, sure mate; all about looks. I grew up in the heartland of Labour's rottenborough corruption; Glasgow. A place where before /we/ brought in STV it was possible to get 90% of the councilors on 50% of the vote. I'd never vote Labour under fair votes or otherwise. The only good thing about the Labour party is that they aren't the Conservative party and most of them don't actually have bad intentions; they're just so stupid to know what they're doing is wrong, wasteful or harmful.

    X-Factor. Rubbish.