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May 07, 2010


Richard J

As a useful data point, a survey on Wednesday which asked the hung parliament question found the nation roughly split on whether they'd prefer a lib-lab, lib-Tory or all three together solution.

(h/t to Mrs J)


Its tough for Clegg innit. His natural bezza mate Cameron (I've read the Orange book) can't deliver on PR, and now Gordon Brown's offered them everything they could realistically want. His party will lynch him if he doesn't deliver, but he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who can take the kind of pressure he's going to feel from the media.

I reckon he's going to go Tory, and let himself be fobbed off with some vague promise of something, somewhen.


It's interesting that the whole thing's come down to the size of Nick Clegg's balls.

BTW interesting story developing in London where Labour are making serious gains in the locals, due to a combination of high turnout and the last elections being during Blair's nadir. Lib Dems and everyone else getting squeezed in a blue/red sandwich.


Labour did very well in the locals hereabouts, too.

Interesting that the Tories jettisoned the storm the gates approach for the chance of a deal with the Lib Dems. So far Cameron's been kind enough to offer them thinbgs in his manifesto, ie which the Tories had promised to do anyway. And when you think about it, ditching Osborne for Cable would suit them quite well.

Still, the LDs would be utter, utter fools to do a deal with anyone that didn't nail down PR. We shall see.


They're not going to get the option, are they? The Tories won't offer it and the rest haven't got enough seats between them to put together a serious government.

Still, it doesn't matter, because as I understand it the Lib Dems have replaced Labour in British politics. Aha. Ahaha. Ahahahahahaha.


the rest haven't got enough seats between them to put together a serious government

Not obvious. Labour+LibDems would be more stable than a Tory minority government or even a Tory+DUP. Counting the Alliance and SDLP, as you can automatically (they take the Liberal and Labour whips), you only need to get a couple of Plaid or Scot Nats or disgruntled Paisleyites.

Chris Williams

Hermon would vote with a red/orange coalition - that was why she refused to back UCUNF (no, really): I imagine that Lucas would too, _if_ it had a strong commitment to PR built into the deal. SF don't sit. SNP and PC could be expected to like PR too. DUP can thus be left to go their own way.

But I think that Cameron's best bet is to set up a minority and challenge the others to call another election. Trouble is, he's going to have to throw in an austerity budget quite soon, which gives the rest a chance to vote against it, bringing him down: and then go to the country pointing out the specific Tory cuts that are going to hit them. Prediction: cut in death duties quietly shelved.

Chris Brooke

I can't see a deal happening. Whatever Clegg wants, his MPs and his "Federal Executive" won't accept anything without a clear steer on PR, and Cameron can't offer that. And Cameron's in a stronger position than the post suggests, as he's not going to be terrified of a second election, in a way that, basically, Clegg will be. Obviously, if *that* election doesn't deliver a clear Tory majority, then Cameron is toast. But if the Tories and their allies in the press can present the failure of the hung parliament as owing to non-Tory forces, then I don't see why he shouldn't be optimistic.


SNP and PC could be expected to like PR too.

One big question seems to be whether they (especially the SNP) be expected to like PR more than the rise in support they'd otherwise enjoy under a Conservative government.


Remember that any second election would take place under a post-Brown Labour Party, with bounce potential.


How does the strong Labour showing in the locals change your opinion? Boriswatch Tom says it's the comeback of Old Labour in London and the circle around Ken Livingstone.


In Bury, Stoke and Liverpool? They have been busy.


Clarity: it's the comeback, etc etc, in London.


"Boriswatch Tom says it's the comeback of Old Labour in London and the circle around Ken Livingstone."

In the sense that the campaign in London was led by Ken's old Chief of Staff. Going from eight boroughs to seventeen in one night (out of 33 in total) when the party was losing the country nationally does suggest a decently run campaign allied with strong *local* Labour support across the city. It also can't have hurt that Labour candidates could point to a real live Tory as an example of what might happen if people didn't watch out.


when the party was losing the country nationally

But that's exactly my point - Labour did well in the local elections in lots of parts of England; they routed the BNP in Stoke, retook control of Liverpool from the Lib Dems and pushed two or three Tory councils in the NW into NOC. It was a good night for Labour, in the locals. The difference does remain to be explained, but it's not just a London difference.


"it's not just a London difference"

Agreed, although I *think* it was even more so in London, particularly since the national vote swing was about half what it was on average across the UK in an area the Tories were expected to clean up. My original remarks to Alex (which were in a pub while trying to stop my offspring headbutting him, which might explain it) were around the number of old school Labour MPs in London who did far better than they had any right to - it was Old Labour what won it, in many cases.


Just a point about the electoral arithmetic above. Labour can also count on Lady Sylvia in N. Ireland. I know an extra two (I'm also including Caroline Lucas who is hardly going to fight PR) isn't massive, but its something.

Also the SNP and Plyd Cmru seem pretty desperate to prevent Cameron from winning, so they probably wouldn't strike a very hard bargain. Budget cuts might be a sticking point though. We'll see. Certainly the above seems more stable than a Lib-Dem/Con affiliation. Hell even a Conservative majority doesn't seem very stable given how much infighting there is there.


Amen to Cian. 258 + 57 is 315, but Labour gives you SDLP and Lady Sylvia (in most situations) and Lib Dem gives you Alliance, so that's 320 in the bag before they look further afield - and with five abstentionists (and the Speaker) the target is 323, not 326. The 'traffic light' coalition wouldn't be the vast unwieldy beast some people are talking about - they could actually get a confidence motion through even without the SNP, or without the SDLP and Lady Sylvia, or without Plaid Cymru and Caroline Lucas.


Conversely (apologies for the double comment) to actually defeat the narrow Labour/Lib Dem/NI allies coalition, the Tories would need to find another 15 votes: 8 DUPs and, er...?


Well, indeed; not only can you get to 322, but you can get there with reserves, specifically the Scot Nats and the Green. In so far as you could get them on board, they're an option to keep Plaid in line - or the other way round.


The biggest problem for Labour would probably be their back benchers. PR would wipe out quite a few MPs. That's going to be a hard sell.


Same-same for the Tories.

Chris Brooke

I haven't looked too closely at the pattern of local election results, but presumably one of the reasons Labour did well was that the seats being contested were last fought in 2006, which was a bad year for Labour. It's always easier to bounce back in those circumstances.

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