09 March 2010

A hung Parliament: A quick fix or should Labour look to the future?

With all this hung parliament mania, we need to return to the not-so-small matter of what will exactly happen after polling day.  Since we last discussed this, the LibDems have been flexing their muscles.

Shirley Williams, who has to be listened to occasionally, was on The Westminster Hour saying (about 3 mins in) they will not join either the Tories or Labour in a coalition, but will support, in some way, whichever party has the largest number of seats.  Nick Clegg may well confirm this at the weekend.

Well, of course, they would say that this side of the election.  Once it comes down to the nitty gritty and they smell the leather chairs around the Cabinet table, matters could be rather different.

It is reasonable to assume that a deal with the Tories is out if they are the largest party.  Clegg may wish to go down this path, but it would split his party.  Cameron’s wheeze was to do deal with UUP, but the present activities on the other side of the Irish Sea have probably put paid to that idea.  He will just have to manage on his own.

John Rentoul suggests that the idea of hung parliament is a good idea in the present economic circumstances.  All very well, but 30 million plus voters don't call a mass meeting to agree this and then vote accordingly.  It happens by chance, not by design.

We come back to Labour as the largest party and the thorny issue of Gordon Brown, who the LibDems will not work with.  John Rentoul, in the another post, refuses to speculate on the leadership.  He argues “it all depends on the arithmetic”.

So we wait, do we, for the results to be declared and then have a tactical short-term fix that will neither do the long-term future of the Labour party much good, not to mention the career development of David Miliband.

The idea of Alan Johnson as Prime Minister with Miliband as Labour leader is surely worth considering?

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  1. The LIBDUMs will violate their own Grannies for a Ministerial Mondeo.

    They did so in Scotland and chucked out their principals in so doing.

    In Scotland they are well and truly kerrfooked.

  2. Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to an again: but already it was ipossible to say which was which.

    George Orwell (1944)

    Animal Farm

  3. All very well, but if the polls remain as they are, this is going to be a heavily debated issue as we get to polling day as will Gordon Brown's leadership throughout the campaign.

  4. It's perfectly possible that the Lib Dems are getting above themselves here. The two main parties might not want to work with the Lib Dems.

    Constitutionally the largest party could form a minority Government and govern, although not legislate much and the Lib Dems may not be consulted at all.

    One of the key Lib Dems demands, much like in '74, would be major electoral reform something either of the two main parties won't contemplate.

  5. That maybe the case, but this issue will come up time and time again during the campaign as it did only an a hour ago on the Daily Politics. That is why the question of what Labour does has to be addressed.

  6. Have strong governments been such a good idea? Most of Europe has done rather well with mixed parliaments - for one thing, it means debate has some value. There is a great debate on the foruyms at www.charter2010.co.uk at the moment!