26 April 2010

AJ4PM committee alert: What is going on?

Has our little campaign been disbanded without prior warning?

The emeritus chairman of the AJ4PM campaign suggests that "if Labour comes second and is the largest party, a deal might be on" between the Lib Dems and Gordon Brown.

John concludes:
I do not know if Clegg realises what he has said, but he has now resolved an ambiguity that I thought he was keeping open. When it comes to dealing with the other parties, it is votes that matter, not seats - if Labour comes third in votes. And that means, in practice, that he will support David Cameron as prime minister unless Labour manages to scrape into second place in votes.

So coming second and winning is all right but coming third and winning is not. Does this make sense to anybody?
No, it does not.

Clegg is being rather clever.  He is attempting to maximise the Lib Dem vote, while at the same time destabilising Brown's leadership.  There is no way Clegg will support Labour with Gordon Brown in post, no matter what the result.  Not only would he lose credibility, but the electorate will not wear it.  That is crystal clear, the voters don't want five more years of Gordon Brown.

If the Tories hold the largest number of seats by a large margin, then Cameron is likely to form a minority administration.  Several reasons.  One, Clegg would not be able to carry his party if he cut a deal with Cameron.  Two, the Tories have the money and resources to fight a second election before they administer the painful medicine that the voters will have to swallow.  Third, it's not in the Tory party's interests to agree to electoral reform.

If the Labour vote collapses between now and polling day, then Clegg's dream is over.  However, it may not if Mandelson & Co face up to what needs to be said before 6 May: that Brown will stand down no matter what the result.

If that happens and Labour finish as the largest party, then Alan Johnson is in a very strong position to cut a deal with Clegg.

There will more on Alan Johnson after the break.

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