Friday, May 07, 2010

7 May 2010: Offer

David Cameron says he'll make a 'comprehensive offer' to the Lib Dems.

For those who are wondering why and how this could happen, given that the two parties are about as far apart as anything in UK party politics, it's worth thinking about the nature of the various parties. The Conservatives tend to want to be in government, and don't like having to rely on semi-formal relationships with their Friends In Northern Irelend (FINI) - but they like strong government. You might say 'surely all parties want that' - not quite so: the politics of the left in the UK (and generally) is more along the lines of 'we're happy to be out for a while if it results in better ideology, and then we'll come in and sort it out'; it's also more likely to be fragmented. The politics of the right is more tending to be united (hard to believe Heath and Thatcher, for instance, were in the same party) and will do surprising things in order to remain. This is why the Conservatives got rid of Thatcher in 1990 after the Poll Tax, despite she being their most successful leader since Churchill (perhaps more so, since she never lost an election). It's also why Tony Blair and New Labour, interestingly, can be legitimately classified as conservative.

Whether the promised 'Committee of Inquiry' into electoral reform is enough for the Lib Dems remains to be seen: Labour (Brown or otherwise) will presumably offer the Lib Dems an immediate referendum on electoral reform. Nick Robinson says the Lib Dems may not go for full coalition but might go item-by-item and let him govern for a bit, prior to the next election in the next few months or possibly years. Still, you have to imagine Cameron's team sounded the Lib Dems out before making this offer.

Results still not yet in, of course. And they may not be for some considerable time.

Odds on next election date? November or perhaps next May? Probably depends on how Nick Clegg responds to David Cameron's offer. Nothing other than a Con-Lib agreement will prevent another election pretty darn soon.


Rob said...

I guess as well we are in a bit of limbo until the election on May 27th for Thirsk (postponed due to candidate death) as they won't be able to call another election until after this first one is over.

At least it gives the parties time to thrash things out. Also means Labour hang on in there as the current Prime Minister has a duty to lead until a majority government is formed.

I guess this would be incentive enough for ConLib agreements.

DuncMcRae said...

I started replying to that and realised I was writing a whole new blog entry based on the sums I just did for an alternative (non ConLib) coalition, and how Clegg has two choices: join Cameron or have another election. So I just cut and pasted. Three blog entries in a day? Sheesh. This is almost as bad as the Saints takeover.