Friday, May 07, 2010

7 May 2010: Options

Rob wonders whether the spectre of Gordon Brown hanging in there is enough to drive Nick Clegg and David Cameron together.

I don't know, it's hard to say whether it's enough for Clegg - it's clearly Cameron's wish, and Clegg doesn't immediately seem too repulsed by the idea, although we really have no idea what he's thinking.

Clegg's problem is that he doesn't have an alternative for the Lib Dems really. If he talks to Gordon and agree to LibLab coalition, they still only have 314 seats between them. To that you can certainly add the 3 SDLP from Ulster, probably the new Alliance lady from Ulster and frankly, probably the Green Lady from Brighton. That leaves them on 319, provided everyone shows up for the vote and there's not one dissenter (and this is Labour we're talking about, remember).

In theory you need 326 to win a vote; however Sinn Fein have 5 seats and they don't sit in Westminster on principle, so maybe 323/324 might be enough. So to get there you need to add the SNP into the mix.

They might - just might - be anti-Conservative enough to join in, but then you have SIX parties in coalition and still only just creep over the line. Three more from Plaid Cymru and you're a little further but have seven parties involved.

In other words, it's not going to happen... at least not realistically, because such a coalition would last just a few months and it probably isn't in all their interests to get an electoral reform referendum underway in that time anyway.

So assuming that's no-go (although not missing by much), that means either there's a ConLib of sorts, or there's some kind of weak Conservative minority for a few months, and then another election. And if there's another election, what would happen?

That is the key question for Clegg: if he has to choose between some ConLib deal without a PR referendum OR have another election soon (and I think those are the two choices that he has), what does he do? I have no idea, but if I was Nick Clegg I'd be pretty nervous about going to the polls again given the number of seats they *just* held on to from the Conservatives.

1 comment:

Kevin Sawers said...

Hi mate, I have no idea what Nick Clegg should do either! Curiously, I've just asked exactly the same question (but with no supporting detail / explanation at all) on my new blog - I put the first post up a few minutes ago: