Tuesday 20 April 2010

Amateur Coalition Strategist @ Work: 5-Point Plan

Consider Saturday 8th May. In the scenario of an outright Tory victory (which, as it happens, I believe to be viable) no strategy is required, only a satnav that can locate the tradesmen’s entrance to Buck House. But a Hung Parliament is another matter and unless Clegg has a concrete pact already in place with the Milibands, he will wish to know what Cameron has to say. What’s a Dave to do ? As Iain Dale has said, you take power when you can, and in the Hung scenario that means treating with Clegg.

Enemy position: Labour will have more seats than the Libs, though quite possibly less votes. Brown will have already offered Clegg full PR and several Cabinet seats. Leading Labourites will also have pledged Brown’s head on a platter, though the decapitation is unlikely to have taken place by 8th.

Libs, for themselves, have some red-line issues. Manifesto not to be taken at face value, of course: but Europe and PR are pretty totemic, maybe Trident also. The rest is either common ground(-ish) with the Tories, or negotiable.

Own position: probably the highest number of votes; possibly of seats too, but ex hypothesi not enough. Right wing restive
& deeply suspicious of anything the Libs will demand on Europe or immigration – needs to hear something congenial inside 48 hours before discipline starts to crumble.

But Clegg hates Brown: there’s plenty of scope here. Solution, in 5 bullets:

1. Offer Clegg a very mild form of PR (e.g. regional top-up seats with a very high % threshold) that includes a mechanism to cure the current structural bias against the Tories stemming from the demographic ratchet and the interminable lag in Boundary Commission changes. This package would need to be very well thought-through, and compelling to Clegg on first reading – there’s no time for extensive back-room deliberations

2. Go for the ‘in-or-out’ referendum on Europe that the Libs already advocate (free vote). Ideally this would be packaged with whatever cunning constitutional wheeze Hague and Grieve have been hatching to institute German-style legal priority and leverage the inevitable opportunities presented by the next accession treaty. But these are not ideal circumstances

3. Scrap Trident, but develop a truly independent nuclear cruise missile platform. (Trident is an expensive floating turd in any case.) Clegg will love the symbolism of this: Tories will love the independence. BAe will love the missile work.

4. Hatch a tax plan that delights both Cons and Libs: given that Cable wants to reduce Income Tax for most, this shouldn’t be beyond the wit of, well, someone with half a brain, really.

5. Tell Clegg he ain’t getting his amnesty of illegals. He won’t mind.

As I say, this is Plan B because Plan A is outright victory and I reckon that’s on. But hey, you always need Plan B.



Bill Quango MP said...

Will Vince let go of his own creation - the mansion tax.
It was poorly concieved and badly thought out. But Vinnie C loves it.
No Tory can allow it unless

* Automatic escalator to prevent the inheritance tax scam of it becoming a tax for all.
* Tell Vince he can be chancellor but take it out on the banks. Leave the houses alone.

hatfield girl said...

There's everything to gain from taking the Liberal Democrat In or Out referendum as policy: people want their say, some politicians (though not Brown Labour) are not adamantly arrogant in refusing it; it is not clear at all which way such a vote would go, and a more independent line, as offered by the Conservatives, rather than subservience to the EU might make many lean towards In who currently want Out under Labour's instrumentalisation of the EU - which is quite markedly at odds with other member-states EU relations;EU membership interacts seriously with UK federal relations (which reverberate on Labour party statuses seriously too) and those are going to have to be revisited anyway.

An In Out referendum does not necessarily imply the answer Out. And it actually needs to be held, never mind we want it to be held.

Budgie said...

Nick - an awful lot of wishful thinking in your scenario there.

Unsustainable debts; unsustainable deficit; poor exports; debt default; inflation; personal debts; sinking pound; AGW hoax; EU takeover; democratic deficit; punitive taxes; running out of power; delusional Labour; uncontrolled immigration; destroyed civil liberties etc. It's a mess. Neither David Clegg nor Nick Cameron appear remotely to grasp the enormity of our problems.

Old BE said...

The other point about a coalition is that if a lot of people think that the new government is enacting policies they didn't vote for then it will soon come tumbling down. Most of our "democracy" does not happen at elections it happens when people kick up a stink about something that crosses the boundaries of acceptability.

ND I think you are working on the assumption that Cameron can separate the "good" LDs from the "bad. I doubt it very much.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I wish I could share your optimism, ND.

For me, this particular glass is currently half-empty.

Maybe Clegg will come a cropper in the next debate...

CityUnslicker said...

Also I don't want a lib con pact. The Labour get to regroup. better Dave tries to go it alone, then gets voted down and we have another election that will at least destroy the Labour party once and for all.

In the lib con pact scenario Labour are the opposition, the only way then for them is up.

Budgie is also right, good chance of economic earthquake post election that will change everything once more.

Bill Quango MP said...

One thing Mr Drew.
The Yellow bandwagon is rolling. There may be two weeks to polling but only a few days to postal voting. BQ has a postal vote, despite being able to see the polling station from the mansion.
It was offered during the last Euro election and once you take it, you can only post vote.

A lot of people will be putting the X based on the very current situation. Expect Lib Dems to hold a lot of those SW marginals.

As for Labour. Flights, teachers strike, unemployment figures..
Gordon is going to have to juggling with flaming chainsaws while laying out his future plans during tomorrows debate to have any chance at all.

Nick Drew said...

to the same extent Clegg is on a roll (role ??), Cable is on the wane, I'd say Mr Q. You are of course right about the mansion tax

HG - agreed (see also Newmania on this topic some months ago)

Budgie - what I wish for - no, what I am working for, optimistic for (Mr Y) - is Plan A - outright Con victory. Yes, it's a mess. One thing at a time. Power first. All else is defeatism or self-indulgence. Practical men to the front.

Nick Drew said...

BE - Dave can either lead, or not. Let him take the reins if they become available, we need to find out. Initiative is all, you can't hesitate. Watch Mandelson take control if anyone wavers for a second.

very few generals in history were able to execute the Wellington strategy. It requires unfettered unilateral command and perfect discipline, neither of which exist in democratic politics

Nick Drew said...

not sure nice clean earthquakes happen very often CU, most things are a shade of volcano-dust grey ... don't want to get caught coughing & spluttering

better Dave tries to go it alone - agreed, but by the time Cameron gets voted down, suppose the re-grouped Labour has evicted Brown and hatched something very firm with Clegg ... no second election, just Miliband at the Palace assuring HMQ he can form a government

grab the reins and drive

Nick Drew said...

BQ.2 - Gordon is going to have to [be] juggling with flaming chainsaws - yes, and he doesn't look much like a juggler, eh ?

so - are you seeing even more need for Plan B than I do ?

Demetrius said...

But will they have the time and will the decisions be made for them by events and others?

Antisthenes said...

Best scenario is Conservatives hang back let Labour Lib-Dem have a go, they cock it up out on their ears by autumn. Conservatives step in heros of the hour not enough time for any fooling around on defense, EU or PR so no change there.

Labour and Lib-Dems destroyed for decades.

And we all live happily ever-after.

Nick Drew said...

But Antisthenes, Brown has already cocked it up as badly as could be imagined. Why do you think they'd be out by autumn ?

Antisthenes said...

ND, because the effects of his cock ups to date have not yet filtered through they will by the summer and nobody can stop them.

Broon and Clegg will continue to call the wrong shots and will be unable to contain runaway inflation, increasing unemployment and a great deal of social unrest.

Broon will reap what he has sown and Labour and the Lib-Dems will take the blame and the Conservatives can say we told you so.

If the Conservatives are in government or coalition they will take the blame and Labour can say it would not have happened if you had voted for us.

Anonymous said...

Lets see what the election brings, but a wishy washy kludge on PR is not going to work. The policies are irrelevant, the LD's are polling well because they offer electoral reform.

Neuter that and there will be fucking riots.

Budgie said...

The problem is the Tories are so fundamentally far off (remember: proceeds of growth? cast iron guarantee? hug a husky? more windmills? we will never leave the EU? we won't join the euro for one parliament? £6 billion of cuts when we need £160 billion?) that their program is as ruinous as LibLab.

Better a LibLab coalition now, then Cameron out, then the rest of the recession (sans money printing), then the IMF, then a more sane Tory party.

If Cameron cannot floor Brown over the economy here and now, he will never be able to defend himself when the recession returns and he is in power. He is absolutely useless (I suspect because he is a closet LibDem - euro, EU and all).