Friday 7 May 2010

Coalition Politics

And so it comes down to the smoke-filled rooms. I posted two weeks ago that, as second-best, a Con-Lib understanding needn't be too hard to reach (and I don't know why so many commentators see Trident as a stumbling-block) - so have it, chaps.

I'm rather hoping this is where Osborne comes into his own. This blog has long found fault with the Boy George as both putative Chancellor material, and as any type of front-man at all. But he is said to excel at the back-room stuff. Perhaps it is true.

But here are a couple more thoughts.

(a) It will be ideal if Brown stays as Labour leader, while a Con-Lib process runs its course. Worst case would be that Brown goes right away, and a Con-Lib accommodation gives Labour a quiet summer during which to run a disciplined leadership selection (similar to the Conservative version in which Cameron prevailed, in a most constructive and conciliatory manner). It helps that Brown will probably hang on and on, rather than following the Major / Hague / Howard example.

(b) Drew's Second Law of Politics is: never buy off anyone at too high a price. In this case Mr C, don't offer anything by way of electoral reform that doesn't suit yourself. As I've said before, the Tories very much need a system that automatically alters constituency boundaries, on a rolling basis, to correct for the ratchet effect of ongoing demographic change that systematically disadvantages their cause. There should be an even-handed deal to be done. In any event, the arithmetic is clear: Clegg has nowhere else to go for genuine influence at this stage.

As I write, Nick Robinson is declaring that only by being propped up by Clegg can Brown continue. I disagree. He can continue by being a stubborn bastard, arguing that until the Con-Lib picture becomes clearer he must stay at the helm to exploit whatever opportunities happen along.

And as Dianne Abbott is continually reminding us, there is no easy way forcibly to remove a Labour leader - and no way at all to do so in anything under several months.


During the campaign, Clegg was careful never to insist on anything more than a rather vaguely-termed 'fairer system' - and even Simon Hughes on the C4 News this evening kept his remarks to this modest level. This looks like responsible politics.


Miss CD said...

Vince Cable to be the chancellor. That may be a price he, if not necessarily Nick, demands. The public would like that.The Lib activists would like that. It cements the relationship by giving the Libs the top of the table seat.

Where does Osborne go to? Deputy leader with the Yvette cooper role at treasury?

This may have to be hammered out if Cameron wants to go down the big tent road. He doesn't have to but it puts Libs in government, in charge of cuts...

Or Vince to the city finance sector restructuring role? The banker basher.

Marchamont Needham said...

Thinking outside the box - what if Mandy were to offer Clegg The Premiership and electoral reform!

That would give Labour time to sort themselves out with a new leader while retaining power but dodging the blame. Then going into another election with a system that would guarantee a hung parliament.

Nick Drew said...

Lab + Lib does not command a majority

Anonymous said...

I think Guido's two posts, The Change Coalition III & II have the ideal settlement for a Tory/Lib coupling:

It fills me with genuine hope and could be revolutionary...but will Dave and Nicky think like Guido?

Marchamont Needham said...

but add in the celts and....

Steven_L said...

Sorry guys - bullshit over - I voted for Xmas!

1) No F***ing bond crash in Europe and no tory childish German bashing!

2) Sort out the deficit - no F***ing bond crash here!!!

3) Lib Dems idea of high 0% allowances - I'll be back in the call centre - paid for by BIGGER cuts in child tax credits.

Budgie said...

Well, I was quite wrong with my original guess of a Tory majority of 20. UKIP has not even got one seat. My portfolio is down 15% in 4 weeks. Brown is still in Downing St (and still dysfunctional). I am still hearing Lab 'we are controlling the deficit' twaddle on the BBC. Cameron will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We still won't get a Lisbon referendum. We ... well, you get the picture. Does anyone in our establishment actually want to arrest the demise of England?

Newmania said...

Is it possible ND that Nick Clegg means it when he says he ,and others ,cannot act out of narrow Party motives?At least that he sees that the Liberal Party behaving well now is the key to long term relevance .

Now everyone can stop lying ,it is soon going to be apparent that we cannot afford the rattle bag of luxury policies the old Liberal counter culture, (from John Lewis), mob enjoy

Nick Drew said...

Miss CD - yes it's a bit of a test for Osborne in more ways than one

if he's wise he will reflect that he is very young, and if the Boy Does Good for the sake of the Party/Country just now, there will be rewards to come in a few years time

Newmania - yup, in the subdued mood of May 7th / 8th / 9th there does seem to be some hope of that

but the stirrers are stirring - look at Fraser Nelson, what a p***k

CityUnslicker said...

I think not the end if the LIbs have a hissy with no promise of PR and walk to Labour.

A very rocky Government, the county would be aghast, then an election before PR could be passed and a Tory majority.

We have to have hope, if nothing else.

John Player said...

Have you not heard that in these politically correct times it is actually non-smoke-filled rooms?