Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The numbers just don't stack up

Like a many other LibDem bloggers this morning, I never thought I'd say this but...

Clearly my heart says "progressive alliance" but the numbers just aren't there.

Even is we could get it to work in a stable way, we would only get electoral reform if all of the alliance voted for it, including all of Labour. I'm really not sure you would get that. There are a lot of fierce opponents of reform out there (witness Labour "big beasts" all over the media slagging us off).

Word is that Labour have dropped the referendum requirement and will just legislate for AV, however Harriet Harman on newsnight last night was rowing back from this. (also I question the legitimacy of this)

Bizarrely, I think you can trust the Tories more on electoral reform! We know they are against it.
I think Nick Clegg has played a blinder, who'd have thought the Tories would be offering us a referendum on AV? If this is part of a published open agreement, I trust that it will be delivered and we know the Tories will then campaign against a change. However AV (yes, it's only a small step, not PR) is a hell of a lot easier to sell than anything that smells of a politicians stitch up (even if that's not true). It has only (albeit small) advantages over the current system (no tactical voting, better chance for independents).

We suffer either way (the drawback of coalition under FPTP) by one wing of our voters potentially boycotting us next time but I'm sick of all this LibDem hate from "progressive" pro-PR types. We're the ones arguing for it! What about Labour who have had 13 years! Why not hate them? Besides it is clearly the point that it does not have a parliamentary majority (and was not voted for by the electorate).

However, if we can show clear policy wins out of a LibCon deal then we may be able to salvage some credibility and also the boost of doing the right thing and providing a stable government must have it's upsides politically. (Think of the damage caused by being seen to be a member of an unstable "coalition of the losers", think of the resulting Tory landslide)

So, assuming we've got good policy concessions and yes, sup with a long spoon and watch your back, but we should go with the Tories (eek!). However surely we can't countenance Michael "prison works" Howard as justice secretary? We must be able to veto that!

1 comment:

neil craig said...

Don't fight over Michael Howard or anything else. If the negotiation fails it must be made absolutely clear it is purely on the refusal of the Tories to allow a referendum on PR.

That would make the Tories look intransigent, undemocratic & putting party interest before public & ensure any subsequent election reduced their vote. Breaking on anything else would make the LDs look like simply a disruptive adjunct of Labour & they would lose.

I think that if it is the only way to get PR go with Labour but I still think it likely the Tories will not walk away over that alone.