Monday, 10 May 2010

Has Dave Blown It?

Is Dave, or more to the point the Conservative Party about to blow their chance of power for the second time in this election?

In the hour it has taken me to get from work to home there is a faltering in the talks between the Tories and Lib Dems. Gordon Brown has wasted no time in removing himself as an obstacle in potential talks with Labour. The talks with Labour are starting tonight so is the clock ticking on a Cameron premiership? Is there going to be a rainbow over Westminster?

But hang on just as I'm typing this George Osborne has just offered a referendum on AV. But as both Labour and the Conservatives are aware, that is not the preferred option as outlined in the Liberal Democrat manifesto the preference is for single transferable vote. As the Guardian pointed out earlier AV is only marginally more proportional that first past the post.

William Hague has just tried to cast off his Damascus road conversion to proportional representation as letting "the people decide the best system". If you really want the people to decide the best system why not offer them the best system, the one that balances up a local accountability with proportionality.

Earlier we learned that agreement had been made on reducing the number of MPs, the Lib Dems being more radical than the Conservatives on that cut, that would need a redrawing of the boundaries anyway. If that is the case what is stop asking the boundary commission to draw up multi-member STV constituencies instead.

AV on constituencies, like we have now, may be disproportionate to the Tories as second preferences may go to the 'progressive alliance' but STV will at least reward them for strength where they are considerably strong. Maybe it is time for the Tories to truly wake up to what is the best and fairest way of electoral reform.

1 comment:

  1. It's not Dave blowing it. The Tories have been above board throughout this process.

    Clegg has apparently acted in good faith so far, legitimately covering his bases. I'm happy to accept that premise at the moment.

    What appears to have happened is that Clegg has run into minor difficulties selling this to the party...who can still fit in the back room of a pub ;-)...and Labour have pounced with a pre-planned ambush designed (by Mandelson and Campbell) to sabotage the Lib-Tory talks. Brown made his announcement just as the Tories were gathering for the 1922 committee and the usual Labour suspects (plus Evan Harris) were waiting in the wings to recite pre-planned lines to the media.

    There are only three legitimate options for government:

    - minority Tory government with some sort of Lib Dem conditional support (with a vote share greater than Labour in 2005)
    - Tory Lib Dem majority coalition, my preferred option as I have supported both parties in recent years
    Tory Labour majority coalition...why not?

    Any attempt to foist a minority coalition or unstable rainbow coalition - with Brown unelected for a second time and a third unelected Labour leader for the next five years - would be illegitimate and without a democratic mandate. Put bluntly, it would be overthrown by public opposition and the Lib Dems would do well to steer clear.

    Any prospect of electoral reform without the Tories on board will fail. It will take at least a year to get the legislation to the Lords and possibly much, much longer.

    This is the new across the left-right divide, and not propping up an illegitimate Labour government with no democratic mandate based on student union politics.

    Remember Iraq? I do, I resigned my RAF commission over it...and you guys are even considering getting into bed with a party which wheels out Alastair Campbell to justify such an arrangement? Mirrors will be hard to gaze upon if you fall for this joke.

    I look forward to a fruitful Tory Lib Dem coalition or alliance unfolding in the next few days.