And let's be clear -- when the Blue Nasties start cutting schools, libraries, swimming pools, re-installing Discipline into schools, exorcising homosexuals on the NHS, following President Palin to war against Iran, Korea, France etc -- everyone in the Labour Party will say "That's a price well worth paying for us not talking to the Liberals."
Either the next election (about three months from now, I should think) will be fought on a new, sane, PR based constitution, in which case I will say "Good on you, Mr Klegg, you canny political operator you, you certainly deserve a shot at being Prime Minister under our new democratic system." Or it will not be fought on the daft old first past the post system, in which case I will certainly not vote for Klegg.
Or anyone else.
As a party member, it looks like I'll get a vote on the deal. Whether I'll vote for or against depends on whether a firm commitment to STV or (at the very least) AV is in there.
And looking at the Guardian listing what we've got, a referendum on PR and an elected Lords are in there, along with pretty much the entire Lib Dem manifesto. I don't understand it, but the Tories have given up on everything except welfare 'reform' and immigration caps - both of which are evil, but when you consider the other stuff...
Makes no sense, but this might even be a good deal - http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/11/general-election-2010-live-blog
I suspect that your "I will certainly not vote for Klegg" reaction is why the Labour cabinet and back-benchers didn't want to make a deal on PR. With the existing system there are three real choices, and if two of them make themselves unpopular by cutting everything then who's left to vote for? Saying "two years of Tory coalition now is better than four years of Tory majority next time" is cynical and a bit rubbish, but not actively stupid.
I don't actually think the referendum on AV will get anywhere with Labour, the Tories, and the right-wing press all against it but any chance is better than none, I guess. Or maybe the Tories will pull the plug before the referendum and gamble that people would prefer a clear majority to a coalition?
I'm now wondering if part of the reason that Cameron may have given in on so much - and bought the whole deal - is that he knows that many hardcore Tory policies really aren't terribly popular in the long run. Making tough noises on stuff like immigration, and keeping a fleet of nuclear male reassurances, may appeal to the reflex xenophobes, but keeping taxes down at the bottom end? Clobbering the banks a very little, cautious bit? Restraining the urge to gut the NHS and the BBC? Those could be vote-winners. Trouble is, they're not terribly popular with the Tory old guard. Now, though, Cameron can push them forward, and when the fogeys complain, it's "Sorry old chap - got to keep the orange pinkos on side, don't you know? We'll see what we can do about keeping the bally foreigners out, though. Give and take, don'cha'know?"
Cameron strikes me as more interested in winning elections than preserving Tory purity. Now, he's got an answer when his own headbangers complain.
Well, it's looking like we get an elected House of Lords, elected by STV, and a referendum on 'an' alternative voting system (which could be STV, AV or AV+). That alone would justify a coalition, I think...even if we don't win the referendum, we've still got a far more democratic system with a proportionally-elected Lords.
And agree with Phil Masters. I'm shocked - I thought Cameron was after winning so he could unleash his inner Thatcher. Now it looks like he's just interested in being a figurehead and having people tell him how important he is.
We have to keep on our guard, and I don't trust the Tories a nanometer, but the deal itself is *actually a good one*...
If you're a fan of PR then I assume you must support the idea of coalition governments in which the centre party props up either the right-wing or the left-wing party (depending on the election results) and gets a compromise program through. If the Lib-Dems only existed to keep the Labour party in power then what would be the point of them being two separate parties? In fact the Lib Dems have always stood for radical reform, something quite different from and often at adds with Labour's has traditional commitment to power for its own (usually left-wing) constituency.
Our perspective has been distorted by Thatcher's nutty administration which no-one in their right mind could have supported. But the idea that everyone should oppose the right-wing party under all circumstances is an argument for a two-party system like the one we're trying to get rid of. Or it's an argument for a left-wing one-party state. I suspect the latter is actually the aim of those who would like a "progressive majority" to permanently lock the Tories out of power.
Have you seen the fixed-term five year parliament requiring 55% of the House of Commons for dissolution promised in the coalition deal? (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/12/lib-dem-tory-deal-coalition) Since the Tories have 46.9% of seats it would mean they can not be removed from power for five years -- even if all the Lib-Dems, all Labour, everyone but the Tories -- a majority of the House of Commons are against them. It seems wrong.
Thomas - it's not great in the case of the Tories being in power, no, but fixed-term parliaments have been a demand of reformers since the Chartists, and fixed-term should mean fixed-term. Any fewer than 55% and the government could still dissolve parliament whenever it felt like it... it gives a small advantage to this particular government, but takes away an unfair advantage from incumbent governments in general, and would be part of any electoral reform package we could argue for...
Also, it's *dissolving Parliament*, not kicking out the government, that takes a 55% majority. In this case, that would mean a simple majority would be able to kick out the Tories, but another government would have to form *from existing MPs* - a Labour-led coalition or minority government or something.
Personally - and I don't follow the details of political reporting as closely as I ought, so take this accordingly - I never assumed that Cameron had an inner Thatcher so much as an inner Blair. He's a natural politician - a technocrat - who may well have some objectives of his own, but who has spent so long working towards winning power that the means have come to dominate the ends.
Note: I'm fully aware that descriptions like "a Tory Tony Blair" won't exactly recommend him to some people. But it implies things about his behaviour and tactics that might need to be considered.
OK, the distinction between `no confidence in government' and `dissolution of parliament' certainly reassures me, and it does seem sensible to remove that arbitrary power to call elections at the time best suited to the government.
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