So Clegg has to decide what he wants to do, and then persuade the Lib Dem party that this is viable. Note, as a democratic party, there are strict rules on this. He needs to persuade 75% of our MPs, and 75% of the Federal Executive, that the deal is viable. If he can't do this (and if he can it might be good politics anyway), he can call a special conference in which he'll need the support of 2/3rds of Voting Representatives from across the Liberal Democrat party.
As one of those voting reps, and as one with strong opinions on this, I might have a say. However, the Federal Executive is taking consultations from anyone, here is the email I have sent:
We're not going to get any form of reform--and we should argue for STV-- immediately. Too much opposition from some in the Conservative Party.
But our official party policy is for a Citizen's Convention on reform. Have that, followed by binding referenda on a number of issues; and let them throw Europe into the mix given it's our policy to have one, would be nice to see Cameron and Hague forced off fence and campaign in favour of continued membership.
Tories can support reform (as Portillo has shown on BBC Any Questions), as long
as it's seen as something that works for them and isn't a stitch-up.
We should form a coalition based around repeal of ID cards, tax reform, a citizen's convention and reform of shools; point out to them that our schools policy is a watered down version of what DAvid Laws and Clegg first proposed, and that their schools policy is a very fast jump, shock therapy is risky in schools, so a first step would be to return power to schools and sort out funding arrangement
This is of course my personal view, and I speak for myself, but for the record am Membership Secretary and Voting Rep for Caderdale Area Party, and chair of the Brighouse branch. My regards to Ros and to Nick, not an easy position to be in.
I'm completely, utterly, committed to reforming our political and electoral system. It's the reason I got involved in politics, the reason I rejoined the Lib Dems, and the reason I've become very active within it. My long-expired membership of the Lib Dems was renewed at a time when Labour were riding high in the polls and passing legislation I abhorred. The party is committed to genuine reform of the constitution, and official policy is to call for a citizen's convention, a policy passed (with my vote in the conference chamber) significantly after I a argued that Britain needs a constitutional convention. We need electoral reform, but many in the Tory backwoods instinctively oppose it.
Jennie argues, and I agree with her, that they shouldn't oppose it, and sets out how we could sell STV in multi member constituencies to tribal Tories. But a citizen's convention is almost certainly the best way to acheive this.
The country needs stable government. The only viable stable government possible is a Tory/Lib Dem coalition. It's either this or another election in 6 months time. While I, personally, don't object to more elections (apart from the exhaustion, I really enjoyed the last few weeks), and a fresh election would favour the LDs in a lot of seats they only just came 2nd in, I don't think that's a good thing for the country.
LDs do not hold the balance of powerThe Lib Dems do not hold the balance of power. They don't get to choose between parties. They can only choose between forming a stable Govt with some reform, and an unstable Govt with another election soon. That's not a nice choice. And Clegg has to make it, and and it's possible that I might have to go to a conference and vote on that choice.
That's not a nice position to be in.