[personal profile] matgb
One suspects C. P. Scott would be annoyed with the sub editor who wrote this headline:

Liberal Democrats to fight next election as totally independent party

What's next from the supposed bastion of liberal journalism? Pope confirms Catholicism? Bear faeces found in woodland? Hazel Blears is short?

Note to journalists: In Australia, the Coalition parties have maintained separate identities and run independently despite governing together for the best part of the last century. In the UK, the last Liberal National / Conservative coalition effectively started in 1931, they agreed an electoral pact in 1947, and the Nationals eventually gave up and formally merged into the Conservatives in 1968. That was 37 years, not 6 months.

So in the incredibly unlikely event that history tries to repeat itself, it'll take 3 decades of perpetual coalition. I don't think that's at all likely myself.

Ye gods, they call themselves a quality newspaper?
andrewducker: (Default)

Date: 2011-01-20 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
It's because there are only two real parties in the UK, and other ones are just frivolities, waiting for their chance to play with the big boys.

Fib Dems

Date: 2011-04-05 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Dooooomed, dooomed I tell thee! ;-)

The Liberal Democrats will be right back to being a quixotic minority political party once again come 6th May. And rightly so.

Shame that the local elections don't require a deposit really, eh Mat?
burkesworks: (Default)

Date: 2011-01-20 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] burkesworks
the last Liberal National / Conservative coalition effectively started in 1931

after the split between the Liberal and Liberal National factions of the party, and after the general election where the Liberals under Samuel were annihilated, though granted not to the extent that Labour were.

I get the feeling something similar could happen to the party come the next GE if Clegg and co are still at the top, AV or no AV.
daweaver:   (pluralism)

Date: 2011-01-25 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
OK, I'll bite.

Cameron expelling the Cornerstones (or them leaving)

For the benefit of others who needed to look this up... Cornerstone group: a collection of religious politicians, broadly in favour of socially illiberal measures and against Europe. Prominent members include Bill Cash, John Redwood, Owen Paterson of Oswestry and Northern Ireland, Roger Scruton, and Nadine Dorries against whom allegations of stalking have been made to police. Strongly backed Liam Fox in the 2005 leadership election, support David Cameron at least as long as he keeps some of them close to power. A comparison with the TEA tendency may not be as inappropriate as the Cornerstones would like.

What would cause this group to leave? A deep falling-out over Europe, or some sort of moral question, or a belief that they would profit from splitting from the mainstream Conservatives. In the very short term, the votes for prisoners question could have been a splitting matter. It may still be - my gut feeling is that the ECHR is objecting to any blanket ban, not a question of length.

Europe could be the faultline: I don't think there's going to be another treaty in the current European Parliament term, but there may need to be one in the subsequent EP, for which negotiations would begin shortly after the next Westminster election. If the C+LD coalition is returned, and if it's clear that the government is swinging in a socially liberal and Europhiliac way (which is quite likely if the ratio is closer to 3:1 than 6:1, which in turn probably requires AV), then it's possible that the Cornerstone group might consider walking out.

Alternatively, if the Conservatives are out of power in 2015, and the leader (Cameron or a replacement) plots a distinctly One Nation course, then the Cornerstones might leave. But that would require the present coalition to break, violating one of the original conditions.

I'm prepared to give the Cornerstone group some credit: they know full well that if they stood apart from the Conservatives, they'd be mincemeat. By and large, voters are voting for the Conservative label, not for the candidate, and the number of voters who would change their first preference on religious and/or Europhobic lines is small. It's possible that some of them might have personal votes, but - as the Esdipi showed - personal votes aren't sufficient to build a lasting base.

The only way I can see this happening is on an Unknown Unknown matter, for which the LD get agreement to abstain, and where the Cornerstones defying the whip would lead to defeat. Quite what that unknown unknown matter is, I don't know - possibly an idea to give additional devolution to the English regions.

As for the more general point, there's always going to be some movement between C and LD. At the moment, I don't think there's enough common ground between these two parties to suggest their merger. Indeed, if it was going to happen, it would have happened in the early 1950s when the Liberals continued to exist only thanks to the benevolence of the Conservatives in places like Bolton and Huddersfield.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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