Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts from the train: would you recognise that hung parliament if you saw it again, madam?

I see that young Mr Clegg is getting plenty of coverage in the press this week, perhaps in anticipation of our Spring Conference this weekend in Birmingham. Will the Liberal Democrats or won't they (form a coalition, that is)?

What I find so intriguing is that the press are so desperate to get the story that they are reduced to making one up. Doorstepping Liberal Democrat MPs in the hope that one of them will get the line wrong, parsing every comment made by Nick, or Vince, or Shirley, or... you get my drift... for something that might indicate that the Party is leaning one way or the other, it really is quite depressing. For let's be honest, a hung parliament will place most of the pressure on Gordon and Dave.

Oh yes, it takes two to tango, but the onus is on the ugly sisters to try and fill their dance card, not for Prince Charming to throw himself at one of them. We've posted our wishlist on the political equivalent of, and there'll be time enough to find out how much is actually on offer after the votes are counted.

And there will, for the chronology is quite obvious. In the event of a hung Parliament, Gordon will gather his remaining troops together, look at the numbers, and see who can be approached. He'll need time, especially if we're the only effective show in town. He may not even be able to persuade them (many of them really don't like us).

If he gives up, and he may not until a Queen's Speech, it'll be Dave's turn. They will at least have had the advantage of time whilst Gordon tries, and doubtless they'll have been in touch to see if, first of all, we can be dissuaded from doing a deal with Labour (which may not be that difficult), and second, to find out if we were serious about all that 'fairness stuff' (I will save them the trouble - we are).

So, there's plenty to be done before we even have to make a decision. Given that the only  evidence so far is that readers of Liberal Democrat Voice aren't that keen on either of the options, it might be better to leave either of them to run a minority administration.

In other words, my media friends, wouldn't you be better off asking them instead of us? After all, if you can't get your heads around a multi-party democracy (and that means more than two), why not concentrate on what you do best and see if either of them has an answer? We, and the rest of the British public, might learn something...

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