This is pretty funny, but of course the first debate has so far proven to be a game-changer for the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg seems to have tapped into a deep resentment towards the last parliament – the worst in living memory – and towards politics in general, and as a result is riding at the top of some opinion polls. Time will tell what the effect of that will be, but I find it enormously exciting – if the Lib Dems hold the balance of power in 2 1/2 weeks then the rollback of the government’s authoritarian project, electoral reform and constitutional change get thrown to the top of the political agenda. Clegg may yet provide the most important jolt to British politics in generations, and my fingers remain tightly crossed. Interestingly Labour have now started codedly to woo Clegg:
Lord Mandelson, who heads Labour’s campaign, criticised some Liberal Democrat policies but made clear that a coalition government would not be a disaster. It is the first time a senior Labour figure has spoken about a Lib-Lab coalition, in which Liberal Democrats would sit in a Brown Cabinet. In a memo to Labour members, Lord Mandelson said: “I am not against coalition government in principle and for Britain, anything would be better than a Cameron-Osborne government.”
The Secretary of State for Business said a two-party government would not be so stable without a “big unifying challenge”. He named that as constitutional change, urging Liberal Democrat supporters in 100 or so Labour-Tory marginal seats to vote Labour to secure reform of the voting system for Westminster. He predicted, however, that the voters would turn away from their current “flirtation” with Mr Clegg.
I think some will turn away from Clegg, as people reach for what they know when they reach the ballot box. But I’ve been saying for a long time now that the two main parties have completely underestimated the electorate’s hatred for politics as usual, and to offer only that at this general election could yet prove fatal for either of them.
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.